Dollywood hosted a media day on Friday, June 12, to answer burning questions about the park’s first phase of reopening.
Most notably, they addressed many questions about the usage of face masks and coverings.
Guests may be happy to know that, according to Dollywood officials, the usage of masks will not be “everywhere and all the time,” but it will be encouraged as much as possible.
On media day, Pete Owens, Dollywood’s VP of Marketing and Public Relations, noted that guidelines may change as the phased reopening continues.
“Since we made the announcement that we were reopening, we already made one change,” said Owens. “And that change is at Splash Country.”
Owens said that the only times guests will be required to wear a mask at Splash Country is in areas that you cannot socially distance. For example, that includes queues at food locations and entry points. He noted, however, that there will still be health screenings and other guidelines in place.
“I think some of these things are going to be fluid, but we’re doing what we can to try to keep folks that come to visit us and our employees as safe as we possibly can.”
Guests will receive temperature checks upon arrival and receive a wristband to show that they have gone through the health screening. If a guest has a temperature, all people within that party — who travelled together in the same car — will receive a raincheck and be asked to come back another day.
To help combat the heat and humidity, Eugene Naughton, VP of Dollywood Parks Operations, said that the park will also be implementing relaxation zones with tables and umbrellas throughout the property so guests can take a break from the masks but still socially distance.
“That’s an operational change after watching what happened in Florida when Universal opened, because of the heat and humidity,” said Naughton.
When asked how they would be enforcing the mask requirement, Naughton said that he wanted to instead think about it in the form of encouragement.
“I don’t like to use the term enforcement,” said Naughton. “I’m using the term encouragement, right? Because, if you notice what’s happening today, if you see reports of the virus increasing, ya know, we have to maintain our safety so that we can continue to enjoy the Dollywood parks.”
Naughton said that there will be a team of ambassadors to help encourage and remind guests to use masks and socially distance. If a guest says they need a break from the mask, the ambassadors can show them where they will be able to relax in a designated area without a mask.
“The key is, we’re trying to protect others from ourselves, so we’re asking for folks to be respectful of others,” said Owens. “That is no different than you would ask them to behave when they’re at the park in any situation. Be respectful of your neighbor.”
In a bit of good news, ride wait times are anticipated to be less than they would normally be during “pre-covid” operations. However, the TimeSaver program will still be available.
The TimeSaver allows guests to enjoy rides using expedited entrances ten times throughout the day at eligible attractions. The combination of ten rides can include ten different attractions, or guests can ride the same ride up to ten times.
The TimeSaver is complimentary for resort guests with exclusive resort theme park tickets or season passes. The park also offers a TimeSaver Unlimited option.
Some children’s play areas will remain closed during the first phase of reopening. Certain attractions that have several touch points will also remain closed.
Additional information about the safety and operational changes at the park are available at Dollywood.com/playsafe.
For more frequently asked questions about the reopening, visit the Dollywood FAQ page. Follow TheSmokies.com on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news developments on attractions in The Smokies.