SNEAK PEEK: Look inside Suite 1986, Dolly Parton’s former tour bus

Dollywood Suite 1986

Requests for bookings are now available for Suite 1986 (photo by Daniel Munson/TheSmokies.com)

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Dolly Parton came from humble beginnings. Her rags-to-riches story has truly fascinated the world.

Luckily for us, Dolly is a storyteller. But she doesn’t just want to tell you her story. She wants to show you.

For example, look no further than her namesake theme park Dollywood.

Dollywood grew quite a bit as it transformed from Rebel Railroad to Goldrush Junction to Silver Dollar City. But no transformation was as great as when Dolly took over in 1986.

Since then, the park has become a glimpse into Dolly’s life.

Wildwood Grove functions as an idealized version of the mountains of her youth. Jukebox Junction is a recreation of 50s era Sevierville.

Dolly made her vision clear in Rivertown Junction, where Dolly’s Tennessee Mountain Home sits. 

But one of the newest things from the company will not be one that most of us can afford. Still, for some elite few, there’s a truly unique experience next door to DreamMore Resort and Spa.

Read Also: Where is Dolly Parton’s childhood home? Is it still there?

Dolly's Suite 1986 sign
A sign for Suite 1986, a new experience offered by the Dollywood Company (photo by Daniel Munson/TheSmokies.com)

What is Dolly Suite 1986?

Suite 1986 is Dolly Parton’s former tour bus. Now, guests can stay overnight in Dolly’s former home away from home.

The 1986 Tour Bus Experience showcases another facet of the icon’s life, a free-spirited traveler.

Dolly Parton often refers to her tour bus as the “Gypsy Wagon”.

In the years that it served Dolly, it traveled about 360,000 miles throughout North America, making trips to Nashville, Los Angeles and more.

1986 Suite at Dollywood
Dolly Parton often opted to stay on her tour bus instead of a hotel room (photo by Daniel Munson/TheSmokies.com)

When did Dolly Parton use the bus from Suite 1986?

The bus that is now Suite 1986 served as Dolly Parton’s tour bus from late 2008 through March 2022.

In 2016, it served Dolly during her largest North American tour in 25 years, the Pure & Simple Tour, where it traveled to more than 60 cities in the United States and also in Canada.

While she’s on the road, Dolly spends most of her time writing. The bus is a unique sanctuary for Dolly where she wrote dozens of songs and a number of projects.

She wrote albums like “Backwoods Barbie” and “9 to 5 the Musical” and also wrote books, television shows and movies.

According to Dollywood officials, Dolly enjoyed taking care of the people who traveled with her on the tour bus, including her friend and personal assistant Judy Ogle and bus driver Tim Dunlap.

She would make them sandwiches and talk to them about life and family during their travels.

Additional beds
Dolly’s bus had fewer bunks than other tour buses to make room for her closet (photo by Daniel Munson/TheSmokies.com)

How does Dolly Parton travel?

Dolly notoriously does not enjoy flying, so the Prevost tour bus was Dolly’s home away from home.

But of course, Dolly still knows how to travel in style.

She made a number of customizations and upgrades to the bus, including a full-size refrigerator, which is an uncommon sight on most tour buses.

The country music star also requested electric doors, a bathtub and other custom details to best fit her needs.

For example, to accommodate her show wardrobe, the bus had three bunk beds instead of the standard six to make room for a closet. The Prevost tour bus was Dolly’s home away from home.

The bus also has special hand-painted murals and unique paintings of wayfaring wanderers, wagons and crystal balls to represent life on the road for the singer.

The bus also has a wig cabinet. Dollywood officials say that she almost always stayed on the bus instead of a hotel room.

Dolly has said that this bus was her favorite home because she’s a true gypsy at heart.

In March 2022, Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa acquired the bus and created the Suite 1986 Tour Bus Experience as an authentic Dolly Parton experience.

Read Also: The Dolly Parton tour bus: A look at how our Appalachian queen travels

Suite 1986
The bus also has a custom tub (photo by Daniel Munson/TheSmokies.com)

What type of tour bus is Suite 1986?

The bus is a 2008 Prevost motorcoach that has been customized by Dolly Parton.

It is 45 feet long and served as Dolly’s tour bus from 2008 to 2022.

How many people can stay at Suite 1986?

The tour bus sleeps two guests.

However, the stay also includes a DreamMore Resort guest room to accompany up to four additional guests.

The suite has a dedicated concierge service for the entire length of the stay, as well as a number of exclusive Suite 1986 items that guests can take home as a keepsake from the experience.

Guests will have special accommodations as well as additional experiences which can be added to the stay. And they will also have a chance to indulge in culinary creations from the award-winning staff of the resort.

Hall of Suite 1986
The tour bus has unique design features custom fit for Dolly Parton (photo by Daniel Munson/TheSmokies.com)

How much does it cost to stay at Dolly Suite 1986?

The tour bus experience requires a two-night minimum and starts at $10,000. For context, that’s more expensive than the immersive Star Wars hotel in Orlando.

But, it’s important to note that a portion of the proceeds from each stay will benefit the Dollywood Foundation and the Imagination Library.

Requests for bookings are now available at dollywood.com/suite1986.

1986 Suite
The new Suite 1986 will feature a variety of accommodations (photo by Daniel Munson/TheSmokies.com)

Where is the Dollywood Suite 1986?

Suite 1986 is located outside of Dollywood DreamMore Resort and Spa in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

It is parked on a gated bus pad which was created for Dolly to use during her visits to the Dollywood theme park.

Other new attractions and features at Dollywood

Our staff was able to tour the new suite as part of an event that showcased construction progress on the new HeartSong Lodge, the latest addition to lodging from the Dollywood Company. HeartSong will offer an event center for family reunions and beautiful balconies with views of the Smokies.

The lodge will be a 300-room hotel set to open in the fall of 2023. The all-new resort will accommodate the continued growth of the Smokies, and it will be located across from Dollywood’s flagship resort, DreamMore Resort and Spa in Pigeon Forge.

There are more future developments coming soon for the Dollywood Company as well, including additional resorts and a record-breaking coaster planned for 2023. Details have not yet been announced for the other developments.

Dollywood is one of the most popular attractions in the eastern U.S. And It is located in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The Dolly Parton Company includes the Dollywood theme park, Dollywood Splash Country and a series Dollywood cabins and resorts.

The 150-acre Dollywood theme park is an award-winning park with roller coasters like the Wild Eagle, Tennessee Tornado and Lightning Rod.

It has family-favorite attractions like the steam train, Dollywood Express. It features shows that sometimes even feature members of Dolly’s family.

What do you think of the Suite 1986 experience? Do you think it would be worth it? Let us know in the comments.


Disclaimer: While we do our best to bring you the most up-to-date information, attractions or prices mentioned in this article may vary by season and are subject to change. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any mentioned business, and have not been reviewed or endorsed these entities. Contact us at [email protected] for questions or comments.

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6 thoughts on “SNEAK PEEK: Look inside Suite 1986, Dolly Parton’s former tour bus”

  1. No!!!! Not for 10,000! Dolly, we’re in a pandemic & inflation!!! High gas prices! What are you thinking?????

  2. I adore Dolly! I would consider it quite a unique experience and a very exciting privilege to be able to enjoy something so Dolly Parton!! Too bad it is so expensive, or I would jump on the mere thought of it. Very special! Thank you for sharing the sneak peak AND your many years of talent and entertainment Dolly!!!

  3. Only the rich can afford this . People with children and seniors could never afford this . I would love to stay at her resort but can’t afford it! It’s beautiful 😊

  4. That price sure doesn’t reflect that she was raised poor. I know it’s expensive too own and operate a business. But this price is way to much for the area. She needs too remember these are they moutains and 10,000 is hard to come by.

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