Is Dollywood getting a new roller coaster? New site plan offers clues

The possible Wildwood Grove expansion

While unconfirmed, the proposed city plan looks like the new ride will extend almost the length of Wildwood Grove before turning back and returning to the starting location (planning map obtained from the City of Pigeon Forge; composition and coloring by TheSmokies.com)

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Expansion is the order of the day at Dollywood.

For example, the park’s second resort, HeartSong Lodge & Resort, is set to open in September 2023.

But that’s not the only planned expansion for 2023, according to documents filed with Pigeon Forge city planners. 

The possible Wildwood Grove expansion at Dollywood

Wildwood Grove, the massive – and massively popular 2019 expansion – is growing again. 

Dollywood is reportedly planning a massive attraction that will be located next to the Dragonflier.  

Although not confirmed by Dollywood, documents obtained from city planners indicate that the addition will run parallel to the Black Bear Trail.

It looks like it will extend almost the entire length of Wildwood Grove before turning back and returning to the starting location. 

The documents don’t indicate the ride is a rollercoaster, calling it simply “Family Attraction 2023.”

However, during a June 17, 2021 Pigeon Forge City Council meeting, Dollywood President Eugene Naughton mentioned plans for a “multi-generational rollercoaster” set to open in 2023. 

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The attraction plan and profile was prepared by Johnson Architecture with engineer Matthew S. Sprinkle.

The documents are not final construction plans. Rather, they were submitted for planning review only. 

However, a multi-generational rollercoaster would certainly fit with the theme of Wildwood Grove.

In fact, during its debut, officials described it as a place where grandparents could bring grandchildren. 

The Grove was designed with more shade, more seating areas and more places to rest.

It’s a part of the park that’s designed to be less physically taxing than other, more traditional theme park sections. 

Read Also: Dollywood rides ranked: 10 best coasters and rides in the park

Other rides in Wildwood Grove currently include the Dragonflier, a small roller coaster; The Mad Mockingbird, a spinning flying ride in the vein of carnival attractions; Frogs and Fireflies, a bouncing kiddie ride and the Black Bear Trail; a track ride in which guests ride bears. 

Rides at Wildwood Grove
The new ride, currently called “Family Attraction 2023” would be the largest in Wildwood Grove (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

Details spotted in Dollywood’s proposed site plan

The new plan includes what appears to be a rollercoaster without loops or corkscrews.

The attraction follows along the edge of Wildwood Grove, almost to the opposite end of the area, near Till & Harvest Food Hall.

At the furthest reaches of the ride, there would be a water feature. How that water feature would interact with the ride is not apparent. 

Judging simply by the plans and comparing relative size to other coasters in the park, the multi-generational rollercoaster (I would pay $5 if they kept that name) would be among the longest rides in the park, dwarfing the Dragonflier.

Officials had indicated a record-breaking attraction would be coming in 2023 when announcing the second Dollywood resort, HeartSong.

Read Also: When will HeartSong open? A look at Dollywood’s newest resort

It’s speculation at this point, but it certainly appears the “multi-generational rollercoaster” could be that record-breaker.

Dollywood's HeartSong Lodge and Resort Exterior
Dollywood’s HeartSong Lodge & Resort will feature themed suites, indoor and outdoor pools, an outdoor cove with family gathering spaces and more (rendering provided by Dollywood)

Other expansions at Dollywood, 2022-2023

Dollywood officials indicated plans were underway for a third, fourth and fifth resort when announcing HeartSong.

“I’m so proud of this place that we’ve been able to build here in the Smokies,” Dolly Parton said in June.

“I always dreamed of accomplishing two things with Dollywood. I wanted to give jobs to the folks who live here. And I wanted to give visitors another reason to come and experience the beauty of the Smoky Mountains.”

As Dollywood is expanding hospitality options and park attractions, it is also examining the infrastructure that helps get people into the park, according to the Mountain Press report.

The plan, Naughton said at the time, is to rework the parking lot and improve transportation options from the parking lot to the park. 

Read Also: What’s new at Dollywood in 2022? Clues on new rides, attractions

The massive improvement plan also includes dining options and a new restaurant expected to open in 2023 as well.

Are you planning a trip to Dollywood? When you plan your trip, remember to check Tripster for discounted tickets.

Are you looking forward to the Wildwood Grove expansion? What do you think it’s going to be? 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 info@thesmokies.com for questions or comments.

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1 thought on “Is Dollywood getting a new roller coaster? New site plan offers clues”

  1. I’m fine with what ever they do to the park as far as additions. The one thing I would truly hate to see go is the Blazing Fury. That is the first ride I remember riding way back in the 1980’s when the park was called Silver Dollar City. Sure Dolly has added some neat rides but nothing compares to the oldest original ride from the parks past. Please keep the Blazing Furry

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