We answer the internet’s most googled questions about Dollywood

We answer the most frequently googled questions about Dollywood (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)
We answer the most frequently googled questions about Dollywood (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

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It’s the latest craze to hit the internet … they call it the “Autocomplete Challenge.”

In the Autocomplete Challenge, a celebrity or well-known public figure answers autocompleted google search suggestions that are generated by popular interest.

Dolly Parton herself recently took part at Wired.com, where she responded to questions such as “Is Dolly Parton a soprano?” and “Does Dolly Parton cook?”

Since our staff at TheSmokies.com are always getting questions about local attractions, especially Dollywood, we thought we’d have some fun and hop on the bandwagon. 

Without further ado, here are the internet’s most frequently searched questions about Dollywood.

The following questions came from Google's Autocomplete feature (screenshot by Google)
The following questions came from Google’s autocomplete feature (screenshot by Google)

1. Did Dollywood burn down?

No! We are happy to report that Dollywood has not burned down. For those of you who might not be familiar with the area, this question might seem very random. The rest of us know exactly why it’s such a commonly asked question.

In 2016, a massive wildfire broke out in Gatlinburg. The fires caught local and federal officials unprepared, claimed the lives of 14 people, rendered many local residents homeless and caused millions in damages. It was a tragedy for our area.

There’s a video shot by a man named Michael Luciano where his and Anthony Fulton’s desperate escape from the Chalet Village Fire is filmed. It’s white-knuckle stuff like something out of a Hollywood disaster movie.

Dollywood, however, did not succumb to the flames thanks to the swift actions by Dollywood employees and local firefighters.

Read More: The real story behind the Gatlinburg fires of 2016

2. Did Dollywood get sold?

Dollywood theme park is jointly owned by Herschend Family Entertainment and Dolly Parton. 

3. How did Dollywood start?

Dollywood’s roots date back to the 1960s.

The park we know as Dollywood today was originally the creation of two enterprising brothers from North Carolina who wanted to build a park around the popular mountain railroad tourism business.

The original park was called “Rebel Railroad”. It featured a blacksmith shop, a saloon, a general store and of course, a steam engine by the name of “Klondike Katie”. If that name sounds familiar – it should. The steam engine remains at Dollywood today and is still operational.

In the 1970s the park was purchased by then-Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell and renamed Goldrush Junction.

In 1976, the park was purchased by Jack and Pet Herschend and rebranded as Silver Dollar City. Silver Dollar City became the sister park to the Herschend’s original park in Branson, Mo., by the same name.

In 1986, driven by a desire to help her hometown grow, Dolly Parton got on board and partnered with the Hershend family to create the theme park we all know and love today. 

Read More: The History of Dollywood: How Dolly saved a once-kitschy theme park – Dollywood History

The Dollywood train pre-dates the park itself
Cinderella is one of two steam trains at Dollywood that pre-dates the park itself (photo by Daniel Munson/TheSmokies.com)

4. Can Dollywood be done in one day?

This one is probably a matter of opinion. But I believe, you can hit most of the Dollywood hot spots in a single day. However, I would personally recommend at least two days. Especially if it’s the busy season and crowds are heavy (like fall, for instance).

On a moderately trafficked day, one can easily see at least one show, have at least one quality meal (and another quick meal on the run), and ride at least 5-6 major rides and attractions.

If you are the kind of person that literally wants to do every single ride and watch every single show, you’re looking at a minimum of two days, maybe three.

5. Why does Dollywood have a butterfly?

Butterflies have always played a big role in Dolly’s life – so it’s no surprise that butterflies are featured throughout the park. 

“Butterflies are my symbol. As a child, I used to get lost chasing them and got my butt whipped for wandering too far off. So we have butterflies everywhere,” Parton once said in an interview with USA Today.

The Dollywood sign (photo by Daniel Munnson/TheSmokies.com)
The Dollywood sign (photo by Daniel Munson/TheSmokies.com)

5. Why does Dollywood close so early?

Dollywood, like many other popular destinations in the Smokies, is a seasonal attraction. This is largely in response to the fact that there simply isn’t as much tourism traffic in the area when the weather is cold and kids are in school. 

Plus, it can be downright miserable riding a roller coaster in 30-degree weather.

Each year, Dollywood closes in early January and remains closed until early March. However, Dollywood uses this time wisely. 

Every winter break, Dollywood takes down seasonal decor leftover from Christmas, performs deep cleanings, makes necessary park upgrades and gives park mainstays a fresh coat of paint. 

The Flooded Mine at Silver Dollar City (photo courtesy of Silver Dollar City)
The Flooded Mine at Silver Dollar City (photo courtesy of Silver Dollar City)

6. Is there a Dollywood in Branson, Missouri?

Most people consider Silver Dollar City in Branson, Mo., also owned by Herschend Family Entertainment, to be Dollywood’s sister park. 

While Dolly does not have ownership stake in Silver Dollar City, the two parks have a lot in common.

There are even several “twin” rides at Silver Dollar City including “Fire in the Hole”, Blazing Fury’s sister coaster, and the Flooded Mine (a ride that shut down at Dollywood, but still stands at Silver Dollar City to this day). 

Fun fact: Fire in the Hole is nearly identical to Dollywood’s famous Blazing Fury coaster, minus a few distinctly tweaked lines here and there.

On Fire in the Hole, Luther doesn’t have a weak back, but he does apparently need to put on his pants. A POV video of the ride can be viewed below:

Dollywood is located at 2700 Dollywood Parks Blvd, Pigeon Forge TN 37863. For more information, visit their website at dollywood.com.

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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