Thursday, January 19, 2012

Dolly Parton/Dollywood to Open New Park In Nashville! Announces on Her Birthday!!!!











Usually on one's birthday they get gifts, but in typical Dolly Parton fashion, she's giving her fans a gift on her special day. Dolly Parton's Dollywood Company announced today that they will partner with Gaylord Entertainment to build a Dollywood park in Nashvillle.


Most people of Nashville know that our tourism has died with all the changes the city has made over the years, the closing of Opryland, and the departure of The Nashville Network. The Grand Ole Opry has sure felt the impact hard, sometimes crowds can be less than half a house and they have already cut Firday and Saturday to one night shows. Part of this is because most tourists want to hear traditional music and the Opry offers a lot of newcomers their debut now. Hopefully with the Dollywood attraction on it's campus the Opry will get the pacemaker it needs to keep it's heart a flutter. I'm sure Opry Mills will be booming once again but more importantly the whole Music Valley area that became a virtual ghost town will get the kickstart it needs to see it's glory days. And even better to all is that Dolly's Nashville park will be operating yearly vs closing for the winter season.


The new park is described below in the official press release from Dollywood. It looks as if Nashville's Dollywood will offer a water snow park. Not sure if plans are to include rides and musical entertainment at this point. It's possible that they don't want the park too similar to their original which is Tennessee's number 1 paid attraction. It would be nice if they did include a Dolly Parton museum at the park, after all, it's her namesake. The Chasing Rainbows, Dolly Parton Museum, designed by Steve Summers is amazing at the Pigeon Forge Park.



Many theme parks have tried to build in Nashville and the deal always falls through. Several Christian related Bible Fun Parks as well as Busch Gardens all abandoned plans to build in the Nashville area. Dolly is just the figure to revive Nashville to her former glory. When she became the majority partner with Silver Dollar City in Pigeon Forge, the current park was barely afloat. Parton's name and apearances on the Park have made it a success that has lasted nearly 30 years and most recently was honored with The Applause Award, the highest honor to any theme/amusement parks. Dollywood even beat the Disney Parks.




Dolly Parton opened a second theme park in Pigeon Forge, TN in May 2001, Dollywood's Splash Country. The new park focused on water slides, pools, and looked like a mountain water paradise. At Dolly's Park, like Dollywood, it's Dollyized. The water park is not only fun for the entire family, has better food and atmosphere, it a beautiful place. I assume that Dollywood's Splash Country will be the model in which to adapt the new venture.


Dollywood also launched, Dollywood Vacations, in the more recent years, as a cabin rental area. Plans are in the making for a Dollywood Resort/Spa Hotel and Entertainment center in Pigeon Forge.




Dolly's Dixie Stampede was launched in the 80's and has also proven it's success. The Dinner Theater pits the North against the South with the audience involvement from their seats. At the Dixie you will see beautiful horses and an incredible show with an amazing dinner. The Dixie Stampede not only operates in Pigeon Forge but also in Branson. The Myrtle Beach location was recently revamped from a Dixie Stampede to a Dolly's Pirates Voyage which features sea animals in the show and a musical score written by Dolly. Parton even appears as a mermaid via large video screens in one section of the show. Lets hope that Parton will consider the Pirates Voyage as an addition to Nashville as well, since a Dixie Stampede is only 3 hours away in Pigeon Forge.



Hopefully, the Dollywood location will also be a venue for Dolly Parton to perform and make visits. The Dollywood in Piegeon Forge usually gets at least 3 Dolly park personal appearances per year. Occassionally she will make many more appearances and even perform concerts to benefit the Dollywood Foundation, the mastermind behind the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. With the Dolly Parton enterprise growing the Foundation also will grow and hopefully impact Nashville in a mightier way.



One of the biggest problems the Dollywood Theme Park in Pigeon Forge faces is there isn't a large enough venue for a Dolly concert. Usually when Parton performs a benefit concert it has to be done through 4 shows over 2 days. Here, in Nashville The Opry House can easily seat 4,400 people. A strong contrast to the D.P. Celebrity Theater which holds aprox 1,400 people. I hope that in the future plans for the original Dollywood, a large concert venue for Dolly and other celebrities will be built. This Spring a major roller coaster will unveil America's first winged coaster, The Wild Eagle.





I'm so proud of Dolly. I wish her well in all her new business ventures and I'm sure they will be a major success. Nashville needed this attraction more than most folks know, and more than political leaders will admit. With this attraction, family enetertainment will come to Nashville once again and draw more businesses to follow suit. Who knows? Maybe the Music Valley area can become an area like the Pigeon Forge Parkway. And to Nashville's advantage the wild honky tonk crowd can hang on the other side of town on Broadway. So you can be naughty or nice in Nashville!


Lots of love to Dolly from me! Thank you for your kindness, your friendship, and most of all your big heart to help others.


Press Release From Dollywood:


Two of the biggest names in Tennessee tourism are teaming up to bring family entertainment back to Nashville. Gaylord Entertainment (NYSE: GET) and Dolly Parton’s Dollywood Company have entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for a 50/50 joint venture to develop a 105-acre family entertainment zone adjacent to the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center. The Dollywood Company will serve as the operating partner. Phase one of the project is a yet unnamed $50 million water and snow park, the first of its kind in the U.S. A fall 2012 groundbreaking date is expected with the park opening slated for summer of 2014.



The water and snow park will anchor the project which offers room for future expansion. The park will provide a mix of high energy water activities for the summer season and designated snow activities for winter play. Once open, first year attendance is projected at 500,000, a large portion of which will come from out of state, bringing in substantial tourism revenue to Tennessee and Nashville. Dollywood expects to employ 450 full- and part- time employees, including the construction phase and once the facility is operational. This proposed attraction furthers Gaylord’s focus on growing the leisure side of its business and continuing to drive revenue through its top-notch entertainment attractions throughout the year. The Dollywood Company is responsible for managing Dolly Parton’s Dollywood and Dollywood’s Splash Country in the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee, as well as her dinner theatre attraction, Dixie Stampede. Annually, these attractions attract approximately four million visitors and have won some of the industry’s most coveted awards including “world’s best theme park" and “America’s most beautiful water park.”



“I’m so excited about this opportunity," Dolly Parton said. “I am confident that partnering my Dollywood Company with a great company like Gaylord will create something truly special. We’re all working on new types of entertainment to do in the daytime and nighttime for the whole family so we bring new folks to the area year round.”



“We are thrilled by the prospect of bringing to Nashville a family focused entertainment center with one of the preeminent theme park owners and operators in the country," said Colin V. Reed, chairman and chief executive officer, Gaylord Entertainment. “I am confident this proposed attraction, which will be a destination not only for our hotel guests but for the entire Nashville community, will meaningfully enhance our transient and leisure strategy by introducing a fun, family environment to the region. With Dolly Parton’s country music legacy and strong ties to Nashville, we can think of no better partner for this venture than Dolly’s Dollywood Company.”



“We hope that some other developers with great ideas will join us in creating this new area. We’re saying the water and snow park are the first phase, but who knows, if we see some great ideas we could be developing the entire zone by the time the snow and waterpark open. Wouldn’t that be great for Nashville and the state,” Parton said.



We are in the early stages of planning and will make certain that any project we pursue is done so under the appropriate economic conditions and provides the appropriate returns for our shareholders," said Reed. “We are looking forward to working on the next steps of this project and to it becoming a valuable part of the Nashville community.”

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