Dollywood announces new resort as part of $500 million expansion

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PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (WATE) — Dolly Parton announced the construction of the HeartSong Lodge & Resort on Thursday, the first project in a half-billion dollar investment campaign by the Dollywood Parks & Resorts group over the next decade.

The HeartSong Lodge & Resort, scheduled to open in 2023 in Pigeon Forge, is a five-story, 302-room lodge featuring a sprawling indoor/ outdoor pool complex and 26,000-square-foot indoor and outdoor event space. Located next to Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa, its the first expansion of the park since the $37 million Wildwood Grove in 2019 and the first new resort since the DreamMore opened in 2015.

“I’m always dreaming and coming up with new ideas and things I want our guests to experience,” Parton said in the official announcement. “We wanted to talk about this last year, but with everything going on, we knew we needed to pause because it just wasn’t the right time to do it. Things are looking brighter and with the popularity of the Smokies soaring, there are more people than ever wanting to visit our area.”

The “reimagined lodge” will be centered by a dramatic arrival experiencing, featuring a 4,000-square-foot, four-story atrium lobby with lantern-inspired windows and a two-story stone fireplace with a never-ending flame.

The indoor/outdoor pool complex boasts an outdoor cove, family gathering spaces, communal firepit and screened-in porch which will provide guests with unique, year-round swimming opportunities.

The property can accommodate gatherings for several hundred guests across its 26,000 square feet of event space, including the two-story HeartSong Event Center, a 7,500-square-foot main ballroom and outdoor event lawn.

With more than 3 million visitors annually at Dollywood theme park and Dollywood’s Splash Country water park, the Pigeon Forge parks comprise Tennessee’s most-visited ticketed attraction.

Dolly Parton and Eugene Naughton, President of the Dollywood Company, announce DollywoodÕs Heartsong Lodge & Resort taken at the Celebrity Theater at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, TN, on May 11, 2021. © Curtis Hilbun /Dollywood

“Our state is the proud home of Dollywood, a cherished destination for families from around the globe” Gov. Bill Lee said. “Tourism sustains jobs, increases economic opportunity, and highlights the best of Tennessee, and we’re grateful to Dolly Parton, Dollywood, and all who helped bring the new HeartSong Lodge and Resort to this community.”

Since 2010, The Dollywood Company has invested more than $220 million into its properties as part of its ongoing investment plan. Expansions undertaken since 2010 include Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa, roller coasters Lightning Rod and FireChaser Express, as well as TailSpin Racer at Dollywood’s Splash Country. In 2019, the park opened the $37 million Wildwood Grove.

“I’m so proud of this place that we’ve been able to build here in the Smokies,” Parton said. “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. We celebrated our 35th season last year, so I think it is fair to say we’ve been able to do that. I’m so happy with what we are doing to make sure our guests have a great season this year, and being able to announce the new HeartSong Lodge and Resort is just one more way we’re going to be able to help families reconnect, explore and discover together. I truly believe the natural beauty of the Smokies and the warmth of this special place will inspire every guest to nurture the ‘heartsong’ within them.”

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