We love Dolly Parton here in Pigeon Forge. With the annual Dolly Parade coming up on May 2, now is the perfect time to share 4 of our favorite facts about Dollywood, her namesake amusement park, located right here in the Great Smoky Mountains.
Here are four things you might not know about Dollywood:
1. Dollywood wasn’t always Dollywood.
Putting a theme park in Pigeon Forge wasn’t quite Dolly’s idea. The park that started it all, Rebel Railroad, was originally opened on the same land in 1961. In 1970, the park was purchased by another agent and re-named Goldrush Junction. The theme park changed hands again in 1976, and this time was dubbed Silver Dollar City. Dolly finally got involved in 1986, and the name was changed to Dollywood.
2. Kurt Russell has been to Dollywood, as Captain Ron.
Do you remember this raucous 1992 comedy movie? Kurt Russell plays the captain himself, and delivers the following famous line when comparing his travels to those of the elite yacht passengers:
Captain Ron: I’ve been to Dollywood.
3. Think Parkway traffic is bad now? It was worse on opening weekend.
I can remember Dollywood’s opening weekend in May of 1986. Even though I was just a little girl at the time, I recall the entire Pigeon Forge Parway as a parking lot. Apparently, traffic was stopped for 6 miles down U.S.-441 on the park’s opening weekend and 1.34 million visitors came during the park’s first 5 months. Now, about 2.5 million folks come each year.
4. The park’s grist mill has nothing on the Old Mill in Pigeon Forge.
The iconic grist mill inside Dollywood might look old, but it was built in the 1980s. The real Old Mill in Pigeon Forge, on the other hand, dates all the way back to the early 1800s.
Is Dollywood a must-visit attraction for you and your family when you’re in Pigeon Forge? Let us know at the PigeonForge.com Facebook page!