Rendering of Dolly Parton's new DreamMore resort. Graphic by Business Wire
Dollywood's new FireChaser Express opens in March 2014 (Graphic: Business Wire)
(WBIR-Pigeon Forge) Dolly Parton is making another huge investment in her East Tennessee home, that will bring hundreds of jobs and many more tourists to the area.
The Dollywood Company plans to make $300 million in capital investments over the next 10 years, which will include new attractions, resorts, and 2500 new jobs.
"I've always been a big dreamer just like I've always wanted to do more for my home here in these beautiful Smoky Mountains," Parton said, "This is where I nurtured my heart's dreams, and I want to share more of them. My plans for the next 10 years are to expand my Dollywood properties to offer families more opportunities to play together and grow closer while they make their best memories. It's truly the culmination of this country girl's wildest dreams!"
Read more: As Dollywood expands, so have some local businesses
Coming first, the new FireChaser Express roller coaster, which will open in March 2014. Dolly described it as a family ride, where even kids as young as 4 years old can hop on with their parents.
Dollywood describes the new ride as "The nation's first dual-launch family coaster, FireChaser Express travels forward and backward on a winding 2,427-foot track, leaving the loading station in one direction and returning in the opposite direction. Perched 12 stories above the park's Wilderness Pass area, the coaster's 39-inch minimum height requirement invites families to ride together.
Dolly's biggest announcement was about a new 300 room resort called DreamMore to be built on 100 acres near Splash Country. It's expected to open in the Summer of 2015.
The DreamMore will be designed like a front porch, with rocking chairs "that invite guests to linger and admire pristine mountain views" and will offer "the best of both worlds-tranquility and adventure-throughout the sprawling resort and surrounding grounds."
The resort will have a variety of room sizes and suites available, along with more than 8,000 square feet of indoor meeting space with state-of-the-art technology. Outdoors, the property can accommodate groups as large as 500.
Read more: The Dollywood Dream: From 1986 to 2013
If you are feeling really special, you could even book the 2,200-square-foot Dolly's Suite Dreams celebrity suite, with décor inspired by Parton.
The resort will also include a full-service farmhouse restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating, an indoor and outdoor pool, an amphitheater for outdoor entertainment. Guests will also be able to enjoy fire pits and hammocks and a full service spa.
"With Dolly Parton's vision and world-class properties like Dollywood theme park and Dollywood's Splash Country waterpark as our foundation, The Dollywood Company is poised to become a family vacation destination like no other," said Craig Ross, President of The Dollywood Company. "Dolly welcomes folks into her home and her heart, and our plans to grow and expand The Dollywood Company are steeped in her desire to bring families closer together by creating experiences delivered from the heart."
It's estimated that the new Dollywood investment will add $150 million annually to the local economy. Additionally, more than $7 million in state and local taxes will be generated by the company's 10-year investments. Approximately 2,500 jobs will be created, primarily in the hospitality and construction industries, due to the addition of the resort.
Dolly said they hoped to build more resorts in the future, to draw even more visitors to the area.
She said it's not just about getting people to come to the Dollywood properties, but to East Tennessee, to enjoy everything the area has to offer.
She also gave an update on what's going on in her musical life. She said she'd just finished a new cd, which will be released in the late fall or early next year. She's planning a world tour for next year, which will include a charity concert in East Tennessee.
The tour will also take her to Australia, where she will introduce her Imagination Library program to that country for the first time.
She is also starring in a Lifetime Christmas movie, and will be filming on it at Dollywood over the next couple of days.
Dolly Parton revealed in TODAY show exclusive Wednesday that Dollywood will undergo a $300 million upgrade.
The country music singer-songwriter told NBC's Willie Geist the upgrade is part of a 10-year project which includes a new "family" roller coaster for 2014 and a resort hotel in 2015.
"It's gonna be a big deal," Parton told Geist. "And I'm so excited. . . this has been a dream from the very beginning. It's got a Southern flair, but it's done very classy."
Parton said these add-ons will create thousand of jobs for East Tennessee.
Officials at the park have been hinting for days about what Dolly is calling her biggest announcement ever. Dolly will make her official announcement at the park in Sevierville at 11 a.m.
You can view Dolly's big announcement live on wbir.com, and we'll bring you the latest updates on 10News at Noon.
Something big is happening at Dollywood and the big reveal is happening Wednesday.
Officials at the park have been teasing fans for days about what Dolly is calling her biggest announcement ever.
The Today Show is even sending a crew in to report on it and interview Dolly.
Each day on the park's website a new clue has been posted. Tuesday's clue was "dual launch."
We don't know what the announcement might be, but Dolly will make it at 11 a.m., and you can find out what it is here on WBIR.com and on 10News at Noon.