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WDBJ7 visits Dollywood to learn what’s new for 2018 |

WDBJ7 visits Dollywood to learn what’s new for 2018

PIGEON FORGE, Tn. (WDBJ7) Tuesday is the first day of spring, but one popular summer attraction is already welcoming guests for 2018.

Dollywood, Dolly Parton’s amusement park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, is celebrating its 33rd season. The country music legend and her business partners are calling this year their “Season of Showstoppers.” They have spent more than $1 million to bring more entertainment options to the park than ever before.

“Business is good! Really going good!” Dolly exclaimed during a media event March 16.

For 2018 Dolly said she wanted a wider range of artists in her park, including more well-known acts like the band “Orleans.” The 1970’s hitmakers, along gospel singers like Larnelle Harris and performers from the Grand Ole Opry like Janie Fricke, will be part of Dollywood’s all-new “Spring Mix” April 11 – 29.

Also new this year is a dramatic overhaul to a staple attraction in the park. The popular buffet at Aunt Granny’s has been completely remodeled with a new menu, featuring items like fried chicken and that were prepared in iron skillets supplied by Tennessee manufacturer “Lodge.”

“One of the things we did at Aunt Granny’s restaurant is look at some recipes that would be great in cast iron,” said Dollywood publicist, Ellen Liston. “Some delicious fried chicken, black eyed peas, brussel sprouts, great staples like macaroni and cheese, and one of my favorites is Apple Pie made in a giant skillet for desert.”

No trip to Dollywood would be complete without a stop at the Gristmill and a bite of delicious, homemade cinnamon bread!

“I have been all over the southeast talking about Dollywood and the first question people ask me is ‘do you still have that delicious cinnamon bread? We have thousands of fresh loaves every day in the summer,” said Liston.

We can’t forget about the rides at Dollywood. The park still features thrillers like the Wild Eagle roller coaster, the Barnstormer swings, and the famous Dollywood steam train.

Visitors this year will notice a lot of construction underway near one of the parking lots. Public documents show the park is expanding to include eight new attractions and a new restaurant. Dolly said she’ll have a big announcement about that later this summer.

“We are going to give Disney a run for their money!” Parton said with a laugh.

Until then there’s still plenty to enjoy in the park’s many other existing attractions.

To learn more about Dollywood, visit:

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