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Dolly Parton Announces $300 Million Dollywood Expansion

Rick Diamond, Getty Images

Dolly Parton opened Dollywood in 1986, partly to create jobs in her hometown of Pigeon Forge, Tenn. Now, the singer is expanding the 150-acre park, and adding as many as 2500 jobs in the process.

“It’s gonna be a big deal,” Parton tells the Today show. “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.”

The expansion, which will cost more than $300 million over a 10-year period, will include a new resort — appropriately named DreamMore — on the property, with a spa, swimming pool, and shuttle to and from the park areas. Most importantly, the resort will have porches where families can gather to share and reminisce.

“That’s where we dared to dream,” she recalls of her own humble childhood (quote via TriCities.com). In those days, Parton used to stand on the porch with a tin can on a tobacco stick, “and performed for whomever who would listen to me.”

Also coming to the theme park next year is the FireChaser Express roller coaster, which appears to be extinguishing fires, and is safe for the whole family.

“It’s a forwards-and-backwards-launched roller coaster,” Parton explains. “My favorite part about this ride is that little-bitty kids can ride it, about four years old.”

The award-winning songstress is continuing to follow her instincts, just as she did more than 27 years ago, when all of her business advisers told her it was a mistake. “I said, ‘Well, I’m gonna do it anyway, because I know that it’s the right thing to do in my gut,’” she explains.

While the expansion will make Dollywood one of the larger and more diverse theme parks in the country, the 67-year-old has even bigger plans for the future.

“I feel like I’m just startin’,” she says. “I’m still trying to grow and come up with new dreams every day and make ‘em come true.”

Dollywood also includes the Splash Country water park, live entertainment and festivals throughout the year. Ticket prices begin at $57 for adults, and are available here.

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