Leave it to Dolly to get so excited about a huge Dollywood expansion that she spills the beans on live television! That’s exactly what happened this morning on NBC’s Today Show when the country music legend, and family theme park owner made an appearance. Dolly Parton announced that Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, TN would undergo a $300 million dollar expansion over the course of the next ten years, that would start in 2014 with the nation’s first family dual launch coaster, Firechaser Express.
Firechaser Express will be the park’s first launch coaster, and will be built on the current Adventure Mountain site. The coaster will feature a minimum height requirement of just 39 inches and will celebrate the volunteer firefighters of the 1940’s that kept the Great Smoky Mountains safe from massive wildfires. The coaster will feature a forward launch, and backwards launch over 2, 472 feet of track. While launches generally take your breath away and scare kids, this one will launch off at just 16mph with the backwards launch slightly faster at 20mph.
More information on the coaster will be available later today. Be sure to follow along with us on Twitter at @BehindThrills throughout the day for more information.
The coaster wasn’t the only piece of news to come out of Dollywood. The park will open an onsite resort in 2015 which will boast 300 rooms. The Dream More Resort will be located on 100 acres next to the park, and will feature suites, indoor and outdoor pool areas and a full service farmhouse style restaurant. An ampitheater, fire pits, and hammocks will add to the countryside charm.
No word what other expansions will happen within the ten years, but when all is said and done the expansion will create 2,500 jobs and earn around $150 million dollars annually for the Pigeon Forge economy.