June 17, 2020 – A couple of days after its sister park, Silver Dollar City, opened in Branson, Missouri, Dollywood followed suit and opened its gates to the public after a long delay due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The park welcomed guests with the inaugural Flower & Food Festival, which was originally scheduled for mid-spring and features colossal plant sculptures standing 14 feet (4.3m) tall in displays celebrating the spirit of the Smoky Mountains.
“I know everyone is tired after being cooped up inside for the last few months, but I think all of us probably appreciate our family and friends even more right now,” Dolly Parton said in a statement. “I’m glad we’re able to start welcoming folks back to Dollywood with a brand new festival to help them make fresh memories together. Things may look a little different, but when they see all those beautiful flowers in bloom, I think it will help them take a bit of a break from everything that’s been going on.”
Following in Silver Dollar City’s footsteps, Dollywood, as well as Splash Country Water Park, are using the same social distancing guidelines to ensure guest and employee safety, including limited capacity and face mask requirements. All season passholders and guests with pre-purchased/undated tickets, including Bring-A-Friend, are required to make advanced online reservations and all other guests need to purchase admission through the park’s website, which will require them to choose a date to visit.
Temperature screenings will be taken prior to entry, while attraction and dining capacities are limited to allow guests more space to move around during their visits. Physical distancing measures have also been put in place including physically distanced line queues. Dollywood held two season passholder preview days prior to opening and will stay open until 9:30 p.m. every night throughout the festival. Each evening will conclude with a fireworks show.
See what our members are saying about how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the theme park industry in our Forum discussion.