Dollywood Wildwood Grove Construction Tour August 2018
Footers, foundations, structures and more are popping up across the under-construction Wildwood Grove area at Dollywood. As part of yesterday’s big announcement, members of the media were invited to the construction site of the new $37 million, 5-acre area.
Due to muddy conditions, we weren’t able to traverse the entire site. However, we were taken to what will become the back edge of the new area.
It wouldn’t be a theme park construction site tour without some themed hard hats!
Although vertical construction has begun (see below), there is still some land work needed to prepare for the infrastructure and attractions.
On display were several concept renderings to give us an idea of what the area would look like.
Guests will enter Wildwood Grove through a fallen hollow tree trunk.
One of the most exciting rides inside the new land will be the family-friendly Dragonflier suspended coaster.
Footers for the (likely Vekoma) coaster are already being poured.
I’m guessing that the track will likely come fairly close to Thunderhead’s lift hill. And given the elevation change, it might not appear that much shorter than Thunderhead. The Vekoma model stands roughly 63 feet tall.
I can’t wait to see pieces of the track start to arrive at the park (if they haven’t already). The coaster’s track varies in the concept art: it looks like it will be either green or purple.
The most noticeable structure taking shape so far is the building that will house Hidden Hollow, a 4,000-square-foot indoor play place with climbing structures, slides and more.
If you miss the trees from this once heavily wooded area like I do, rest assured that the park will plant more than 400 trees and 1,000 shrubs as part of the $37 million investment.
As exciting as it is to see how much land Wildwood Grove will occupy, it’s equally as exciting to see how much land will remain open for future expansion.
It’s a lot of land.
If you’re visiting the park this season, the Dollywood Express train is the best way to see a near-360-degree view of the construction site.
I took a ride on the train later in the day to see the construction again from a slightly different angle.
I can’t wait to see how Dragonflier interacts with the terrain and the rest of Wildwood Grove. It will be Dollywood’s 9th (and first suspended) coaster.
This angle provides another idea of how much land they’ll have available for expansion in 2020 and beyond.
Just thinking about what the park could do is exciting.
I’m not sure what will become of this foundation. I believe it may be a gift shop (correct me in the comments if you know).
Mystery Mine’s queue provides another great view of the construction site including the point where Wildwood Grove will connect to the existing Timber Canyon area.
This is the area where you’ll enter the hollowed out tree trunk.
I’m not exactly sure where the trunk itself will begin or end. But wherever it ends, I’m sure the view will be breathtaking.
Seen above is the Hidden Hollow structure from Mystery Mine.
The massive, centerpiece “Wildwood Tree” will likely stand somewhere in between.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Dollywood event without some amazing food. Event attendees were invited to Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort to sample food that will be offered at Wildwood Grove’s restaurant, Till & Harvest.
According to the announcement, Till & Harvest will feature Southwest-style foods such as burritos, salads and more — all with a Southern twist.
I doubt the restaurant will feature a chocolate fondue fountain and a donut wall, but you never know!
And if the day couldn’t have gotten any better, it was capped with a parade featuring Dolly herself.
Wildwood Grove is expected to open in the spring 0f 2019. Stay tuned to Coaster101 for more construction updates over the next several months!
What do you think of Wildwood Grove so far? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!