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Dolly’s Influences Evident

January 27, 2008
The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register
PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. — Dolly Parton’s influences are found throughout her 130-acre Dollywood family adventure park. Her creativity as well as her fond childhood remembrances of what it would be like to be a star inspire many of dollywood’s attractions and add to the uniqueness that is found only at Dollywood in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Some of the park’s rides and attractions that were influenced by Dolly’s real-life experiences include the following:

? Daredevil Falls — A major themed-ride experience, Daredevil Falls is named for a childhood experience Dolly shared with her brothers and sisters growing up in the Smoky Mountains. The siblings used to swim in a secret swimming hole that was fed by a crystal-clear waterfall, and sometimes her brothers would try to “ride over the falls.”

? Dolly’s Demolition Derby — This fun ride offers kids of all ages a bumpin’ good time as they match wits and maneuver their bumper cars through a dynamic derby of fun.

? DP’s Celebrity Theatre — Dolly recorded her 1994 album, “Heartsongs,” in this state-of-the-art theater named DP’s for Dolly Parton.

In 2001, a one-year production show, “Paradise Road: The Life & Songs of Dolly Parton,” was staged here. In 2002, DP’s became home to Backstage Pass, a new show honoring country music’s history and legends. Randy Parton’s” Country State of Mind” originated from the stage in 2003. During the park’s 2006 Smoky Mountain Christmas festival, DP’s Celebrity Theatre was home to Dollywood’s Babes in Toyland, the most elaborate show in the park’s 21-year history.

? Dreamland Forest — Dolly has always loved tree houses and even has two in the backyard of her Nashville home. As a child, Dolly always built a tree house along with her brothers and sisters in their own special make believe “dreamland forest” in their Smoky Mountain backyard. That’s where the idea came for this special Dollywood area and its landmark attraction, America’s largest interactive tree house.

? Friendship Gardens and Starwalk — When Dolly introduced the Showstreet area in 1992, she wanted a tranquil spot dedicated to her show business friends who had performed or appeared with her at Dollywood throughout the years. So Friendship Gardens, featuring more than 35,000 flowers, is Dolly’s floral tribute to more than 150 celebrities. Commemorative plaques are displayed along the Starwalk path that weaves throughout the garden.

? Pine’s Theatre — The Pine’s Theatre in Sevierville, Tenn., was the site of Dolly Parton’s first public performance before an audience in the mid-1950s. With the addition of Dollywood’s Jukebox Junction, it was only fitting that the new theater in this 1950s-themed area be named the Pines Theatre. The theater is home to Dreamland Drive-In, the award-winning ‘50s and ‘60s show that premiered in 2006.

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