Dollywood Theme Park: Wildwood Grove review

May 13, 2019
Adventure

I remember a simpler time in my youth when I would run barefoot in the yard and catch lightning bugs in mason jars.  This new expansion at Dollywood brings all those memories flooding back.

Dolly Parton opening up Wildwood Grove at Dollywood
Dolly Parton opening Dollywood's new park - Wildwood Gove

It was only a couple of months ago that I previewed the progress of Wildwood Grove. I spent most of the day slopping through the mud and construction that would soon become a fairytale attraction. Check out some of the before and afters from my visits.

Wildwood Grove welcome sign at Dollywood
You know you are entering a magical place
Wildwood Grove's centerpiece is the 50 foot Wildwood Tree
50 foot Wildwood Tree at Wildwood Grove in Dollywood

Wildwood Grove is a magical place and I wish I had a chance to visit at night when the centerpiece of the park, the 50-foot Wildwood tree is lit up with 650 dancing butterflies. It looks great during the day, but I hear it is amazing at night.

The Mad Mockingbird ride during construction at Dollywood
The Mad Mockingbird ride - before
The Mad Mockingbird ride at Dollywood Wildwood Grove
The Mad Mockingbird ride - after
The Dragonflier ride at Wildwood Grove during construction
The Dragonflier ride - before
The Dragonflier ride in Wildwood Grove at Dollywood in action
Dragonflier ride in action

This new $37 million expansion is the first in over 10 years and increases the park size by 20%.  It is a fresh, vibrant, and colorful place that is made for the family to experience together.  It’s filled with butterflies, dragonflies, frogs, and fairies. All of the 11 new experiences are built for ages ranging from toddlers to grandparents. Although I might not take either of them on The Dragonflier, which was my personal favorite new ride. I love a good roller coaster.  

beautiful landscaping in Wildwood Grove at Dollywood
beautiful landscaping with a water feature

What makes Wildwood Grove different is how open it is.  There is tons of seating, which isn’t typical for most theme parks or other areas of Dollywood. There are areas for shade too.  You will see lots of water and you feel like nature is built into the park.  The landscaping is beautiful.  There is a babbling brook running through the middle of the park, and water fountains with a splash pad.  

indoor play area in Wildwood Grove at Dollywood
Indoor AC

The place that blew my mind is the Hidden Hollow area.  This is an indoor, climb structure that, wait for it…… has AIR CONDITIONING!  You read that right. SOLD!

sampling food offerings from Till & Harvest in Wildwood Grove at Dollywood
beautiful centerpiece
southern mexican chicken bowl at Till & Harvest in Wildwood Grove
Previewing the food offerings at Till & Harvest

Although the dining option for Wildwood Grove, Till & Harvest, doesn’t open until late May, we did get a chance to sample some of the new offerings. It’s billed as Smokey Mountain Mexican.  I am not quite sure that I have ever heard those words together, or really know what that means, but the food that I did have was good.  I also heard that they will have churros. Don’t miss out on my recent trip focused on eating my way through Dollywood. While the food is on the pricier side, it’s not above average for other theme parks and the quality is good.

Frogs and Fireflies ride during construction at Wildwood Grove
Frogs & Fireflies ride - before
kids frog ride in Wildwood Grove at Dollywood
Frogs & Fireflies ride - after

Pro tip: The souvenir drink mug is worth the almost $15 price tag. It offers free refills on beverages throughout the park and you are allowed to save it and bring it back in on subsequent visits throughout the season.

Treetop Tower ride at Wildwood Grove during construction
Treetop tower ride - before
Treetop tower ride in Wildwood Grove at Dollywood
Treetop Tower ride - after

Dollywood really has a special place in my heart and I love to bring my family there.  There is always so much to do. You should see my daughters face when we tell her we are going to Dollywood.  Her excitement has enough energy to power those rides all by herself. I imagine she'll be hearing that again very soon!

The Moody Foody

From Nashville. I like food, traveling for new food, and taking pictures of food.

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