There are a ton of interesting facts and secrets about Dollywood. It’s a huge park and a lot of these secrets are hard to find unless you have a keen eye or ask around! The next time you’re at the park, show off your knowledge of the park to your friends! We’re counting down our top 6 secrets at Dollywood.
1.The Hidden Mouse
Did you know there is a secret inside the wood carving shop in the craftsman valley area of the park? It’s not a large secret, in fact it’s very small. At the back of the shop, you’ll see a counter. If you look down toward the floor you should see a little hole at the bottom and inside of that hole is a tiny mouse carved out of wood. The story behind this mouse is that there was a former employee of the shop called Mary Ann. She always used to say the shop needed a mouse. Eventually she could no longer work at the shop and that’s when another employee decided to carve out a little mouse and put it in the shop. The mouse was of course named Mary Ann.
2. The Secret of Fire Chaser Express
In addition to the Fire Chaser Express being one of the most fun coasters I’ve been on, it’s also one of the best themed coasters I’ve been on. The main reason it’s one of the best themed is the amount of detail that went into making the queue be authentic. The secret about the queue is that most of the items you see are actually real items that firefighters around the smoky mountains used at one point or another. There’s an authentic 1941 fire truck parked outside. You’ll see various fire hoses donated from local firefighter stations and on each one has the signatures of firefighters. In other parts of the queue you might see axes, ladders, helmets, and patches from firefighters!
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3. Blazing Fury Ghosts!
I didn’t get a picture of these secrets but if you look around during the ride, you’ll see some homages to the past! One of which is a throwback to an old ride at the park called Flooded Mine. The throwback comes in the form of a sign inside the ride that says ‘Flooded Mine’ and ‘Danger, Keep Out.” The ride used to be a floating ride where guests would board boats and drift through a mine. Inside the mine were prisoners that were working but then a flood happens and those prisoners want to escape. So inside the ride you might even see some prisoners as they try to escape!
4. The Water Clock Of The Past!
Another secret at Dollywood is the history behind this water clock. Why does it only tell you the year of the 1880’s? Well, the reason for this is that this water wheel is a recreation from one found in Silver Dollar City, another theme park located in Branson, Missouri. At Silver Dollar City, the original designer of the park, Andy Miller, had a brilliant idea to immerse guests in the land. When you’re in the area, you stay in the 1880’s because that’s what the time reads as!
5. Here’s Your Sign
This is probably my favorite secret from any theme park. Have you ever seen one of these signs around the park and thought that the name was a little too real? Well, that’s because it is a real name. Any employee that has been at Dollywood for 30 or more years get their own sign. This tradition started during Dollywood’s 30th season. According to Dollywood’s blog, there are roughly 60 signs throughout the park as of April 2022. Each sign contains a nod to when the employee started but it won’t be obvious. The above image probably conveys that Walter Bohanan started in 1968! Now, I couldn’t include all 60 signs in this blog but that’s part of the fun of this secret! When you find yourself at the park next, keep an eye out for any sign that could be part of this recognition project!
6. Broken Tree
When building the newest land, Wild Grove, the designers wanted to use a real life tree in the gift shop. They found one but then something happened to it. The tree originally had 3 large limbs to it. However, one of them broke off at one point. The designers still wanted to use the tree and so they installed it in the gift shop of Wild Grove, Mountain Grove Merchants, and there you can see it’s set up as a display area. They did add some extra features to it though. The vines and leaves you see on it are not real. If you look close, you can actually see where the third limb of the tree broke off. Now, you might be thinking that they just tossed that third tree branch away. But, they actually used it inside of the restaurant in the Wild Grove area!