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'Seeing dreams come true is a wonderful feeling': Dolly Parton opens Wildwood Grove, Dollywood's largest expansion ever

Dolly Parton arrived in her purple butterfly outfit to welcome everyone and explain what makes this new part of the park so special.

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. — Dollywood unveiled Wildwood Grove, its largest expansion ever, on Friday with East Tennessee's sweetheart in town to launch the new attraction herself. 

Dolly Parton arrived in her purple butterfly outfit to welcome everyone and explain what makes this part of the park so special.

"When I was a little girl, these things here were exactly what I used to dream about. All these bears, all these butterflies, all these bees and frogs because we were just part of nature just being country kids," she said. 

RELATED: The rides at Dollywood's new 'Wildwood Grove' are absolutely family-friendly...but I still got a little scared

Wildwood Grove will officially open to the general public at 1:30 p.m.

"I used to pretend like I was flying out of the holler, flying to different parts of the world to see what was out there beyond the holler, and of course, I was finally able to spread my wings and explore the whole world," Parton said. "And no matter where I go, I always take my family and the Smoky Mountains with me and I tell stories and share my dreams."

The project includes many new attractions aimed at family adventure.

"It's one thing seeing it on paper, but it's another thing to see it for real," she said. "Seeing dreams come true is a wonderful feeling, it truly is."

RELATED: Dollywood's Wildwood Grove expansion continues to take shape ahead of 2019 opening

"The land is a complement to the needs of the guests," Art Director Patrick Brennan said.

He's hoping your imagination will take off at the newest expansion.

"That's what we tried to do, create this feeling," Brennan said. "Everything was intentional."

Families can follow the main character Rebecca as she discovers new adventures, with rides like Dragonflier, and the main draw--the Wildwood Tree.

RELATED: 'Rock the Smokies' returning to Dollywood in August

The tree will be nearly 50 feet tall, with a canopy stretching over the park.

When asked which part of Wildwood Grove she would want in her backyard, Dolly picked the tree without a doubt.

VP of Marketing and PR for the park, Pete Owens, said designers captured a picture of everything East Tennessee--down to the last detail.

"It was really looked at through that prism of the Great Smoky Mountains," said Owens. "You see that in the architecture, you see that in the light fixtures that you see, you see that in the special ride designs."

He says Wildwood Grove will adjust with the seasons, using technology like LED-lit butterfly lights at night.

"With their help and the help of other lighting and music, and storytelling, we are going to be able to tell some Smoky Mountain stories," Owens said. "One, about Rebecca and about the land, and how it all came to be."

For more information, visit Dollywood.com. 

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