Dollywood to build resort, add shows and rides

This artist rendering released by Dollywood shows a version of a proposed hotel in the Smoky Mountains in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. The park plans to open DreamMore Resort in 2015. It's part of a planned $300 million expansion to take place over the next decade. (AP Photo/Dollywood)
This artist rendering released by Dollywood shows a version of a proposed hotel in the Smoky Mountains in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. The park plans to open DreamMore Resort in 2015. It's part of a planned $300 million expansion to take place over the next decade. (AP Photo/Dollywood)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Dollywood theme park in the Smoky Mountains will pour more money into expansion over the next decade than it spent during its first 28 years.

Entertainer Dolly Parton and her partners announced Wednesday they will put $300 million into improvements in the attraction in Tennessee’s Pigeon Forge. A centerpiece will be a 300-room hotel, called the DreamMore Resort.

Dollywood President Craig Ross says the hotel will be the first of multiple resorts on the property. It will open in 2015.

A new ride is scheduled to open in 2014. Fire Chaser Express is described as a family roller coaster that elementary school age children will be able to ride.

Pigeon Forge tourism chief Leon Downey cheered the announcement, noting that tourism in the town of 5,000 residents’ only industry.