The Dollywood Company is teaming up with Gaylord Entertainment to bring a major family entertainment centre (FEC) to Nashville.
The two companies have entered into a memorandum of understanding for a 50/50 joint venture to develop a 114-acre facility adjacent to the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center. Phase one of the project is an approximately $50 million water and snow park, the first combination of its kind in the United States.
A late 2012/early 2013 groundbreaking date is expected with the park opening slated for summer of 2014. Once open, first year attendance is projected at 500,000, a large portion of which is to come from out of state. Dollywood, which will serve as the operating partner, expects to employ 450 full and part-time staff.
As well as its hotel and conference facilities, the Gaylord Opryland Resort already boasts spa and pool facilities plus a large conservatory. The Dollywood Company is responsible for managing Dolly Parton’s Dollywood theme park and Splash Country waterpark 210 miles away in the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee (together with Herschend Entertainment), as well as her dinner theatre attraction, Dixie Stampede. Annually, these attractions attract approximately four million visitors.
UPDATE, SEPTEMBER 2012:
The Dollywood Company has been forced to abandon its plans to build a $50 million waterpark at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee. The split follows the decision by Gaylord shareholders to assign day-to-day operations of the resort to Marriott International.