What Businesses Does Dolly Parton Own? Inside the Empire Promoting Literacy

Dolly Parton’s not just a country music icon; she’s a savvy businesswoman with a Midas touch. From her humble beginnings in Tennessee, she’s built an entertainment empire that extends far beyond the stage and studio.

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They say everything she touches turns to gold, and Dolly’s diverse portfolio of businesses is proof. Whether it’s a theme park that celebrates her Smoky Mountain heritage or a production company that brings heartwarming stories to the screen, Dolly’s entrepreneurial spirit shines bright.

Join us as we take a peek behind the curtains of Dolly Parton’s business ventures. You’ll find there’s a lot more to this superstar than rhinestones and catchy tunes.

Dollywood – A Theme Park Celebrating Heritage

Nestled in the heart of Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains, Dollywood is a vibrant testament to Dolly Parton’s love for her roots and her ingenuity as a businesswoman. The park first opened its gates in 1986 and has since been a jewel in the crown of the country legend’s business empire.

Spanning over 150 acres, Dollywood offers a unique blend of traditional theme park thrills with a hearty dose of Appalachian culture. Its attractions include:

  • Roller coasters with toe-curling drops and breathtaking views
  • Live shows brimming with the talents of local artists and storytellers
  • Craftsman’s Valley, where visitors witness the artistry of glass blowing, blacksmithing, and candle making

Parton’s savvy partnership with Herschend Family Entertainment ensures the park is not only a celebration of her heritage but also a booming success. Dollywood’s annual attendance edges close to 3 million visitors, offering an unforgettable experience that marries the nostalgia of times gone by with today’s entertainment expectations.

Year Estimated Attendance
2016 2.5M
2017 2.7M
2018 2.8M
2019 2.9M

Beyond the thrills and shows, Dollywood is deeply woven into the fabric of its community. It’s a haven for Southern charm and hospitality. Visitors indulge in a spread of culinary delights from smokey barbeque to the park’s signature cinnamon bread, each bite a flavor of the songstress’s storied past.

The park’s commitment to family and values resonates in each corner, from the Dolly Parton’s “Chasing Rainbows” museum to the replica of her childhood home, giving guests a personal glimpse into the humble beginnings of this international superstar. It’s not just a park; it’s a journey through Parton’s life and a celebration of the culture that shaped her.

Dollywood’s Splash Country – A Water Park Oasis

Adjacent to the bustling scenes of Dollywood, visitors can find the refreshing retreat of Dollywood’s Splash Country. Opened in the year 2001, this water park creates an oasis that is much more than just a way to cool down. It’s a testament to Dolly Parton’s understanding of what makes for enjoyable, family-friendly entertainment.

Let us dive into what makes Splash Country a standout feature in the Parton empire. The park spans 35 acres and features a variety of water attractions, from the adventurous RiverRush, Tennessee’s first and only water coaster, to the leisurely Downbound Float Trip, a lazy river that meanders through the park’s scenic landscape.

  • Attractions in Dollywood’s Splash Country:
    • RiverRush
    • Downbound Float Trip
    • Fire Tower Falls
    • Mountain Waves
    • Little Creek Falls

With over 23 water slides and thrill rides, the catalog of aquatic adventures available to park-goers is both impressive and extensive. For those who relish a bit of heart-pumping excitement, Fire Tower Falls offers one of the tallest and fastest slides in the park. Conversely, Little Creek Falls provides a more serene experience, perfect for families with younger children.

What’s more, Dolly Parton ensures her personal touch is felt throughout the park. Craftsmanship and attention to detail reflect the same care and authenticity found throughout Dollywood. Guests can spot whimsical depictions of Smoky Mountain wildlife and heritage that echo Parton’s Appalachian roots.

In terms of numbers, Dollywood’s Splash Country is no small dip in the pond. Since its opening, the park has become a significant component of the local economy in Pigeon Forge, creating numerous seasonal jobs and attracting scores of tourists each summer. It’s clear that Dolly Parton’s splash into the water park industry has made waves, further cementing her status as not only a country music legend but a business mogul with a golden touch.

Dolly Parton Productions – Bringing Heartwarming Stories to Life

Dolly Parton Productions is a shining example of the star’s entrepreneurial flair beyond the glitzy curtains of stage and screen. Conceived as a platform to churn out heartwarming stories and wholesome television specials, this facet of Parton’s empire delves into the world of film and TV production. Launched in the late 1980s, the company reflects Dolly’s personal style – stories that resonate with love, kindness, and a dose of southern charm.

Famed for its role in bringing to life the hit series 9 to 5, which ran from 1982 to 1988, and the beloved television variety show Dolly broadcast in the late 1980s, Dolly Parton Productions has always had its finger on the pulse of what viewers hold dear. It’s Dolly’s vision of storytelling that rings through each production, endearing audiences with narratives that oftentimes mirror her own rags-to-riches tale.

The company has been a launchpad for a number of successful projects over the years. One crowning achievement was the NBC film series based on Parton’s songs, which began with the acclaimed Coat of Many Colors in 2015 followed by Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love the subsequent year. These films showcased Dolly’s knack for transforming her songwriting genius into compelling cinematic narratives that pull at the heartstrings.

In the wake of these triumphs, Dolly Parton Productions has not rested on its laurels. Capitalizing on the streaming era, it inked a deal with Netflix to produce a series of eight films called Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings, which debuted in 2019. Each episode is based on one of Dolly’s songs, further cementing her versatility and ingenuity as a storyteller across different media landscapes.

From the empowering lyrics of her songs to the endearing plots of her produced works, Dolly’s productions continue to be a beacon of positivity and hope. They mirror the varied hues of human emotion, all while reinforcing the idea that a strong narrative can indeed charm and influence.

Dolly Parton’s Stampede – Dinner Shows with a Wild West Twist

Dolly Parton’s flair for entertainment isn’t confined to the stage or screen—her business acumen extends into the world of dinner shows with a rugged edge. Dolly Parton’s Stampede is a venture that blends a hearty meal with the thrill of live performances, transporting guests to the rollicking times of the American frontier. Established with the aim of providing a unique dining experience, this attraction has been rounding up fans for a wild west escapade since its inception.

At the Dolly Parton Stampede, visitors are treated to a spectacle of horse-riding stunts, music, dancing, and special effects, all while tucking into a four-course feast. They don’t just watch; they’re drawn into a competitive atmosphere where North and South rivalries are played out by talented riders in a 35,000 square foot arena.

Here’s what guests can expect:

  • A mouth-watering menu featuring creamy vegetable soup, a homemade biscuit, a whole rotisserie chicken, hickory-smoked barbecued pork loin, corn on the cob, an herb-basted potato, and a specialty dessert
  • An impressive line-up of 32 magnificent horses and a cast of top-notch riders performing daring feats and friendly competitions
  • Extravagant costumes and elaborate musical productions that add to the immersive experience

The show’s success has spurred expansion, with locations in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and Branson, Missouri. Not one to overlook details, Parton ensures the experience remains family-friendly, offering vegetarian and gluten-free meal options to cater to all guests. Dolly Parton’s Stampede proves that a blend of culinary delights and entertainment can satisfy more than just an appetite for food—it feeds the soul with adventure and excitement.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library – Promoting Childhood Literacy

As any fan of Dolly Parton knows, her talents go far beyond music and enterprising dinner shows. Dolly’s passion for literacy led to the founding of one of her most heartfelt ventures, the Imagination Library, back in 1995. What began as a local program in her hometown of Sevierville, Tennessee, has since blossomed into an international phenomenon.

This globally recognized program gifts free books to children from birth until they start school, no matter the family’s income. With an aim to inspire a love for reading, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has been instrumental in ensuring every child has access to books, fostering early childhood literacy, and preparing them for a life of learning.

Dolly’s Imagination Library sends high-quality books directly to homes, making the joy of reading accessible to countless youngsters. This initiative reflects Parton’s belief that the seeds of dreams are often found within the pages of a book. To date, the Imagination Library has mailed over 170 million books to children in five countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland, and Australia.

Here is a glimpse at the staggering numbers behind the Imagination Library:

Total Books Mailed Countries Participating
170 million+ 5

The organization collaborates with local community partners who help to register children, promote the program, and secure funding. This ensures a local footprint in the program’s operations, which makes for a more tailored approach to the needs of the children within diverse communities.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library continues to grow, with new books and educational materials being added regularly. The program not only promotes literacy but also encourages bonding between parents and children through the shared activity of reading. By combining her business acumen with a generous spirit, Parton has created a legacy that will enrich young minds for generations to come.


Dolly Parton’s business acumen shines through her diverse portfolio, from entertainment to philanthropy. Her commitment to childhood literacy through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a testament to her dedication to giving back. She’s not just a country music legend; she’s a beacon of hope and inspiration, touching the lives of millions of children around the world. Dolly’s entrepreneurial spirit and compassionate heart have truly made a lasting impact, proving that her businesses are as much about fostering community as they are about success.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library?

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a book gifting program that mails free books to children from birth until they start school, in an effort to foster the love of reading and promote early childhood literacy.

When was the Imagination Library founded?

The Imagination Library was founded by Dolly Parton in 1995.

How many books has the Imagination Library mailed to children?

As of now, the Imagination Library has mailed over 170 million books to children.

In how many countries is the Imagination Library active?

The program operates in five countries, providing access to books and promoting literacy across diverse communities.

Does the Imagination Library only include books in its program?

While the primary focus is on providing books, the Imagination Library also includes educational materials that contribute to its mission of promoting literacy and learning.

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