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Zachary

BGW Eggspert
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Sep 23, 2009
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When they said ‘Dixie’ was an offensive word, I thought, ‘Well, I don’t want to offend anybody. This is a business. We’ll just call it The Stampede.’ As soon as you realize that [something] is a problem, you should fix it. Don’t be a dumbass. That’s where my heart is. I would never dream of hurting anybody on purpose.

People need to start asking themselves "What would Dolly do?" She's a gem.
 
Aug 11, 2018
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I like Dolly as much as the next guy, but that quote seems like a current-day platitude and retcon. I don't think her business even seriously thought about changing the name after the Dixie Stampede fiasco at VA Beach in 1993 definitely brought the issue to their attention.
 
Jun 17, 2011
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Dollywood updated its requirements for face coverings, effective today. From the website FAQ:

What is different about your COVID-19 policies?

As of April 12, 2021, we have adjusted our COVID-19 safety requirements to the following:
  • Per the CDC’s guidelines on safe outdoor activities, our outdoor areas, where six feet of distance can be maintained between parties, are now mask-optional spaces. Guest masking is required at all ticketing areas, park entry, on rides and trams, in queues, all indoor areas and areas where guests cannot socially distance outdoors.
  • Guests and employees are still required to participate in a self-assessment health screening prior to entry, but temperature checks are no longer part of the process.
  • Areas of the property where masks are required will be clearly marked and strictly enforced.
  • Employees will continue to wear masks at all times while on the property.
Why did the policy change?

As knowledge about COVID-19 has evolved, the CDC updated its recommendations and guidelines related to COVID-19. We are confident that our updated policies, which follow the CDC’s guidelines, will make our properties even more accessible while maintaining a safe and family-friendly environment.


If this means that the park is going to start actually enforcing the use of face coverings in the areas where it's now required, this is likely an improvement, given that it was effectively optional before due to a complete absence of enforcement. However, since they almost certainly won't start enforcing their policy now, I worry this is just going to encourage more people to not wear face coverings in crowded areas like indoor shops and ride queues. Won't be back until after I get my second shot anyway, but it's a yikes from me dawg.
 

Zachary

BGW Eggspert
Administrator
Sep 23, 2009
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On paper I'm fine with this policy. There's no medical reason I'm aware of to wear a mask when you're socially distanced from everyone outdoors. In practice (read: what actually matters to people's health and safety—what parks should actually be crafting rules for), it's clear to anyone who has been to a park lately that this will be a disaster. People aren't going to pull their masks up when they're in a crowded chokepoint on the paths or when they're ignoring social distancing in the queues. In practice, this will just encourage more rule violations in places the masks really matter.
 
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Oct 22, 2019
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On paper I'm fine with this policy. There's no medical reason I'm aware of to wear a mask when you're socially distanced from everyone outdoors. In practice, it's clear to anyone who has been to a park lately that this will be a disaster. People aren't going to pull their masks up when they're in a crowded chokepoint on the paths or when they're ignoring social distancing in the queues. In practice, this will just encourage more rule violations in places the masks really matter.

Yeah, I'll be very curious to see what this actually manifests as. Basically, if everyone was actually committed to keeping social distance, then this would be fine, but in reality that's the main reason why mask policies still need to be enforced right now: because somehow, despite everything that's happened in the past 13 months, people still want to be within 6 inches of another person? I just can't grasp it.
 
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Sep 7, 2018
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I'm not sure if something changed recently but when I was there in September the mask enforcement was some of the best I've seen. I saw several people pull their masks down for a matter of seconds before park security told them to replace them immediately. Am I missing something?

I will say the temperature checks were laughable. But social distancing and mask enforcement was impressive.
 
Nov 30, 2018
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It would be nice if they kept the temp checks. It basically costs nothing, but is a decent deterrent for anyone with a fever (COVID or otherwise) to try and go the park.
 
Jun 17, 2011
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Richmond
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I'm not sure if something changed recently but when I was there in September the mask enforcement was some of the best I've seen. I saw several people pull their masks down for a matter of seconds before park security told them to replace them immediately. Am I missing something?

I will say the temperature checks were laughable. But social distancing and mask enforcement was impressive.

I'd say that roughly 1/4 of the guests last week were either wearing their mask incorrectly or not wearing one at all, and in 3 days I never witnessed a single employee ask a guest to put one on. I can't pretend to be surprised Pikachu, considering I made the decision to go to Tennessee around spring break - obviously I had an idea of what I was getting myself into. But it's still disheartening that the park doesn't seem to care anymore.
 
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Apr 22, 2019
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One of my friends went to Dollywood last season and had reported that they were doing a great job there, much better than the other parks he visited, so that's pretty disappointing to hear.
 
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Nov 12, 2019
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I'm going to Dollywood this weekend (both me and my gf have received both shots). I'm definitely airing on the side of "this will lead to less mask wearing/enforcement" but I will report back on how it actually pans out.

Okay, I'm back from my weekend in a post-mask Dollywood.

Friday was really really good. Most people were still wearing masks while walking around and it was actually nice to be able to get some fresh air when needed. 99% of people were wearing masks in queue and the ride ops were VERY strict about requiring masks on rides and were quick to provide a mask for someone that (somehow) showed up to the ride without a mask in their possession.

If my trip had ended on Friday, I would've had good things to say about the mask requirements and enforcement but Sunday ruined that in a hurry. Sunday's crowd was a different bunch and I would estimate that a majority of people were NOT wearing masks while walking around. The park was crowded, so this meant being in close proximity to maskless people as we were walking around the park. Very few masks in queue lines, especially for Lightning Rod and I actually witnessed many people successfully ride without a mask on at all. Some ride ops attempted to enforce the rule, but weren't willing to hold up the line to force people to put masks on, properly or at all.

Overall, I would recommend avoiding Dollywood if you are not fully vaccinated. It's just not safe. The only reason I felt remotely comfortable was because of my vaccination and I still felt weird about it and wouldn't consider the experience to be a good one.
 
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