Dollywood Theme Park

Dollywood Earns Four Golden Ticket Awards

Published September 12, 2017 / Last Updated September 12, 2017
Team Dolly

Team Dolly

Team Dolly is a collaboration of writers, editors, and publishers assembled by Dolly Parton Productions. Each member is dedicated to accurately publishing the latest news and historical archives of the living legend that is Dolly Rebecca Parton.

Managing Editor - Jacob Timmons
Senior Editor - Amanda Webb
Creative Director - Sarah Chapman
Team Dolly

Most-honored park wins for best entertainment, Christmas event, food and friendliness

The winningest park in Amusement Today’s Golden Tickets history, Dollywood again this year earned more category wins and finalist positions than any other park in the world. During the magazine’s 2017 awards ceremony, Dollywood picked up four “best of” awards. The park also placed in the top-ten in six additional categories.

2017 Golden Ticket Wins

Dollywood receives 4 Golden Ticket Awards in 2017

2017 Golden Ticket Awards

  • Sixth Consecutive Win – Friendliest Park
  • Ninth Consecutive Win – Best Shows
  • 10th Consecutive Win – Best Christmas Event (the only park to ever earn this award)
  • Fourth Win In This Category – Best Food

The Golden Ticket Awards are the most sought after awards in the business of amusements and attractions. Dolly Parton said,

“You all know how very proud I am of my Dollywood and the special folks who work there. It makes me feel so good to know that our guests feel the same way about the park when they come visit us. It’s the perfect place to help them make those memories they’re always going to hold close. Our people do a great job of doin’ just what my mama always used to say—they treat our guests just like they’d want to be treated. And isn’t that what really makes the difference?”

Dolly continued,

“Families can feel the love our folks have for them by the effort and attention they put in to every single detail of the park. They want to make sure every guest leaves with a smile on their face. Dollywood will continue to grow, but I’m thankful my team will never forget what got us to where we are: going above and beyond to give our guests experiences they’ll always remember.”

2017 Golden Ticket Top-Ten Category Finishes

  • Second Place – Cleanest Park
  • Third Place – Best Park
  • Fourth Place – Best Water Park for Dollywood’s Splash Country
  • Fourth Place – Best Landscaping
  • Fifth Place – Best Wooden Coaster for Lightning Rod
  • Eighth Place – Best Wooden Coaster for Thunderhead

Tim Baldwin, Golden Ticket Awards Communications Coordinator for Amusement Today said,

“It has been incredibly exciting to watch Dollywood — which was a relatively unknown contender when the Golden Ticket Awards started in 1998 — become this theme park industry powerhouse. Dollywood not only places as a finalist in more categories than any other park, it has taken top prize in four categories — again, more than any other park. Dollywood is setting the bar, and other parks would be wise to look at their example. It’s certainly a park to watch.”

Tim went on to say,

“Dollywood is the whole package — great food, entertaining shows, friendly hospitality and great rides. It’s little surprise to see them capture the attention of our voters. Each year, our selected panel has an incredible amount of worldwide experience, so to be honored on a worldwide scale in so many categories is an amazing accomplishment.”

About Golden Ticket Awards

Calculated from an international poll conducted by Amusement Today, the industry’s leading trade publication, the Golden Ticket Awards are the results of a detailed survey sent to a database of experienced and well-traveled amusement park fans around the world in balanced geographical regions. The survey asks voters to rate the “best” in a number of categories. Categories include best parks, roller coasters, water rides, shows, kids’ area, landscaping and Christmas events. The Golden Ticket Awards were held on Saturday, Sept. 9 at Lake Compounce amusement park in Bristol, Connecticut.

Other Dollywood Awards This Season

USA Today’s 10Best recognized Dollywood as the third best theme park in the country. And the organization also named Dollywood’s Splash Country the eighth best water park. The National Amusement Park Historical Association also named Dollywood as their “Favorite Theme Park” this year. Dollywood edged Walt Disney World for first, a position the Florida attraction had held for thirteen consecutive years. The NAPHA also honored Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas as their “Favorite Post-Summer Season Amusement Park Event.” Fox News recognized the park as the top Small Town Theme Park thanks to its location in the foothills of the Smokies.

Learn more about Dollywood’s Year of the Family

Team DollyDollywood Earns Four Golden Ticket Awards

Dolly Shared Excitement For Great Pumpkin LumiNights And More At Dollywood

Published August 19, 2017 / Last Updated August 19, 2017
Team Dolly

Team Dolly

Team Dolly is a collaboration of writers, editors, and publishers assembled by Dolly Parton Productions. Each member is dedicated to accurately publishing the latest news and historical archives of the living legend that is Dolly Rebecca Parton.

Managing Editor - Jacob Timmons
Senior Editor - Amanda Webb
Creative Director - Sarah Chapman
Team Dolly

Dolly Visits Dollywood To Share Details About Great Pumpkin LumiNights And More!

Feature photo by Curtis Hilbun, Dollywood

Today, Dolly shared her vision for Dollywood’s newest nighttime harvest experience. The Great Pumpkin LumiNights will take place Sept. 29 – Oct. 28. Families will enjoy the glow of thousands of carved pumpkins throughout Dollywood’s Timber Canyon during the nightly finale of Dollywood’s Harvest Festival. Beyond the impressive displays, guests can find a number of exciting activities to create thrilling memories together. With so many carved pumpkins needed to create Great Pumpkin LumiNights, Dollywood has a number of “pumpkin artists” who will host demonstrations to help guests learn how to produce the perfect pumpkin masterpiece. Dolly said,

“I’m also really excited to be here to let you know about our brand new nighttime event we are adding for families in October called Great Pumpkin LumiNights. You know, people from all around the world know us for the millions of twinklin’ lights we put up at Christmas time. Well, when guests see thousands of these glowing pumpkins all lit up in Timber Canyon, they’re going to have that same special feeling. We think Great Pumpkin LumiNites will become just as popular with families as our Smoky Mountain Christmas festival. I’m pretty sure there will be a lot of new family traditions made this October.”

Unique harvest games and attractions—including a glow maze—for kids, a nightly Pumpkin Boogie dance party, and friendly costume characters help add to the festive atmosphere. New themed food options and exclusive harvest-themed Coca-Cola products make Great Pumpkin LumiNights the place to be when the sun goes down in the Smokies.

Southern Gospel Jubilee

Along with Great Pumpkin LumiNights, Dollywood will once again host the largest Southern gospel music event in America, Southern Gospel Jubilee. Some of the biggest names in the genre will visit Dollywood, Karen Peck & New River (Oct. 21-22), Guy Penrod (Oct. 23-24), The Isaacs (Oct. 12-13), The McKameys (Oct. 6-7), Gold City (Oct. 2-3) and many more.

Smoky Mountain Christmas

Dolly also spoke about the park’s award-winning Smoky Mountain Christmas festival! The Smoky Mountain Christmas festival will take place Nov. 5 – Jan. 1. Dolly said,

“The Parade of Many Colors is back this Christmas, along with seven holiday shows and four million beautiful lights. We even have Rudolph and his friends back for another year of creating family memories. It will be a November and December to remember!”

Earlier this week Dolly announced her new children’s album “I Believe In You” which will benefit the Imagination Library

Team DollyDolly Shared Excitement For Great Pumpkin LumiNights And More At Dollywood

Imagination Library Homecomin’ 2017 Highlights

Published July 12, 2017 / Last Updated July 13, 2017
Team Dolly

Team Dolly

Team Dolly is a collaboration of writers, editors, and publishers assembled by Dolly Parton Productions. Each member is dedicated to accurately publishing the latest news and historical archives of the living legend that is Dolly Rebecca Parton.

Managing Editor - Jacob Timmons
Senior Editor - Amanda Webb
Creative Director - Sarah Chapman
Team Dolly

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library affiliates enjoyed four days in Pigeon Forge, TN during Homecomin’ 2017!

Local affiliates from Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States visited Dolly’s home in the Great Smoky Mountains during Homecomin’ 2017. The biennial celebration was held at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa. And visiting affiliates took advantage of all the amenities of the resort and the Smokies during their working conference. David Dotson is the President of the Dollywood Foundation which houses the Imagination Library. David said,

“We hosted the very first Homecomin’ way back in 2001. We had just started to promote the Imagination Library and as I recall, we had about a dozen participants discussing how they could expand to their neighboring communities. Now the discussions are about expanding DPIL across entire states and provinces, becoming a part of public policy and celebrating over 100 million books gifted to our children.”

The Conference

Homecomin’ is held every two years in Pigeon Forge, TN. This year’s conference offered attendees the chance to gain valuable insight into the overall growth of the program and highlighted some recent case studies. The conferenced kicked off with a major announcement.

The legislature in North Carolina allocated $10,000,000 to expand the program across the state. This decision is a huge boost for the program and more importantly a wonderful resource for children and their families in that state.

During the week, some affiliates were invited to share their own success stories about program sustainability. Other topics included fundraising as it pertains to building relationships within a community. Additionally, members of the Book Selection Committee, including program partners from Penguin Random House, shared the process of choosing the high-quality, age-appropriate books for each child group. Attendees also listened to presentations about engaging political figures and in-depth research on the Imagination Library’s impact.

Surprises & Celebrations

Little Engine That Could Wall Quilt at Imagination Library Homecomin' 2017

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library of Mendocino County, First 5 Mendocino, surprised the event staff with a beautiful handmade quilt. With permission from Penguin Random House, Renee M. Gannon from Ukiah, Canada made the beautiful Little Engine wall quilt. This display piece was raffled off at the end of the week to one lucky winner. Affiliates also celebrated Canada’s 150th birthday.

In keeping with the international gathering, attendees donned bunny ears and celebrated “The Tale of Peter Rabbit.” This classic story welcomes children into the program in the United Kingdom.

Visiting Author

Special guest and award-winning author Matt de la Peña charmed the audience with his personal stories. He shared his experience growing up as a mixed-race child in Southern California. Matt openly talked about the lack of books in his childhood home and the impact that had on his family. His book, “Last Stop on Market Street” and his personal experiences make him the ideal ambassador for early literacy awareness. His message is especially relatable to minority children and their families.

In reflecting on the program and Matt’s guest appearance at the conference, David Dotson said,

“We have reached the point where authors recognize the honor bestowed upon their work when their book is chosen for the Imagination Library. We have now hosted a number of illustrious authors who tell us it is not just the number of books distributed by us that is so impressive. Rather it is witnessing this vast network of organizations and governmental entities that are united in their efforts to inspire children to love to read and to love to learn.”

Matt’s book, “Last Stop on Market Street” has beautiful illustrations by Christian Robinson. It takes readers on an energetic bus ride through a bustling city with CJ and his Grandma. Along the way, Grandma helps CJ see the beauty—and fun—in their routine and the world around them.

The Imagination Library Book Selection Committee unanimously voted to add Matt’s book to the 2016 Book List (Canada & USA)*. “Last Stop on Market Street” would go on to win the 2016 Newbery Medal. It also earned a 2016 Caldecott Honor and a 2016 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor. Furthermore, it became a #1 New York Times Bestseller.

*“Last Stop on Market Street” will appear in the United Kingdom’s 2018 Book List.

Entertainment & Fun

Rest assured, the week wasn’t all work and no play for this group. Affiliates visited several attractions during their time in the Smoky Mountains. They enjoyed nightly fireworks at Dollywood’s DreamMore as well as live music and a host of amenities at the resort.

Small groups formed for some shopping at The Island. While they were there, they posed for a photo in front of The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel, a now iconic Pigeon Forge symbol. On one night, they took in a dinner show at Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Adventures. There they cheered on the Partons and the Owens families. They also went sightseeing and grabbed some photos of the Great Smoky Mountains.

On the final day, the entire group gathered at The Little Engine Playhouse inside Dollywood’s Heartsong Theatre. They watched the stage production of “Coat of Many Colors” based on Dolly’s book of the same name. In addition to this show, The Little Engine Playhouse will feature performances based on Jennifer Plecas’ “Pretend” and “The Little Engine that Could” by Watty Piper

Special Thanks & Looking Ahead

The Dollywood Foundation and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library would like to send a special thank you to everyone who helped make Homecomin’ 2017 a huge success. With a final thought, David Dotson said,

“Lastly, it is all too easy to be discouraged about the times we live in. When our network gathers for Homecomin’, the discouragement evaporates and is replaced by an abiding belief that there is indeed more good than bad in the world. These are the inspiring leaders in their communities and they will never rest to insure that their children are given every opportunity in the world to thrive and succeed.”

Plans are already underway for Homecomin’ 2019!

Visit Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to learn more about this incredible program that now mails over one million free books each month to children in four countries!

Team DollyImagination Library Homecomin’ 2017 Highlights

New Dollywood Concert Series To Feature Up-And-Coming Country Artists

Published June 29, 2017 / Last Updated June 29, 2017
Team Dolly

Team Dolly

Team Dolly is a collaboration of writers, editors, and publishers assembled by Dolly Parton Productions. Each member is dedicated to accurately publishing the latest news and historical archives of the living legend that is Dolly Rebecca Parton.

Managing Editor - Jacob Timmons
Senior Editor - Amanda Webb
Creative Director - Sarah Chapman
Team Dolly

Dollywood teams up with WIVK for New Faces of Country concert series this summer!

A number of performance careers have launched from the stages of Dollywood. Now, the New Faces of Country concert series will introduce more up-and-coming country artists to park guests.

Dollywood is partnering with Knoxville-based country radio station WIVK. The park will host several concerts throughout the summer. The artists appearing will surely be tearing up the charts in the near future.

Runaway June

On Saturday, July 1, Runaway June kicks off the concert series with a performance at 5 p.m. This rootsy group combines bluegrass traditions with dusty, desert cool and infuses Western influences in their music. The group includes Jennifer Wayne, a granddaughter of John Wayne, and Hannah Mulholland, both native Californians. The third member of the group, Naomi Cooke, hails from Nashville, TN. Wayne co-wrote Eric Paslay’s recent top-20 hit, “She Don’t Love You.”

Jordan Davis

The concert series continues on Saturday, July 8 with Shreveport, Louisiana’s Jordan Davis. Davis comes from a musical family and applies his unique classic country songwriting skills with today’s current sound for a show that will have Dollywood guests singing along. He graduated from Louisiana State University with a major in resource conservation, but with dreams of Music City in his head, he moved to Nashville to pursue his dreams. This concert is slated for 7 p.m. on July 8.

Carly Pearce

Former Dollywood performer Carly Pearce also takes to the stage in July. While her show date will be announced at a later time, she returns to her roots at the award-winning park. When she was 19, Pearce moved to Nashville where she quickly earned a reputation as a songwriter to keep an eye on. The Taylor Mill, Kentucky, musician recently earned a contract with Big Machine Records which released her single “Every Little Thing” to country radio in February. The single is currently about to break into the Billboard Country Top-20.

Seth Ennis

Georgia’s Seth Ennis visits Dollywood on Saturday, Aug. 5 to share his unique country sound with park guests. His music is inspired by his hero Vince Gill, the pop-punk bands he toured with on the Vans Warped Tour and from R&B superstars like Usher. Because his early years were spent on an American military base in Japan, his world experiences have helped him create a diverse and cultured style. For his debut single, “Woke Up in Nashville,” Ennis played every instrument, including guitars, bass, drums and piano. He even sang his own background vocals. Ennis’ concert takes place at 7 p.m. on Aug. 5.

The concerts take place at Back Porch Theater and are free with park admission. Entertainment is one of Dollywood’s calling cards. In fact, the park has earned the award for Best Theme Park Entertainment the last eight years. WIVK is a 10-time CMA Station of the Year and six-time ACM Station of the Year.

Dollywood’s New Faces of Country

Year of the Family Continues

Dollywood guests continue to enjoy the “Year of the Family” with exciting festivals, new attractions and special events designed to help them create lifelong memories. The New Faces of Country concert series takes place during summer at Dollywood. Until Aug. 6, Dollywood park hours are extended until 10 p.m. each evening to give families more time together. On July 1 and 8, the park remains open until midnight for the first time ever. Nightly fireworks shows and the “unbubbleievable” tricks of The Gazillion Bubbles Show ensure guests have plenty of entertainment for a full day of fun. Add Dollywood’s newest attractions, Drop Line and Whistle Punk Chaser, and summer at Dollywood can’t be beat!

Visit or call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD for more.

Team DollyNew Dollywood Concert Series To Feature Up-And-Coming Country Artists

Dollywood’s “Year Of The Family” Continues With More Family Fun

Published June 15, 2017 / Last Updated June 15, 2017
Team Dolly

Team Dolly

Team Dolly is a collaboration of writers, editors, and publishers assembled by Dolly Parton Productions. Each member is dedicated to accurately publishing the latest news and historical archives of the living legend that is Dolly Rebecca Parton.

Managing Editor - Jacob Timmons
Senior Editor - Amanda Webb
Creative Director - Sarah Chapman
Team Dolly

New rides and shows, plus fireworks and extended park hours highlight annual summer tradition for families at Dollywood’s “Year of the Family”

To celebrate summer during Dollywood’s “Year of the Family,” the park offers families even more of what they already love—time together at the world’s friendliest theme park. Summer at Dollywood (June 17- Aug. 6) provides the ideal atmosphere for families to create lifelong memories sure to put a smile on every face. Dolly Parton said,

“Summer in the Great Smoky Mountains truly is something special. When I was growing up, our entertainment was catching lightnin’ bugs and looking up at the stars. We could only dream about what it would be like to take a family vacation together.”

New Attractions & Shows

Dollywood celebrates the season with two new attractions, Drop Line and Whistle Punk Chaser. Also, The Little Engine Playhouse will feature two new stories. Guests can look forward to spectacular nightly fireworks. And a Dollywood favorite, The Gazillion Bubbles Show, returns this summer during “Year of the Family.”

Dolly’s Nights of Many Colors, a spectacular synchronized fireworks show, paints a colorful canvas across the Smoky Mountain sky each evening. The fireworks extravaganza lights up the night at 9:30 p.m.

The Gazillion Bubbles Show is in D.P.’s Celebrity Theater, offering an amazing facility to fill with the “unbubbleievable” tricks and fun of the bubble-making spectacle. Extended park operating hours—10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily— give guests more time to create the perfect summer getaway. Additionally, Dollywood’s hours are extended to midnight for the first time ever on July 1 and 8. Dolly said,

“We had heard about big rides and shows and festivals at places like the World’s Fair, but we never dreamed that it could all be right here in the Smokies! Places like Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Dollywood are now everything we could imagine for a family vacation together.”

The Little Engine Playhouse

It’s story time again as The Little Engine Playhouse showcases two new children’s stories. Coat of Many Colors is based on Dolly’s newest children’s book of the same name. Pretend, based on Jennifer Plecas’ book, features sing-along songs that kids of all ages will enjoy. And, of course, everyone’s favorite, The Little Engine That Could, returns to the stage. It’s a delightful reminder of what can happen with just a little bit of determination.

Thrilling Rides

Dollywood guests have an amazing amount of entertainment options to enjoy during their visit. They also can experience the park’s award-winning rides in a completely different environment once the sun sets. After dark, Dollywood’s trademark attractions, like Wild Eagle and Thunderhead, provide a unique experience for those who climb aboard. These rides thrill guests who race through the summer night with no idea which way the track will turn next!

Learn more about Dollywood’s Year of the Family, or call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD.

Team DollyDollywood’s “Year Of The Family” Continues With More Family Fun