Dollywood Theme Park

Dolly Parton and Her Smoky Mountain Businesses Raise $700,000 to Benefit Middle Tennessee Flood Damage

Published September 29, 2021 / Last Updated October 7, 2021
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
Creative Director - Sarah Chapman
Team Dolly

Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Businesses Raise $700,000 From Ticket Sales to Benefit the United Way of Humphreys County

Due to the recent flooding that has devastated much of Middle Tennessee, Dolly Parton and her Smoky Mountain businesses are reaching out to help, seeking to return the favor the area received after the 2016 wildfires. Dolly was moved to help after seeing the damage caused in Humphreys County, the home of her good friend, country music legend Loretta Lynn. Loretta was quick to offer her support to the Smokies in 2016, so Dolly was inspired to reciprocate the gesture. Dolly, through Dollywood and her Pigeon Forge dinner show properties—Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner Attraction, Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show and Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Feud—has raised $700,000, a portion of ticket sales from October 2-3, to benefit the United Way of Humphreys County, the charity selected by Loretta.

“After the Sevier County wildfires in 2016, Loretta was one of the first who reached out to offer anything she could,” Dolly said. “It meant so much to me that Loretta—and so many folks—were ready to give in any way they could. This was just one small way I could help Loretta’s people for all they did to help my people.”

Several counties were affected, but Humphreys County received the most damage. More than 20 people lost their lives due to the catastrophic flooding, caused by more than 15 inches of rain that fell in a relatively short period of time in late August. Loretta’s ranch in Hurricane Mills was severely damaged by the flooding, and ranch foreman Wayne Spears was tragically swept away in the floodwaters.

For anyone interested in donating directly to the United Way of Humphreys County, please visit for more information.

Team DollyDolly Parton and Her Smoky Mountain Businesses Raise $700,000 to Benefit Middle Tennessee Flood Damage

Dollywood Earns Four Golden Ticket Awards

Published September 16, 2021 / Last Updated September 29, 2021
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
Creative Director - Sarah Chapman
Team Dolly

Dollywood wins theme park industry’s top awards for guest experience, kids’ area, Christmas event and most beautiful park

Dollywood continues to illustrate why it is one of the nation’s top theme park destinations, as it earned four top awards during the Golden Ticket Awards virtual ceremony on September 9, announced from the National Roller Coaster Museum & Archives in Plainview, Texas. Dollywood earned finalist placement in nine total categories and won more awards than any other park. No awards were presented in 2020 due to the pandemic.

Best Guest Experience

In 2019, Dollywood became the inaugural winner for Best Guest Experience of any theme park in the world. The Best Guest Experience award combines two discontinued categories, Friendliest Park and Cleanest Park. Dollywood earned its second-consecutive Best Guest Experience title this year, a nod to the park’s friendly and welcoming hosts, as well as its clean appearance and overall atmosphere.

Best Kids’ Area and Best Christmas Event

Dollywood’s Wildwood Grove won Best Kids’ Area for the second time in a row. The park won the award in 2019 after that season’s opening of the expansive new area. One of the park’s stalwart events, Smoky Mountain Christmas presented by Humana, earned its 13th consecutive win for Best Christmas Event, and Dollywood remains undefeated in the Christmas award category.

Most Beautiful Park

Due in large part to its idyllic location in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, Dollywood earned the Most Beautiful Park award for the first time this year, after many seasons of finishing in the runner-up position. The award is further validation of Dolly’s original vision for Dollywood and her Tennessee mountain home. Dolly shared,

“As a little girl growing up in the Great Smoky Mountains, I always thought about how this was a place that folks from around the world would love to visit. Ever since we opened Dollywood in 1986, people have told us how special this place is because of the friendly people and the beautiful mountains that God has blessed us with. We make sure to take all that beauty that surrounds us and bring it right down into the middle of the park. We’re truly surrounded—all the way around—by the Smokies! But I’m so proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish here, and these awards show that our guests think we’re doing the right thing. We love the awards, but of course we don’t do what we do just to win awards. We want families to come spend time with us, enjoy one another and hold on to those memories forever.”

The Golden Ticket Awards

The Golden Ticket Awards are the most sought-after awards in the business of amusements and attractions. 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 hundreds of experienced and well-traveled amusement park fans, industry journalists and ride manufacturers from around the world. Voters are asked to rate the best in a number of categories, such as best parks, roller coasters, water rides, kids’ area, food and more.

According to Eugene Naughton, President of The Dollywood Company, the guest experience is crucial for any park’s success. He credits both his staff and the support of guests for Dollywood’s second win in the category.

“We are proud of our second consecutive Best Guest Experience award,” Naughton said. “We place a lot of focus on ensuring our guests have the best possible time when they are here. I’ve said it many times, but we have the friendliest employees in the entire industry—we won the Golden Ticket Award for Friendliest Park seven years in-a-row before the award ended. Additionally, both our landscaping and our house and grounds teams do a phenomenal job to ensure the park is clean and that our flowers and landscaping are always green and pristine! Both teams worked exponentially harder to deliver us through a very difficult 2020 season, so this award is a testament to their hard work. Not only are host friendliness and park cleanliness both considered as part of this particular award, but we’re also constantly evaluating our facilities to determine what we can do to provide the best visit for our guests. During this past off-season, our crews undertook a number of construction projects designed to enhance the guest experience. We widened pathways, created new sitting areas for some of our most popular restaurants and completed a number of other projects that kept our guests top-of-mind. We want to take care of all the small things, because those are the items that—many times—become the big things if not attended to and made right.”

Additional Recognition

Dollywood was also a Top 10 finalist in five additional categories:

· Best Park, second place
· Best Food, second place
· Best New Show (Sweet Summer Nights), third place
· Best Steel Coaster (Lightning Rod), seventh place
· Best Wood Coaster (Thunderhead), tenth place

“Dollywood continues to demonstrate crowd-pleasing decisions,” said Tim Baldwin, Golden Ticket Awards Communications Coordinator. “From the rides it adds to the entertainment it offers, the park positively charms guests who visit. Being a finalist in nine categories is evidence that Dollywood has grown from a regional destination to a national one, if not global. It is a joy to visit—and for those who know the amusement industry, it’s a treasure.”

The Golden Ticket Awards have become the subject of much discussion by park aficionados the world over and have garnered mentions in such notable media outlets as USA Today and the Chicago Tribune, as well as by the late radio newsman Paul Harvey. The awards were also the topic of a one-hour Travel Channel documentary.

Plan Your Visit

With two great festivals ahead this year, there’s plenty of fun still to come during Dollywood’s 2021 operating season. Dollywood’s Harvest Festival presented by Humana, featuring Great Pumpkin LumiNights presented by Covenant Health, takes place September 24 – October 30, while Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas presented by Humana, now the 13-time winner of Best Christmas Event, is slated for November 6 – January 2.

For more information, please visit or download the Dollywood app.

Team DollyDollywood Earns Four Golden Ticket Awards

Fall for the Sights, Sounds and Smells at Dollywood

Published September 15, 2021 / Last Updated September 23, 2021
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
Creative Director - Sarah Chapman
Team Dolly

Dollywood’s Harvest Festival Celebrates the Beauty of the Smokies

If you’re looking to immerse yourself in the splendor of a Smoky Mountain autumn, there’s plenty of fall fun, flavorful food and thrilling music right around the corner at Dollywood’s annual Harvest Festival presented by Humana (Sept. 24-Oct. 30). The annual guest-favorite event, which includes the family-friendly Great Pumpkin LumiNights presented by Covenant Health, has quickly become a cherished experience for park goers and a long-standing family tradition for many.

Celebrate the Splendor of Autumn

Dollywood’s Harvest Festival greets guests with the surrounding mountainsides draped in vibrant colors as fall descends upon the Great Smoky Mountains. Dollywood’s landscape and fresh décor accent the autumn atmosphere and bring the beauty right into the park, making a stunning backdrop for families to create their picture-perfect pumpkin photo ops to share with friends!

Great Pumpkin LumiNights, one of the nation’s premier family-friendly harvest time events, provides bushels of memories for guests, thanks to thousands of glowing carved pumpkins throughout Dollywood. This event is certainly the cream of the crop for those with small children or anyone looking for a fun experience. Families can bask in the glow as they wander through displays in Dollywood’s Timber Canyon, Wilderness Pass and upper Craftsman’s Valley areas. Beyond the impressive displays, guests can find a number of exciting activities to create thrilling memories together. Dolly shared,

“Fall is a special time of year in the Smoky Mountains, because God’s handiwork is on full display for everyone to enjoy when they come to visit. It’s also the time when the heat of the summer fades and the crisp, cool evenings make it just right to enjoy the fresh mountain air. Some of my most treasured family memories took place during the fall, and I want our guests to make their own wonderful memories while they are here. Our team works so hard to bring the mountains right into the middle of the park with all those great decorations and experiences. You really are surrounded by the colors of fall the whole time you are here. It’s no wonder we won this year’s Golden Ticket award for Most Beautiful Theme Park in the whole world; no other park in the world is built right in the middle of the Smokies!”

Experience the Sounds of the Smokies

No festival at Dollywood is complete without award-winning entertainment, and the Harvest Festival certainly delivers. With artists representing genres from Southern Gospel and Bluegrass to Classic Country and Americana, there is something to satisfy every musical taste. Performances take place on indoor and outdoor stages throughout the park, allowing the engaging sounds to echo through the surrounding hillsides. Even more artists can be found roaming the park, literally taking the music to the streets!

Among the festival headliners are CeCe Winans (Oct. 9), Pam Tillis (Sept. 29), Jimmy Fortune (Oct. 2), Shenandoah (Oct. 20-21), Karen Peck and New River (Oct. 3), Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver (Oct. 4), Taylor Red (Sept. 24), Rhonda Vincent and the Rage (Oct. 14-15), Janelle Arthur (Sept. 26) and the Lee University Singers (Oct. 17). Additionally, the new Night Time at the Back Porch offers some of the best up-and-coming performers from the Southeast an opportunity to share their talents during the park’s evening hours.

“Dollywood is one of our all-time favorite places to play and has been for years,” Gospel Hall of Fame member Karen Peck said. “We love how nice everyone is at the theaters and the awesome family-friendly feeling we get when we perform at Dollywood. Sometimes, it’s like church breaks out at our concerts!”

Indulge in the Aromas of Autumn

Dollywood’s culinary team has created a smorgasbord of creations to take advantage of the bountiful supply of crops provided by the Smoky Mountain harvest. The smells of smoked bratwurst, turkey legs or chicken and andouille sausage gumbo pair nicely with the fresh tastes of sweet potato poutine, spiced pumpkin bisque and BUSH’S three bean pumpkin chili.

For sweet treats, the ever-popular pumpkin spice is in full supply, with items ranging from pumpkin spice churros with pumpkin fluff to pumpkin spice salted caramel mocha iced coffee. Items like the maple pecan and bacon funnel cake, hot apple cider and the apple pie milkshake are perfect to carry and enjoy while admiring the beauty of Dollywood in the fall.

Plan Your Visit

With so many opportunities for creating vibrant new family traditions, Dollywood’s Harvest Festival is a must-see experience this season. Visit or download the Dollywood app to plan your visit this fall!

Team DollyFall for the Sights, Sounds and Smells at Dollywood

Dollywood Casting Children’s Roles for Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival

Published August 31, 2021 / Last Updated August 31, 2021
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
Creative Director - Sarah Chapman
Team Dolly

Dollywood is seeking audition submissions for children’s roles in the park’s popular Christmas productions

Dollywood plans to cast multiple children’s roles in some of the park’s most-known productions during this year’s Smoky Mountain Christmas presented by Humana. Dollywood’s entertainment team is now accepting submissions for the roles.

Known around the world for its award-winning entertainment, Dollywood is casting young performers who can play children 8-12 years old. It is important to note the child does not need to be this age, but must be able to convincingly portray a child of this age.

Children Take Center Stage

Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas has been known for many years as the best theme park Christmas event, and much of that popularity is due to the high-quality shows that take place during the festival. A number of young performers, including country singer Carly Pearce and “American Idol” alum Janelle Arthur, have started their careers at Dollywood.

The children selected for the roles will play in one of three guest-favorite productions, “Christmas in the Smokies,” “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” or “O’ Holy Night.” Dollywood Entertainment Director Paige Bales said,

“We are looking for those special children who are able to connect with our audiences. The talent of our entertainers is the secret to our success, and we are looking for that same ability from the children in these roles.”

Both speaking and singing parts are available, and dialogue memorization is required. Rehearsals will begin in late October with performances taking place during the entire run of the festival, November 6 – January 2. Each role will be double-cast, allowing for additional flexibility.

“We understand that the kids in these roles need time for school work and time to just enjoy being a kid during the holidays, so that is why we double-cast these roles,” Bales continued.

Audition Submissions Due September 5

Parents of interested applicants should submit a video of their child singing a favorite song, along with a video of them reading “Bear in There” by Shel Silverstein. Additionally, parents should include a headshot, resume (including the child’s height) and links to live performances. All materials should be sent to by Sunday, September 5.

For more information about the children’s audition submissions, visit or email

Team DollyDollywood Casting Children’s Roles for Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival

Dollywood Announces New Housing Development for Seasonal Workers

Published August 19, 2021 / Last Updated August 19, 2021
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
Creative Director - Sarah Chapman
Team Dolly

New Dollywood Housing Complex Projected to Open in 2022

Dollywood officials have announced plans to develop an approximately $20 million residence hall-style building on-site that will accommodate more than 750 employees. The new housing development will be built in partnership with Wisconsin-based Holtz Builders, Inc., who will operate the facility as one of its accommodation locations, under the company’s International Residence Hall brand. The four-story, 136,000 sq. ft. building is scheduled for completion in May 2022 and offers a vital benefit to many seeking employment in Sevier County.

Meeting the Needs of Dollywood Hosts

Residents would include temporary seasonal hosts who are employed at Dollywood through a variety of hiring programs. Those eligible for housing in the new complex include students taking part in the U.S. Summer Work Travel program, Dollywood college interns who are working on specific assignments that provide educational credits and students taking part in U.S. college campus organizations like Campus Outreach, Navigators and Young Life. Employees of other area businesses in similar programs, through organizations like Sevier County’s Southern Hospitality Internship Program, will also be eligible. Dollywood Vice President of Human Resources Tim Berry said,

“We partnered with Holtz Builders, because they have proven successful at helping similar destinations create housing options to support the needs of their growing communities. The Smoky Mountains region has proven to be one of the most popular vacation destinations in the country, and with the growth of businesses and attractions in the area, we need more employees ready to support all of those jobs. Employee housing is a crucial piece of the employment equation in this area, and we are glad to partner with Holtz to create this new opportunity here at Dollywood.”

Affordable Housing for Seasonal Workers

Holtz Builders has earned a stellar reputation for creating partnerships in resort communities to create safe, efficient and affordable housing for seasonal workers. The group has developed housing complexes in other tourist destinations in Wisconsin and Tennessee, as well as facilities that will soon be underway in Maryland. Dollywood provided the tract of land to Holtz for the project, while Holtz will construct, maintain and manage the new property, offering an affordable housing alternative for eligible hosts.

Standard rooms accommodate four residents with four beds, individual lockers, a private bathroom, a large refrigerator, a study desk and a self-contained heating and air unit. ADA accessible rooms have space for two individuals and contain the same amenities as the standard rooms. Additionally, a common kitchen, a gathering space and laundry facilities are included. Wifi is also included and available throughout the building.

The ground floor of the building will be unfinished when residents move in next year, but will be completed soon after to provide additional office space and other facilities designed to support Dollywood Hosts.

“We strive to provide safe and affordable housing for seasonal guests that come from around the world and from the U.S.,” said Dan Bullock, President of the Holtz Companies. “We hope we can have a positive impact on the overall experience they have here in this beautiful community in the Smoky Mountains.”

For more information about Dollywood, please visit or download the Dollywood App.

Team DollyDollywood Announces New Housing Development for Seasonal Workers