Awards & Milestones
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Dollywood Earns Three 2019 Golden Ticket Awards

Published September 9, 2019 / Last Updated September 10, 2019

Most-Honored Park Wins For Best Kids’ Area, Best Guest Experience And Best Christmas Event

Dollywood certainly has earned a number of major accolades in recent years, and the Smoky Mountain theme park won three more on Saturday night during Amusement Today’s Golden Ticket Awards ceremony held at Silverwood theme park in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Dollywood earned finalist placement in seven total categories and won more awards than any other park. Dolly Parton said,

“I’m so proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish here since we opened Dollywood in 1986. First, we’ve been able to provide so many jobs to the great people who live here in the Smokies. Second, I wanted the world to know how beautiful this area truly is. I’ve been able to travel the world and see so many great things, but in the end, the Smokies are where my heart sings. I wanted to give folks the world over a reason to come here and see it for themselves.”

Dolly continued,

“We don’t do what we do to win awards. They are nice, but we do it because we want to provide families an escape to a beautiful place where they can forget about all the things going on in their daily lives and truly enjoy each other.”

Dollywood’s three Golden Ticket Awards include:

  • Best Guest Experience, inaugural winner of this prestigious new category;
  • Best Kids’ Area, for Wildwood Grove, Dollywood’s first win in this category;
  • Best Christmas Event, the only park to ever earn this award, Dollywood celebrates its 12th consecutive win.

Dollywood also had Top Ten (finalist) positions in four additional categories:

  • Best Food, second place;
  • Best Park, second place;
  • Most Beautiful Park, third place;
  • Best Park, fifth place;
  • Best Wooden Coaster for Lightning Rod, seventh place.

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

“The Golden Ticket for Best Kids’ Area reinforces what guests have been telling us since it opened; Wildwood Grove is a place where families can laugh, play and make memories together,” said Craig Ross, President of The Dollywood Company. “Dolly wanted Wildwood Grove to truly reflect the experiences she had as a little girl growing up here in the Great Smoky Mountains. As we started to develop the area and she began telling stories—some we had heard and some we hadn’t—we knew kids were going to love exploring the wilderness of Wildwood Grove she had dreamed up.”

Two categories Dollywood has dominated for a number of years—Best Shows and Friendliest Park—have been retired and replaced with new categories. Best Guest Experience combines the previous Friendliest Park award with the Cleanest Park award into one prestigious new category. Pete Owens, Dollywood’s Vice-President of Marketing and Public Relations said,

“Winning the Golden Ticket for Best Guest Experience further solidifies what we’ve known for so long. The Dollywood experience provides guests a genuinely friendly, clean and warm environment to create memories they will be able to share forever. From our welcoming hosts and picturesque natural surroundings to our unique attractions, entertainment and food, Dollywood offers an experience that is hard to find elsewhere.”

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. 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.

“It has been fascinating to observe the results over the past two decades,” said Amusement Today’s Tim Baldwin, Golden Ticket Awards Communications Coordinator. “I have watched Dollywood ascend from a great regional theme park to a world-famous destination. That continual climb has been the result of offering an outstanding product at all levels — food, shows, innovative rides and a fantastic atmosphere. Dollywood is just the complete package! It has been inspiring to watch the park trying to continue to better itself — and it is succeeding in a huge way. The fact that they are recognized in numerous categories is testimony to that.”

Dollywood’s Harvest Festival

Dollywood's Great Pumpkin LumiNights won USA TODAY's 10Best Reader's Choice 2019 Travel Award for Best Theme Park Halloween Event

There are still a number of great opportunities for guests to enjoy what has arguably become the biggest season in Dollywood’s history. Dollywood’s Harvest Festival presented by Humana features the return of an even larger Great Pumpkin LumiNights*, which includes new experiences in Wildwood Grove! Additionally, more than 600 Southern gospel concerts take place throughout the festival.

Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas

Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas presented by Humana, now the 12-time winner for Best Christmas Event, features the second year of Glacier Ridge, as well as the first year of Christmas in Wildwood Grove. Now boasting five million spectacular lights, Smoky Mountain Christmas puts guests in the holiday spirit with stunning lights displays, tantalizing food options, traditional shows and fun experiences like the Parade of Many Colors and Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer and friends.

For more information about Dollywood, visit Dollywood.com, call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD or download the Dollywood App.

*Dollywood was also crowned winner of another notable award by USA TODAY this past Friday. Dollywood’s Great Pumpkin LumiNights won the 2019 USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice Travel Award for Best Theme Park Halloween Event!

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
Creative Director - Sarah Chapman
Senior Editor - Amanda Webb

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 Creative Director - Sarah Chapman Senior Editor - Amanda Webb

Team DollyDollywood Earns Three 2019 Golden Ticket Awards