Dollywood Theme Park

Dollywood Earns Three Golden Ticket Awards

Published September 14, 2022 / Last Updated September 14, 2022
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

Most-honored park wins theme park industry’s top awards for guest experience, kids’ area and Christmas event

Following the recent news that Dollywood is Tripadvisor’s top American theme park, the Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, landmark earned three of Amusement Today’s Golden Ticket Awards during a ceremony held September 9th at Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio. Dollywood earned finalist placement in seven total categories and won more Golden Ticket awards than any other park in the world.

“We don’t do what we do to win awards, but they sure are nice,” Dolly said jokingly. “Seriously though, we’re proud of the recognition we receive because it means we’re doing well at what we want to do—take care of the great folks who come to visit our park year after year. I’ve always known that the Smokies are a very special place, and for the park to be just one reason why so many people come visit this little part of Tennessee warms my heart. To hear that they think so highly of their time at Dollywood really does this Smoky Mountain girl a lot of good.”

Best Guest Experience

Dollywood continued its clean sweep of the Best Guest Experience category, which was first created in 2019. This marks the third-consecutive Best Guest Experience award for Dollywood. Golden Tickets were not awarded in 2020. The Best Guest Experience award combines several attributes—including friendliness, cleanliness and value—into the judging criteria for the award. Dollywood is the only park to ever win the award, a nod to its friendly and welcoming hosts, as well as its clean appearance and overall atmosphere.

Every day, Eugene Naughton, President of The Dollywood Company, places much emphasis on the guest experience and gives credit to Dollywood hosts and park guests for the park’s third win in that category.

“The Golden Tickets award ceremony is one of my favorite events of the year,” Naughton said. “I appreciate Amusement Today for hosting the awards because they serve as a good gauge to help us understand how our guests are feeling about their experience. We’ve really put a lot of focus the last few years into ensuring that when our guests are inside our park, they are having a great time and are busy creating those memories they’re going to cherish for years to come. Our third-consecutive Best Guest Experience award is a tangible representation that the hard work our hosts put into the park really does matter to our guests. We are proud of these awards and they only make us want to work harder to win them again next year.”

Best Kids’ Area

Dollywood’s Wildwood Grove also earned its third consecutive award for Best Kids’ Area. The park first won this award in 2019 after that season’s opening of the expansive new area. Dollywood guests should expect this great area to become even better next season, as the recently-announced Big Bear Mountain roller coaster opens in Spring 2023. The new ride, manufactured by Vekoma, is nearly 4,000 ft. long and becomes the longest roller coaster at Dollywood. With three launches, on-board audio, plenty of air time and a number of thrilling moments, a fourth Golden Ticket category win could be in the cards for 2023.

Best Christmas Event

One of the park’s stalwart events, Smoky Mountain Christmas presented by Humana, earned its 14th consecutive win for Best Christmas Event. Dollywood remains undefeated in the Christmas category due to the effort of the park’s hard-working hosts who plan for the iconic event year-round. Dollywood’s Christmas festival is so prevalent that it has been showcased in several movies, including Hallmark’s “Christmas at Dollywood” and the upcoming Dolly Parton’s “Mountain Magic Christmas” which premieres on NBC later this year.

Additional Recognition

Due in large part to its idyllic location in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, Dollywood earned the runner-up position for Most Beautiful Park, while the park’s creative and talented culinary team took home a second-place finish for Best Food, thanks to their varied and extensive menus of high-quality items. The park also finished second in the Best Park category to Europa-Park in Rust, Germany, making Dollywood the top-placed American entry. Dollywood’s thrilling Thunderhead remained ranked in the Best Wooden Roller Coaster category, finishing as the number 10 wooden coaster in the world.

The Golden Ticket Awards

Tim Baldwin, Communications Coordinator for Amusement Today’s Golden Ticket Awards, explained how Dollywood has transformed itself during the last two decades.

“When the Golden Ticket Awards were introduced in 1998, Dollywood didn’t even appear on the list,” Baldwin said. “Flash forward two decades later and the park’s decisions are clearly evident. Dollywood appears as a finalist on the charts more than any other park and took home the most wins. The Southern hospitality begins with [Dolly] herself and is carried throughout the many staff members at the property. With the addition of award-winning rides and special themed areas over the past 20 years, Dollywood has not only become a national destination, it has also become an exciting global destination.

“This is what happens when you pay attention to what makes the guests happy. Fantastic food, crowd-pleasing entertainment and a commitment to signature attractions that make a park one-of-a-kind. Dollywood is a treasure.”

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 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, food and more.

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 have garnered mentions in such notable media outlets as USA Today, the Chicago Tribune and 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 be had during Dollywood’s 2022 operating season. Dollywood’s Harvest Festival presented by Humana, featuring Great Pumpkin LumiNights presented by Covenant Health, takes place Sept. 23-Oct. 29, while Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas presented by Humana—now the 14-time winner of Best Christmas Event—is slated for Nov. 5-Jan. 1.

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

Team DollyDollywood Earns Three Golden Ticket Awards

Vote for Dollywood’s Great Pumpkin LumiNights in the USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards

Published August 17, 2022 / Last Updated August 20, 2022
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

Cast your vote for Dollywood’s Great Pumpkin LumiNights, nominated for Best Theme Park Halloween Event in the USA Today 10Best Awards

Dollywood’s Great Pumpkin LumiNights presented by Covenant Health has become one of the park’s most popular events since its inception in 2017. Highlighting that popularity, Great Pumpkin LumiNights, part of the Harvest Festival presented by Humana, once again has been nominated for the USA Today 10Best Award for Best Theme Park Halloween event.

The USA Today contest, which now is live, runs through Monday, September 12, 2022 at 11:59 a.m. Anyone is eligible to vote and may do so once per day, per device. Nominees for all categories are chosen by a panel of relevant experts, which include a combination of editors from USA Today, editors from 10Best.com, relevant expert contributors and more. To cast your vote, visit www.dollywood.com/vote.

Fabulous Fall Family Fun

Dollywood’s Harvest Festival, happening September 23 – October 29, provides fabulous fall family fun, with Great Pumpkin LumiNights serving as a great glowing end to the evening. Dollywood stays open until 9 p.m. every night during the festival, allowing families more time to enjoy thousands of carved pumpkins throughout the park. New this season is Hoot Owl Hollow, providing even more fun for guests to enjoy “owl” night long!

Families will bask in the glow of thousands of intricately-carved pumpkins as they wander through displays throughout 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 new memories together.

Artists from a number of genres provide hundreds of performances throughout the festival, while visiting craftspeople display their talents for guests to see. Special harvest-themed menu items from Dollywood’s award-winning culinary team also are a delight to enjoy. There is no doubt that each day is a picture-perfect opportunity for families to enjoy the experiences of a Smoky Mountain harvest.

Plan Your Visit

For more information about Dollywood’s Great Pumpkin LumiNights and the Harvest Festival, please visit Dollywood.com or download the Dollywood app.

Team DollyVote for Dollywood’s Great Pumpkin LumiNights in the USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards

Big Bear Mountain Roller Coaster Set to Open at Dollywood in Spring 2023

Published August 5, 2022 / Last Updated August 7, 2022
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 announces Big Bear Mountain, the longest coaster in Dollywood history, opening in 2023.

Dolly Parton announced the newest addition to Dollywood Parks & Resorts, the $25 million Big Bear Mountain, a nearly 4,000 ft. long roller coaster which allows guests to embark on an unforgettable expedition through the Smokies in search of the elusive “Big Bear.” Big Bear Mountain, which at 3,990 ft. becomes the longest roller coaster at the Pigeon Forge, Tennessee park, marks the expansion of Dollywood’s newest area, Wildwood Grove.

“The Smokies are all about adventure and going exploring,” Dolly said. “I’m excited our guests will be able to head out on their own trip into the Smokies to see if they can find that Big Bear! Whether he’s out there or not, I’m sure they’ll find a lot of memories along the way that they’ll keep forever.”

Dolly Parton announces Dollywood's 2023 Coaster Big Bear Mountain, photo by Curtis Hilbun Photo by Curtis Hilbun

Big Bear Mountain’s massive structure hugs six acres of undulating topography which runs along the border of Wildwood Grove, with riders racing through the wilderness before soaring high above the forest on the search for the legendary bear. Featuring a top speed of 48 mph, Big Bear Mountain takes guests through three separate launches, multiple airtime hills, high-speed carousel turns and tunnels, including a pass behind a waterfall. And, the minimum height requirement for Big Bear Mountain is 39”, allowing even younger adventurers to come along for the ride.

A Daring Adventure Through Wildwood Grove

According to legend, Big Bear is a massive black bear who has been roaming through Wildwood Grove for as long as anyone can remember. While no one has ever seen him, telltale signs regularly appear in the hills surrounding the Grove. Dollywood guests are invited to join Wildwood Grove’s resident wilderness explorer, Ned Oakley, on an adventure to find Big Bear. From his base camp, located just a stone’s throw from the Grove’s Hidden Hollow, Oakley takes adventurers for the rides of their lives in his specially-outfitted, “four-wheel drive SUVs.”

The First Dollywood Attraction to Feature On-Board Audio

In addition to becoming the longest roller coaster at Dollywood, Big Bear Mountain, built by ride manufacturer Vekoma, also marks the first attraction at the park to feature on-board audio. The sound system provides auditory thrills to match the ride’s dynamic movements as guests come daringly close to Big Bear. Dollywood Company president Eugene Naughton shared,

“Big Bear Mountain is an exciting ride that really is going to be a game changer for us. Not only is it the largest coaster we’ve built, but it includes features—like on-board audio—that are new for our company. Big Bear Mountain also expands the footprint of Wildwood Grove and serves as another monumental step in the ongoing investment plan Dolly and I announced in June 2021. She’s keeping me busy. Now that we’ve announced Big Bear Mountain, I’ll start working on the next projects she has lined up for me!”

Opening Spring 2023

With an anticipated opening date in the spring of 2023, daring adventurers will not have to wait long to join Ned Oakley on his search for Big Bear on Big Bear Mountain. Guests ready to join in the excitement can pre-register for a 2023 Dollywood season pass by visiting Dollywood.com/2023SP from August 5 – September 30. Those who register during this time receive the guaranteed lowest price on passes, as well as access to an exclusive ride event for Big Bear Mountain in spring of 2023. Pre-registrants are able to purchase 2023 season passes beginning October 17.

In 2022, Dollywood celebrates a year full of exceptional experiences, with each season unlike the next. After the conclusion of the Smoky Mountain Summer Celebration, thousands of pumpkins glow to life this fall as part of the Harvest Festival presented by Humana (September 23 – October 29). The season concludes with the most popular theme park Christmas event in the world, Smoky Mountain Christmas presented by Humana (November 5 – January 1, 2023).

For more information about Big Bear Mountain, please visit dollywood.com/BigBearMountain.

Team DollyBig Bear Mountain Roller Coaster Set to Open at Dollywood in Spring 2023

Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa Nominated for Best Family Resort

Published July 26, 2022 / Last Updated August 5, 2022
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

Vote for Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa in USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards

After being named runner-up in 2021 by USA Today readers in the publication’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards for Best Family Resort, Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa has another opportunity to be named number one in the category.

DreamMore Resort, which celebrates its seventh anniversary this month, has quickly become a sought-after resort. With the upcoming addition of HeartSong Lodge & Resort, which is set to open in fall 2023, Dollywood Parks & Resorts has become well-known as a family vacation destination. In June, DreamMore Resort opened Suite 1986. This new experience invites guests to stay inside Dolly Parton’s former tour bus, which has been turned into the ultimate hotel suite. Suite 1986 illustrates another facet of the country music icon’s life—the free-spirited traveler. The Prevost was Parton’s home away from home as she traversed the country throughout the last 15 years.

Cast Your Vote

Voting is now open and runs through Monday, August 15 at 11:59 a.m. EDT. A link to the voting page can be found at www.dollywood.com/vote. Anyone is eligible to vote and may do so once per day, per device. Nominees for all categories are chosen by a panel of relevant experts which includes a combination of editors from USA Today, editors from 10Best.com, other expert contributors and more.

Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa

Nestled in the Smoky Mountains, next door to Dollywood theme park and Dollywood’s Splash Country water park, Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa provides guests with a full-service, comfortable home-away-from-home experience that only Dolly Parton could create. Inspired by Dolly’s childhood in Locust Ridge, Tennessee, a love for music and storytelling and a desire to create a place for families to grow and play, Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa brings Dolly’s vision for a premiere family destination to life.

This wonderful resort has several unique areas and experiences for families to spend quality time together. Families can gather to play checkers by the fireplace in one of the resort’s grand living rooms, enjoy a glass of sweet tea in a rocking chair on one of the many porches or swap stories on one of the beautiful garden benches. The resort’s lavish 20-acre property includes premiere amenities and perks to help guests create their own special moments and memories.

Full-service dining, indoor and outdoor pool complexes, and exclusive park privileges—like complimentary transportation to Dollywood theme park and complimentary TimeSaver passes for Dollywood rides and shows—make the property a must-visit experience. Additionally, there are a variety of on-site activities at the resort for families. Through fun-filled activities, including arts and crafts, storytelling and summertime pool parties, Camp DW is designed to inspire children’s imaginations. At night, families gather around the fireplace for a bedtime story with a book selected from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Guests can also roast complimentary marshmallows to make s’mores each night around the fire pit.

During its history, DreamMore Resort has earned several awards. It was named the #1 Amusement Park Hotel in 2018, 2021 and 2022, by USA Today. It has also been named one of Southern Living’s “Best Places to Stay in the South” and one of Travel + Leisure’s “25 Resorts in the US that are Perfect for Families.”

For more information about Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa, as well as special offers available at the Smoky Mountain resort destination, visit Dollywood.com/resort.

Team DollyDollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa Nominated for Best Family Resort

America’s Summer Road Trip Destination is Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Summer Celebration

Published June 17, 2022 / Last Updated June 17, 2022
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 experiences and popular guest favorites return during Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Summer Celebration June 18 – Aug. 7

With a wide range of new experiences and returning favorites occurring throughout the day and into the night—and with its new recognition as Tripadvisor’s number one park in the nation—Dollywood finds itself atop the list for best family road trips this summer. Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Summer Celebration presented by Bush’s® Beans takes place June 18 – August 7 and invites guests to experience summer as if they were in Dolly’s own backyard! During the Smoky Mountain Summer Celebration, guests can take advantage of extended summer hours, allowing them to make memories until 9:30 p.m.

Sweet Summer Nights

Two popular Dollywood favorites return this season and are sure to put smiles on the faces of guests throughout the park. “Dollywood’s Sweet Summer Nights” returns bigger, brighter and bolder with even more drones lighting up the night sky, high above the Pigeon Forge park. A first-of-its-kind within the industry, the guest favorite is back with a show that combines 500 high-tech drones, with a world-class fireworks show designed to put an exclamation point on the evening.

As part of the Sweet Summer Nights experience, a DJ and energetic dancers bring fun to the streets of Wildwood Grove during two dance parties that ensure every member of the family is on their feet. As the party nears its finale, the celebration takes to the sky as the drones launch into the air for an unforgettable experience.

Wildwood Grove Sweet Summer Nights

Interactive Shows and Refreshing Performances

Returning to Dollywood for the first time since 2017, “Gazillion Bubble Show Aurora” is back to deliver a mesmerizing burst of excitement to guests in Dolly Parton’s Celebrity Theater. The show provides many moments where guests will be enveloped by “gazillions” of bubbles for a fun and unpredictable experience that captivates the entire family.

Smoky Mountain Summer Celebration features many fun ways for guests to interact with water during their day at Dollywood. All-new interactive shows, “Liquid Beats” and “Hydro Jive Junction,” will have guests splashing and singing along during refreshing performances. Guests can cool off on a hot summer day in the wonderful garden hose fountain installation found in Market Square during “Liquid Beats.” This interactive performance brings together dozens of garden hoses to create a fountain that delivers bursts of cooling excitement to guests of all ages. During “Liquid Beats,” a landscaping-themed percussion troupe maintains the natural beauty of the Smokies, as they bring this new entertainment vision to guests.

In Jukebox Junction, “Hydro Jive Junction” features a musical maintenance worker trying to repair a faulty fire hydrant. Dancing ensues as the fire hydrant turns into a refreshing sprinkler for guests to enjoy, as the cast sings and dances to familiar favorites such as “Singin’ in the Rain” and “Splish Splash.”

Music is the soundtrack of our lives, especially during a summer family road trip. Dollywood’s Entertainment Team brings to life the road trip “vibe” and takes guests on a summertime journey with the return of “Good Vibes” and its playlist of summer road trip classics. The Tones and Wild Roots Band also have summer playlists that will have families wanting to hit cruise control and sing along.

An authentically-Southern summer greets guests as soon as they enter the park. The Dollywood entry statement in front of Showstreet Palace Theater welcomes guests with themed decor, including the all-new Kite Sky. Throughout the park, colorful outdoor decor and experiences will immerse guests in simple southern sweetness. These brand-new, larger-than-life activities, including Jumbo Backyard Games, Parachute Play Party, Noodle Takeover! (a dazzling array of suspended pool noodles hanging in the summer sky) and more, allow parents to relive beloved childhood pastimes while creating new memories with their own children. The Bubble Foam Zone will cool guests off on the hottest of summer days by covering families head to toe in a giant, bubble-filled plaza.

Imagination Playhouse Takes the Stage

It’s story time again as Imagination Playhouse showcases three favorite books from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, including “Coat of Many Colors,” based on Parton’s song and childrens’ book of the same name. “Coat of Many Colors” and an all-new show called “Violet the Pilot” feature sing-along songs that kids of all ages will enjoy. Everyone’s favorite, “The Little Engine That Could,” also comes to the stage with a delightful reminder of what can happen with just a little bit of determination. Thanks to Penguin Books, guests can enjoy several decorative and interactive photo opportunities for children and their families in the lobby of the theater prior to each show.

Summer Tasting Pass Now Available

Dollywood’s Culinary Team is cooking up summertime favorites full of flavor. Fried fish and hushpuppies, BBQ pork nachos, Southern-fried corn and an open-faced grilled cheese are just a few of the savory items guests can enjoy during the festival. Sweet treats include peanut butter candy liege waffles, s’mores funnel cake and an orange Fanta float. Guests will also be able to visit the Food Truck Neighborhood in Adventures in Imagination for a variety of road trip treats.

After the success of the Flower & Food Festival Tasting Pass, the tastes of summer are now available with a similar option for guests. The tasting pass, which can be purchased in the park or online, is $34.99 plus tax or $31.99 plus tax for gold and diamond passholders. The tasting pass is available each day of the festival.

Plan Your Visit

Dollywood celebrates a year full of exceptional experiences, with each season unlike the next. After the Smoky Mountain Summer Celebration, thousands of pumpkins will glow to life this fall as part of the Harvest Festival presented by Humana, happening September 23 – October 29. The season concludes with the most popular theme park Christmas event in the world, Smoky Mountain Christmas presented by Humana, happening November 5 – January 1.

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

Team DollyAmerica’s Summer Road Trip Destination is Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Summer Celebration