Awards & Milestones

Dollywood Earns Three 2018 Golden Ticket Awards

Published September 11, 2018 / Last Updated September 11, 2018
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 Earns Three Golden Ticket Awards For Entertainment, Friendliness And Christmas Event

Dollywood continued its winning ways on Saturday night, racking up three more “best of” awards at Amusement Today’s Golden Ticket Awards ceremony held at Silver Dollar City theme park in Branson, Missouri. Dollywood earned finalist placement in eight categories.

“I’ve said it before, but back when I started Dollywood, I remember just prayin’ that people were going to come visit us that very first year,” Dolly Parton said with a laugh. “Here we are in our 33rd season, still earning some of the biggest awards and honors you can get, and I can’t tell you how proud I am of what we’re accomplishing. I started Dollywood because I’m proud of the Smoky Mountains and wanted more people to come experience the beauty God has put right here in our back yard. We’re adding Wildwood Grove next year, and I know it’s going to give families more room to explore, imagine, play and spend time together here in the Smokies.

“The other reason I started Dollywood was because I wanted to hire the good people of Sevier County to work in the park. I knew when folks came and met the people who live and work here, they’d want to come back year after year because they would feel like part of the family. It must be working; we just won Friendliest Park for the seventh year! I’m so proud of the job our people do treating our guests well and going above and beyond to give them a truly memorable experience.”

Dollywood’s three Golden Ticket Awards include:

  • Friendliest Park, for the seventh consecutive year;
  • Best Shows, Dollywood’s 10th consecutive win;
  • Best Christmas Event, the only park to ever earn this award, Dollywood celebrates its 11th consecutive win.

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

  • Best Food, second place;
  • Cleanest Park, third place;
  • Best Water Park for Dollywood’s Splash Country, fourth place;
  • Best Park, fifth place;
  • Best Wooden Coaster for Lightning Rod, sixth place;
  • Best Wooden Coaster for Thunderhead, 10th place.

“Over the two decades that Amusement Today has honored parks with the Golden Ticket Awards, it has been incredibly impressive to see Dollywood continue one successful move after another,” said Tim Baldwin, Golden Ticket Awards Communications Coordinator. “The park’s presence spread through all the categories is undeniable. They seem to hit the key ingredients to creating a wonderful guest experience—the food, the staff, the entertainment and rides are all top notch.”

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, shows, kids’ area, landscaping and Christmas events.

“I think our voters, along with any guest that enjoys a visit to Dollywood, are moved by the wonderful experience,” Baldwin continued. “The environment is fun and welcoming which makes it so memorable. I think each of us embraces those times when family or friends just have a wonderful day together. That’s Dollywood.”

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.

Fall Features At Dollywood

A number of memorable moments are in store for Dollywood guests in the coming months. Dollywood’s Harvest Festival presented by Humana features the return of an even larger Great Pumpkin LumiNights with double the displays and double the fun! Additionally, more than 625 Southern gospel concerts take place throughout the festival.

Christmas Favorites

Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas presented by Humana, now the 11-time winner for Best Christmas event, grows with the addition of Glacier Ridge, an immersive new experience that adds more than one million lights to the park. 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.

Coming In 2019

In 2019, Dollywood opens Wildwood Grove, an extraordinary new land that features 11 thrilling experiences for guests, comprised of six unique ride attractions—including a suspended family roller coaster called The Dragonflier— the 55 ft. tall Wildwood Tree, live entertainment, various indoor and outdoor play areas for families to enjoy, a new restaurant and more.

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

Team DollyDollywood Earns Three 2018 Golden Ticket Awards

Dolly Parton To Be Honored As 2019 MusiCares® Person Of The Year

Published September 4, 2018 / Last Updated September 10, 2018
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

Photo Credit: Rob Hoffman

Eight-time Grammy® Winner Dolly Parton to be honored as 2019 MusiCares® Person of the Year at Gala benefiting music people in need set for Friday, Feb. 8, 2019.

Eight-time GRAMMY ® winner Dolly Parton will be honored at the 2019 MusiCares® Person of the Year tribute on Friday, Feb. 8, 2019, it was announced today by Neil Portnow, President/CEO of MusiCares and the Recording Academy™. Proceeds from the 29th annual benefit gala will provide essential support for MusiCares, a charity founded by the Recording Academy that ensures music people have a place to turn in times of financial, medical and personal need. The tribute will be held at the Los Angeles Convention Center two nights prior to the 61st Annual GRAMMY Awards®.

Parton will be the first artist from the Nashville music community to be honored by MusiCares. She is being recognized as the 2019 MusiCares Person of the Year for her considerable creative accomplishments and her longtime support of a number of causes through her Dollywood Foundation, including the Imagination Library, which, since 1996, has provided more than 100 million books to children from birth to five 5 years of age in the United States, Canada, Australia, and the U.K.

“Dolly Parton has always been and continues to be a courageous trailblazer and indomitable inspiration for creators and artists—so for us to have the opportunity to honor her at our annual MusiCares Person of the Year gala is to pay tribute to a true pillar of strength and someone who we all look up to and cherish,” said Portnow. With her legendary talent, she has forged a career that spans decades and her gifts as a performer resound on both stage and screen. Dolly also knows the power of philanthropy and she has used her stardom to contribute to a wide range of causes from natural disasters to education and literacy programs.”

“I am so excited and humbled to be honored as MusiCares Person of the Year,” said Dolly. “It’s even more special knowing the gala benefits music people in need. I can’t wait to hear all of the great artists singing my music.”

Remarks Dolly’s manager Danny Nozell, CEO, CTK Management, “I couldn’t think of anyone more deserving to be the first MusiCares Person of the Year representing the Nashville music community. It’s been a privilege to witness her generous heart, first-hand, for the last 14 years.”

“With each passing year, the goal of MusiCares remains clear: to do more and serve more music people in need,” said Michael McDonald, MusiCares’ Board Chair.” Over the course of our last fiscal year, we provided more than $6.4 million dollars to more than 8,500 members of the music industry—the largest number of clients served and dollars distributed in a single year in our charity’s history. We are confident that our 2019 Person of the Year tribute to Dolly Parton will help us raise the funds that sustain and expand our mission.”

MusiCares Person of the Year Tribute Ceremony

The MusiCares Person of the Year tribute ceremony is one of the most prestigious events held during GRAMMY Week. The Person of the Year gala will begin with a reception and silent auction offering an exclusive and unparalleled selection of luxury items, VIP experiences and one-of-a-kind celebrity memorabilia for bidding guests. The reception and silent auction will be followed by a gala dinner sponsored by AEG; a live auction; a tribute concert featuring renowned musicians and other artists; and the award presentation. The celebration culminates with the 61st Annual GRAMMY Awards at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019. The telecast will be broadcast live on the CBS Television Network at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.

About MusiCares

Established in 1989 by the Recording Academy, MusiCares offers health and human services and programs to members of the music community, including emergency financial assistance for basic living expenses such as rent, utilities, and car payments; medical expenses, including doctor, dentist and hospital bills; and treatment for HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, hepatitis C and other critical illnesses. MusiCares offers nationwide educational workshops covering a variety of subjects, including financial, legal, medical, and substance abuse issues, and programs in collaboration with health care professionals that provide services such as flu shots, hearing tests and medical/dental screenings. MusiCares provides access to addiction recovery treatment and sober living resources for members of the music community. Staffed by qualified chemical dependency and intervention specialists, MusiCares offers Safe Harbor Room® support, sponsored in part by the Bohemian Foundation, to provide a network to those in recovery while they are participating in the production of televised music shows and other major music events. MusiCares holds weekly addiction support groups for people to discuss how to best cope with the issues surrounding the recovery process.

Team DollyDolly Parton To Be Honored As 2019 MusiCares® Person Of The Year

Dolly Parton First Winner Of Excellence In Leadership Award

Published August 12, 2018 / Last Updated August 13, 2018
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

Leadership Tennessee presented Dolly Parton with the first ever Excellence in Leadership Award.

On Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018, at the Country Music Hall of Fame Leadership Tennessee presented living legend Dolly Parton with the first ever Dolly Parton Excellence in Leadership Award for her selfless work to improve lives across Tennessee.

“My dream was to make as many people happy as I could in this life, and I am grateful to Leadership Tennessee and First Lady Crissy Haslam for recognizing our work done to improve the lives of all Tennesseans,” Dolly said. “Even more humbling is for decades to come the future leaders of Tennessee will receive an award with the Parton family name attached to it, and for that I am truly honored and thankful.”

Dolly’s contributions to the Volunteer State are transformational and selfless to generations of Tennesseans. After the devastating Gatlinburg wildfires in 2016, Dolly’s Emmy-winning “Smoky Mountains Rise” telethon raised more than $12.5 million for her My People Fund to provide financial assistance to victims of those fires.

In addition to the joy and comfort her music has brought to millions of fans, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library mails free, high-quality books to children from birth until they begin school regardless of family income, and since its launch in 1995, more than 100 million books have been mailed to children in five different countries on three different continents.

“Tennessee has many talented sons and daughters but there are few who are as beloved as Dolly Parton,” First Lady Crissy Haslam, chair of the Fifth Anniversary Committee said. “And while she may be most known for her music, she has undoubtedly proved to be an exemplar of leadership through her generosity, humility, inclusiveness, expertise and passion. As a state, we are indebted to all that Dolly has done for Tennessee and its people; there is no one better suited for the very first Excellence in Leadership Award.”

The Dolly Parton Excellence in Leadership Award, designed and created by artist and Nashville native Ben Caldwell, marked the culmination of a year celebrating Leadership Tennessee’s fifth anniversary.

Leadership Tennessee executive director Cathy Cate and Class IV member CeeGee McCord, director of global, public and community affairs and vice president of the Eastman Foundation, also announced the three winners of the Volunteer State of Mind initiative receiving grants for volunteer programs across Tennessee:

“An integral component of our mission at Leadership Tennessee is network building, and the Volunteer State of Mind initiative brought that collaborative focus to the spirit of volunteerism in Tennessee,” Cate said. “I want to thank all of those who submitted and look forward to watching how the award winners build on this network of ideas and efforts to selflessly serve fellow Tennesseans.”

Sponsored by Eastman and the Eastman Foundation, Volunteer State of Mind was one of several activities and events being held in recognition of Leadership Tennessee’s fifth year. Leadership Tennessee hosted a gubernatorial forum in May as well as events with Pulitzer Prize winning writer Thomas Friedman in February and a summit on childhood poverty in April.

Photos Courtesy of Patrick Sheehan
From left – Leadership Tennessee executive director Cathy Cate, First Lady and Leadership Tennessee Class III member Crissy Haslam, Dolly Parton, Class IV member and Excellence in Leadership Award chair state Rep. Mark White

About Leadership Tennessee

Leadership Tennessee is an organization committed to collaborative, non-partisan dialogue on issues of statewide importance by crossing over geographic and professional boundaries and connecting a diverse network of problem solvers and engaged citizens. A new class of 40 leaders is selected annually to take part in a leadership study course while visiting different areas of Tennessee, learning best practices and analyzing important issues faced by Tennesseans. To date, 170 leaders have gone through the program.

Team DollyDolly Parton First Winner Of Excellence In Leadership Award

Dolly Parton and Alyvia Alyn Lind Team Up For Epic Dollywood Expansion Announcement

Published August 3, 2018 / Last Updated August 3, 2018
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 received some help from actress Alyvia Alyn Lind during an epic announcement at Dollywood today!

Hearing the familiar voice of “Little Dolly” in DP’s Celebrity Theater was quite a surprise for Dollywood visitors as well as the visiting members of the press. Actress Alyvia Alyn Lind joined Dolly Parton on stage and set the scene for one of Dollywood’s biggest announcements in the park’s history.

Dollywood, already one of the nation’s premier family vacation destinations, is growing even larger thanks to an impressive expansion. Wildwood Grove, the largest capital investment in Dollywood’s 32-year history, is slated to open in 2019. The new land provides an adventurous journey for guests to explore, imagine and play together as a family. Dolly said,

“I’ve told you before about how I’d let my imagination roam free when I’d be out exploring in the hills around our home in the Smoky Mountains. I’d pretend that the frogs and butterflies were my friends. I’d imagine about what it’d be like to fly with a dragonfly or to follow a bear family through the woods. Now all these things are coming true for our guests to experience in Wildwood Grove; it may be my new favorite part of Dollywood!”

Wildwood Grove features 11 thrilling experiences for guests, comprised of six unique ride attractions—including a suspended family roller coaster called the Dragonflier— the 55 ft. tall Wildwood Tree, live entertainment, various indoor and outdoor play areas for families to enjoy, a new restaurant and more. The total cost for the project is $37 million, meeting The Dollywood Company’s 2013 commitment of $300 million in investments over a 10 year period four years ahead of schedule. Dolly also said,

“This area is going to give families a place to explore, play and imagine together—but more importantly—it’s a place where they can spend more time together,” she explained. “I believe everyone has a song in their heart that needs to be set free. Wildwood Grove will be a place where families can learn together about what their heart song truly is.”

The Dollywood Company President Craig Ross echoed Dolly’s sentiments about how Wildwood Grove provides a range of experiences for every member of the family.

“I think our guests are going to be excited about the diverse combination of attractions they will find in Wildwood Grove,” Ross said. “It continues our commitment to provide guests a variety of unique experiences and attractions that every visitor to the park can enjoy. We’ve also incorporated many of their requests for certain amenities that help make their visit more enjoyable. In Wildwood Grove, you’ll find more charging stations, a climate-controlled indoor space for play, larger respite locations, additional play areas which are more inclusive for everyone, and more entertainment opportunities for every member of the family.”

Dolly and Alyvia closed the event with a beautiful performance of “Tennessee Mountain Home.” Alyvia Alyn Lind starred as Little Dolly in “Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors” (2015) and “Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love” (2016).

Photo Credit: Curtis Hilbun

2018’s Season of Showstoppers

While Wildwood Grove opens in 2019, Dollywood guests still have great festivals to enjoy during 2018’s Season of Showstoppers. Dollywood’s Harvest Festival presented by Humana (Sept. 28-Nov. 3) features the return of Great Pumpkin LumiNights—which doubles in size in 2018—as well as the largest Southern gospel celebration in the world. The season ends with the 10-time winner for Best Christmas Event, Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas presented by Humana (Nov. 10- Jan. 5). This year, Wilderness Pass transforms into Glacier Ridge, a winter wonderland complete with a 50 ft. tall video motion Christmas tree.

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

Team DollyDolly Parton and Alyvia Alyn Lind Team Up For Epic Dollywood Expansion Announcement

Dolly Parton Is First Guest On Reese Witherspoon’s “Shine On with Reese”

Published July 19, 2018 / Last Updated July 20, 2018
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

Reese Witherspoon invites Dolly Parton to guest on her new show “Shine On with Reese”

When debuting a new unscripted television series featuring extraordinary women, Reese Witherspoon called on Dolly Parton for the first episode.

In nine unique episodes, the series highlights inspiring women who blazed their own success trails. Reece visited Dolly’s home where they sat down to breakfast. They talked, laughed and Dolly even let Reece raid her closet.

Dolly shares some great stories from her days with Porter Wagoner and from her time on blockbuster movie sets such as “Steel Magnolias” and “9 to 5.” She also talks about how she used her dad’s advice throughout her career to make some of her wisest moves.

They discussed the challenges faced by women in the entertainment industry and the workplace in general. Both Dolly and Reece champion the need for women to support one another in all walks of life.

Soon, Dolly pulled out her guitar and together they sang Dolly’s song, “Coat of Many Colors.” They talked about the philosophy of that story and how it is now a book in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. The Imagination Library, which Dolly started over 20 years ago, has mailed over 100 million free books to children around the world.

Later, when they visit Dolly’s chapel, they share a very special moment of inspiration and reflection. Reese talks about how Dolly has inspired her and so many others like her.

Watch the first episode of “Shine On with Reese” starring Dolly Parton for free.

Executive produced by Reese Witherspoon, the show airs on the Hello Sunshine channel on DIRECTV and DIRECTV NOW.

Team DollyDolly Parton Is First Guest On Reese Witherspoon’s “Shine On with Reese”