Managing Editor - Jacob Timmons
Creative Director - Sarah Chapman
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America’s Favorite Christmas Tradition Begins at Dollywood on Nov. 5 Featuring 6 Million Lights
With several new lighting displays across its 160 acres, Dollywood theme park, the 14-time winner for Best Theme Park Christmas Event, now boasts more than 6 million shining, shimmering lights as part of the popular Smoky Mountain Christmas presented by Humana, happening November 5 through January 1.
The event, which easily can be described as one of America’s favorite Christmas traditions, shines brightly thanks to the warmth of gleaming holiday lights, award-winning stage productions, Christmas culinary masterpieces and the warm family traditions so many guests have enjoyed throughout the festival’s 30 plus years.
“I believe each season in the Smokies is a precious gift from above, but I also know there is no better time than Christmas to experience the magic of this special place,” Dolly shared. “Christmas is a time for new memories to be created, cherished family traditions to be celebrated and the love of the holidays to warm us all.
“It is my wish that our guests celebrate the light of the Christmas season while they are here with us at Dollywood. I also hope they pause long enough to savor the moments spent with one another. It’s those special moments that are sure to become the beautiful memories they will look upon so fondly for so many years.”
A Million New Lights for 2022
Dollywood truly sparkles this Christmas season with new lighting elements throughout the park providing an element of surprise to guests around every corner, even for those aboard the Dollywood Express. Visitors riding the guest-favorite attraction will enjoy a special light show draped across the field located inside the train’s upper turning loop. Another new lighted area is the Village Pass, which features a 130’ light curtain wall that includes programmed movement. This area leads guests from lower Craftsman’s Valley to The Village. Adventures in Imagination shines in pink, platinum and gold decorations—as well as 60 LED butterflies and a new 20’ ft. tall Christmas tree—in an area fittingly called Dolly’s Christmas.
Guests will find hundreds of additional lighted trees throughout the park this year, as well as more new décor elements and eight different light zones to provide each area of Dollywood its own unique look and feel. The new elements add 1 million lights to the park’s already-impressive total, meaning guests will enjoy 6 million lights during this season’s festival.
As always, guests can experience Dollywood’s world-class rides amidst the hustle and bustle of the park during the holidays, as most rides are operational during the Christmas season. Nothing compares to racing quickly through the night sky with millions of lights twinkling below.
Dazzling Fireworks and Spectacular Shows
Returning this year on Friday and Saturday evenings is the “Merry & Bright!” fireworks display, which provides a sparkling ending to the day. “Merry & Bright!” lights the sky above Dollywood with a display set to the rhythm of upbeat contemporary holiday hits. After Christmas, the music changes to help guests ready to ring in the new year. Additionally, the New Year’s version of the show takes place nightly Dec. 26- Jan. 1.
In one of the most unique experiences during the Christmas season at Dollywood, Old Saint Nick allows visitors a sneak peek into his little cabin in the Smokies. Guests who visit Santa’s cabin can literally see inside as he reviews…the list! Kids discover whether their names are on the naughty or nice list, and they might even have their photo made as they peer through the window during this once-in-a-lifetime chance to catch Santa at work. Santa goes on a well-deserved vacation after Christmas Day, so families wanting to see him in action shouldn’t wait!
Glacier Ridge fills Dollywood’s Timber Canyon, Wildwood Grove, Wilderness Pass and Upper Craftsman’s Valley with an expansive arctic experience sure to inspire and delight guests. Wilderness Pass serves as one of the highlights of Glacier Ridge thanks to the Wonderful Christmas! Plaza Tree Show, which features a 50-ft. tall animated tree sparkling to life to present a fully-synchronized, dazzling light show throughout the evening. Each show is capped by an immersive snow finale!
Dollywood’s family favorite shows light up both indoor and outdoor stages. The festival’s headline show, “Christmas in the Smokies,” has been a must-see for families every Christmas season since it began in 1990. Many other Dollywood Christmas classics return including “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” “O’ Holy Night,” “Christmas with the Kingdom Heirs,” “Heart of the Holidays,” “Candlelight Carolers,” “The Mistletones,” “Appalachian Christmas with the Smoky Mountain String Band,” “Holiday Wild Roots” and more.
Festive Culinary Surprises
And for those looking to celebrate the holidays with the perfect family meal, Dollywood’s team of chefs have a menu full of culinary surprises sure to delight. From herb-roasted turkey breast and citrus-glazed carved ham to chicken pot pie in a bread cone, there are a number of savory items to satisfy every appetite. A number of unique items abound including eggnog cupcakes, gingerbread-dusted funnel cake, holiday limeade and more.
Christmas at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort
The Christmas fun makes its way to Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa with even more ways to help families make memories this holiday season. To create a truly immersive Smoky Mountain Christmas experience, the resort is celebrating the holidays with a variety of festival-inspired activities, crafts, entertainment, décor and culinary options.
The resort’s halls are decked in beautiful décor inspired by warm, rich memories of Christmas in the Smoky Mountains. The centerpiece is an awe-inspiring, two-story Christmas tree that can be seen from both levels of the lobby. DreamMore Resort’s culinary team prepares delicious holiday meals in Song & Hearth: A Southern Eatery. Guests can gather together to give thanks and enjoy a flavorful meal throughout the season, or experience one of four holiday dining experiences—Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas Day brunch, or New Year’s Eve dinner.
2023 Season Passes
Finally, for anyone searching for the perfect Christmas gift of family fun and memories, a Dollywood season pass is the solution! Diamond or gold season passes purchased during Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas provides admission to this year’s Christmas festival along with admission for Dollywood’s “BIG” 2023 operating season. Guests can purchase their 2023 season pass online now or upgrade their paid one-day admission ticket on the day of their visit. Ticket purchasers receive credit for the value of a regular one-day ticket toward the purchase of a 2023 season pass. The 2023 season features “big” fun, including the opening of Dollywood’s longest roller coaster, Big Bear Mountain, as well as 15 additional operating days and the new I Will Always Love You Celebration, honoring the 50th anniversary of Dolly’s iconic song.
For more information and a park operating calendar, please visit dollywood.com or download the Dollywood app.