Dollywood Theme Park

Dollywood Makes Largest Entertainment Investment In History

Published November 3, 2017 / Last Updated November 7, 2017
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 announces stellar 2018 entertainment lineup at Dollywood.

Dolly Parton today announced an unprecedented entertainment lineup to ensure the spotlight remains solely on her Dollywood theme park. The performing icon unveiled her unwavering commitment to Dollywood’s family entertainment offerings with an extraordinary investment for 2018.

Season of Showstoppers

Hailing the year as a “Season of Showstoppers,” Dolly announced an entertainment lineup which represents an investment $1 million greater than any season-long entertainment schedule in the park’s history. Headlining 2018 are performances by The Marshall Tucker Band, The Drifters, T.G. Sheppard, Suzy Bogguss, Atlanta Rhythm Section, Crystal Gayle, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and a host of other award-winning artists.

“Music is the universal language that unites all of us,” Dolly explained. “It celebrates our people, our families and our communities. I’ve made music my life’s work because I feel each and every one of us has a special song to sing. I’ve made sure that here at my Dollywood, we use music to encourage and inspire those songs in each and every one of our shows.”

Dollywood’s 2018 entertainment roster reads like the nomination list from an awards ceremony. A range of performers—from CMA Hall of Fame members to emerging artists—ensure there is something for everyone. Combined, the headlining artists performing at Dollywood in 2018 have 42 gold albums, 18 platinum albums, 30 Grammys, 14 Country Music Association Awards, 10 American Country Music Awards, five American Music Association Awards and 62 Dove Awards.

Festival of Nations

It all begins with Dollywood’s Festival of Nations (March 17-April 9). Headliners include National Dance Company of Siberia, The Flamenco Kings starring Los Vivancos, and Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Hailing from South Africa, internationally-known Grammy award-winning group Ladysmith Black Mambazo worked with Dolly on her 1996 album “Treasures.” They have also teamed with Paul Simon, Sarah McLachlan, Emmylou Harris and many more.

April plays host to three weeks (April 11-29) of stellar performances during the all-new Spring Mix music series. Dollywood guests can expect performances by Dollywood entertainment alumnus Bogguss, Sheppard, Pam Tillis, Gayle, Connie Smith and Shenandoah during the first week of the event. The second week plays host to artists such as Amy Grant, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Larnelle Harris, David Phelps and comedienne Chonda Pierce – also known as “The Queen of Clean.”

Classic artists like The Marshall Tucker Band (Can’t You See and Heard it in a Love Song), The Drifters (Under the Boardwalk and Save the Last Dance for Me), Debby Boone (You Light Up My Life), The Atlanta Rhythm Section (So Into You and Imaginary Lover), Firefall (Just Remember I Love You and You Are the Woman), and Al Stewart (The Year of the Cat and Song on the Radio) entertain park guests during the final week of the event. Individual concert dates and show times will be announced at a later date.

Barbeque & Bluegrass

Already one of the nation’s best bluegrass events, Dollywood’s Barbeque & Bluegrass (May 25- June 10) adds an extra week of concerts from the biggest names in the business. Guests should expect hundreds of live bluegrass performances during the festival with headline shows from Grammy and IBMA winner Rhonda Vincent & The Rage, and IMBA winners Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, Dailey & Vincent, and many more.

Summer Celebration

Families have a multitude of world-renowned options to keep them entertained during Dollywood’s Summer Celebration. iLuminate, finalists on America’s Got Talent in 2011, bring their electrified glow-in-the-dark costumes to DP’s Celebrity Theater to perform dynamic dance routines and illusions to thrill guests. Summer 2018 also sees international touring sensation DRUMLine Live! visit the park with riveting rhythms, bold beats and ear-grabbing energy. Developed by the consultants of the hit 2002 movie Drumline, the band featured in this exhilarating show creates a synchronized musical masterpiece for guests—it’s more than just the typical halftime performance! Dan Dunn—America’s favorite speed painter—brings his innovative and mesmerizing PaintJam to Dollywood. Audiences will be astonished as he creates stunning works of art on a spinning 360-degree canvas, while he dances and moves throughout the performance.

Rock the Smokies

Dollywood’s popular Rock the Smokies moves to August 25 with TobyMac and Crowder serving as headliners. Multiple contemporary Christian artists perform throughout the park during this exciting conclusion to the summer.

Harvest Festival & Great Pumpkin LumiNights

Dollywood’s Harvest Festival presented by Humana (Sept. 28 – Nov. 3) provides more fall family fun with the expansion of the new guest-favorite Great Pumpkin LumiNights and the largest Southern gospel event in America. During the festival, several hundred performances by Southern gospel royalty take place during the day. And at night, thousands of carved pumpkins illuminate the dark. Guest will experience an expanded number of displays and activities for families to enjoy. And can expect spectacular artistry of visiting crafters from across the country. All the while they can sample the special harvest-themed food items from Dollywood’s award-winning foods team.

Smoky Mountain Christmas

Dollywood’s 2018 season again ends with America’s favorite theme park holiday event, Smoky Mountain Christmas. Voted as the best theme park Christmas event for a decade, Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas presented by Humana (Nov. 10, 2018 – Jan. 5, 2019) features four million spectacular lights, classic holiday entertainment—including Christmas in the Smokies and It’s a Wonderful Life—Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Friends, and the heartwarming Parade of Many Colors.

Dollywood won the 2017 Golden Ticket from Amusement Today for Best Entertainment at any theme park in the world. The honor was the ninth consecutive triumph for the park in that category. With Dolly’s commitment to entertainment in 2018, Dollywood looks to lead the way in securing its 10th victory in the category.

Dollywood continues to celebrate its Year of the Family this season with a number of exciting festivals, performing groups, and two new attractions—Drop Line, a 230-ft. tall free-fall experience, and Whistle Punk Chaser, a junior coaster designed for Dollywood’s younger visitors. The season ends with America’s favorite Christmas theme park event, Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas presented by Humana (Nov. 4, 2017 – Jan. 1, 2018). Guests can upgrade their park admission during the Christmas festival to a season pass and receive next year for free!

Dollywood's Smoky Mountain Christmas

For more information about Dollywood’s 2018 entertainment lineup, please visit Dollywood.com or call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD.

Team DollyDollywood Makes Largest Entertainment Investment In History

“America’s Favorite Christmas Event” Begins At Dollywood On Nov. 4

Published November 3, 2017 / Last Updated November 3, 2017
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

Smoky Mountain Christmas presented by Humana features four million lights, spectacular holiday performances, food and more.

Earlier this season, Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas presented by Humana celebrated its tenth consecutive victory in Amusement Today’s Golden Ticket Awards. Once guests experience the park’s festive holiday atmosphere for themselves, they understand why Dollywood has earned the award for the last decade.

Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas (Nov. 4, 2017 – Jan. 1, 2018) kicks off the holiday season with its signature light displays, family-favorite shows, delectable food and warm Christmas spirit. The awe-inspiring Parade of Many Colors returns for its second season, while traditional holiday performances—including Christmas in the Smokies and It’s a Wonderful Life—and four million festive lights delight guests during this lively festival.

“There is no time of the year that is more special to me than Christmas,” Dolly Parton explained. “Some of the best memories of my life are from my time spent with family and friends celebrating Christmas together. It’s when we all come together to enjoy sweet traditions and the warm love of family and to have those special experiences we’ll always remember.

“Now when we were growing up, we never could have imagined millions of Christmas lights or even a life-size Rudolph. But I know the families who come to visit my Dollywood this Christmas will leave with wonderful memories they’ll treasure forever—just like me and my family.”

“America’s Favorite Christmas Event”

Dollywood—which earned its ninth consecutive Golden Ticket Award for Best Shows—continues to provide guests with classic Christmas entertainment which brings the holidays to life! Based on the timeless holiday story of love and generosity, It’s a Wonderful Life follows small-town businessman George Bailey as he discovers the true value of life, family and friends with a little help from his guardian angel, Clarence. One of Dollywood’s greatest entertainment offerings, Christmas in the Smokies, returns to D.P.’s Celebrity Theater and serves as the headline show for the festival. Guests can celebrate the joy of the season while a cast of singers and dancers performs hometown holiday favorites accompanied by a band of live musicians!

Parade of Many Colors

After a successful debut season in 2016, the crowd-favorite Parade of Many Colors returns to celebrate the fun, faith, family and harmony of the holiday season. The parade features whimsical floats, interactive characters and a heart-warming, cheerful message for Dollywood guests to enjoy.

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, the beloved Christmas television special, again comes to life at Dollywood this season. Guests can meet Rudolph and his friends, including Clarice, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster and Yukon Cornelius in Rudolph’s Holly Jolly™ Junction, a magical area where festive fun awaits. After meeting Rudolph and his friends, families can head to Clarice’s kitchen to decorate custom Christmas cookies or even take part in a few reindeer games!

Dollywood’s entertainment features several other beloved shows this season, including An Appalachian Christmas, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, O’ Holy Night, My People and Christmas with The Kingdom Heirs. Guests also can experience Santa Land, a whimsical workshop where the smallest guests can share their wish list with Kris Kringle.

Tasty Holiday Menu

Families can finish their visit with a traditional Christmas meal as several of Dollywood’s menus feature holiday-themed items. Among the new offerings this year is the Thanksgiving Feast sandwich—a ciabatta roll filled with cornbread dressing, slices of oven-roasted turkey breast, topped with cranberry sauce and served with sweet potato tater tots. Returning favorites include turkey and dressing, Christmas ham, chicken and dumplings, Cornish hens, center cut pork chops, mashed potatoes and gravy, hot flavored drinks like wassail, Mayfield hot chocolate and cider and much more. Holiday desserts available throughout the park include gingerbread man cookies, red velvet and pumpkin spice funnel cakes.

Smoky Mountain Christmas guests can upgrade a paid one-day admission ticket to a regular 2018 season pass for as low as $30 (plus tax when buying four or more). Ticket purchasers receive credit for the value of a regular one-day ticket ($69) toward the purchase of a 2018 season pass. A season pass purchased during Smoky Mountain Christmas provides unlimited admission to this year’s Christmas festival along with Dollywood’s entire 2018 season. Additionally, for each child’s season pass purchased, families will receive a copy of Dolly’s newest children’s album, “I Believe in You.” (A one-day ticket is valid for upgrade on the day of visit only.)

Visit Dollywood.com or call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD for more information, including operating days and hours, daily show schedule and more helpful tips to help plan a visit.

Team Dolly“America’s Favorite Christmas Event” Begins At Dollywood On Nov. 4

Dollywood Hosts Light The Way 5K Walk/Run On Nov. 10

Published October 25, 2017 / Last Updated October 25, 2017
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

Light The Way 5K Walk/Run benefits Keep Sevier Beautiful and Share It Forward

Participants of the Light the Way 5K Walk/Run will see Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas presented by Humana in a different light, actually four million lights. This event begins at 11:17 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 10. New this year, a one-mile fun walk will take place concurrently with the 5K race. It’s for those who want to participate at a more leisurely pace through the twinkling holiday lights.

Event Proceeds

Proceeds from this event benefit Keep Sevier Beautiful (KSB) and the Share It Forward (SIF) program at Dollywood. KSB, an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, is a volunteer-based organization focusing on waste reduction/recycling, litter prevention and beautifying public spaces through education and community-based programs. KSB’s goal is to protect the natural beauty of the area that millions of visitors come to see each year. SIF is a non-profit charity established for the purpose of raising and using funds to assist The Dollywood Company employees and their families in times of need.

“The beauty of Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas festival combined with the challenge of a course that only a theme park can provide makes Light the Way a one-of-a-kind event for runners and walkers,” said David Owenby, Director of the Share It Forward program. “But most importantly, this event helps provide our non-profit organizations with financial assistance just before the holidays,” added Lisa Bryant, Executive Director of Keep Sevier Beautiful.

Light The Way 5K – Nov. 10

Light the Way 5K Walk/Run participants will experience a unique course decorated by the park’s four million Christmas lights. Their journey begins at Dollywood’s groups’ entrance, traversing through the parking lot and then winding through the theme park.

The certified race is chip timed and managed by Scenic City Multi-Sports. The top three overall male and female participants will receive awards.

Registration

Please pre-register, only 2,017 participants can sign up. The registration fee is $45, until race day (Nov. 10).

Visit Light The Way 5K To Register Online

Race day registration takes place from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. at the front gate area at Dollywood’s Splash Country.

Team DollyDollywood Hosts Light The Way 5K Walk/Run On Nov. 10

Great Pumpkin Luminights And Southern Gospel Jubilee

Published September 27, 2017 / Last Updated September 27, 2017
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

In 2017, Dollywood’s Harvest Festival is highlighted by Great Pumpkin Luminights along with the Southern Gospel Jubilee

Despite the days getting shorter, Dollywood is gifting guests with even more fall fun—at night! Thanks to the new Great Pumpkin LumiNights, Dollywood’s Harvest Festival presented by Humana (Sept. 29 – Oct. 28) stays open until 9 p.m. every day.

This season marks the first time the Smoky Mountain theme park has opened every day—and stayed open after dark—during its family-favorite harvest event. The expanded operating schedule allows Dollywood to provide guests with additional autumn experiences. These experiences are designed to help them create cherished family memories.

The biggest names in Southern gospel take to stages every day throughout the park with more than 500 individual performances as part of the Southern Gospel Jubilee presented by Humana. Additionally, Great Pumpkin LumiNights offers whimsical, family-friendly activities that are sure to make this event a new harvest tradition.

“Fall truly is the most beautiful time of year here in the Smokies,” Dolly Parton explained. “I love coming home to see the amazing masterpiece God has painted across the mountains. Our folks at Dollywood always do a great job of making sure the park looks stunning with those fall colors as a backdrop. You also know that Southern gospel music holds a very special place close to my heart. I guess you could say my singing career really got started in that kind of music because our family would visit churches and sing about God’s love for us.”

Dolly continued,

“This year we’re adding even more fun to the festival with Great Pumpkin LumiNights, and I know families are going to love all those glowing pumpkin displays up through Timber Canyon. I used to love sitting around with my brothers and sisters during the fall carving pumpkins and tellin’ stories, but I don’t think our pumpkins turned out quite the same as these though!”

Pumpkin Carving And More

Families will bask in the glow of thousands of intricately-carved pumpkins as they wander through immersive harvest-themed displays. Look for these display throughout Dollywood’s Timber Canyon and Wilderness Pass areas. Beyond the impressive displays, guests can find a number of exciting activities to create thrilling memories together. With so many carved pumpkins needed to create Great Pumpkin LumiNights, Dollywood has “pumpkin artists” who will host demonstrations to help guests learn how to produce the perfect pumpkin masterpiece.

Unique harvest games and attractions—including a glow maze—for kids, a nightly Pumpkin Boogie Dance Party, and friendly costume characters help add to the festive atmosphere. New themed food options and exclusive harvest-themed Coca-Cola products make Great Pumpkin LumiNights the place to be when the sun goes down in the Smokies.

Southern Gospel Jubilee

Alongside Great Pumpkin LumiNights, Dollywood once again hosts the largest Southern gospel music event in America. Guests can see the biggest names in the genre during the Southern Gospel Jubilee. Karen Peck & New River (Oct. 21-22), Guy Penrod (Oct. 23-24), The Isaacs (Oct. 12-13), The McKameys (Oct. 6-7), Gold City (Oct. 2-3) and many more provide inspirational music to fill the autumn air.

Dollywood’s own Kingdom Heirs perform throughout the festival, while Singing News and Praise 96.3 FM operate multiple stage locations featuring several up-and-coming and breakout artists.

Over 30 Artisans

Dollywood celebrates Smoky Mountain crafts all year with the park’s well-known master craftsman. During the Harvest Festival, however, more than 30 visiting artisans from across the country bring their wares and share their talents with Dollywood guests. Craft demonstrations include textile art, inspirational jewelry, loom weaving, paper marbling, bentwood boxes, rug hooking, fiddle making, dulcimer making, and much more.

Harvest Menu

Menus across the park change to reflect the offerings of a bountiful harvest. Guests can look for dishes including fried green tomatoes and a fried green tomato BLT. In addition, there is succotash featuring grilled chicken and potatoes with chili and cheese cooked on the park’s famous BIG SKILLET. Those with a sweet tooth will enjoy the fried apple pies, apple turnovers, apple stack cakes and more.

Learn more about Dollywood’s Harvest Festival featuring Southern Gospel Jubilee and Great Pumpkin LumiNights or call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD.

Team DollyGreat Pumpkin Luminights And Southern Gospel Jubilee

Dollywood Earns Four Golden Ticket Awards

Published September 12, 2017 / Last Updated September 12, 2017
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

Most-honored park wins for best entertainment, Christmas event, food and friendliness

The winningest park in Amusement Today’s Golden Tickets history, Dollywood again this year earned more category wins and finalist positions than any other park in the world. During the magazine’s 2017 awards ceremony, Dollywood picked up four “best of” awards. The park also placed in the top-ten in six additional categories.

2017 Golden Ticket Wins

Dollywood receives 4 Golden Ticket Awards in 2017

2017 Golden Ticket Awards

  • Sixth Consecutive Win – Friendliest Park
  • Ninth Consecutive Win – Best Shows
  • 10th Consecutive Win – Best Christmas Event (the only park to ever earn this award)
  • Fourth Win In This Category – Best Food

The Golden Ticket Awards are the most sought after awards in the business of amusements and attractions. Dolly Parton said,

“You all know how very proud I am of my Dollywood and the special folks who work there. It makes me feel so good to know that our guests feel the same way about the park when they come visit us. It’s the perfect place to help them make those memories they’re always going to hold close. Our people do a great job of doin’ just what my mama always used to say—they treat our guests just like they’d want to be treated. And isn’t that what really makes the difference?”

Dolly continued,

“Families can feel the love our folks have for them by the effort and attention they put in to every single detail of the park. They want to make sure every guest leaves with a smile on their face. Dollywood will continue to grow, but I’m thankful my team will never forget what got us to where we are: going above and beyond to give our guests experiences they’ll always remember.”

2017 Golden Ticket Top-Ten Category Finishes

  • Second Place – Cleanest Park
  • Third Place – Best Park
  • Fourth Place – Best Water Park for Dollywood’s Splash Country
  • Fourth Place – Best Landscaping
  • Fifth Place – Best Wooden Coaster for Lightning Rod
  • Eighth Place – Best Wooden Coaster for Thunderhead

Tim Baldwin, Golden Ticket Awards Communications Coordinator for Amusement Today said,

“It has been incredibly exciting to watch Dollywood — which was a relatively unknown contender when the Golden Ticket Awards started in 1998 — become this theme park industry powerhouse. Dollywood not only places as a finalist in more categories than any other park, it has taken top prize in four categories — again, more than any other park. Dollywood is setting the bar, and other parks would be wise to look at their example. It’s certainly a park to watch.”

Tim went on to say,

“Dollywood is the whole package — great food, entertaining shows, friendly hospitality and great rides. It’s little surprise to see them capture the attention of our voters. Each year, our selected panel has an incredible amount of worldwide experience, so to be honored on a worldwide scale in so many categories is an amazing accomplishment.”

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. The survey asks voters to rate the “best” in a number of categories. Categories include best parks, roller coasters, water rides, shows, kids’ area, landscaping and Christmas events. The Golden Ticket Awards were held on Saturday, Sept. 9 at Lake Compounce amusement park in Bristol, Connecticut.

Other Dollywood Awards This Season

USA Today’s 10Best recognized Dollywood as the third best theme park in the country. And the organization also named Dollywood’s Splash Country the eighth best water park. The National Amusement Park Historical Association also named Dollywood as their “Favorite Theme Park” this year. Dollywood edged Walt Disney World for first, a position the Florida attraction had held for thirteen consecutive years. The NAPHA also honored Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas as their “Favorite Post-Summer Season Amusement Park Event.” Fox News recognized the park as the top Small Town Theme Park thanks to its location in the foothills of the Smokies.

Learn more about Dollywood’s Year of the Family

Team DollyDollywood Earns Four Golden Ticket Awards