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
Dollywood’s annual Smoky Mountain Christmas brightens up the holidays starting November 7, 2020
With Christmas approaching and the calendar set to turn from 2020, Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas (Nov. 7 – Jan. 3, 2021) is poised to wrap guests in the warm light of timeless family traditions, new memories, and joyous time spent together. Thanks in part to the glow of more than 5 million gleaming Christmas lights and a dazzling new holiday fireworks show, guests can bask in the memories of yesterday while embracing the hope of tomorrow.
Dollywood guests are immediately enveloped in the illumination of millions of holiday lights, which create a festive Christmas atmosphere that has become a cherished family tradition for generations. While the lighting itself remains familiar to guests, brand new area-based themes and lighting designs throughout the park provide a sense of wonder and discovery around each turn. Guests will find themselves strolling through a literal winter wonderland, as more live lighted Christmas trees will adorn the park than during any Christmas festival before.
“Christmas is so precious because of the time we take to gather with friends and family to share the light of love and hope with each other. It’s so good to be able to laugh about old memories and traditions, and even start a few new ones,” said Dolly Parton.
“Some Christmases are more memorable than others, and I think this year is certainly one we won’t forget. I want families to feel the warmth and comfort of all the great things they remember about Dollywood at Christmas, with a few new experiences that will become the memories they share years from now. In twenty years, when someone says, ‘Do you remember 2020?,’ of course they’ll think about how strange this year has been, but I also hope they’ll stop and say, ‘Yes, but remember that special time we had at Dollywood during Christmas that year.’”
Just one of the new experiences guests can enjoy this season is an end-of-the-evening event that will add a little sparkle to the “Dolly-days” this year. A Christmas fireworks display called Merry & Bright! celebrates the season with a colorful and energetic show featuring a number of contemporary holiday songs that will add a little cheer for guests. Performance dates will be available on Dollywood.com and the Dollywood app.
The spotlight also shines brightly on the park’s award-winning entertainment this season. Christmas in the Smokies—a heartwarming tradition that families have enjoyed for 30 years—returns indoors to center stage at DP’s Celebrity Theater. Guests also can enjoy a new show, called Heart of the Holidays, which features several members of Dolly’s family and includes a mix of some of her holiday favorites alongside songs from her new Christmas album, A Holly Dolly Christmas. Heart of the Holidays takes place in the DreamSong Theater. Another returning guest favorite, Christmas with the Kingdom Heirs, can be found at the Pines Theater.
Heartfelt entertainment abounds during the festival, including O’ Holy Night, Appalachian Christmas with the Smoky Mountain String Band, Holiday Wild Roots, The Mistletones and the Candlelight Carolers, a new choral group who can be found performing on the steps of the Robert F. Thomas Chapel. More than 40 holiday performances currently are scheduled to take place each operating day during Smoky Mountain Christmas.
Glacier Ridge presented by Goo Goo Cluster 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 Plaza serves as one of the highlights of Glacier Ridge thanks to the Wonderful Christmas! tree show, which features a 50-ft. tall animated tree that sparkles to life to present a fully-synchronized, dazzling light show throughout the evening. Inside Wildwood Grove, the Wildwood Tree tells inspirational Christmas stories each evening as guests explore this captivating area.
For the kids—and kids at heart—wondering what Santa is up to this year, Dollywood will shine a little light on Old Saint Nick’s home away from home. When he isn’t hard at work at the North Pole, Santa likes to visit East Tennessee and his favorite Smoky Mountain songstress, Dolly! Thanks to a brand-new experience, guests literally can see inside Santa’s cabin in the Smokies as he reviews…the list! Kids discover whether their name is on the naughty or nice list, and they even have their photo made as they peer through the window during this once-in-a-lifetime chance to catch Santa at work.
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. At Front Porch Café, diners can enjoy beef tenderloin medallions with a cabernet demi reduction, seared trout with sweet Cajun glaze, or a glazed ham steak with pineapple chutney. New this year, the Blue Ribbon Buffet is an unparalleled all-you-can-eat menu with buffet service, featuring roasted pork loin, herb garlic roasted chicken, carved prime rib and spiral ham, served alongside roasted sweet potato wedges, herb potato puree, baked macaroni and cheese, and more.
For those with an appetite on the go, Market Square offers a variety of options to tempt the taste buds thanks to a number of hearty sandwiches and soups. Guests can choose from a three-cheese panini, a shaved ribeye panini, or a panini with heirloom tomato and fresh mozzarella, which can be paired with tomato bisque, beef barley soup or the soup of the day. Specialty treats include s’mores bread pudding and hot chocolate.
Spotlight Bakery feels like Christmas at grandma’s with so many rich, sweet baked goods. Guests can choose their favorites from a variety of beautifully-decorated holiday cookies, gingerbreads and cupcakes or warm up with a cup of hot chocolate. Families also can take some of the holiday fun home with a gingerbread house or family-size cookie kit, both complete with icing and decorations!
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.
No matter what activities are on the Christmas list this year, Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas is sure to shine a familiar light on holiday traditions that families will share and cherish for years to come.
For anyone searching for the perfect gift of unlimited family fun and memories, a Dollywood season pass is the solution! A season pass purchased during Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas provides unlimited admission to this year’s Christmas festival along with unlimited admission for Dollywood’s entire 2021 season. Guests should purchase their 2021 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 2021 season pass.
For more information and a park operating calendar, please visit Dollywood.com or download the Dollywood app.
Team DollyDollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Begins November7
Showcasing acts from the park’s upcoming year, Dolly Parton helped launch Dollywood’s Season of Showstoppers during a special preview event.
Dollywood kicked off its 33rd season with a special preview event hosted by Dolly Parton. This incredible year is one which surely will be remembered for the amazing quality of entertainment. Dollywood’s entertainment team invested $1 million more in its 2018 offerings than any other single year of entertainment in its history.
The preview event featured performances by the National Dance Company of Siberia, PAINTJAM featuring Ricardo Barazza, Janie Fricke, Orleans, Larnelle Harris and others. For the finale, Dolly joined Ladysmith Black Mambazo backed by Orleans for a beautiful performance of “Peace Train.” Dolly recorded the song written by Cat Stevens on her 1996 “Treasures” album which featured Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
Dollywood has won Amusement Today’s Golden Ticket Award for Best Theme Park Entertainment for nine years. And with 2018’s commitment, the park again looks to lead the way for the award.
Dollywood’s Season of Showstoppers
Festival of Nations (March 16 — April 9)
Spring Mix Music Series (April 11 – April 29)
Barbeque & Bluegrass (May 25 – June 10)
Summer Celebration (June 16 – August 5)
Rock The Smokies (August 25)
Harvest Festival (September 28 – November 3)
Smoky Mountain Christmas (November 10 – January 5)
Opening day also served as the unveiling of the newly renovated Aunt Granny’s restaurant. The eatery is named after the affectionate nickname Dolly’s nieces and nephews have for her as she acts as both aunt and granny to them as well as to some of her younger siblings. The restaurant is one of the parks original features. Its buffet style dining offers guests delicious comfort foods including Mama’s Stone Soup. Read famous Stone Soup story in A Mother’s Love & Inspiration – Avie Lee Parton.
For more information about multi-day ticket options, 2018 Dollywood season passes or Dollywood’s Season of Showstoppers visit Dollywood.com or call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD.
Photo Credit: Curtis Hilbun
Michael MartinDolly Parton Launches Dollywood’s Season of Showstoppers
Dollywood is nominated for Best Theme Park Holiday Event in USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice 2017!
Dollywood fans can cast their vote for Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas event in USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice 2017. Nominated alongside 19 other parks, the beloved Dollywood event is in the running for Best Theme Park Holiday Event.
Vote for Dollywood today and show your support for Smoky Mountain Christmas! Fans can cast a vote once each day, every day from each of your devices until polls close. USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice 2017 voting ends Monday, Dec. 4 at noon EST.
This celebrated tradition features four million spectacular lights on display throughout the park. Cast members deliver show-stopping performances in shows like “Christmas in the Smokies” and “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Children of all ages love meeting Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Friends at Holly Jolly Junction. And to round out a festive day of joy and excitement, the heartwarming Parade of Many Colors winds through the park for all to see. The parade features whimsical floats, interactive characters and a heart-warming, cheerful message for Dollywood guests to enjoy.
Festive Holiday Treats
A visit to Dollywood can also include a traditional Christmas meal as several of the park’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 and red velvet and pumpkin spice funnel cakes.
More Days Added
Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas presented by Humana celebrated its tenth consecutive victory in Amusement Today’s Golden Ticket Awards. After receiving much feedback from guests, Dollywood officials extended the park’s award-winning festival two days. It kicked off on Nov. 4 and will run through Jan. 3 2017.
Season Pass Opportunities
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 new children’s album, “I Believe in You.” (A one-day ticket is valid for an upgrade on the day of visit only.)
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.
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!
For more information about Dollywood’s 2018 entertainment lineup, please visit Dollywood.com or call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD.
Michael MartinDollywood Makes Largest Entertainment Investment In History
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.
Michael Martin“America’s Favorite Christmas Event” Begins At Dollywood On Nov. 4