Holiday cheer is arriving at Smoky Mountain’s favorite theme park. Dollywood, owned by beloved performer Dolly Parton, is launching its annual Smoky Mountain Christmas with new attractions and even Santa himself!
1. More Lights!
Dollywood is adding a million lights to its light show this year, bringing the total to 6 million! The lights are strung across the theme park, with each section having its own theme. Glacier Ridge is decked out in blues and whites, while Craftsman’s Valley has a soft candlelight feel. Of course, Santa’s workshop has the classic Christmas colors of red and green.
There’s also a new way to see all those lights. A train ride can now take you through all 160 acres so you and your family can snuggle up while enjoying the lights. The Dollywood Express Light Experience takes you on a magical train ride through each land while playing classic holiday tunes (maybe Dolly herself will sing some of them!).
2. Holiday Trees
Some of those 6 million lights adorn hundreds of holiday trees throughout the park. You can see them in each land, whether you walk the park or take the train ride, but there are two trees that you won’t want to miss. The first is new to the park this year, a tree named “Dolly’s Christmas” in the Adventures In Imagination part of the park. It’s 20 feet high and is lit up with some of Dolly’s favorite colors: pink, platinum, and gold. Also close to Dolly’s heart are butterflies, and they’re all over this tree. Sixty LED butterflies will help light up this special Dolly-themed Christmas tree.
Head over to Glacier Ridge for a 50-foot tree decked out in blue and white lights. The tree does a synchronized music-and-light show with snow as its grand finale. This magical tree is truly a showcase of Dollywood’s Christmas celebration. While in Glacier Ridge, be sure to check out the story that comes to life there, during which Polar Bear takes advantage of the newly iced-over area to visit his cousin Black Bear.
3. Holiday Shows
On a typical day, Dollywood has several shows, but at Christmastime, the park adds in seasonal performances to spread the holiday cheer. There are so many shows, in fact, that the park utilizes all indoor and outdoor venues during its Christmas event. The main performance, Christmas in the Smokies, has become a Christmas tradition for many, having been performed at Dollywood every year since 1990. Fourteen singers and dancers perform holiday classics with the help of live musicians at DP’s Celebrity Theater daily.
Other performances include Candlelight Carolers at the Chapel, Appalachian Christmas at the Back Porch Theater, and the acapella group Mistletones performing at the Village Depot.
4. Weekend Fireworks
Visiting on the weekend offers even more lights with the Merry & Bright, Holiday Light! fireworks show. Set off to joyful holiday music, this fireworks show is not to be missed. It happens every Friday and Saturday night through the duration of the Christmas celebration.
5. Santa’s House
Santa has his own special mountain cabin inside Dollywood during its Christmas celebration. Kids of all ages can peer through the cabin window to see Santa at work — you can even get your picture taken while spying on Santa Claus! If you look very closely, you may even be able to sneak a peek at Santa’s list and see your name.
6. Festive Food
What’s a holiday celebration without holiday food? Dollywood offers seasonal dishes sure to remind you of Christmases past. Dishes like herb-roasted chicken, pot roast fries, chicken pot pie served in a bread cone, and citrus-glazed ham. Perhaps the most festive food is the Christmas Toastie Sandwich, a sandwich made with turkey, stuffing, brussels sprouts, and swiss cheese, then topped with cranberry aioli and gravy. If you still have room, there are gingerbread funnel cakes and eggnog cupcakes for dessert. Wash it all down with a special holiday limeade or a cranberry orange drink.
You can try these holiday dishes a la carte or by purchasing a Holiday Tasting Pass. The pass runs about $35 and allows you to taste five foods.
7. An Overnight At Dollywood
Can’t experience all the Christmas joy in one day? Good thing you can stay at Dollywood. You’ll feel like you are home for the holidays as soon as you walk into the DreamMore Resort & Spa and see the two-story Christmas tree. The resort has pools, a kids’ area, a family game space, and a spa for when you need to wind down. You can even stay in Dolly Parton’s former tour bus by booking the Suite 1986 Tour Bus Experience.
More About Dollywood
Situated at the base of the Smoky Mountains in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, Dollywood consistently ranks as one of the top theme parks in the world. Dollywood fuses entertainment, history, and Southern culture throughout its 160 acres. With more than 50 rides and attractions, Dollywood offers something for every generation. Live craftsmen offer daily demonstrations while numerous shows celebrate music of all genres, including gospel, bluegrass, and rock n’ roll. Dollywood’s sister property, Dollywood’s Splash Country, is a popular family attraction during the summer.