Recently I was lucky enough to cross off an item on my theme park bucket list. Without question, my favorite regional theme park on the planet is Dollywood. I have had a chance to visit this gem nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains, but never during the holidays. This year I finally got the chance to experience a Dollywood Christmas and it did not disappoint.
If you visit Dollywood any time of year, you’ll know the park is completely stunning. A perfect mix of southern charm and a gorgeous mountain backdrop. Yet during the holidays, the park transforms into a winter wonderland filled with holiday decorations, seasonal entertainment, a one-of-a-kind parade and character meet and greets.
The Holly Jolly Junction is home to Rudolph, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius and Bumble the Abominable Snowman.
The area is filled with interactive games, photo opportunities, and a treat station all featuring Rudolph and his friends.
Naturally, Santa Claus is on hand at Dollywood Christmas. Santa Land, which is located in Celebration Hall has crafts, interactive play areas, and of course, photo opportunities.
However, the real star at Dollywood Christmas are the live shows. Standard theme park shows are generally 20 to 30 minutes and believe me, I’ve seen some great theme park entertainment in my time. Dollywood surpasses all of them. Most of their holiday live shows are 45 minutes to over an hour in length and are all Broadway-style extravaganzas.
Every year, Amusement Today hands out their Golden Ticket Awards to the best in the theme park industry. For nine years in a row, Dollywood takes home top honors for best shows in a theme park. I can’t say this about any other theme park I’ve ever been to, but you could spend an entire day at Dollywood and just experience the live entertainment and fall an entire day without setting foot on a ride. I can’t say enough amazing things about this park’s live shows.
If I had to pick a favorite show? It’s “My People”, a live music performance featuring Dolly Parton’s actual family. Dolly appears in video form to sing along with her kinfolk, but the result is one of the most genuine and charming shows I’ve seen anywhere. For the Christmas season, the family members do an entire set of Christmas songs at the end of the performance, which I had no idea was coming! It’s an unexpected surprise and that’s part of what makes Dollywood Christmas so great.
Even Dollywood’s indoor roller coaster, the classic Blazing Fury, was also adorned with Christmas lights and decked out for the holidays throughout the ride! Again, this is completely unadvertised and unannounced. If you’re a regular to Dollywood, this may be common knowledge, but for someone who doesn’t visit that often, these kinds of surprises made my entire trip!
Without question, Dollywood Christmas is going to be a new holiday tradition for my family. They really do an amazing job with decorations, live entertainment, holiday food and so much more. If you’re looking to plan your vacation, visit Dollywood.com!