It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! No, seriously, it really is. If you happen to visit Dollywood in the latter days of summer, you’ll notice the sounds of staple guns, the clanging of ladders and Dollywood elves (we like to call them the “lighting bugs”) scurrying around getting the park ready for our annual Smoky Mountain Christmas festival.
But the Christmas festival doesn’t begin until Nov. 4 you say. Yes, you are correct. However, Dollywood is the ten-time winner for Best Christmas event at any theme park in the WORLD. To ensure that kind of tradition continues, we make sure we do things a bit differently than other events. For example, we hang four million Christmas lights throughout the park, creating a winter wonderland unlike anything else. To put up that many lights, we have to start in late July just to make sure we have them all up in time!
Our lighting team takes great pride in their work and they painstakingly hang the lights so they are perfect for our guests. When you visit the park at Christmas, walk up to one of the buildings decorated with lights and you’ll notice a staple between each light. You’ll also see the lights are all pointed in the same direction and follow the intricate details of the siding on the building to which they are attached. I love walking up Showstreet to admire how they bring out the most complex details in the buildings’ facades.
To ensure the guest experience is not impacted by the work, employees work mainly during the evenings to hang the lights. You will see employees scattered throughout the park during operating hours, as well, but they usually are working off the beaten path and out of the way. They’ll work this way for weeks as they race to put up so many twinkling lights. When the park is closed in August and September, the team brings in lifts to reach higher areas which are inaccessible to them when the park is open.
Christmas lights aren’t the only thing we do big at Christmas though! While basking in the glow of four million lights, guests can find Rudolph and his friends at Holly Jolly Junction, take a festive ride on the Dollywood Express or visit the many shops and craftsmen to find special and unique gifts, like a make-your-own glass Christmas ornament from the Mountain Blown Glass shop. Smoky Mountain Christmas has become a family tradition for thousands of families because of the special atmosphere you can only find here!
If you’ve never visited Dollywood during this special time of year, make sure you join us for this season’s festival. Thousands of hours go in to making our Christmas event so spectacular. We’re ready to host you—we already have Christmas specials available for early planners at both our resort and cabins. Hurry! Book your visit before the end of July to get in on these discounts.