You blink and it’s gone. Summer is almost gone! How did that happen? [How does it ever happen??] Okay, here’s what you need to do: be truly intentional with your time over the next six weeks and you still have the opportunity to squeeze out every drop of fun in the sunshine that you can. And so you don’t forget anything, I’m listing all the Dollywood must-experience things to do before the summer season ends!
Dollywood’s summer festivities run through Aug. 6. That means you need to get to the park before then to experience 12-hour days (10 a.m. – 10 p.m.) of seasonal entertainment, nightly fireworks and world-class attractions.
Gazillion Bubble Show is a guest favorite for good reason—it’s fun, awe-inspiring, energetic, and unlike any other show you will ever see. Deni Yang is a bubble artist in every sense of the word. He performs at least three times a day (check the show schedule), six days a week (he takes Mondays off). Don’t neglect to check this off your summer bucket list.
The Little Engine Playhouse is also at Dollywood through Aug. 6. If you have young kids, this should be included on your must-see list. It’s Children’s Theater that features three books from Imagination Library—a wonderful program that sends my little boy a free book in the mail every month. This summer, you can see Pretend, Coat of Many Colors, and The Little Engine That Could—all in one day! These shows are engaging and designed with kids in mind—i.e., they are only about 15 minutes long and are full of song and dance with colorful characters.
Here’s a no-brainer: our fireworks show, Dolly’s Nights of Many Colors. You can see this sky spectacle synced to music written and performed by our very own Dolly every night at 9:30 p.m. It’s the way you WANT to end your Dollywood day. Best places to watch: Timber Canyon, Wilderness Pass, Country Fair in front of Grandstand Café, Adventures in Imagination between Dolly’s Closet and Dreamsong Theater, and Showstreet in front of the Southern Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame.
Also, to savor summer, I’d go ahead and get one more ride in on the water attractions—Mountain Slidewinder, Daredevil, Smoky Mountain River Rampage, and the splash pads in Owens Farm and Wilderness Pass. (Some of these will continue operation a little while longer, but, go ahead! Do EVERYTHING that reminds you of summer entertainment!)
Remember, our world-class rides like Drop Line, Lightning Rod, and Wild Eagle aren’t going anywhere. And our award-winning entertainment including Dreamland Drive-In, Country Crossroads, My People!, Live at the Back Porch and our Smoky Mountain String Band will still be performing after Aug. 6, so make the above list your priorities to enjoy before they’re gone!
Meanwhile, Dollywood’s Splash Country is open through Labor Day (Sept. 4)—and they’ve even added a few weekdays to the calendar (Aug. 22, 24, 29, 31) to help you maximize opportunities to enjoy every last summer moment. Have you raced down the water park’s newest slide, TailSpin Racer yet? It’s a five-story family racing complex your crew will love. Be sure to get there this season to enjoy it in its inaugural year. Also, I encourage you to get to Splash Country to enjoy a BeaverTail—a hand-stretched pastry topped with your choice of decadent options like chocolate hazelnut spread, Reese’s Pieces, or classic cinnamon and sugar. If you get a hankering for one during Splash Country’s off-season, your closest option is Canada—so, get your fill now!
Speaking of Labor Day weekend, need plans? Dollywood is hosting some of the hottest names in Christian music for our Rock the Smokies festival on Saturday, Sept. 2. Mac Powell of Third Day and Casting Crowns will headline. Plus, your ticket to the concert includes admission to Dollywood!
Finally, as you consider your calendar availability, know that Dollywood also has some great lodging deals for some end-of-summer savings: stay at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa for up to 20% off, or stretch out in one of Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Cabins when you stay 4, pay 3! This could be a great opportunity for a long weekend.
This is a good start for your last-summer-hurrah-planning. The question is, what will you check off first?