My parents started bringing me to Dollywood before I can even remember. I’ve visited during the spring, during the summer, during the fall—and when Dollywood started putting up Christmas lights in 1990—during the winter. With as much fun as I’ve had, and with as many memories as I’ve made, there still is no time of the year I enjoy this place more than I do at Christmas.
As I noted in an earlier blog, we take our Smoky Mountain Christmas festival very seriously. The lighting crew starts putting up four million Christmas lights in July. Our Foods Team creates special items for the festival—you need to try 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. The Parade of Many Colors caps off the evening perfectly, and kids can meet Santa and share their wish list.
With the festive Christmas environment, it should come as no surprise that our Entertainment Team has some of the best holiday shows you’ll find anywhere in the world. That is a true statement and not exaggeration. Dollywood earned its ninth consecutive Golden Ticket Award for Best Shows this season, but hey, who’s counting?
Here is a look at what you can enjoy this year:
The headline show during Smoky Mountain Christmas has been part of the annual festival since it began in 1990. Christmas in the Smokies returned to its traditional home in D.P.’s Celebrity Theater last season and audiences continue to rave about its classic holiday spirit. 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!
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.
‘Twas the Night Before Christmas is a cheerful tale that sees a family find its own Christmas miracle—with the help of a mysterious, white-bearded stranger. You’ll also experience dancing mice, singing sailors and a whole lot of magic.
In O’ Holy Night, a little girl looks for an angel, while three shepherds follow a star. In the end, they all find the meaning of Christmas.
My People features members of Dolly’s family—including her brother Randy—tell the story of her trip to stardom through songs she wrote about growing up in East Tennessee. This show is always a must-see, but during Christmas it is even more fun with a number of great holiday songs included. Let me tell you; Dolly isn’t the only one in the family who can sing!
Dollywood’s own Southern gospel group, The Kingdom Heirs, provide an upbeat take on the holidays with a number of Christmas hymns and songs to keep your spirit soaring during Christmas with The Kingdom Heirs. An Appalachian Christmas features our house bluegrass band, the Smoky Mountain String Band, playing the classic holiday tunes we all know and love with a traditional Appalachian sound.
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.
As you can see, there are plenty of opportunities to make great Christmas memories with your family. I know I still hold close the ones I’ve spent with my family at Dollywood during Christmas, and I know you will too!