At Dollywood, we’re particularly proud of our Christmas festival. It’s been around since 1990! As a publicist, it’s easy for me to talk your ear off about the many reasons you need to experience Smoky Mountain Christmas presented by Humana for yourself. But, I thought it would be more fun to ask some of my fellow hosts who have been around this park longer than I have what their favorite thing is. Specifically, I asked these hosts what is the ONE thing they look forward to doing with their families when they are off the clock and are just coming to enjoy Dollywood for festive fun.
Rick is a maintenance host at Thunderhead. He’s worked at our park for nine years. He didn’t hesitate when I asked what he loves to do with his family during Smoky Mountain Christmas: eat at Aunt Granny’s Restaurant! Rick says he usually comes with 12-14 family members and they look forward to the holiday menu at our flagship eatery. That’s the first thing they do when they arrive. Once their bellies are full, then they go enjoy some shows.
Linda works in the Dollywood Emporium. She’s been at Dollywood for 24 seasons. Her granddaughter was 3 years old when she started working at the park. I tell you that tidbit because Linda says her favorite Christmas activity is to visit Holly Jolly Junction where that very granddaughter now plays Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer! Linda says Dollywood is special to her whole family.
Jennifer is a Dollywood Marketing veteran, calling this park her home-away-from-home for the past 24 years. Our Christmas festival has been running longer than Jennifer’s tenure and that’s one reason this season is so special to her. Its familiarity is comforting and its traditions are like family. Jennifer holds Christmas in the Smokies near and dear to her heart. It’s a Dollywood original that she never tires of—and a lot of people agree because it’s still here 28 seasons later!
Marlene has worked at the park for 20 years. She’s one of the hosts who makes all of our store displays look fabulous. She rattled off a long list of things her family always looks forward to doing when they come for Smoky Mountain Christmas. The main thing, though, she said is the lights. No doubt. That’s what she and her loved ones look forward to enjoying together every year. It’s tradition! And this year we have five million twinkling lights with the addition of Glacier Ridge.
Justin has either been on stage or behind the scenes for Dollywood’s Entertainment Department for 18 years. Justin told me that he truly looks forward to simply walking into the park during Christmastime. Now that he’s a dad, there are even more elements he gets excited about. While ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas is a show he’s been close to for years, now that his own son takes pictures with the mice and lights up as they dance, Dollywood and Smoky Mountain Christmas have become even more special.