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Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas: America’s Best Theme Park Christmas Event

Smoky Mountain Christmas presented by Humana at Dollywood begins Nov. 6 and it will be hard not to be in the Christmas spirit when you experience all of the great Christmas decorations throughout the park! You can experience America’s Best Theme Park Christmas event Nov. 6 through Jan. 2, 2022.

The (Christmas) light shines on Smoky Mountain Christmas thanks to the glow of more than five million gleaming holiday lights, award-winning stage productions and the warm family traditions so many guests have enjoyed for more than 30 years. Dollywood is fresh off its 13th consecutive Golden Ticket award for America’s Best Theme Park Christmas event. In fact, it is the only park in the world to earn this prestigious industry honor. For us and all of our guests, Smoky Mountain Christmas always marks the beginning of the “Dolly-days.”

Lights, Lights Everywhere!

Christmas in the Smoky Mountains is a special time, and no place is better to experience it than America’s Best Theme Park Christmas Event. Dollywood guests immediately are enveloped in the illumination of five million holiday lights, which create a festive Christmas atmosphere that has become a cherished family tradition for generations during the Smoky Mountain Christmas festival. While the lighting itself remains familiar to guests, area based-themes and lighting designs throughout the park provide a sense of wonder and discovery around each turn.

Smoky Mountain Christmas, Lights

Always a guest favorite, Glacier Ridge presented by Goo Goo Cluster fills Dollywood’s Timber Canyon, Wildwood Grove, Wilderness Pass and Upper Craftsman’s Valley with an expansive arctic experience sure to inspire and delight guests. Wilderness Pass serves as one of the highlights of Glacier Ridge thanks to the Wonderful Christmas! Plaza Tree Show, which features a 50-ft. tall animated tree sparkling to life to present a fully-synchronized, dazzling light show throughout the evening.

The List!

Last year, Old Saint Nick allowed visitors to watch him hard at work in his little cabin in the woods at Dollywood. For the kids—and kids at heart—wondering what Santa is up to this year, he enjoyed his time in the Smokies so much that he has returned to his new home away from home. Most people don’t know that when he isn’t hard at work at the North Pole, Santa likes to visit East Tennessee and his great friend, Dolly! Guests who visit Santa’s cabin can literally see inside as he reviews…the list! Your kids can discover whether their name is on the naughty or nice list, and they might even have their photo made as they peer through the window during this once-in-a-lifetime chance to catch Santa at work.

Smoky Mountain Christmas, Santa

Heartwarming Christmas Shows

Dollywood’s family favorite shows will be lighting up both indoor and outdoor stages. The festival’s headline show, “Christmas in the Smokies,” has been a must-see for families every Christmas season since it began more than 30 years ago. Families also can enjoy “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” “O’ Holy Night,” “Christmas with the Kingdom Heirs,” “The Mistletones,” “Appalachian Christmas with the Smoky Mountain String Band” and more.

Smoky Mountain Christmas, Entertainment


Returning for its second year, the “Merry & Bright!” fireworks display is a sparkling ending to a cheer filled day at Dollywood. “Merry & Bright!” fills the sky above Dollywood with dazzling lights set to the rhythm of upbeat contemporary holiday hits. The show—which was only on weekends in 2020—was so popular that guests now will be able to experience it every evening of operation during the festival! Families can dance and sing along to favorite Christmas songs as the fireworks shine and shimmer above, allowing families to create one last special memory before leaving the park.

Smoky Mountain Christmas, Fireworks

Are you hungry yet?

And for those looking to celebrate the holidays with the perfect family meal, Dollywood’s team of chefs have a menu full of culinary surprises sure to delight. From creole-roasted turkey breast and smothered pork loin to braised beef short ribs and lobster bisque, a number of hearty favorites are sure to remind guests of Christmases past. A number of unique items abound including egg nog cheesecake, hazelnut churros, Santa’s chilled cocoa and more.

Smoky Mountain Christmas, Food

As always, all of Dollywood’s rides and attractions operate amidst the hustle and bustle of the park during the holidays. Nothing compares to racing quickly through the night sky with millions of lights twinkling below!

Merry Christmas!!

By | 2021-11-03T09:50:01+00:00 November 3rd, 2021|Festivals|0 Comments

About the Author:

While he is originally from Gate City, Virginia, Wes Ramey has long considered Dollywood and the Smoky Mountains region his second home. Many weekends of the year, he would travel with his parents and grandparents to the Smokies to enjoy some his favorite attractions in the area, including the Space Needle, the Gatlinburg Sky Lift, go karts, and of course, Dollywood. Based on his love as a three-year-old for Dollywood’s Convoy ride (there is a picture on his desk), Wes first told his parents he wanted to become a truck driver when he grew up. He also enjoyed the Flooded Mine because: A.) it was the only ride his mamaw was brave enough to ride, and B.) she was usually scared halfway through! When Wes isn’t working to tell people about the awesome things you can do at Dollywood with your family (scaring your grandparents doesn’t count), he enjoys spending time with his wife Lyndsey and young children. Most of his days are filled with reading Imagination Library books and baking imaginary cupcakes for tea parties, but when he has time, he enjoys anything with wheels and an engine. While Wes doesn’t own his own race car (yet), he does enjoy watching the professionals do their thing each week. For now, he fulfills his need for speed on Lightning Rod, Thunderhead, Wild Eagle and the Rockin’ Roadway!
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