It’s that time of year again, folks. Time to put up the tree, hang up the lights and plan a trip to Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas. The visit to our “winter wonderland” is an annual tradition for several families and Dollywood Season Passholders, my family included. The lights, the shows and the food all combine for what might just be my favorite festival at the park. As an employee, my love for this time of year has only grown as I have gotten to experience all of the work and planning that goes into this parkwide holiday overlay.
My favorite peek behind the Christmas curtain was my sneak peek at this year’s culinary offerings. From endless sweets to mouthwatering meals, the team at Dollywood has pulled out all the stops for the merriest time of the year. With so many festival-exclusive items, I wanted to make sure you know the best spots to get all of your Christmas cravings. Be careful though, it might be your belly—not your heart—that grows three sizes during your visit!
Front Porch Café
Front Porch is a home base of sorts for new offerings during Smoky Mountain Christmas. A three-course holiday meal is offered here every day the park is open. Get out of the winter chill and warm up inside this sit-down restaurant with a bowl of Lobster Bisque. With its rich broth and freshly-chopped lobster, this appetizer sets the stage for what’s to come. Follow it up with one of our three seasonal entrees: Creole Roasted Turkey Breast, Pork Loin with Smoked Collards and Roasted Sweet Potatoes or Braised Beef Short Ribs. A tough choice no doubt, but there is no wrong answer really. Be sure to leave room for dessert as this menu features two Christmas-inspired sweets to end the meal. Both the Eggnog Cheesecake and Molten Chocolate Lava Cake are decadent finishes to lunch/dinner. Personally, I always lean toward chocolate, but I won’t try to sway your opinion here.
Market Square BIG SKILLETS
Market Square is another great location for many new festival items. Starting on the beverage side, the quick-service booth has two new drinks. Santa’s Chilled Cocoa is a delicious chocolate and peppermint concoction, while the Fresh Cranberry Spritzer focuses more on the bubbly side on the holidays.
Now to pair those drinks with food. The guest-favorite Savory-Sausage Sandwich returns to Market Square, featuring the iconic rope Italian sausage and fresh peppers and onions on artisan bread. The Market Square Steak Sandwich will also make its debut boasting steak, caramelized onions and roasted peppers all smothered in cheddar sauce and served on a hoagie roll.
Between the Sweet Shoppe and Spotlight Bakery, Showstreet is full of the Christmas sweets you need. The Sweet Shoppe has unveiled two new ice cream options for Smoky Mountain Christmas. The Mayfield Snow Cream Ice Cream Sandwich takes the classic snow cream flavor wraps it in white chocolate, tops it with chocolate shavings and crushed peppermint then places it between two liege waffles. The shop has also added a Peppermint Milkshake topped with whipped cream and sugar cookies. If you’re wanting some warmer Christmas treats, just cross the street and head into Spotlight Bakery. The bakery is filled with specialty cookies and must-have desserts like the new Peppermint Mocha Cupcake!
But Wait, There’s More
Dollywood during Smoky Mountain Christmas is like walking through a foodie wonderland. I’ve only mentioned three locations that feature a splash of holiday cheer, there are so many more. Be on the lookout as you journey through the park or you might miss some of the best options. Splinters in Wilderness Pass will have a massive Bear Country Apple Cinnamon Funnel Cake that can feed a family of four—or one mama bear and her cub. Victoria’s Pizza is featuring a new Chorizo Flatbread that I am personally petitioning to keep on their menu year-round. Wildwood Grove is even joining in with a Hazelnut Churro at Sweets & Treats.
Holiday spirit is everywhere at Dollywood during Smoky Mountain Christmas, now through Jan. 2., 2022. From our Dollywood family to yours, Merry Christmas and happy eating!