Chances are, if you’re reading this, you know that Dollywood is a special place. The Pigeon Forge theme park is an icon to its Season Passholders and annual visitors. Our dedicated hosts, quality attractions, exciting shows and decadent food all combine with our unique Dolly-inspired atmosphere to create a one-of-a-kind experience for park-goers. Now, we don’t need any awards or accolades to know that we have something special here in the Smoky Mountains, but it never hurts to get some positive feedback!
Each year, Amusement Today crowns industry leaders with their Golden Ticket Awards. The awards are some of the highest honors any theme park can achieve. While Dollywood has been making waves on this list for a while now, 2021 was a banner year for the park. There are 27 total categories and amusement/theme parks from all over the world are considered for the showcase. Dollywood achieved first place in four of these categories and finished in the top-10 in nine of them:
Best Kids Area
Wildwood Grove was awarded the title for Best Kids Area in a Theme Park. Wildwood grove has managed to take home this award every year since the new land opened. The 2019 expansion has been a fan-favorite addition to the park for both young and young-at-heart guests.
Best Christmas Event
For the 13th consecutive year, Dollywood took home the award for Best Christmas Event. Smoky Mountain Christmas has been a must-see festival at the park for more than 30 years. Dollywood is the sole winner of this award from Amusement Today and anyone who has seen the park illuminated in more than 5-million lights, the incredible holiday shows and tasted the special menu items is sure to understand why!
Best Guest Experience
This award is likely the most appreciated achievement for Dollywood and its staff. Taking care of our guests and their families is the first priority for anyone working with Dollywood Parks & Resorts. We are fortunate to have some of the best hosts in the world who work hard to make each guest have a special experience. To be recognized for that internationally is a great achievement.
Most Beautiful Park
Dollywood is nestled in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, one of the most visited National Parks in the country. The beauty of these hills and mountains is carried into the front gates and throughout the park. Our expertly-themed areas and handsomely-kept grounds fold into the natural landscape, creating a stunning experience during every season.
Other Top-10 Finishes:
Dollywood came in second overall for Best Theme Park. To decide the winner, industry insiders examine all parks across the world and takes into consideration every aspect of a visit.
Our culinary team is proud to have achieved second overall placement in the Best Theme Park Food category. With landmark eateries like Aunt Granny’s Restaurant and seasonal favorites during each of our festivals, it is easy to see why Dollywood is a theme park leader in the category.
Best New Show
Sweet Summer Nights Drone and Fireworks show was a breathtaking experience when it debuted alongside our Summer Celebration Festival in 2021. The large-scale nightly production took the podium in third place for Best New Theme Park Show. Look for this show to get even bigger and better with a new installment for the 2022 season!
Best Steel Coaster
Lightning Rod has been a coaster enthusiast’s dream since debuting in 2016. The high speeds and more than twenty seconds of airtime are just some of the reasons the roadster landed at seventh place in the world for Best Steel Coaster. (Note: you may recall, Lightning Rod debuted as a wooden coaster. With track improvements this hybrid thrill ride includes both a wood stack “Topper Track” and a steel “Ibox” track atop a massive wooden frame.)
Best Wood Coaster
Thunderhead has been a long-time favorite for Dollywood park goers. The 3,000 plus feet of wooden track combine for 22 turns and 32 crossovers. The “Wildest Ride in the Woods” finished in 10th place for “Best Wood Coaster” in the world.
While these awards are fantastic, and we are honored to have been granted these distinctions by theme park experts, they aren’t the focus. Dollywood was created to bring families and guests together, to be a place where worries take a back seat on the train. Those goals are the focus as we keep expanding and crafting more experiences. The next time you are in the Smoky Mountains or looking for a theme park experience, check out Dollywood, our peer reviews are pretty promising.