Dollywood’s Product and Planning team had a great idea for our summer festival this year: we’ve activated the whole park to immerse you in a nostalgic summer vacation. Remember family road trips with roadside attractions? There are PLENTY of “stops” to pull off and explore throughout your journey at Dollywood this summer. This blog won’t even touch the rides and attractions that are always available, and I think your day is going to be pretty darn full!
Umbrella Sky has been such a treat, we can’t get enough of overhead décor. If you were able to visit us during Smoky Mountain Christmas last year, you saw that Showstreet was adorned by bells. Now for summer, we get to enjoy Kite Sky through Aug. 7. The tails of the brightly-colored kites dance in the wind and create another whimsical photo opp.
Eyes will be drawn upward again as guests stroll through the top of Craftsman’s Valley: Noodle Takeover is a dazzling array of a thousand suspended pool noodles hanging from the summer sky. This vibrant visual will be suspended in the same area as Smoky Mountain Christmas’ Northern Lights.
Giant Spinning Tops
Wildwood Grove presents another unique “Instagram-worthy” photo opportunity with a handful of Giant Spinning Tops! The tops are woven together with brightly-colored fabrics and provide comfortable seating for multiple guests at once. This art installation, called Los Trompos, was created by Esrawe + Cadena. Take a seat—or a spin—and snap a picture of this playful roadside attraction.
Temporarily replacing the rocking chairs across from Valley Theater, bright yellow lounge chairs sit facing each other to inspire face-to-face conversation, giggles and memories.
Wrapped Trees and Summer Flowers
Even the trees in The Village and Rivertown Junction are getting special attention this summer! Look for bright and engaging colors wrapping trees, giving this portion of the park vibrant elements for all to enjoy.
Throughout the whole property, the Landscaping team has planted pops of summer color with black-eyed Susans, blue salvias, marigolds, dusty millers and border grasses. I hope you notice the beauty in the details. Our teams work hard to earn that Most Beautiful Park title.
Stretch and Play
Bubble Foam Zone
In Wilderness Plaza, the unique Bubble Foam Zone has already become a favorite of our roadside attractions. This special foam party invites kids and kids at heart to let loose. (Hey, mamas! There’s a designated area for smaller kids to join in on the bubble fun!) This area offers an inclusive, sensory-friendly experience for all to enjoy. The foam is created with non-toxic soap, and a Dollywood host has a finger on the button to create more bubbles at any point. If there’s high demand for this experience, there will be a time limit so that more people can get in and play. (Otherwise, I say let your little ones run out alllll the energy in this contained location!) There is a place to rinse off when you’re done. I highly recommend a change of clothing for this roadside attraction. The hours of operation for this spot are noon – 6 p.m. I encourage you to be sure to work this in. It’s a do-not-miss!
Parachute Play Party
Since I mentioned nostalgia, how about some throwback games? Do kids still play with parachutes in gym class? Man, those were the best days. We have some organized parachute play that happens from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day during Smoky Mountain Summer Celebration. I love that it’s located outside Heartsong Theater because you can take your preschoolers to enjoy The Imagination Playhouse shows (“Violet the Pilot”, “Coat of Many Colors” and “The Little Engine That Could”) and play some parachute games in between!
Jumbo Backyard Games
Similarly, there are large games to pause and enjoy as you’re making your way through the theme park. Whether you just pull and place one Jenga block and continue on your way, or you stop to play a full corn hole set, there’s friendly competition to be had! Near Tennessee Tornado, families can challenge one another to jumbo rounds of Tic-Tac-Toe, Jenga and Connect 4. By Blazing Fury, players can show off their corn hole skills. Between Old Flames Candles and Hickory House BBQ’s outdoor seating, guests can enjoy a rousing game of Hook and Ring. These Jumbo Backyard Games create giant fun and special memories for the whole family.
Food Truck Neighborhood
In addition to all of Dollywood’s dining locations, we’ve added a Food Truck Neighborhood in the Adventures in Imagination area of the park. Sit at a picnic table and try something new! There will be a rotation of offerings throughout the summer.
BUSHS® Bean Can
Who doesn’t enjoy a good roadside attraction that beckons you to stop the car, stretch your legs and capture a silly moment? We love our partner BUSHS® Beans! Gather the family around a get a picture with the world’s largest bean can—it’s baked beans. Doesn’t that just scream summertime picnics? While you won’t be eating at this particular stop, you can enjoy BUSHS® products at locations like Miss Lillian’s Smokehouse, Granny Ogle’s Ham N Beans, Front Porch Café and Hickory House BBQ.
Summer Tasting Pass
Dollywood’s culinary team is on a roll! The best way to sample all the featured seasonal items is with the Summer Tasting Pass (try up to five festival foods for $34.99). From peaches and cream cupcakes and s’mores funnel cakes to savory options like Southern fried corn, cheese empanadas and pork belly on a stick, the tasting pass offers great value. We encourage you to bond over a love of treats and eats at Dollywood this summer!
Sweet Summer Nights
Much to the delight of guests, Sweet Summer Nights returns this year – bigger, better and brighter than when we introduced this drone and fireworks show in 2021! To get the celebration started, guests have a nightly opportunity to show off their dancing skills with the return of our exciting dance party, featuring dancers, pickup trucks and even a DJ. Then, the show in the sky begins!
Five hundred drones then spread across the sky over Wildwood Grove to deliver a synchronized performance to an upbeat summer playlist, coupled with a dazzling fireworks display. This summer’s show features the addition of even more drones and fireworks to elevate the celebration to a new level. Full of surprises, Sweet Summer Nights features all-new sights for families to enjoy together. Each evening, the dance party starts at 8:45 p.m. and again at 9:15 p.m. before the fireworks and drone show begins at 9:40 p.m. Seeing pictures and videos is great, but it truly is one of those experiences that you just have to see in person.
Gazillion Bubble Show Aurora
Returning to Dollywood for the first time since 2017, the Gazillion Bubble Show is back to deliver a mesmerizing burst of excitement. The show takes up residence in DP’s Celebrity Theater for the festival’s entirety. The runtime for the performance is 40-45 minutes. People of all ages love this performance. Check the daily schedule for show times!
Hydro Jive Junction
In Jukebox Junction, “Hydro Jive Junction” features a musical maintenance worker trying to repair a fire hydrant. Dancing ensues as the fire hydrant turns into a refreshing sprinkler for guests to enjoy, as the casts sings and dances to familiar favorites such as “Singing in the Rain” and “Splish Splash.” “Hydro Jive Junction” has six performances daily, so there are plenty of opportunities to get refreshed at one of these unique performances where splashing and laughing are highly encouraged!
In Market Square, you will find a fountain made from garden hoses. This unique element makes for another spot to cool off, as well as serving as the centerpiece for the show “Liquid Beats.” This interactive performance brings together dozens of garden hoses to create a fountain that delivers bursts of cooling excitement. During “Liquid Beats,” a landscaping-themed percussion troupe maintains the natural beauty of the Smokies, as they share their talents. Our musical gardeners deliver summer energy with a fun performance to fill Market Square with the sounds of percussion. “Liquid Beats” has four performances daily.