A Family Guide to Dollywood for the Holidays

Picture your family taking a stroll through a scenic, wintry wonderland where all the lovely, quaint buildings are covered with twinkling lights and the scents of freshly baked holiday treats linger in the air. The majestic Smoky Mountains can be seen in the distance, and the sounds of glee are all around, reminding you of all the fun things you can choose to do next. That’s just the start of experiencing Dollywood for the Holidays.

A Family Christmas at Dollywood

Holidays at Dolly Parton’s iconic theme park are full of fun and festive wonder. With over five million lights twinkling throughout Dollywood during the holiday season, it’s a bright and beautiful place to experience a traditional Smoky Mountain Christmas vacation with your family. 

DreamMore Resort

Fun Things For Families to Do at Dollywood

All Aboard the Dollywood Express

Start by taking kids on the Dollywood Express. During the day, savor the views on a five-mile ride through the stunning foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. At night, delight in the gorgeous holiday light displays that you’ll see on the journey. 

Go for a Ride (or Dozens)

Most of Dollywood’s rides and attractions are open during the holiday festivities, so you can count on enjoying dozens of rides and attractions. There is no view of the holiday lights of Dollywood quite like seeing them as you soar past at 81 feet in the air on the Barnstormer thrill ride. The Dragonflier is a fun romp on a giant dragonfly’s wings. Drop Line takes riders 20 stories above Dollywood’s Timber Canyon, and its drop will satisfy any need for speed.

Fun tip for the rides: Dollywood has a parent swap option for families with small children. 

The whole family can wait in line together, then one parent can accompany the kids on the ride. When they’re through, the other parent gets to then ride without waiting in line again. Children love this feature since, for many of the rides, they get to ride an attraction twice! 

Also, Dollywood is designed for parents and kids with a Baby Care Center that has a private area and changing stations, and nursing stations are located throughout the park. 

Dollywood Twas the Night Before Christmas

Must-See Dollywood Holiday Events

The holiday season at Dollywood is one big festival with special programming that’s meant wow each guest. 

Christmas Fireworks in the Park

Dollywood’s Christmas-themed “Merry & Bright!” fireworks display will light up the sky with a special show set to the rhythm of contemporary holiday music. Families are encouraged to dance and sing along to the show that will be held every night the park is open this holiday season.

Old Saint Nick’s Cabin 

Dollywood handled the pandemic predicament of visits with Santa in an innovative, fun way. The tradition continues this year! Children can visit Santa Claus at his little cabin within Dollywood. They can see inside the cabin as Santa reviews his Naughty or Night list. For an added bit of fun, kids can check to see which list they are on while they are there. They will also have their photo made as they peer through the window during this rare chance to see Santa Claus at work.

Live Christmas Shows

This year, there will be nine special shows going on through early November to January 2, 2022. If you are a Dolly fan, don’t miss Heart of the Holidays in DreamSong Theater. This year it will feature Dolly Parton’s niece Jada and her cousin Shelley! They will perform some of Dolly’s personal favorite Christmas songs and tunes off her album A Holly Dolly Christmas. 

The holiday festival’s headline show, Christmas in the Smokies, has been a must-see for families for over 30 years now. Also popular area Twas the Night Before Christmas, O’ Holy Night, and The Mistletones, among other seasonal shows. Every show at Dollywood was created for children, parents, and grandparents to all enjoy together. 

Choose a Custom-Made Souvenir

What better way to remember your vacation than with a souvenir that you helped choose and create as a family? Dozens of artisans at Dollywood make a wide variety of crafts and collectibles, so it’s easy to find something meaningful. Woodcarvers can make something as elaborate as fireplace mantles and even personalized baseball bats. Blacksmiths can make hand-forged steel items, including personalized family signs. 

Dollywood Lodge

Best Places to Stay at Dollywood

Choosing from Dollywood’s two lodging options is best for a seamless experience and a lot of extra holiday fun! 

Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort & Spa

Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort & Spa is a continuation of the theme park in style, spirit, and a high level of customer service. It also offers a complimentary trolley to take guests to and from the theme park as often as they’d like each day, which is handy if you’re traveling with young children who do best with naps and breaks from all the theme park excitement. 

The resort is decorated in grand style like the theme park. It has a two-story Christmas tree and grand décor inspired by Dolly’s own Smoky Mountain Christmases. There’s a lighted Christmas tree show in the pool complex and wreaths hung all along the outside of the resort. Also, if you have the budget for it, you can choose a special package to have your room decorated for the holidays, too, complete with a decorated Christmas tree and a letter from Santa Claus.

Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Cabins

Dollywood also has comfortable, cozy Smoky Mountain cabins that are picture-perfect for a winter stay. They’re a short drive from Dollywood, and they have awe-inspiring views of the Great Smoky Mountains. A lot of them have fully equipped kitchens, fireplaces, in-home theaters, and a children’s playground. Grown-ups can enjoy relaxing in Jacuzzis and hot tubs. 

You can see the special holiday-themed fireworks show from a lot of the cabins, and guests who have a ticket to Dollywood are also given priority access to the park, early admission to a ride on Saturday morning, and free parking. 

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