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Everything to Get You Ready for the Dollywood Christmas Festival: TIPS from an Insider!

There are big things coming to the Smoky Mountains just in time for the Holidays. Don’t miss out on all these great Dollywood Christmas Events!

If you live in the Southeast or are planning a trip to the Smoky Mountains in the next couple of months, you’re in luck. While I love warmer months, the beautiful decorations, lights, and sounds of the season make November and December one of the best times to visit the area, especially my favorite… Dollywood!

©Curtis Hilbun/Dollywood

Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas presented by Humana, kicks off on November 9th and is one of the world’s premier theme park events. The festival has been nominated as part of USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice travel awards for Best Theme Park Holiday Event. 

Smoky Mountain Christmas already has won the 2019 Golden Ticket award from Amusement Today for Best Theme Park Christmas Event in the world, an award the festival has earned for 12 consecutive years. In fact, Dollywood is the only park in the world to ever win the award.

Here are all the great things that are happening, thanks to Dollywood Christmas festivities!

©Curtis Hilbun/Dollywood

Dollywood Christmas Lights

The Christmas lights at Dollywood are bigger, better, brighter and MORE every year. This year there are over 5 million lights to walk through this year!

A couple of my absolute favorite light displays are Glacier Ridge, which you’ll find if you turn left after entering Dollywood and head up the hill towards Wild Eagle. You also want to be sure to see the light show in The Plaza with the huge music and light show with the huge Christmas Tree.

Dollywood Christmas Hours

Dollywood’s Christmas Festival, Smoky Mountain Christmas, begins on November 9th and runs through January 4th. The park is closed a few random days during the festival, mainly Monday and Tuesdays, and also on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Be sure to check their website for specific dates and hours. Each day the park is open it does close late, at 9pm, so plenty of time to walk through the amazing light displays.

Dollywood Christmas Parade

If you’re staying late, you don’t want to miss the nightly light parade, Parade of Many Colors, an exciting holiday tradition which begins at 8:15 p.m. nightly on operating days. The Parade of Many Colors includes vibrant floats, interactive characters and a number of other surprises sure to inspire guests with its heart-warming message.

Want to know the best place to see the parade? Head over and have dinner at the Front Porch Cafe, one of our family’s favorite restaurants on park, and you can enjoy the parade from the warm indoors! 

Dollywood Christmas Tickets

There’s no better time to visit Dollywood than under the twinkling lights. AND there’s no better time to buy a Dollywood Season Pass because if you buy NOW, you’ll get the whole season of 2020 free! Get all the details and learn how you can purchase on a 9 month payment plan + get bring-a-friend-free passes too, here.

Dollywood Christmas Hotel

Dollywood DreamMore Resort Snow

It’s also a fabulous time to stay at the DreamMore Resort. If you think Dollywood is beautiful during Christmastime, you have to see DreamMore. I wrote an entire post about why you should visit DreamMore during the winter and with the perks you’ll receive during the Christmas season, like free trolley rides to Dollywood and Time-Saver passes, it’s a great time to stay. 

New Shows for Dollywood Christmas

Since the weather is so cold during Smoky Mountain Christmas, it’s a great time to actually go inside and stay warm while watching amazing holiday shows. Some of our family’s favorites are back this year – Christmas in the Smokies, It’s a Wonderful Life, and ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, with even more.

Be sure to download the Dollywood app so you can see the daily show schedule.

And no visit to Dollywood during cold weather is complete without a loaf of Cinnamon Bread and a mug of hot chocolate! Be sure to add a visit to The Grist Mill to your family’s traditions!

More Amazing Dollywood Christmas Activities

– Light the Way 5K

Whether you run or walk, you HAVE to do the Light the Way 5K at least once. My husband and I did it a few of years ago and had fun, even though it was only 18 degrees! Brrr! You’ll run or walk amidst the park’s 5 million Christmas lights. It’s truly a one-of-a-kind event!

In addition to the beauty of the event, proceeds go for a great cause. The event benefits Keep Sevier Beautiful (KSB) and the Share It Forward (SIF) program at Dollywood.  KSB, an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, is a volunteer-based organization which focuses on waste reduction/recycling, litter prevention and beautifying public spaces through education and community based programs. 

KSB’s goal is to protect the natural beauty of the area that millions of visitors come to see each year.  SIF is a non-profit charity established for the purpose of raising and using funds to assist The Dollywood Company employees and their families in times of need.

The program is funded through employee donations which are matched dollar for dollar by The Dollywood Company and, up to specified limits, by the shareholders of Herschend Family Entertainment, the park’s operating partner.

The race will be held on Friday, November 15th. Registration and race day fee is $50. You can register in advance here and you may want to hurry as only 2,019 runners will be allowed.

Netflix Premiere: Heartstrings

With the HUGE successes of previous Christmas specials and Dumplin’ on Netflix, Dolly has created a new series with the on-demand streaming service called “Heartstrings”, which will premiere on November 22nd. Instead of movies this time, the series will feature 8 stand-alone episodes based on some of Dolly’s most iconic songs. 

Christmas Dinner Shows in Pigeon Forge

While Dolly Parton’s Stampede and Pirate’s Voyage are two of the most popular dinner shows in town, there are others you should add to your calendar to see in November and December too! Each of those have a special holiday themed show, as well as Hatfield and McCoy and Smoky Mountain Opry! 

There you have it – tons of info on how to spend the best time of the year… Dollywood at Christmas!

What’s your favorite Dollywood Christmas Event?


Deborah D

Sunday 26th of February 2017

I want to go to Dollywood so bad. My cousin went and loved it.

Bryan Vice

Sunday 27th of November 2016

Never been to Dollywood at Christmas but would love to take my family sometime


Thursday 3rd of November 2016

I love love love Dollywood at Christmastime!! I can't wait to get see it all lit up! I want to go to the Christmas of Many Colors premiere but hubby is having back surgery that day. :o( Jokingly told him I was gonna drug him up and then take the girls. He was totally on board!

My girls have done Dixie Stampede & Lumberjack Adventure but I haven't had a chance yet. Hopefully we can go soon!!