Ever wonder what it’s like to be in a Dollywood commercial or even meet Dolly herself? My girls did BOTH on a rainy Saturday in May and here’s what happened!
If you know me at all, you know my heart was bursting with pride when I got an email asking if my girls would be interested in being extras in a commercial to be filmed at Dollywood. Believe it or not, I DID ask them if they wanted to do it before I replied “YES YES YES!”
You see, I’ve been a Dollywood super fan since I was a little girl. My family has always grown up going to Dollywood, I’ve been a Dollywood season passholder since I can remember, and my girls love it as much as I do. In fact, ask any of the 3 of us girls in the family where our favorite place in the world is and you’ll likely hear the same response “the beach and Dollywood”!
So, when the girls were asked to be extras, I was excited to vicariously live through them. [Side note: On that day, I quickly realized just how easy it would be to become a stage Mom.]
We all said yes and then came a really exciting response – the commercial would be set up like a kids press conference with Dolly herself! We were all SO excited, but I kept talking to them about expectations and not to get their hopes up too high as things can get changed or cancelled. I think I did it more for my sake than theirs.
The day finally came to head to Dollywood for the commercial shoot and wouldn’t you know that it was pouring down rain, but we certainly didn’t let it dampen our spirits… maybe our clothes a bit, but not our spirits.
We headed into the closed auditorium and took our seats. We had been told that the process can take awhile and can be a little boring between things so we brought a few toys. Turns out, it DOES take a long time to shoot a small commercial and Sophia will be happy to tell you all about how they had to do things over and over.
The first part of the process was the kids were given lines to read. Much to our surprise Sophia was the second one picked to read a question on stage.
Did that mean she would get to ask Dolly the question?!
We were excited and didn’t know for sure, but she headed up on stage to sit with the “press”.
After about 30 minutes or so of this process, I saw a van pull up to the back door of the theater. Now, I’ve been to a lot of Dollywood events as a former Dollywood Insider, so I knew exactly who was in it. But, this event was different. Normally I would be trying to get as many photos as I could of Dolly, but in this private, intimate setting, it felt different. Yes, there was a buzz in the air because… well, DOLLY, but it was a buzz about the kiddos too. It was an exciting day for all of them.
When Dolly came in, it was unlike any other time I had ever seen her. Her focus wasn’t on talking to the cameras or waving at a crowd, it was totally on the kids. She talked to them with eye contact, joking and just being Dolly but in a such a lovely way that I felt completely honored to see.
I wasn’t on stage with Sophia so I wasn’t able to really experience it myself, but that made it even better for my girls. They experienced Dolly themselves. It was magical to watch. My heart swelled with pride to see my girls on stage with my ultimate role model and idol.
Sophia DID get to ask Dolly a question. Her card read something like this “I’ve heard rumors of bottomless ice cream. True or False?” And Dolly’s response was fantastic and in a way, mentioned me, I might add. Hey, this was my girls’ day, but I still wanted in on it too! She responded with something to the effect like ‘But you’ll still have to eat your broccoli too – I bet I sound like your Mama!’ Yes, Dolly, you did!
The plan, as it seemed, was for about 7 kids to ask Dolly a question and then something else would happen. Well, those 7, who had already been selected to answer their pre-written questions, did so, but then Dolly said “Does anyone else have a question?” Those little hands shot right up! One child asked if she ever met Elvis another asked what her favorite Dollywood ride was and so on and so on.
Dolly let every single kid on the stage ask her a question.
This kind lady, who was on her 3rd day of press and appearances surrounding the opening of Wildwood Grove, stood on the stage and listened to every child who wanted to talk to her. It was beautiful, so incredibly kind, and reminded me exactly why I’ve always loved her.
I don’t mention Moreaya being on the stage because she was held back with another little boy. They were supposed to get to ask a question too, but something happened and they didn’t get to. It was fine, a little oversight that no one minded, but I have to tell you. When we finished with the commercial shoot I asked Moreaya if she was able to ask Dolly any question, what would she ask her… her response melted me. She said “I was gonna ask her if she would take a picture with my Mama.” Cue happy tears. That’s my little Mo, always thinking of someone else.
Once Dolly was finished with questions she posed with all the children for a picture. All the while, chatting with them while they were getting into place. I can easily see why she’s known as Aunt Granny to all her nieces and nephews. This picture is going to be one of my favorites for a very long time.
Once Dolly’s portion of the commercial was finished, the kids sat back on the stage and re-read their questions. They practiced raising their hands, writing in their press notebooks, and clapping.
When I asked the girls about the experience once it was over, Sophia was quick to point out how hard of work it was and how many times they had to repeat things for different angles of the camera. Moreaya was all smiles. While Sophia is definitely a Dolly fan, she has seen her before in concert. This was a first for Moreaya and she took it ALL in.
To say this was one of the most exciting days for me is definitely true, but it was so exciting because my girls let me share it WITH THEM.
While I called this a Dollywood commercial, it actually wasn’t. It’s a part of the Kid Reviewed campaign for TNVacation.com and it turned out beautiful! You can watch the video on YouTube or below. As far as I know it’s a web-based advertisement so you might just see it turn up when you watch something online.
I also said that my girls got to meet Dolly and while that technically might not be true, they did get a picture. Sophia also was able to ask her a question and while it didn’t make the commercial edit, it’ll be a lasting memory for her forever!
Here’s the commercial!
Be sure to let me know what you think and if you spot my girls!
You can see them both a few times in the background!
You can see even more about this experience at the Dollywood Blog [and you might see the girls in a picture there too]!