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Family getaway with holiday magic, Dolly-style sparkle

by Staff

Located in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains, Dollywood, the famed theme park inspired by country music legend Dolly Parton, is a popular go-to for families looking for a special holiday getaway. With its spectacular lights, festive décor, iconic rides, award-winning shows, and family-friendly atmosphere, it’s easy to see why so many have made Dollywood a Christmas tradition.   

Lindsay Powers grew up going to Dollywood and has continued the tradition with her own family, husband Church, and 9-year-old daughter Milly.  

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“We usually go to Dollywood once a year, during my daughter’s fall break or around Christmas,” says Powers, a Bristol, Tennessee native. “We stay about two nights, and my parents, Renny and Linda King, who still live in Bristol, join us for the weekend. 

“Because of its location in the Tennessee mountains, Dollywood doesn’t necessarily feel like a theme park,” Powers says. “And during the holidays, Dollywood is everything magical. Rides, games, shows, concerts, and shopping, there’s something for every member of the family.” 

Grab a cup of warm apple cider and stroll through the park on walkways lined with Christmas trees and illuminated by 6 million colorful lights. Browse the artisan area for unique holiday gifts and enjoy live demonstrations by local master crafters showcasing hand-blown glass, blacksmithing, and more. At Santa’s cabin workshop, kids can watch Santa in action. 

For thrill-seekers, Dollywood offers more than 50 rides.  

“If you love roller coasters, the Wild Eagle is one of the best,” says Powers. “It’s so smooth and feels like you are flying through the sky. The Dollywood Express Train is also a staple. It’s an authentic, 110-ton coal-fired steam engine that takes you on a five-mile journey through the park.” 

From country and classic rock to special holiday performances, you’ll find all types of music playing on both indoor and outdoor stages.  

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“I also loved Dolly’s Museum, which tells her life story through awards, clothing, photos, and memorabilia,” Powers says. 

A highlight of Dollywood’s holiday festival is theChristmas tree show, which features a 50-ft. animated tree and has a synchronized light show and immersive snow finale.   

“Everyone working there is so helpful and nice and happy you are there, which adds to the experience,” says Powers. “You can tell that Dolly has had an impact on them and the community.” 

Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas runs through Jan. 6, 2024. For more info, visit Dollywood.com 

INSIDER TIPS

Lindsay Powers shares the following helpful tips for visiting Dollywood: 

  • Stay at Dollywood. Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa and the new HeartSong Lodge and Resort are popular for their amenities, convenient location, and exclusive perks. “By staying on the property, you can take the shuttle to and from the park. Resort guests also get TimeSaver passes, which get you in front of the line faster.” 
  • Dine at the new HeartSong Lodge and Resort. ”The food is the best around, and the bar area is fun and has good cocktails.” 
  • Don’t miss the world-famous Grist Mill cinnamon bread. ”It’s to die for! Another perk of staying on the property is that you can avoid the park lines and have the cinnamon bread delivered right to your room.” 
  • Dress for cold weather. ”It’s cold in the mountains, especially at night.”  
  • Play all the games. ”You will come home with a million stuffed animals, but it’s awesome, and your family will love it!” 
  • Download the Dollywood app. ”The app is the best way to find out about daily activities, show times, and snow events.”  

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