Dollywood’s Show-stopping Season Ahead

Dollywood’s Show-stopping Season Ahead


From the African rhythms of Ladysmith Black Mambazo to the smooth moves of the Flamenco Kings, the show stopping fun at Dollywood kicks off March 17th with the annual Festival of Nations and doesn’t stop until the season ends in January 2019.   Last year, the park introduced two new rides, Dropline and Whistle Punk Chaser, while Splash Country added Tail Spin Racer.  They joined rides like Wild Eagle, Lightning Rod (the fastest wooden roller coaster in the world), and Fire Tower Falls at Dollywood's Splash Country.   Although new rides aren’t part of the mix this season, there won’t be any shortage of fun.


New and Expanded Celebrations

As if there wasn’t enough to do at Dollywood, the park is promising bigger and better festivals and events throughout the season. Show-stopping music has always been a part of the Barbeque and Bluegrass festival, featuring acts like Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Rhonda Vincent and The Rage and Dailey & Vincent.  The festival is one of the shortest at Dollywood but this year it lasts a week longer, giving people more time to savor the food and music.

Summer is always a busy time at Dollywood and throughout the years the park has expanded its offerings by staying open later and adding fireworks.  This year, the new  Summer Celebration joins the lineup.  Strike up the band and move to the beat of a different drum as the new show “Drumline” takes the stage. And light up your world with “iLuminate” a glow-in-the dark troupe featured on the show “America’s Got Talent.”


Speaking of lights, Great Pumpkin Luminights made its debut in 2017. Thousands of people packed the park each night during its first run to walk through an amazing pumpkin themed wonderland. This fall, there will be even more displays to delight the senses. Of course, this is just a small part of the annual Harvest Festival, featuring Southern Gospel music and craftsman from around the country.

The 2018 season at Dollywood wraps up with the award winning Smoky Mountain Christmas celebration. New this year is Glacier Ridge a new area of the park featuring a 60-foot tall tree providing a fully animated light show. “Christmas in the Smokies,” “It’s a Wonderful Life” and the “Parade of Many Colors” will also be back to delight audiences during the holiday season.


Quick Tips Before Coming to Dollywood

Before you come to Dollywood decide how much time you plan on spending there. During certain times of the year, there are multi-day ticket specials as well as regular promotions.  Be sure and check out .

Parking fees start at $12. (It’s free for Gold Season Pass Holders.)  One option to save a little money is to take advantage of the Pigeon Forge Trolley system. One way rides start at 50-cents and the trolley brings you right up to the gates of Dollywood, meaning you don’t have to ride the tram from your car.  There’s also a courtesy shuttle for people staying at the Dollywood DreamMore Resort.

Weekdays are usually the best times to visit, but if you can’t make it then, plan on arriving at the park early, possibly leaving during the afternoon, then come back in the evening, especially during the times when the park is open late.

Eating at the park, can be a bit pricey, but the quality of food at Dollywood is amazing. There are ways to stretch your dollar.  Aunt Granny’s and Miss Lillian’s Chicken House both provide all-you-can-eat meals.  Prices are very much in line with similar buffet restaurants outside of the  park.  Also take advantage of the refill cups if you’re going to be there all day and the same is true with the popcorn buckets.

Shows often fill up fast, so be sure and get in line early.

Be sure and check out @knoxdatyripper on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more ways to enjoy Dollywood.

My name is Clayton Hensley (a.k.a. the knoxdaytripper). Born and raised in East Tennessee (with a few years in SW Virginia), I have been traveling the backroads and hiking in the mountains for as long as I can remember. Through my writing and photography, I hope to inspire people to experience places they might not have heard about before or look at familiar places in a new light.

For more than 20-years now, my wife and I have called Clinton, TN home. We have two children who (for the most part) love to travel with us. My “real” job is working as a communications director for a large church and in what little spare time I have, I like to garden, take lots of pictures, collect Coca-Cola stuff and catch up on all those shows I miss because I’m always doing something else.

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