Dollywood

Dollywood at Christmas, your guide to this year’s festival [2022]

Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas event is a favorite for Dolly Parton, who enjoys bringing families together for a magical holiday celebration each year.

The Dollywood crew traditionally works behind the scenes beginning mid-June, stringing lights on days when the park is closed, overnights and early mornings.

The park usually closes for about a week after the Great Pumpkin LumiNights and Harvest Festival event to transition into a winter wonderland overflowing with holiday lights.

It’s no easy feat hanging up over 6 million Christmas lights while simultaneously preparing for other seasonal events and offering park-goers an uninterrupted experience.

The entire process takes almost 5 months from start to finish each year.

building and hung christmas lights at dollywood
Dollywood will soon be illuminated with millions of Christmas lights (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

Is Dollywood open on Thanksgiving and Christmas?

Dollywood will reopen on Nov. 5, 2022 to kick off the Christmas season with its Smoky Mountain Christmas event, presented by Humana.

The park will be on a reduced holiday schedule with closures scheduled for most Mondays and Tuesdays throughout the season.

However, Dollywood will be open the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, Nov. 22, as well as the Monday and Tuesday before and after Christmas.

Notably, Dollywood is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

On operating days, the park will be open from 11 am until 9 pm during the festival.

The last operating day of the season will be Jan. 1, 2023

We encourage all guests to double-check the operating calendar when making plans to visit the Dollywood theme park in the Smokies.

dollywood christmas tree at night with snow falling around guests
Dollywood is returning with fan favorites, including the “Wonderful Christmas!” Plaza Tree Show, which features a 50-ft. tall animated tree (media photo by Curtis Hilbun/Dollywood)

What’s new at Dollywood this Christmas?

Dollywood will sparkle this Christmas season with new lighting elements throughout the park. Guests riding the Dollywood Express will enjoy a special light show draped across the field located inside the train’s upper turning loop.

Another new lighted area is the Village Pass, which features a 130-ft light curtain wall that includes programmed movement. This area leads guests from lower Craftsman’s Valley to The Village.

Adventures in Imagination will shine in pink, platinum and gold decorations, as well as 60 LED butterflies and a new 20-ft. tall Christmas tree in an area called Dolly’s Christmas.

The new elements add one million lights, meaning guests will enjoy 6 million lights during this season’s festival.

fireworks above wildwood grove tree at Dollywood
The fireworks display “Merry & Bright” will return on Friday and Saturday evenings at Dollywood (media photo by Curtis Hilbun/Dollywood)

Will Dollywood have fireworks for Christmas this year?

Yes! Returning this year on Friday and Saturday evenings is the “Merry & Bright!” fireworks display. The display lights the sky above Dollywood and is set to the rhythm of upbeat contemporary holiday hits.

After Christmas, the music changes to help guests ready to ring in the new year. The New Year’s version of the show takes place nightly from Dec. 26-Jan. 1.

For those looking to celebrate the holidays with the perfect family meal, Dollywood’s chefs have a menu full of culinary surprises. From herb-roasted turkey breast and citrus-glazed carved ham to chicken pot pie in a bread cone, there are a number of savory items to satisfy every appetite.

Dollywood will also be featuring eggnog cupcakes, gingerbread-dusted funnel cake, holiday limeade and more.

hidden hollow at dollywood with christmas lights
Hidden Hollow in Wildwood Grove also gets decked out for the holidays (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

Is Dollywood good at Christmas?

Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas festival is one of the most beloved traditions in the Smoky Mountains. In fact, it is the 14-time winner of the Best Theme Park Christmas Event award.

Throughout the park, you’ll see several Christmas trees, decorations and holiday cheer throughout Timber Canyon, Wildwood Grove and Craftsman’s Valley.

Holiday favorites are expected to return this year, including the heartwarming story of the Polar Bear and his Black Bear cousin in Glacier Ridge. The story will be told on the animated tree after dark at the Plaza at Wilderness Pass.

Also, did you know Santa Claus himself has a Smoky Mountain cabin? Kids of all ages can take an immersive trip to visit the North Pole at the “Santa’s List … Naughty or Nice” interactive experience.

Dollywood also brings a wide variety of live entertainment to the Dollywood Christmas event.

Dollywood’s family favorite shows light up both indoor and outdoor stages. The festival’s headline show, “Christmas in the Smokies”, has been a must-see for families every Christmas season since it began in 1990.

Many other Dollywood Christmas classics return including:

  • “Twas the Night Before Christmas”
  • “O’ Holy Night”
  • “Christmas with the Kingdom Heirs”
  • “Heart of the Holidays”
  • “Candlelight Carolers”
  • “The Mistletones”
  • “Appalachian Christmas with the Smoky Mountain String Band”
  • “Holiday Wild Roots”
Dollywood train at Christmas
The Dollywood train will also be decorated for Christmas (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

Are rides open during Christmas at Dollywood?

Rides do traditionally continue to run throughout the winter season at Dollywood. However, operations are dependent upon the weather.

For example, each ride has a temperature at which it must close. Most rides will close if temperatures reach about 36 degrees or below.

View the weather guidelines for each attraction or ride here.

Read Also: The ultimate guide to Dollywood: Rides, shows, food and more [2022]

the northern lights at Dollywood at Christmas
The Northern Lights at Glacier Ridge is a fan-favorite feature (photo by Alaina O’Neal/TheSmokies.com)

Tips for going to Dollywood for Christmas

First things first, make sure the park is open when you plan to make your visit. The park runs on a limited schedule in November and December and is closed for most of January.

Also, remember to wear layers if you plan to visit Dollywood during the Christmas celebration.

Even though daytime temperatures may be pleasant and sunny, temperatures cool down quickly at night in the mountains of Tennessee.

Read Also: Dollywood announces new ride, Big Bear Mountain

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How much does it cost to go to Dollywood at Christmas?

At the time of this writing, a day pass for Dollywood is $89. Two-day passes are also available for $109. Of course, you get the most out of your dollar if you visit for two days.

You can also book with Tripster and save time in line before your arrival.

We encourage all guests to check the daily schedule on the Dollywood website for the latest information on showtimes and other updates.

Double down on your Dollywood experience and stay in Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa and truly treat yourself.

The resort’s halls are also decked in beautiful décor inspired by warm, rich memories of Christmas in the Smoky Mountains.

Interested in a season pass for 2023?

Diamond or gold season passes purchased during Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas provides admission to this year’s Christmas festival along with admission for Dollywood’s big 2023 operating season.

Guests can purchase their 2023 season pass online now or upgrade their paid one-day admission ticket on the day of their visit.

Ticket purchasers receive credit for the value of a regular one-day ticket toward the purchase of a 2023 season pass.

Dollywood is located in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

Have you been to Dollywood for the Christmas celebration? What did you think? Let us know in the comments.

View the web story version of this article here.