Hallmark’s ‘Christmas at Dollywood’ review: Why it might surprise you

Dollywood theme park

Dollywood is a lot of things, but it is not cheap. However, there are ways you can save money on a Dollywood vacation in Pigeon Forge (photo by Alaina O'Neal/TheSmokies.com)

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If you feel like Dolly Parton has been busy lately, you would be correct. Between saving the world, writing music and putting out new Christmas albums, she’s seemingly always working on new content for fans to enjoy and giving us more reasons to love her.

One of Dolly’s newer projects, the Hallmark film ‘Christmas at Dollywood’ premiered in December of last year as part of Hallmark’s Countdown to Christmas event, and in my honest review, it’s actually one of the best Hallmark Christmas movies.

The film stars Danica McKellar, Niall Matter and, of course, Dolly herself.

As a disclaimer, Hallmark claims that it stars Dolly – but don’t get too excited – she’s really only in the last 20 minutes or so.

But I’ll take it.

In the movie, Rachel (played by McKellar) travels home to Pigeon Forge, Tenn., from her New York City executive life to work on a special project for the Dollywood theme park.

She is partnered up with Luke (played by Matter), and the two end up finding an unlikely relationship with a little help from the magic of Dollywood.

‘Christmas at Dollywood’ review: Is it worth watching?

I will admit that I’m not the biggest Hallmark movie fan.

And I think even if you are, you have to admit that they tend to come with a certain level of cheese.

But even so, about once a year I like to throw on a Hallmark Christmas movie as I’m wrapping gifts or putting up the tree. And, in my biased opinion, if you’re going to pick one Hallmark movie this year, it should be this one.

Is it predictable? Sure!

Do the two leads have immediate chemistry at the start of the movie? No!

But is it fun to see Dollywood at the centerpiece of a movie?

Yes. 100% yes.

Read Also: Dolly Parton reveals her favorite thing about Christmas at Dollywood (theme park)

Dollywood Tree
It’s fun to see the Christmas elements at Dollywood appear on film in ‘Christmas at Dollywood’ (photo by Alaina O’Neal/TheSmokies.com)

Why ‘Christmas at Dollywood’ might surprise you

Watching the characters at Dollywood during the Smoky Mountain Christmas celebration brings back so many memories and nostalgia from spending Christmas in the Smoky Mountains.

And even though the film likes to use the same opening shot of Showstreet Palace Theater most of the time, you’ll still see a glance of a Dollywood parade, Glacier Ridge and even the Mystery Mine, which I tend to think is one of the prettiest coasters this time of year.

I was also surprised and appreciative of the fact that they wrote the Imagination Library into the story. Dolly’s Imagination Library mails free books to children from birth until school age and has given millions of books to children around the world.

The Imagination Library not only gets a special nod in the movie, it ends up having a big role in the sappy, heart-warming happy ending.

Dolly Parton in ‘Christmas at Dollywood’

Dolly doesn’t have a ton of screen time in this movie, but she does make an extra special appearance toward the end when she swoops in like a beautiful, real-life angel, saving the day and helping our leads finally come together.

Is that a spoiler alert if it’s a Hallmark movie?

Anyway, it’s always a true joy to see Dolly on screen, and that alone is reason enough to watch.

If you’re craving even more Dolly this Christmas, she has a bit more air time in her newest Netflix special, Dolly Parton’s ‘Christmas on the Square’.

Read Also: These two Dolly Parton Christmas releases will make 2020 good again

How to watch the ‘Christmas at Dollywood’ movie

If you want to watch the movie, you can catch it on the Hallmark Channel during these times:

  • Tuesday, Dec. 22 at 2 am
  • Sunday, Dec. 27 at 10 am
  • Friday, Jan. 1 at 7 am

Don’t want to start a movie at 2 am or 7 am this holiday season? You can also stream it on YouTube, Google Play, Vudu and Amazon Prime, all starting at around $7.99.

What did you think of the film? Let us know in the comments!

Disclaimer: While we do our best to bring you the most up-to-date information, attractions or prices mentioned in this article may vary by season and are subject to change. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any mentioned business, and have not been reviewed or endorsed these entities. Contact us at info@thesmokies.com for questions or comments.


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