Christmas at Dollywood 2021: Your guide to this year’s festival

Dollywood entrance at Christmas

Dollywood's Christmas celebration will kick off on Nov. 6, 2021. Note: The entrance display is subject to change (photo by Greg and Laura Akens)

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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 5 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.

Crews are working around the clock to string up over 5 million Christmas lights in preparation for Smoky Mountain Christmas at Dollywood (photo by Daniel Munson/
Dollywood staff members work around the clock to string up over 5 million Christmas lights in preparation for Smoky Mountain Christmas at Dollywood (photo by Daniel Munson/

Is Dollywood open on Thanksgiving and Christmas?

Dollywood reopened on Nov. 6, 2021 to kick off the 2021 Christmas season.

The park is currently on a reduced holiday schedule with closures scheduled for most Mondays and Tuesdays from Nov. 8-Dec. 14, 2021.

However, Dollywood will be open the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, Nov. 23, 2021.

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

On weekdays, except for those days mentioned above, Dollywood is open from 2 pm-9 pm and on weekends from 11 am-9 pm. 

Dollywood is scheduled to close for the season starting Jan. 3, 2021. 

We encourage all guests to double-check the operating calendar when making plans.

Read Also: Winterfest Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg 2021: Top 11 things to do, ranked

Santa's List
Kids can watch Santa make his famous naughty or nice list at Dollywood this year (photo by Alaina O’Neal/

Is Dollywood good at Christmas?

Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas festival is one of the most beloved traditions in the Smoky Mountains.

In fact, Dollywood’s Christmas celebration is an award-winning event, receiving its 13th consecutive Golden Ticket award for America’s Best Theme Park Christmas event.

And the “Merry and Bright” fireworks display, which is synced to Christmas carols, has returned for 2021.

Last season, the fireworks show was only available on weekends. But the show was so popular, that guests will now be able to experience it each night (conditions permitting).

Seasonal shows will take to the stage to share the joy of the holidays this year as well.

Shows this year include:

  • Appalachian Christmas
  • Candlelight Carolers
  • Christmas in the Smokies
  • Christmas with the Kingdom Heirs
  • Heart of the Holidays
  • Holiday Wild Roots
  • Merry and Bright, Holiday Light!
  • Mistletones
  • O’ Holy Night
  • Santa’s List … Naughty or Nice?
  • ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

The Plaza Tree Show will feature the 50-ft tall animated tree, complete with a snowy finale.

The interactive North Pole experience, “Santa’s List … Naughty or Nice” will allow little ones to visit Santa in his workshop and at the end, find out if their name made the famous list.

And of course, most of your favorite Smoky Mountain Christmas attractions will be returning this year, including Glacier Ridge.

Seasonal treats will be featured throughout the park as well, including eggnog cheesecake, hazelnut churros, Santa’s hot chocolate, warm cookies and more.

Glacier Ridge, presented by Goo Goo Cluster, is a fan favorite section of the park (photo by Alaina O’Neal/

Are rides open during Christmas at Dollywood?

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

To view the weather guidelines for each attraction or ride, click here.

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.

If weather permits, you can ride all your favorite rides during Dollywood’s Christmas celebration and see the millions of lights from a bird’s eye view (photo by Alaina O’Neal/

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

At the time of this writing, a day pass for Dollywood is $84. Two-day passes are also available for $99.

Sometimes, you can save a few dollars when you book with Tripster.

Read Also: Dollywood Diamond Pass now available, other 2022 spoilers

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

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

Click here to view the web story version of this article.

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 [email protected] for questions or comments.

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13 thoughts on “Christmas at Dollywood 2021: Your guide to this year’s festival”

  1. I am in a wheelchair all day from a above knee amputation i
    Do you still offer electric wheelchairs do i have to pay an extra fee than entry fee

  2. A limited number of wheelchairs are available for rent at Dollywood for $12 per day. Discounts are available on wheelchair rentals for Gold and Super Gold Passholders. Available on a first-come first-serve basis.

    A limited number of Electric Convenience Vehicles (ECVs) are available for rent at Dollywood only. ECVs are $41 for a full day. Discounts are available on wheelchair and ECV rentals for Dollywood Gold and Super Gold Passholders.

  3. It is the best place to go at Christmas 🎄 I feel like a princess. Thanks Dolly an all your workers. They are very nice.

  4. Best place to go at Christmas time. I feel like a princess. Thanks Dolly an all your helpers. They are very nice. Merry Christmas ya’ll

  5. As a Season Pass holder, how do I find out what days in December are full, with regard to making reservations? I would like to know before going through the entire reservation process. Thank you! We love Dollywood…especially during the Christmas [email protected]

  6. Hi Marsha! That’s a good question. Dollywood used to post about capacity on Twitter, but they haven’t been doing it much lately. You can go online as if you’re buying a ticket to see if any days are blocked out (at capacity), or drive by and see if people are parking out in Splash Country. Haha! We just try to stick to weekdays as much as possible. Weekends during the holidays are almost always crowded. Hope that helps!

  7. We would like to plan a Xmas family reunion for next Christmas 2022 there would be 13 teen of us is there a large house we could rent with 7 bedrooms and a kitchen to accommodate also would it possible to have a chief for some evening meals we would like to spend 5 to7 days

  8. We have been doing a Dollywood Christmas for about six years now. This year, do we need to make reservations to get into the shows; if so, how do we make them?

  9. Hi Elaine, theater seats are typically first come, first served (unless you have a time saver pass, which can help you skip lines). You DO need a reservation to enter the park. Hope that helps!

  10. Hi Debbie! Unfortunately, I don’t have any great answers here if they are sold out. Dollywood’s blog recommends that if you aren’t able to get a reservation, it’s possible to get in after dark (assuming you’re reading this during Smoky Mountain Christmas festival). Some people leave early in the afternoon. You could always try to contact customer service to see if there’s anything they could do. Hope that helps!

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