9 tips to navigating Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas 2020

Dollywood's Smoky Mountain Christmas will run from Nov. 7, 2020 to Jan. 3, 2021 (photo by John Gullion/TheSmokies.com)
Dollywood's Smoky Mountain Christmas will run from Nov. 7, 2020 to Jan. 3, 2021 (photo by John Gullion/TheSmokies.com)

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Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas brings together the very best of the holiday season — music, food and jolly people!

The event, which runs from Nov. 7, 2020 – Jan. 3, 2021, features more than five million Christmas lights, seasonal food and decor. 

It’s difficult for others to compete with Dolly and her elves in the decoration department.

In fact, Dolly Parton’s Dollywood Christmas event has been named the Best Christmas Event for the 12th straight year in a row by Amusement Today. (These awards are called “Golden Tickets” in case you want to store that away for your future Jeopardy appearance.)

Here’s what to know about the event:

Glacier Ridge is one of Smoky Mountain Christmas's newest attractions (photo submitted by Laura Akens)
Glacier Ridge is one of Smoky Mountain Christmas’s newest attractions (photo submitted by Laura Akens)

1. Don’t miss Dollywood’s Glacier Ridge

Timber Canyon and Craftsman’s Valley will once again turn into Glacier Ridge – complete with a 130-foot long “frozen” tunnel, an aurora borealis style canopy of lights. The effect is stunning and the photo-ops are numerous.

2. Don’t miss a photo-op at Dollywood’s 50-foot Christmas Tree

Speaking of photo-ops, the 50-foot Christmas tree with lights that coordinate with Christmas song classics is one of the main attractions in the park.

Young children will be so amazed by this, they may even become still for the first time of the day. Be sure to soak it in. In my opinion, this tree puts even the one at Rockefeller Center to shame.

3. Ride a roller coaster, but bundle up

As long as it’s not raining or freezing, many of the rides are still operating throughout the day. My family (not me, my family) immensely enjoys riding the roller coasters day and night, even in the cold weather.

The lines may not seem short, but compared to spring or summer, it’s a much better wait time, and they do move quickly. If you’re brave enough to opt for the coasters, wear warm clothing.

4. Enjoy the quality theme park food

Dollywood serves quality food throughout the park, even at the quick step-up-and-order kiosks.

There is also a variety of sit down restaurants that serve everything from hamburgers to a big bowl of pinto beans and cornbread. For the holiday season, enjoy the guest-favorite hot chocolate with some festive toppings.

Indoor shows will be making their return for Christmas 2020 (photo by Laura Akens)
Indoor shows will be making their return for Christmas 2020 (photo by Laura Akens)

5. Watch a few holiday shows

Dollywood shows, famous for their music, are sure to put you in the holiday spirit. I highly recommend the ever-popular Kingdom Heirs Christmas show.

For hours and showtimes, check out Dollywood’s daily schedule.

6. Check out Dollywood’s arts and crafts

Dollywood is home to several noted craftsmen, and you can find great gift options here – many of which will be more affordable than you think.

If you like arts and crafts, I recommend stopping by Old Flame Candles, Blacksmith & Foundry and the Temple’s Warehouse and Old Fashioned Candy Store.

The gifts are cute and tasteful, with many capitalizing on Dolly’s hit lyrics. Who wouldn’t want a coffee cup labeled “Cup of Ambition”?

7. Download the Dollywood app

Download the Dollywood app before you go. It’s very user friendly and helpful when planning your day around the shows you wish to see.

8. Wear layers at Dollywood

This is East Tennessee. Translation – you might experience up to four seasons in one day.

Check the forecast and bring layers to be safe, even if that means you end up renting a locker. The lockers are inexpensive, and you can move your belongings from one locker station to another, should you choose to forgo the free cubbies available at most major rides. 

9. Plan ahead

Tickets are the same price all year: $79 plus tax for a one-day pass. Children ages 4-9 are $69 plus tax. Check the website or ask at the gate for discounts for military families, AAA members and seniors.

Remember, Dollywood is very busy this time of year. Reservations are recommended to guarantee entry, especially for season pass holders.

Read More: Do you have to make reservations at Dollywood? What you should know

Dollywood is located at 2700 Dollywood Parks Blvd, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863.

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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