A visit to Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, TN is awesome all year long, but Christmas is a particularly special time at Ms. Parton’s namesake theme park. Though the entire park does close down to observe the holiday itself, you can find lots of fun, family-friendly live shows throughout the season, with many starting as early as November. Enjoy strolling through the dazzling displays of 4 million Christmas lights artfully arranged throughout the park, then check out one, or all seven, of these special Christmas in the Smokies shows!
A crowd pleasing favorite every year at Christmastime, Dollywood’s Appalachian Christmas show features an acoustic band including banjo, stand up bass, fiddles, and more, all played out on Dollywood’s Back Porch Theater. The open-air venue is a great setting for the old-time music, but be prepared to bring layers as the nights can get cool. This show will please a wide range of folks, from Christmas lovers to fans of bluegrass mountain music, so it’s definitely a solid stop on your list for how to have a perfect Christmas at Dollywood!
Christmas in the Smokies
The original Christmas show at Dollywood, this staple has been entertaining audiences since the Christmas festivities started, back in 1990. While the venue for Christmas in the Smokies occasionally changes, it is typically presented in Dolly Parton’s Celebrity Theater. The show features a large cast of over a dozen singers and dancers, plus a live 8 piece band to bring the stories and songs of Christmas to life. From dancing snowmen to the story of the very first Christmas, this is a show that offers a little something for everyone and is beloved by families of all ages.
It’s a Wonderful Life
Dollywood’s own take on the classic 1946 Christmas film, this adaptation brings the story of businessman George Bailey’s reflections on the value and importance of relationships to the dynamic live stage. While children and others who may not have seen the original movie will still enjoy the song and dance, this is a Broadway-style show probably best suited for audience goers who have some familiarity with the source material. Do a quick Google before you go, or enjoy a showing of It’s a Wonderful Life in your hotel room before seeing it to get an even better appreciation for the Dolly style adaption that’s known to leave few dry eyes in the house!
O’ Holy Night
Prepare to see some little stars shining bright in Dollywood’s O’ Holy Night! Children and adults share the stage of the Valley Theater in this beautiful telling of the original Christmas story. Watch a little girl looking out for an angel, while shepherds follow a bright star, and a young couple seeks refuge in a humble manger. With plenty of music, including twangy country guitar, this is an entertaining, but still authentic look at the traditional Christian telling of that first and special Christmas night.
Parade of Many Colors
Not up for a show but still want to enjoy the magic of Christmastime at Dollywood? Be sure to check out the Parade of Many Colors, a nightly procession featuring bright floats covered in Christmas lights and holiday-themed characters that pays homage to the values that Dolly was brought up within her large, Appalachian family. Like her famous “coat of many colors,” this parade also emphasizes joy, faith, kindness, and acceptance, and is a warm-hearted way to cheer and enjoy the Christmas season at Dollywood! A new addition as of 2016, this has quickly become a crowd-pleaser so be sure to check it out on your visit to the park this winter.
The Kingdom Heirs: Heart of Christmas
Southern Gospel at its finest, the Kingdom Heirs bring their holiday songs to the Pines Theater in Dollywood for a memorable live performance. A chart-topping, nationally known group in the Christian and Gospel world, this is a “must-see” performance for Gospel fans and a great example of the genre for newbies who want to get an authentic taste of this type of music during the Christmas holidays. Expect some gorgeous harmonies, thrilling praise songs, and plenty of hand clapping and foot stamping as the Kingdom Heirs honor the reason for the season!
‘Twas the Night before Christmas
A cute tale featuring the childhood magic of those breathtaking moments before Christmas morning, this is an ideal show to bring young families to as it features plenty of songs, dance, and even some pretty adorable mice. The show plays in the Pines Theater and features a cast of 12 talented actors, plus a 4 piece live band to accompany the musical acts. The cozy vintage-inspired venue is the perfect fit for this show, which houses Dollywood’s beloved Dreamland Drive-In during the rest of the year.
No matter what you and your family are in the mood for, you’ll find a wonderful show to help you celebrate the Christmas season at Dollywood. Plan your trip to allow time for one—or all!—of these excellent events, and make this year a season to make memories you’ll cherish forever, just as Dolly and her team intended. Merry Christmas, everyone!