Katie Van Dyke | Dollywood for the Non-Riders
Date: March 15, 2017
When I tell you that Dollywood has something for YOUR family, yes, I even mean something for the non-riders in your group. Don’t hesitate to bring someone who isn’t a big fan of thrill rides. Watch this video and I’ll share with you my family’s favorite mild attractions at Dollywood.
Sami Cone | Behind the Scenes with Mother Africa
Date: March 20, 2017
Mother Africa is the show-stopping headliner at Dollywood during Festival of Nations (now through April 9). The acts are pretty impressive, but, I wondered—does it look harder than it really is to pull off the acrobatics? To find out, I got a chance to try one of the balancing acts myself. Watch the video and see what you think!
Morgan Crutchfield | Dollywood Different: Festival of Nations
Date: March 22, 2017
I have a theme park confession that may be a little surprising: I can’t ride roller coasters. What? Can’t ride coasters. Why? My old friend Mr. Motion Sickness shows up and it’s no Lightning Rod for Morgan. So what does someone who can’t ride most theme park rides do at a theme park? At Dollywood, the answer is, “So many things!” My favorite thing about Dollywood is that even if I never line up for a ride, I can spend the whole day having a fantastic time at all of the entertainment offerings at Dollywood. Right now through April 9, it’s Festival of Nations time in the park. What exactly does that mean? Let’s find out.
It’s spring in the Smokies, Dollywood is officially open, and the park’s springtime festival, Festival of Nations, is in full swing. Dollywood guests can not only experience the awesome coasters and rides, they can also look through a window to the dances and talents of the world. At most of Dollywood’s theaters and throughout the park, performers from around the globe present shows that represent the cultures of their nations.
Festival of Nations is comprised of eight different shows from the full stage production “Mother Africa” to the street performances of bagpiper Kelly Shipe. Each performance showcases the music, dance, and even traditional folk costumes of nations like Poland, Ireland, and Africa. There are also international food offerings (helloooo, tacos!) to get you from one show to another. Each performance runs several times daily so you can catch a ride or two and then a show, or take in the entire lineup one after another.
What will you see?
This vibrant stage show at D. P.’s Celebrity Theater combines skillful acrobatics, modern and traditional dance, comedy, and colorful costumes, all set to the music of a live African band. More than 30 minutes of incredible talent and music will leave you cheering.
The performers from this troupe come from all over Africa, so be sure to catch the traditional musical instruments being played by the band members and the regional dances between acts.
These masterful musicians share the history and culture of the Andes Mountains through beautiful traditional music, dance and fun. Atahualpa plays at the Showstreet Gazebo throughout the day.
One of Europe’s most prominent folk dance and music ensembles, Slask features more than 30 dancers in hundreds of richly embroidered, handmade costumes representing the various regions of Poland.
A title and description for each dance is displayed on the screens on either side of the Palace Theater and the dances range from lively group numbers to beautiful duets.
Dearbhail Finnegan and Robin Slater
Irish harp and flute duo, Dearbhail Finnegan and Robin Slater, are a charming husband and wife duo who weave together beautiful music and engaging humor at the Back Porch Theater to bring you an unforgettable experience.
Live the music and traditions of the Swiss Alps with this warm hearted and talented group of musicians, through unique sounds of the alphorn and other folk instruments, yodeling and stories of the Swiss mountain culture.
Invaders Steel Orchestra
This guest-favorite Festival of Nations act returns to the Valley Theater with the tropical sounds and amazing musicianship of one of the Caribbean’s most recognized steel pan orchestras.
Have a seat and listen to group favorites as well as Caribbean tunes on these amazing instruments.
Kelly Shipe shares her award-winning skills and extensive list of tunes as she fills the streets with the beautiful and haunting sounds of the highland bagpipes. Catch her on Showstreet throughout the day.
Whether you’re ready to launch up the Lightning Rod hill at high speed or not, Dollywood’s Festival of Nations is a full day of shows that will surprise, thrill, and entertain you and your family. And stay tuned to the Insiders through the rest of the year for new rides, new shows, and so much more during Dolly’s Year of the Family.
Get your Dollywood Theme Park tickets now by calling (800) 365-5996 or visiting their website. Dollywood Annual passholders receive special offers and discounts throughout the year, so consider becoming a park passholder for this and other benefits.
Karen George | The Inside Scoop on Fireworks at Dollywood
Date: June 28, 2017
Dolly’s Nights of Many Colors
After a fun-filled day of shows and rides at Dollywood, you must see the nightly summertime fireworks (now – Aug. 6). Dollywood is a large park and the sky is a great canvas for viewing the colorful display. The show is synchronized to music featuring “Paint Your Dreams Across the Sky,” an inspiring musical crescendo written specifically for the occasion by Dolly Parton!
I have a favorite spot to watch the fireworks in Timber Canyon. The show begins at 9:30 p.m., so I suggest you make your way to Drop Line around 9 p.m. Across from the drop tower is Lumber Jack’s Pizza. The restaurant has outdoor seating and a retaining wall. Both options are perfect for taking a seat, staying cool, and watching the amazing spectacle.
In case you’re too busy having fun to get up there early, know that it can get crowded. Here are a few other places to catch the show:
-Along the pathway in upper Timber Canyon and Wilderness Pass
-In front of Grandstand Café in Country Fair
-In front of Chasing Rainbows Museum in Adventures in Imagination
-Premium seating is available for $15 per person
Here are some additional things to note:
-At 9 p.m., Thunderhead, Whistle Punk Chaser and Drop Line close their queue lines because these attractions are in the fallout zone and must be cleared by the time the show starts.
-The last Dollywood Express departure is at 8:45 p.m. because the train’s path takes it into the fallout zone.
-The Dollywood Express and Thunderhead will remain closed the rest of the evening after fireworks because the rides maintenance technicians are not able to thoroughly re-inspect the thousands of feet of track until daylight. Drop Line and Whistle Punk Chaser may reopen because those rides have a smaller area to inspect.
-Dolly’s Nights of Many Colors is weather permitting.
Katie Van Dyke | Behind the Scenes with Gazillion Bubbles
Date: July 07, 2017
How does someone get into “the bubble business”?
What solution makes good at-home bubbles?
Is there anything that makes bubbles float higher?
These are just a few of the questions I asked Deni Yang—host of Gazillion Bubble Show—at Dollywood. I got behind the scenes access to find out! Watch this video to get an idea of what you’ll experience when you see this show.
Lindsey Galvez | Be Sure to Take Your Young Kids to Little Engine Playhouse This Summer!
Date: July 21, 2017
Summer at Dollywood means storybooks come to life on stage at the Little Engine Playhouse, located in the Heartsong Theater (near the Village Carousel). If you have young children who receive Imagination Library books in the mail each month, this is a show not to be missed. Each one is short, just 20 minutes or less, but will capture your child's attention for the entire time.
The theater is small, which makes every seat a good one. Actors and actresses bring three books to life: The Little Engine That Could, Pretend, and Coat of Many Colors. Since my two girls and I are huge Dolly fans, we made sure to catch the Coat of Many Colors show. From the moment Dolly showed up on the screen to welcome everyone and provide information about the Imagination Library, we were enthralled. Even more amazing is to know that Dolly wrote all the songs that are featured in all of the shows, specifically for the Little Engine Playhouse!
Coat of Many Colors follows along with the book and song perfectly. You see a young Dolly who is so excited about her precious coat made by her mama, only to then be made fun of for wearing it. The show is done in such a way that both of my girls walked out of the theater understanding the message and how bullying or making fun of someone is not ok. The show is done in a way that makes it entertaining, yet interesting for very young kids.
I have to admit, when Dolly started singing the song over the speaker, I got a little teary-eyed. This song has always been so special to me and my family and was a great way to introduce kindness to my girls at even super young ages.
Don't miss the three shows at the Little Engine Playhouse located in the Heartsong Theater this summer. They'll be running each show twice a day until Aug. 6!