It's Time for Dollywood's Smoky Mountain Christmas 2023, so Haul Out The Holly and 6 Million Twinkling Lights! It's Time for Dollywood's Smoky Mountain Christmas 2023, so Haul Out The Holly and 6 Million Twinkling Lights!

It's Time for Dollywood's Smoky Mountain Christmas 2023, so Haul Out The Holly and 6 Million Twinkling Lights!


November 07, 2023

The spirit of Christmas shines merry and bright during our Smoky Mountain Christmas festival presented by Humana during this special season, with the event beginning on Nov. 4 and ho ho ho-ing all the way through Jan. 6, 2024!  The 15-time winner for Best Theme Park Christmas Event boasts more than 6 million shining, shimmering lights throughout the park, but the newest ones will fly above the park each evening as part of a stunning holiday drone show - Joyful. Our summer drone show has been one of my family’s favorite nighttime experiences for the last several years, so we are really looking forward to this sparkly new sight during the holiday season.

Joyful definitely will add even more holiday fun for everyone to enjoy. This larger-than-life display embraces the season with hundreds of drones soaring in the air and displaying festive reds, greens and whites in a captivating show sure to delight.  


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Smoky Mountain Christmas, which undoubtedly can be described as one of America’s most cherished Christmas traditions, captivates visitors with so much for the holiday season: 6 million gleaming holiday lights, award-winning stage productions and inspiring entertainment, Christmas culinary masterpieces and warm family customs that have enriched the festival for more than three decades.



One of the experiences that my family likes best is seeing Santa at work before his big trip on Christmas Eve. Not sure if you know this, but Santa has granted exclusive access for folks visiting Dollywood to glimpse into his enchanting Smoky Mountain cabin. Santa’s elves will guide not only kids but kids at heart like me to take a look into Santa’s cozy hideaway, where he can be found hard at work on the all-important naughty and nice list. Children and families can peek into Santa’s cabin and seek to find their names on the coveted list. Santa goes on a well-deserved vacation after Christmas Day, so families wanting to see him in action shouldn’t wait!



My next stop usually is Glacier Ridge presented by Goo Goo Cluster. The twinkling and colorful displays throughout Dollywood’s Timber Canyon, Wildwood Grove, Wilderness Pass and Upper Craftsman’s Valley offer a truly expansive arctic experience sure to delight each person. The Plaza at Wilderness Pass undergoes an extraordinary transformation that immerses you in a wintry paradise and serves as one of the highlights of the area thanks to the Wonderful Christmas! Plaza Tree Show. Featuring a 50 ft. tall animated tree, the area comes to life in a fully-synchronized, dazzling light show that concludes with an immersive snow finale.



Want to hear favorite Christmas carols and holiday music? Dollywood’s family-favorite shows light up both indoor and outdoor stages. The festival’s headline show, “Christmas in the Smokies,” has been a guest-favorite production and a must-see for families every Christmas season since it began in 1990! Many other Dollywood Christmas classics return including “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” “O’ Holy Night,” “Christmas with the Kingdom Heirs,” “Heart of the Holidays,” “Candlelight Carolers,” “The Mistletones,” “Appalachian Christmas with the Smoky Mountain String Band,” “Holiday Wild Roots” and more.


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Another thing my family and I have at the top of our to do list when visiting this holiday festival is having the perfect family meal, and Dollywood never disappoints! Dollywood’s team of chefs have a menu full of culinary surprises sure to delight my family and yours. From oven-roasted turkey breast and chipotle turkey nachos to pork belly skillet and pot roast mac & cheese, there are a number of savory items to satisfy every appetite. Sweet treats abound including red velvet whoopie pie, eggnog cupcakes, toffee hot chocolate, festive Christmas cookies and so much more!



To top it all off, topping the excitement of the holidays by experiencing the thrill of Dollywood’s world-class rides amidst the hustle and bustle of the park at Christmas is unmatched! Most of Dollywood’s rides are operational during the holiday season, and nothing compares to soaring through the night sky with millions of lights twinkling below.



For anyone searching for the perfect Christmas gift of family fun and memories, a Dollywood season pass is always on the top of my list for gift giving! Diamond or gold season passes purchased during Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas provide admission to this year’s Christmas festival along with admission for Dollywood’s entire 2024 operating season. Guests can purchase their 2024 season pass online now or upgrade their paid one-day admission ticket on the day of their visit. Ticket purchasers receive credit for the value of a regular one-day ticket toward the purchase of a 2024 season pass. The 2024 season features the highly-anticipated opening of the Dolly Parton Experience, which will include multiple experiences in a newly-designed area of the park. Opening in the area surrounding and including the former Chasing Rainbows museum, The Dolly Parton Experience will allow guests a behind-the-scenes look at Dolly’s iconic status and immerse themselves in her incredible story.


Want to know more so you can plan for your memory-making day at this award-winning holiday festival? Visit or download the Dollywood app.


Merry Christmas to all!


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