I have been to Dollywood during Smoky Mountain Christmas more times than I can count. Growing up around the Smokies, visiting America’s #1 Theme Park Holiday Event was a time-honored tradition in my family. To my shock, I recently discovered that my fiancée and some of her friends have never seen the park during the holiday season. Immediately after hearing such sad news, I planned a trip for all of us to visit the park as soon as the festival opened.
As we strolled through the park and began to be wrapped up in all the Christmas cheer, I began to take on a familiar role in the group, the photographer. While this is a job I am used to taking on in these group outings, this particular turn was by far the most enjoyable. Dollywood during this time of year is absolutely stunning. Taking a few minutes to snap a photo allows you to zoom in on each area and take in its unique color scheme. After a nighttime walkthrough of all of the festival’s offerings, here are some of the can’t miss Instagram spots at Dollywood during Smoky Mountain Christmas, as selected by my fiancée and her friends.
The Dollywood Express
We all know that Klondike Katie and Cinderella are gorgeous year-round. During Christmas, the engines get a little extra “glow” just like the rest of the park. Add in the shining water tower beside it, and you have a great Insta-opportunity.
The Grist Mill
It is my personal belief that every trip to Dollywood should start (and end) with a trip to the Grist Mill. What better way to commemorate a trip to the park than a photo with what might be the most-famous building on the property?
Next to Blazing Fury, on your way to Tennessee Tornado, a small grove of trees gets what might be my favorite festival overlay: The Northern Lights. From above, the walkway is draped in dangling lights that twinkle and change. The area is a favorite for visitors every night, and I am sure the Instagram likes will prove so for your social feed, as well.
Now, here is where we get into the larger groupings of Instagram-able items. As a freelance I-phone photographer, it is crucial to keep your eyes peeled around every corner at Dollywood. You never know when inspiration might strike. Or, more likely for me, you never know when it will strike someone in your group, and you will inevitably be taking another shot.
During Smoky Mountain Christmas, Dollywood does several things with trees in the park. Some of the living trees in the park will be covered from branches to trunk with lights. Christmas trees will be placed all around the park, including the massive 50-foot Wonderful Christmas! Plaza Tree. From tree fields to tree icons, there is no shortage of wilderness shots fit for Instagram.
Glacier Ridge transforms Wilderness Pass, Timber Canyon and Wildwood Grove into an electronic winter wonderland. The icy whites, blues and purples make for a crisp background to any makeshift photo shoot. The Wonderful Christmas! Tree Show is a great place for some fantastic photo-ops. The whole area has some great icons to discover. I even got roped into a photo or two during our trek in this area.
Dollywood is beautiful year-round, trust me, they got an award for it. But, during Smoky Mountain Christmas, that beauty is multiplied 5-million times. No section of the park is overlooked, with each area bathed with its own unique Christmas charm. Whenever you visit this festival season, keep your phone at the ready. An Instagram-worthy backdrop is around every corner!