Dollywood named America’s top theme park by Tripadvisor

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (WFXR) — Are you in need of a summer road trip destination? Why not check out the theme park ranked No. 1 in the U.S. and No. 8 in the world in the 2022 Travelers’ Choice Best of the Best Awards — Dollywood!

According to Dollywood, the 160-acre destination in eastern Tennessee earned these top honors based on reviews and ratings from travelers on Tripadvisor from May 1, 2021, through April 30, 2022.

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“I’m so proud of the work my people do to make Dollywood such a great place for families,” Dolly Parton said. “When I started dreaming up Dollywood all those years ago, I hoped it would be somewhere folks were excited to come visit and enjoy time together. To hear that they are leaving so many positive comments about their time here really shows what we’re doing is working. In the current world, I want Dollywood to be a place where the light shines every day.”

Eugene Naughton, the president of The Dollywood Company, echoes the thoughts of the park’s Dreamer-in-Chief.

“We’re working every single day to ensure our guests have the best possible time while they are with us. This award is a little bit different because there is no voting factored into these rankings. The Tripadvisor rankings come from actual reviews left by guests about their time here with us at Dollywood. It is extremely gratifying to see this recognition for the effort our hosts give to ensure our guests have an unforgettable time while they are here,” explained Naughton. “We are humbled by the results of this ranking, as well as the recent USA Today 10Best #1 finish for Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa. These awards continue to show what we’ve been saying for so long—the Dollywood Parks & Resorts experience truly is world-class.”

“The Travelers’ Choice Awards recognize the best in tourism and hospitality, according to those who matter most: actual guests. Ranking among the Best of the Best is always tough — but never more so than this year as we emerge from the pandemic,” said Kanika Soni, chief commercial officer at Tripadvisor. “Whether it’s using new technology, implementing safety measures, or hiring outstanding staff, I’m impressed by the steps taken to meet travelers’ new demands.”

Here are the top 10 winners in the Travelers’ Choice list for U.S. amusement parks:

  1. Dollywood (Pigeon Forge, Tennessee)
  2. Universal’s Islands of Adventure (Orlando, Florida)
  3. Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park (Orlando)
  4. Universal Studios Hollywood (Los Angeles, California)
  5. Universal Studios Florida (Orlando)
  6. Silver Dollar City (Branson Missouri)
  7. Funland (Rehoboth Beach, Delaware)
  8. Fun Spot America (Kissimmee, Florida)
  9. Santa’s Village (Jefferson, New Hampshire)
  10. Busch Gardens Tampa (Tampa, Florida)

Meanwhile, Dollywood and one other American park cracked the top 10 on the worldwide theme park list:

  1. Siam Park (Adeje, Spain)
  2. Puy du Fou (Les Epesses, France)
  3. Beto Carrero World (Penha, Brazil)
  4. Puy du Fou España (Toledo, Spain)
  5. The Milky Way Adventure Park (Clovelly, United Kingdom)
  6. Hot Park (Rio Quente, Brazil)
  7. Waterbom Bali (Kuta, Indonesia)
  8. Dollywood (Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, U.S.)
  9. Universal’s Islands of Adventure (Orlando, Florida, U.S.)
  10. Parque Terra Magica Florybal (Canela, Brazil)

With a wide range of new experiences and returning favorites occurring throughout the day and into the night — as well as its new recognition as Tripadvisor’s number one them park in the nation — Dollywood is at the top the list for best family road trips this summer!

In fact, Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Summer Celebration kicks off on Saturday, June 18, inviting guests to experience the summer season like they’re in Parton’s own backyard through Aug. 7.

Two popular Dollywood favorites return this season and are sure to put smiles on the faces of guests throughout the park.

“Dollywood’s Sweet Summer Nights” returns bigger, brighter and bolder with even more drones lighting up the night sky high above the Pigeon Forge park. A first-of-its-kind within the industry, the guest-favorite is back with a show that combines 500 high-tech drones with a world-class fireworks show designed to put an exclamation point on the evening.

As part of the Sweet Summer Nights experience, a DJ and energetic dancers bring fun to the streets of Wildwood Grove during two dance parties that ensure every member of the family is on their feet. As the party nears its finale, the celebration takes to the sky as the drones launch into the air for an unforgettable experience.

Returning to Dollywood for the first time since 2017, “Gazillion Bubble Show Aurora” is back to deliver a mesmerizing burst of excitement to guests in DP’s Celebrity Theater. The show provides many moments where guests will be enveloped by “gazillions” of bubbles for a fun and unpredictable experience that captivates the entire family. 

Smoky Mountain Summer Celebration features many fun ways for guests to interact with water during their Dollywood day. All-new interactive shows “Liquid Beats” and “Hydro Jive Junction” will have guests splashing and singing along during refreshing performances. Guests can cool off on a hot summer day in the wonderful garden hose fountain installation found in Market Square during “Liquid Beats.” This interactive performance brings together dozens of garden hoses to create a fountain that delivers bursts of cooling excitement to guests of all ages. During “Liquid Beats,” a landscaping-themed percussion troupe maintains the natural beauty of the Smokies, as they bring this new entertainment vision to guests.

In Jukebox Junction, “Hydro Jive Junction” features a musical maintenance worker trying to repair a faulty fire hydrant. Dancing ensues as the fire hydrant turns into a refreshing sprinkler for guests to enjoy, as the cast sings and dances to familiar favorites such as “Singin’ in the Rain” and “Splish Splash.”

Music is the soundtrack of our lives, especially during a summer family road trip. Dollywood’s Entertainment Team brings to life the road trip “vibe” and takes guests on a summertime journey with the return of “Good Vibes” and its playlist of summer road trip classics. The Tones and Wild Roots Band also have summer playlists that will have families wanting to hit cruise control and sing along.

An authentically-Southern summer greets guests as soon as they enter the park. The Dollywood entry statement in front of Showstreet Palace Theater welcomes guests with themed-décor, including the all-new Kite Sky. Throughout the park, colorful outdoor décor and experiences will immerse guests in simple Southern sweetness. These brand-new, larger-than-life activities, including Jumbo Backyard Games, Parachute Play Party, Noodle Takeover! (a dazzling array of suspended pool noodles hanging in the summer sky) and more, allow parents to relive beloved childhood pastimes while creating new memories with their kids. The Bubble Foam Zone will cool guests off on the hottest of summer days by covering families head to toe in a giant bubble-filled plaza.

It’s story time again as Imagination Playhouse showcases three favorite books from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, including “Coat of Many Colors,” based on Parton’s song and children’s book of the same name. “Coat of Many Colors” and an all-new show called “Violet the Pilot” feature sing-along songs that kids of all ages will enjoy. Everyone’s favorite, “The Little Engine That Could,” also comes to the stage with a delightful reminder of what can happen with just a little bit of determination. Thanks to Penguin Books, guests can enjoy several decorative and interactive photo opportunities for children and their families in the lobby of the theater prior to each show.

Dollywood’s Culinary Team is cooking up summertime favorites full of flavor. Fried fish and hushpuppies, BBQ pork nachos, Southern fried corn and an open-faced grilled cheese are just a few of the savory items guests can enjoy during the festival. Sweet treats include peanut butter candy liege waffles, s’mores funnel cake and an orange Fanta float. Guests also will be able to visit the Food Truck Neighborhood in Adventures in Imagination for a variety of road trip treats.

After the success of the Flower & Food Festival Tasting Pass, the tastes of summer are now available with a similar option for guests. The tasting pass, which can be purchased in the park or online, is $34.99 plus tax or $31.99 plus tax for gold and diamond passholders. The tasting pass is available each day of the festival.

During Smoky Mountain Summer Celebration, guests can take advantage of extended summer hours allowing them to make memories until 9:30 p.m.

Statement released by Dollywood on June 16, 2022

The Smoky Mountain Summer Celebration marks just one of the exceptional events Dollywood provides throughout the year, with each season offering a unique experience.

For example, thousands of pumpkins will glow to life from Sept. 23 through Oct. 29 as part of the Harvest Festival. Then, the year will wrap up with what Dollywood describes as “the most popular theme park Christmas event in the world” — Smoky Mountain Christmas, which runs from Nov. 5 through New Year’s Day.

To learn more about the family-friendly fun waiting for you at Dollywood, you can visit the park’s website or download the Dollywood App.

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