The Morning Interview: Dollywood Reopens

The theme park that shares its name with one of Tennessee’s country music legends has reopened–Dolly Parton’s Dollywood has kicked off its season and friend to the show & Dollywood Publicist, Jennifer Webb stopped by virtually to discuss some of the family fun and memories that you at home can make with a trip this season.

More information about the reopening can be seen in the video above.

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Press Release courtesy The Dollywood Company:

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (Friday, March 12, 2021) — Dollywood kicked off its 2021 calendar with today’s Season Passholder and Media Preview Day which hosted a number of excited guests ready to experience everything the Pigeon Forge family destination has to offer for its 36th season.

After receiving stellar guest reviews throughout 2020 about the overall park experience, Dollywood has a bright outlook for 2021. The Dollywood Company earned several impressive awards and designations last year, including Dollywood theme park being recognized by Tripadvisor as the #8 best park in the world. In addition, Dollywood’s Splash Country was named a top-five water park by USA Today readers, while Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort & Spa was named a “Top 15 Best Resort Hotel in the South,” as well as one of the “Top 25 Resorts in the US that are Perfect for Families” by Travel + Leisure.

“Our people are doing a great job to care for our guests, and I’m just glad that everyone is seeing what the good folks at Dollywood have been doing to make it one of the best family destinations in the entire country,” said Dolly. “What we have is special. It’s a place where folks can come to enjoy those precious moments they will cherish forever. This season looks bright, and I just know families are going to love making a lot of great memories this year.

“I wish I could be there for the opening, but the doctors said I need to wait until after I’ve had the second dose of the vaccine. Let’s all be patient. All of this stuff is going to be over soon, and I know it won’t be long until we can be together.”

A number of projects, including park infrastructure enhancements and ride retracking efforts, took place during the off-season, and all are designed to add to the guest experience. New restaurant seating areas have been added to the park, while projects at roller coasters Lightning Rod, Blazing Fury, Thunderhead and Mystery Mine took place with guest satisfaction in mind. It all adds up to a season Dollywood guests won’t want to miss. 

“There is no doubt; this is the year to have a season pass,” explained Eugene Naughton, President of The Dollywood Company. “We have so many exciting things planned for our festivals this year—like concerts, new shows and entertainment, a number of new culinary items and more—that our guests are going to want to come back time and time again to experience the fun of Dollywood and the beauty of the always-changing Smoky Mountains.

“Our goal every single day is to provide the best possible experience for our guests. It is a lot of hard work, but the reward for all of us is to see the smiles, hear the laughter and read the great notes and emails about how they love the moments they have here at Dollywood. They tell us it is that time that helps them come closer together as a family and that those are the memories they will keep forever. That is the reason we all do what we do.”

As always, Dollywood’s teams work hard to incorporate the surrounding Great Smoky Mountains into the park atmosphere, especially during the multiple festivals that take place each year. A different festival accentuates the outdoors each season of 2021, bringing the Smokies into the park for a truly unparalleled experience.

A fresh festival highlights the spectacle of spring with Dollywood’s Flower & Food Festival presented by Covenant Health (April 23-June 7). Guests will be delighted by more than half-a-million brightly blooming flowers that make up numerous displays and lavish landscaping throughout Dollywood. Fun and discovery are around every corner, thanks to larger-than-life sculptures including a butterfly umbrella, various animal scenes and even a depiction of Dolly’s mother quilting the Coat of Many Colors. Returning in 2021, the dazzling Umbrella Sky greets guests with a stunning visual upon arrival as hundreds of colorful umbrellas are suspended above Showstreet. In addition to the beautiful flowers, a wide selection of culinary creations abounds to delight guests’ taste buds with a menu full of items inspired by spring in the Smokies. Among the new offerings in 2021 is the Flower & Food Festival Dining Pass, which allows guests to partake in multiple entrees at a number of culinary locations during the springtime event.

Entertainment—a vital component of the Dollywood experience—plays a lead role this season thanks to a number of new shows, as well as a concert series which debuts during the Flower & Food Festival. The Melodies of Spring concert series features contemporary Christian artists, Southern gospel groups and other fresh and inspiring acts all appearing inside DP’s Celebrity Theater. Among the artists currently scheduled are Matthew West, Big Daddy Weave, I AM THEY, Rebecca St. James, Sidewalk Prophets, the Rhett Walker Band, Triumphant Quartet and many more.

Several shows featuring Dollywood’s own performers debuted during today’s park opening, including Harmonies of the Heart—featuring Dolly’s family—and A Brighter Day, an inspiring show that delights guests with uplifting favorites at the Back Porch Theater. In The Village, Dollywood’s talented The Tones offer a fresh acapella take on today’s current hits. Performances of all three will continue until the fall.

Guests visiting during the park’s warmer months can enjoy Dollywood’s Summer Celebration (June 25-July 31), which is—just as the name implies—a celebration of family fun and laughter at a place everyone loves. With later nighttime hours, families can ride Dollywood’s world-class roller coasters all day and well into the night. New during Summer Celebration is a groundbreaking, multi-sensory experience that paints the night sky above Dollywood with stunning animations and superior storytelling to create a symphony of light that represents a true evolution in traditional theme park entertainment.

Taking place every night during Summer Celebration, this sensational show features hundreds of drones flying high above the Smoky Mountain destination to create stunning 3d animations that tell a dynamic, Dollywood-exclusive story. As seen at some of the biggest events around the world, the drones—which are accented by a musically-choreographed fireworks show—create a visual and audial event of epic proportions.

As part of the half-a-million-dollar production, a hyped DJ and energetic dancers bring the fun to the streets in Wildwood Grove and make guests part of the action during a 30-minute party that ensures every member in the family is on their feet. As the dancing nears its finale, the party takes to the sky when the drones launch into the air for an unforgettable end to the evening.

Later in the season, Dollywood’s Harvest Festival presented by Humana (Sept. 24-Oct. 30)—named by readers of USA Today as the best theme park harvest event in the world—provides bushels of fun thanks to everyone’s favorite Smoky Mountain tradition, Dollywood’s Great Pumpkin LumiNights presented by Covenant Health. Dollywood stays open late each evening, giving families more time to enjoy the glow of thousands of carved pumpkins throughout the park. During the day, guests can expect a packed concert schedule, with hundreds of performances across several genres occurring during the festival.

The season ends with the event that has set the standard for theme park holiday events, Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas presented by Humana (Nov. 6- Jan. 2, 2022). It’s the perfect place to get in the Christmas spirit with more than five million holiday lights, festive and warm holiday performances, a traditional Christmas atmosphere, and the comforting tastes of classic holiday-themed food. It is easy to see why it has become a family favorite for so many.

With so much excitement planned for 2021, Dollywood season passes are a must-have and currently are offered at special pre-season pricing. Prices go up after Sunday, March 14, so now is the time to purchase. For 2020 season passholders who have yet to extend their passes beyond the June 15 expiration date, a special extension price currently is available as well, but that price goes away after March 14.

For more information about Dollywood’s 2021 season, operating calendars and more, please visit or download the Dollywood app.

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