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April 15, 2024

Where Every Family Matters

Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Opens for the Holidays

Guests will find hundreds of additional lighted trees throughout the park this year, as well as more new décor elements and more.

With several new lighting displays across its 160 acres, Dollywood theme park now boasts more than 6 million shimmering lights as part of the popular Smoky Mountain Christmas, now through Jan. 1, 2023. 

The event features award-winning stage productions, Christmas culinary delicacies and the family traditions guests have enjoyed throughout the festival’s 30 plus years.

“I believe each season in the Smokies is a precious gift from above, but I also know there is no better time than Christmas to experience the magic of this special place,” Dolly Parton explained. “Christmas is a time for new memories to be created, cherished family traditions to be celebrated and the love of the holidays to warm us all.”

Why Christmas at Dollywood Is Unlike Anything Else | Condé Nast Traveler

Smoky Mountain Christmas Lights

Dollywood has new lighting elements throughout the park providing an element of surprise to guests. Riders on the Dollywood Express will enjoy lights draped across the field located inside the train’s upper turning loop. Another new lighted area is the Village Pass, which features a 130’ light curtain wall that includes programmed movement. Adventures in Imagination shines in pink, platinum and gold decorations — as well as 60 LED butterflies and a new 20’ ft. tall Christmas tree — in an area called Dolly’s Christmas.

You’ll also find hundreds of lighted trees throughout the park this year, as well as more new décor elements and eight different light zones to provide each area of Dollywood its own unique look and feel. The new elements add 1 million lights to the park. 

Dollywood's Smoky Mountain Christmas - Pigeon Forge, TN

Fireworks, performances & more

Returning this year on Friday and Saturday evenings is the “Merry & Bright!” fireworks display, which provides a sparkling ending to the day. “Merry & Bright!” lights the sky above Dollywood with a display set to the rhythm of upbeat contemporary holiday hits. After Christmas, the music changes to help guests ready to ring in the new year. Additionally, the New Year’s version of the show takes place nightly Dec. 26 – Jan. 1.

In one of the most unique experiences during the Christmas season at Dollywood, Old Saint Nick allows visitors a sneak peek into his little cabin in the Smokies. Guests who visit Santa’s cabin can literally see inside as he reviews … the list! Kids discover whether their names are on the naughty or nice list, and they might even have their photo made as they peer through the window during this once-in-a-lifetime chance to catch Santa at work. 

For more information and a park operating calendar, please visit or download the Dollywood app.



About the Author

Michael Aldrich

Michael Aldrich is Nashville Parent's Managing Editor and a Middle Tennessee arts writer. He and his wife, Alison, are the proud parents of 4-year-old Ezra and baby Norah.