Souvenirs are a big part of your vacation. Finding the right Dollywood souvenir is a wonderful way to remember a family vacation or a weekend getaway. It can also be a way to remember some weird memories…like finding weird Dollywood souvenirs!
On my last trip, I checked out some of the stranger Dollywood souvenirs that I ran across.
Most of the Dollywood collectibles I saw were from the Dollywood Emporium that also serves as the park exit.
I love roller coaster t-shirts and coffee mugs. It’s rare that I run across a good design that works well for all the coasters at a park and this design does!
Weird Dollywood Souvenirs
Let’s check out some of the weirder souvenirs that I ran across at the Dollywood Emporium.
There were a ton of plush animals at all of the souvenirs stops, but this was a neon green bear with the words Mystery Mine on it. I’m trying to find the connection between the bear and the Mystery Mine roller coaster. Thoughts?
I guess this one makes sense with Dolly Parton’s music background. It is a refrigerator magnet, which is cool. It also features two coasters (Wild Eagle and Thunder Head), Drop Line and the Ferris Wheel (which has been removed).
Speaking of Dolly Parton, are you her number one fan? If so, here’s all of your merchandise! I didn’t see anything for her #2 fan…
You can’t forget your four-legged friend, either.
Need a Dollywood mug with someone’s name on it?
And there’s even more odd plush. I do understand the connection with the bears, but not the green color.
Other Weird Dollywood Souvenirs
I found some other souvenirs from all over the park to share. Some were pretty strange and other were fairly unique.
No, you can’t eat any of these. Well, you can, but you shouldn’t. I mean, these are candles designed to look like desserts!
I guess if you need to be the sherif of the Dollywood Express.
Now, these do drive me crazy. Yes, they do keep you cooler, but they also make it much easier to burn and you have to reapply sunscreen more often.
Another plush animal. This time, it’s blue gorilla. Why?
Yep, Dollywood does have lye soap that you can buy. It is part of the rich craftsman tradition at Dollywood that has been in existence since the mid-1970s.
The Glassblower Shop was pretty amazing. Not only can you see and learn about the craft of glass blowing, but you can purchase some truly gorgeous pieces.
Dollywood Souvenirs: The Hillside General Store!
The Hillside General Store at Dollywood was part of the Craftsmen’s Valley expansion that took place when the park went from Goldrush Junction to Silver Dollar City, Tennessee. (The park wasn’t Dollywood until 1986.) The General Store had a few unique items that represented the store, itself, and I wanted to share those!
Honestly, I can’t think of another merchandise outlet at any other park that has its own t-shirt! Can you?
They also offer a simple coffee mug, but I’m a sucker for a unique coffee mug.
Do you have a favorite Dollywood souvenir? Or something you always buy when you visit an amusement park?
Gone Dollywood: Dolly Parton’s Mountain Dream is a new book of essays by Graham Hoppe, an author who focuses on food and culture. Being a Dollywood Insider and a huge fan of Dollywood, I reached out to the publisher to inquire about a review copy. When the book arrived, I read it during the middle of the Dollywood Social Media Influencers Gathering that I attended in late April. Reading the book during a visit to Dollywood created some inspirational moments relating to the park and its environs.
In some aspects, the book reminded me of Vinyl Leaves by Stephen Fjellman, the seminal work on Walt Disney World and culture that was published in 1992. Gone Dollywood takes a similar look at Dollywood and how it represents and changes the views of Appalachian culture. The work is academic in nature, but Hoppe writes in a way that doesn’t alienate the lay reader. Dollywood fans will be intrigued by the book and theme park fans will devour it. Fans of Dolly Parton and Appalachian culture will find it a work of love and respect. But that doesn’t mean that Hoppe doesn’t question what he sees around him in the park and the Pigeon Forge area.
Why Should I Read Gone Dollywood?
Gone Dollywood is a series of essays that chronicle Dolly’s life in relation to the culture of her home town, her career and the Dollywood theme park. The book also takes a detailed look into how Appalachian culture, or mountain life, has been purveyed to the rest of the country and how Dolly has fought that image through her music and life. Hoppe also looks at Sevier County and how modern Sevier is vastly different from the history it wants to portray. It’s not mentioned often, but most of Sevier County voted against seceding from the Union and was against slavery. That flies in the face of the number of confederate flags flown today and on display in the area. It really wasn’t part of Sevier County history.
Gone Dollywood takes us inside the theme park and explains the representations of Dolly’s life that we see throughout as well as the representations of mountain life. Hoppe stresses that hillbilly popular culture was not as it was presented in the 1950s, but more akin to the Craftsman’s Valley and Rivertown Junction areas. It’s more about hardworking people trying to survive and pass on their culture.
Hoppes’ book offers insight into Dollywood as a social and cultural institution that goes beyond expectations of a modern theme park. Gone Dollywood is a look into the modern stratification of a park and how it exists inside and outside of its mountain environs. It’s interesting when Hoppe points out that Dollywood is a park paying tribute to Appalachian culture and is nestled serenely in the Great Smoky Mountains.
To me, Hoppe looks at how Dolly is able to connect to disparate audiences through her music and her messages. Not only is she a country super star, but Dolly is a gay icon and has stated that she believes that love is for everyone. It’s very heart-warming to read about Dolly’s stance in regards to hatred, and bias, even when it’s shown in her hometown. Dolly believes in love and people and it shows.
Anyone with a vested interest in Appalachian culture and how it manifests in Dollywood and in Dolly Parton’s life will find Hoppe’s book a pleasure to read. There were moments that reminded me of Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, but that simply relates to the economic depression of the area. Overall, Hoppe weaves a view of a theme park that exists to boost Dolly’s people and her way of life. Hoppe also provides insight into Dolly’s life, based on interviews and articles, that help explain how Dollywood has evolved since her partnership with Herschend Family Entertainment started in 1986.
Title: Gone Dollywood: Dolly Parton’s Mountain Dream Author: Graham Hoppe ISBN: 978-0-8214-2323-3 Release Date: March 15, 2018
Are You Going to Pick Up a Copy of Gone Dollywood?
FTC Disclosure: A copy was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review. This post contains affiliate links, which means that ImagiNERDing receives a percentage of sales purchased through links on this site. Thank you for your support!
You can get cinnamon bread at DreamMore Resort at Dollywood!
The Homemade Cinnamon Bread from the Grist Mill was always the best kept secret of Dollywood. And by best kept secret, I mean that everyone knew about it. It’s become the signature food item at the Pigeon Forge theme park and a tradition for hundreds of thousands of people.
On one of our last trips, my family waited 45 minutes at the Grist Mill to get a few loaves of the delectable cinnamon bread.
As a Dollywood Insider, I was able to take a backstage tour of the Dollywood Train Shops and Dollywood’s Splash Country. I made sure to stop by the DM Pantry to try out the cinnamon bread and offer my opinion!
But you can now get the cinnamon bread at DreamMore! Check out my video to learn more about it:
This is great news for anyone that might not want to spend an hour in line waiting for Homemade Cinnamon Bread at the Grist Mill at Dollywood. But, make sure to check out the video for a tip about making sure you can get a loaf of the cinnamon bread from the DM Pantry.
I’ve stayed at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa more than a handful of times and I’m always amazed with the amenities and services. It’s comparable to a Deluxe Disney resort. During my last visit (I got a special behind-the-scenes tour of the Dollywood Train Shop and Splash Country), I did a video tour of one of the king size rooms with bunk beds.
Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort Room Video Tour!
Have you had a chance to stay at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort?
I post weekly videos about Disney, Dollywood, Carowinds, theme park history, roller coasters, Disney books and so much more! I’d love for you to subscribe to my channel so you will be notified when I post new videos (usually every Tuesday).
Celebrating the holidays at Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas is just as spectacular as everyone says it is. And to prove it, Dollywood has received industry awards for the Christmas Event and shows. Dollywood won Golden Ticket awards ten times for the Best Christmas Event and the nine wins for Best Shows. With over four million lights on display, it is impressive and heart-warming. It’s also a great way to create lasting holiday memories this season.
Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Video
Have you had a chance to experience Christmas time at Dollywood?
In addition to the wonderful shows, you can also enjoy the second season of the Parade of Many Colors.
Dollywood continues to provide guests with classic Christmas entertainment which brings the holidays to life! Based on the timeless holiday story of love and generosity, It’s a Wonderful Life follows small town businessman George Bailey as he discovers the true value of life, family and friends with a little help from his guardian angel, Clarence. One of Dollywood’s greatest entertainment offerings, Christmas in the Smokies, returns to D.P.’s Celebrity Theater and serves as the headline show for the festival. Guests can celebrate the joy of the season while a cast of singers and dancers performs hometown holiday favorites accompanied by a band of live musicians!
And there’s even a special surprise from Rudolph at the end of the evening as you exit the park.
“There is no time of the year that is more special to me than Christmas. Some of the best memories of my life are from my time spent with family and friends celebrating Christmas together. It’s when we all come together to enjoy sweet traditions and the warm love of family and to have those special experiences we’ll always remember.
“Now when we were growing up, we never could have imagined millions of Christmas lights or even a life-size Rudolph. But I know the families who come to visit my Dollywood this Christmas will leave with wonderful memories they’ll treasure forever—just like me and my family.” —Dolly Parton
Are you going to visit Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas? Do you have a favorite Dollywood Christmas tradition?
Dollywood Insiders Ticket Offer!
Occasionally, there are special Dollywood Insiders offers and the latest one is for $5.00 off tickets purchased online at Dollywood.com. Use the code DWINSIDERS12 when you buy your ticket. Don’t forget that you have to print the ticket and take it with you. You can also upgrade this ticket to a season pass (and Christmas time is the cheapest time to buy a season pass).
I am a Dollywood insider, which means that I was chosen to be on a panel of insiders that can help you plan a great Dollywood trip through tips and articles. Dollywood Insiders range from stay-at-home moms to industry insiders. I look forward to sharing my articles with you, as well as my love of Dollywood.
And there is very little hyperbole in the article on the fast food at Dollywood; the food is truly an amazing experience.
Dollywood Insiders Special Offer!
Occasionally, there are special Dollywood Insiders offers and the latest one is for $5.00 off tickets purchased online at Dollywood.com. Use the code DWINSIDERS12 when you buy your ticket. Don’t forget that you have to print the ticket and take it with you. You can also upgrade this ticket to a season pass (and Christmas time is the cheapest time to buy a season pass!
FTC: I receive no compensation from Dollywood for the Dollywood Insiders ticket offer. As a Dollywood Insider, I am occasionally offered free or reduced stays at the DreamMore Resort as well as an annual pass. Regardless, the options stated at ImagiNERDing are my own.
Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Adventures Christmas Dinner and Show
As a Dollywood Insider, I was invited to experience the new Smoky Mountain Adventures Christmas Dinner & Show and I posted a video review about the new show, here. With this article, I wanted to focus on the overall experience, especially if you’ve never visited a dinner show before (I highly recommend this one). The entertainment is top-notch and the food is outstanding!
The Smoky Mountains Adventure Theater is located at 2713 Parkway in Pigeon Forge, TN. It’s about a ten-minute drive from Dollywood and within walking distance of many hotels on the parkway. You’ll want purchase your tickets ahead of time to get the best deal and get the best seats. The doors open about an hour before showtime and you can hang out in the Bass Mercantile while enjoying special holiday drinks and games.
The theater opens about 15 minutes before show time and you’re directed to your assigned row, which seats about 10-15 people per row. Your server will come around and explain the dinner while she takes your drink order (Pepsi products, sweet tea and coffee). Even before everyone is seated, the pre-show begins!
Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Adventures Christmas Dinner and Show: the Meal
Served over several courses, the meal is simply fantastic. The holiday dinner includes: a special holiday soup recipe, homemade buttery biscuits, spiral ham, pan fried chicken, old fashioned Southern dressing, a sweet potato treat, buttery corn on the cob, and Southern Peach Pie for dessert. Even my picky fourteen year-old loved the chicken, corn on the cob and biscuits. He felt like there was a great choice of foods for everyone.
There was plenty of time to enjoy the food without feeling rushed during the pre-show. The portions were large and will satisfy the heartiest eaters.
Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Adventures Christmas Dinner and Show: the Show
The show lasts about an hour and a half and it’s a high-energy spectacle full of dancing, jokes, songs, ice-skating (yes!), gymnastics and a death-defying feat! (But no spoilers.)
Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Adventures Christmas Dinner and Show
My family loved the Smoky Mountain Adventures Christmas Dinner & Show. The food was lip-smacking great and the entertainment kept us engaged the entire show. And let me tell you: these entertainers know how to sing, dance, act, skate and perform acrobatics.
The show his a great way to spend an evening in the Pigeon Forge area. You will create fun, family memories that will stay with you for years. Plus, the whole experience is captivating enough to keep the kids away from their screens!
Are you going to check out the Smoky Mountain Adventures Christmas Dinner & Show?
Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Adventure Christmas Show Video
As a Dollywood Insider, I was offered the chance to take my family to experience the new Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Adventures Christmas Dinner & Show. (It used to be the Lumberjack Adventure show.) I experienced the Dixie Stampede show back in April, so I was excited to see how this show differed.
Check out my video on the Smoky Mountains Adventure Christmas Dinner & Show
The show that we saw is the brand new Christmas version that is playing until December 31, 2017. Like the Dixie Stampede Dinner show, the food is served in courses, but with a few changes. At the Smoky Mountain Adventures, the dinner is served during the entertaining pre-show and it is a different menu. I have to admit that the food was fantastic; even my 14 year-old son enjoyed the meal (and he’s very picky).
Make sure to visit their website to make reservations in advance if you plan on visiting.
Check out Dollywood’s announcement for the 2018 season!
DOLLYWOOD MAKES LARGEST ENTERTAINMENT INVESTMENT IN HISTORY
Dolly Parton announces stellar 2018 entertainment lineup
PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (Friday, November 3, 2017)—Dolly Parton today announced an unprecedented entertainment lineup to ensure the spotlight remains solely on her Dollywood theme park. The performing icon unveiled her unwavering commitment to Dollywood’s family entertainment offerings with an extraordinary investment for 2018.
Hailing the year as a “Season of Showstoppers,” Parton announced an entertainment lineup which represents an investment $1 million greater than any season-long entertainment schedule in the park’s history. Headlining 2018 are performances by The Marshall Tucker Band, The Drifters, T.G. Sheppard, Suzy Bogguss, Atlanta Rhythm Section, Crystal Gayle, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and a host of other award-winning artists.
“Music is the universal language that unites all of us,” Parton explained. “It celebrates our people, our families and our communities. I’ve made music my life’s work because I feel each and every one of us has a special song to sing. I’ve made sure that here at my Dollywood, we use music to encourage and inspire those songs in each and every one of our shows.”
Dollywood’s 2018 entertainment roster reads like the nomination list from an awards ceremony. A range of performers—from CMA Hall of Fame members to emerging artists—ensure there is something for everyone. Combined, the headlining artists performing at Dollywood in 2018 have 42 gold albums, 18 platinum albums, 30 Grammys, 14 Country Music Association Awards, 10 American Country Music Awards, five American Music Association Awards and 62 Dove Awards.
It all begins with Dollywood’s Festival of Nations (March 17-April 9) which includes headliners National Dance Company of Siberia, The Flamenco Kings starring Los Vivancos, and Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Hailing from South Africa, internationally-known Grammy award-winning group Ladysmith Black Mambazo—who worked with Parton on her 1996 album Treasures—has teamed with Paul Simon, Sarah McLachlan, Emmylou Harris, and many more.
April plays host to three weeks (April 11-29) of stellar performances during the all-new Spring Mix music series. Dollywood guests can expect performances by Dollywood entertainment alumnus Bogguss, Sheppard, Pam Tillis, Gayle, Connie Smith and Shenandoah during the first week of the event. The second week plays host to artists such as Amy Grant, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Larnelle Harris, David Phelps and comedienne Chonda Pierce – also known as “The Queen of Clean.”
Classic artists like The Marshall Tucker Band (Can’t You See and Heard it in a Love Song), The Drifters (Under the Boardwalk and Save the Last Dance for Me), Debby Boone (You Light Up My Life), The Atlanta Rhythm Section (So Into You andImaginary Lover), Firefall (Just Remember I Love You and You Are the Woman), and Al Stewart (The Year of the Cat and Song on the Radio) entertain park guests during the final week of the event. Individual concert dates and show times will be announced at a later date.
Already one of the nation’s best bluegrass events, Dollywood’s Barbeque & Bluegrass (May 25- June 10) adds an extra week of concerts from the biggest names in the business. Guests should expect hundreds of live bluegrass performances during the festival with headline shows from Grammy and IBMA winner Rhonda Vincent & The Rage, and IMBA winners Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, Dailey & Vincent, and many more.
Families have a multitude of world-renowned options to keep them entertained during Dollywood’s Summer Celebration. iLuminate, finalists on America’s Got Talent in 2011, bring their electrified glow-in-the-dark costumes to DP’s Celebrity Theater to perform dynamic dance routines and illusions to thrill guests. Summer 2018 also sees international touring sensation DRUMLine Live! visit the park with riveting rhythms, bold beats and ear-grabbing energy. Developed by the consultants of the hit 2002 movie Drumline, the band featured in this exhilarating show creates a synchronized musical masterpiece for guests—it’s more than just the typical halftime performance! Dan Dunn—America’s favorite speed painter—brings his innovative and mesmerizing PaintJam to Dollywood. Audiences will be astonished as he creates stunning works of art on a spinning 360-degree canvas, while he dances and moves throughout the performance.
Dollywood’s popular Rock the Smokies moves to August 25 with TobyMac and Crowder serving as headliners. Multiple contemporary Christian artists perform throughout the park during this exciting conclusion to the summer.
Dollywood’s Harvest Festival presented by Humana (Sept. 28 – Nov. 3) provides more fall family fun with the expansion of the new guest-favorite Great Pumpkin LumiNights and the largest Southern gospel event in America. During the festival, several hundred performances by Southern gospel royalty take place during the day, while at night, thousands of carved pumpkins illuminate the dark with an expanded number of displays and activities for families to enjoy. Dollywood guests also can enjoy the spectacular artistry of visiting crafters from across the country, or sample the special harvest-themed food items from Dollywood’s award-winning foods team.
Dollywood’s 2018 season again ends with America’s favorite theme park holiday event, Smoky Mountain Christmas. Voted as the best theme park Christmas event for a decade, Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas presented by Humana (Nov. 10, 2018 – Jan. 5, 2019) features four million spectacular lights, classic holiday entertainment—including Christmas in the Smokies and It’s a Wonderful Life—Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Friends, and the heartwarming Parade of Many Colors.
Dollywood won the 2017 Golden Ticket from Amusement Today for Best Entertainment at any theme park in the world. The honor was the ninth consecutive triumph for the park in that category. With Parton’s commitment to entertainment in 2018, Dollywood looks to lead the way in securing its 10th victory in the category.
Dollywood continues to celebrate its Year of the Family this season with a number of exciting festivals, performing groups, and two new attractions—Drop Line, a 230-ft. tall free-fall experience, and Whistle Punk Chaser, a junior coaster designed for Dollywood’s younger visitors. The season ends with America’s favorite Christmas theme park event, Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas presented by Humana (Nov. 4, 2017 – Jan. 1, 2018). Guests can upgrade their park admission during the Christmas festival to a season pass and receive next year for free!
For more information about Dollywood’s 2018 entertainment lineup, please visit www.dollywood.com or call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD.
The Country Fair area at Dollywood is a great place for kids and families. Most of the attractions and rides are well-suited for the under twelve set. A few of them, like the Dizzy Disk and the Scrambler, offer a bit more excitement and speed. Regardless, Country Fair is the place to spend time as a family. Plus, it’s right next to the Dollywood Express!
Check out my video on the Country Fair rides at Dollywood!
Have you had a chance to check out the rides and games in the area?
The Country Fair section of Dollywood has evovled over the years. During the first decade, when the park was known as Rebel Railroad and Silver Dollar City, TN., the area was home to a log flume ride with a backstory. The log flume was the very same ride from the 1964-1965 New York World’s fair. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, when Dolly Parton became involved with the park, the area slowly expanded into what we see today.
Amazing Flying Elephants
The Country Fair section of the park can get pretty crowded during the mid-afternoon. I suggest that you visit first thing in the morning or later in the evening. For some of the rides, the queues can wind around each other, especially near the Dizzy Disk and Lemon Twist.
There are other children’s rides dispersed throughout Dollywood, which gives the younger ones something to do while other people ride the world-class coasters.