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?
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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).
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?
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.
Great Pumpkin LumiNights at Dollywood sounds like it’s going to be an amazing addition to the Harvest Festival this season. Are you going to check it out?
PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (Friday, August 18, 2017)—Dolly Parton today shared plans with media about her award-winning park’s upcoming harvest and Christmas events, as well as a new album project which features music from Dollywood’s Little Engine Playhouse.
“I love fall in the Great Smoky Mountains,” Parton said during the media event. “It truly is one of my favorite times of the year to come home. God’s coloring book is in full display with the Great Smoky Mountains painted in reds and golds.
“I’m also really excited to be here to let you know about our brand new nighttime event we are adding for families in October called Great Pumpkin LumiNights. You know, people from all around the world know us for the millions of twinklin’ lights we put up at Christmas time. Well, when guests see thousands of these glowing pumpkins all lit up in Timber Canyon, they’re going to have that same special feeling. We think Great Pumpkin LumiNights will become just as popular with families as our Smoky Mountain Christmas festival. I’m pretty sure there will be a lot of new family traditions made this October!”
Dollywood’s Harvest Festival presented by Humana (Sept. 29- Oct. 28) provides families with great Southern gospel entertainment during the day and fabulous fall fun during the evening thanks to the new Great Pumpkin LumiNights. This season marks the first time the Smoky Mountain theme park has opened every day—and stayed open after dark—during its family-favorite harvest event. The expanded operating schedule allows Dollywood to provide guests with additional autumn experiences designed to help them create cherished family memories.
The biggest names in Southern gospel take to stages every day throughout the park with more than 500 individual performances during the run of the festival. Additionally, Great Pumpkin LumiNights offers whimsical, family-friendly activities that are sure to make this event a new harvest tradition.
Families will bask in the glow of thousands of intricately-carved pumpkins as they wander through immersive harvest-themed displays throughout Dollywood’s Timber Canyon. Beyond the impressive displays, guests can find a number of exciting activities to create thrilling memories together. With so many carved pumpkins needed to create Great Pumpkin LumiNights, Dollywood has a number of “pumpkin artists” who will host demonstrations to help guests learn how to produce the perfect pumpkin masterpiece.
Check out the Great Pumpkin LumiNights video from Dollywood
Unique harvest games and attractions—including a glow maze—for kids, a nightly Pumpkin Boogie dance party, and friendly costume characters help add to the festive atmosphere. New themed food options and exclusive harvest-themed Coca-Cola products make Great Pumpkin LumiNights the place to be when the sun goes down in the Smokies.
Alongside Great Pumpkin LumiNights, Dollywood once again hosts the largest Southern gospel music event in America with the biggest names in the genre visiting the Southern Gospel Jubilee. Karen Peck & New River (Oct. 21-22), Guy Penrod (Oct. 23-24), The Isaacs (Oct. 12-13), The McKameys (Oct. 6-7), Gold City (Oct. 2-3) and many more provide inspirational music to fill the autumn air.
The park’s Year of the Family continues with America’s most-loved holiday theme park event, Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas presented by Humana (Nov. 4- Jan. 1, 2018). Honored for nine-consecutive years with Amusement Today’s Golden Ticket for Best Christmas Event, Dollywood is home to a festive holiday atmosphere that truly puts guests in the holiday spirit.
“I just love Christmas at Dollywood, and I know you all do too,” Parton said. “The Parade of Many Colors is back this Christmas, along with seven holiday shows and four million beautiful lights. We even have Rudolph and his friends back for another year of creating family memories. It will be a November and December to remember!”
From the spectacular shows and elaborate holiday decorations to the four million sparkling lights and Christmas-themed menus, Dollywood captures the essence of Christmas in the Smoky Mountains.
Parton also spoke about her newest project, a children’s CD entitled I Believe in You. The CD will be released in September and features songs she has written throughout the years for Dollywood’s Little Engine Playhouse. It includes a new version of Coat of Many Colors which debuted in the playhouse this summer.
For more information about Dollywood’s Harvest Festival or Smoky Mountain Christmas, please visit www.dollywood.com or call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD.
Are you going to check out the Great Pumpkin Luminights this year?
Crime Museum: Alcatraz East at The Island in Pigeon Forge!
The Alcatraz East Crime Museum is a relatively new attraction at the Island in Pigeon Forge. I was given media tickets to check out the museum as part of the Dollywood Social Media Influencer Gathering that I attended in April. Honestly, I had no idea what to expect when visiting a crime museum. Would it be a rogues gallery? A wax museum?
I wasn’t sure what to expect at all before visiting the Alcatraz East Crime Museum!
Visiting the Alcatraz East Crime Museum
The Island at Pigeon Forge is a massive shopping and entertainment complex. The Island shares very large parking lot with the convention center, so parking can be an issue at times. Still, you can park right in front of the Alcatraz East building; it’s just a long walk from the crime museum to the rest of the Island. At that point, I’d move my car and use the regular lot (they do have trams). Check out the Alcatraz East website for tickets and hours.
The Alcatraz East Crime museum is spread over two floors and offers 25,000 square feet of exhibit space. They recommend two hours, but I easily spent more than three checking out every inch of the exhibits. So, be sure to eat a good meal before your visit.
The museum takes you on a tour of the history of crime in America. Through five different galleries and hundreds of exhibits, you’ll see the evolution of crime and policing over the past four hundred years. We travel through the colonies, the old west, prohibition, mobs, mafia, serial killers, terrorists and so much more. The theming of the exhibit spaces are very top-notch and reflect the quality of the artifacts and information presented.
Who Should Visit the Crime Museum?
Alcatraz East boasts that the museum is for all ages. However, I felt that children elementary-aged and younger will have a hard time with the exhibits and the content. The artifacts can be quite disturbing and reflect the violence of the subject matter. It’s a fantastic experience and anyone, regardless of age, that has an interest in any facet of crime and punishment will find Alcatraz East very enjoyable.
It was quite eye-opening to see how intertwined many of the criminals were with popular culture. The bandits of the early 19th century were able to capitalize on the newspapers, radio and early television to help garner fame. Many times, this would be their downfall, but it still shows our fascination with crime and criminals.
Visiting the Alcatraz East Crime Museum is a wonderful addition to a Dollywood vacation, especially if you have an interest in crime and punishment in America. It’s a unique museum that offers exhibits that you won’t find anywhere else.
Are You Going to Check Out the Alcatraz East Crime Museum?
FTC Disclosure: A media ticket was provided. No review was expected or required.
Ten Reasons to Stay at Dollywood’s Dreammore Resort
After a recent social media gathering at Dollywood, I’ve got Ten Reasons to Stay at Dollywood’s Dreammore Resort for you—as my latest YouTube video. I’ve stayed at Dollywood twice (once as a media guest and once as a paying guest). With both visits, I was floored by the beauty and the amenities. It’s easily comparable to a deluxe resort at Walt Disney World. My first thought was that it had the luxury of the Grand Floridian with the warmth of the Wilderness Lodge; a perfect combination. Plus, the Dreammore Resort is only a short (and free) trolley ride to Dollywood (with seven amazing coasters).
A few of the highlights:
the fluffiest towels;
a special resort entrance
The resort is beautiful. It’s an oasis just outside of the overcrowded and congested Pigeon Forge. When you arrive, you’re welcomed with a sense of serenity that permeates every part of the Dreammore Resort.
The pool and recreation area located behind the resort is as beautiful as any other I’ve seen. It’s divided into different areas with plenty of space for families and gatherings. Plus. there’s a butterfly garden!
My most recent visit to the Dreammore Resort was as part of a social media influencers meetup. I did stay as a paying guest on an earlier visit and I’ve visited Dollywood multiple times, both as media and as a passholder. Dollywood is one of those rare theme parks that just gets everything right. They have great coasters, family rides, amazing shows and the best food of any theme park. You definitely need to visit Dollywood. The Dreammore Resort might be more expensive that other accommodations in the area, but if you really want to have a great Dollywood vacation, then nothing else makes sense. If you have a family of four staying at Dreammore, then each person gets a Time Saver pass, which is valued at $25.00 per person. That’s a savings of $100 right off the bat.
Have you had a chance to stay at Dollywood’s Dreammore Resort?
Dollywood Roller Coasters: From Blazing Fury to Lightning Rod!
There are seven Dollywood roller coasters and they include everything from a custom-designed dark coaster to the world’s fastest wooden coaster. Spending time at Dollywood is a must, especially if you love a beautiful park, great food and some amazing airtime! The Cinnamon bread is wonderful.
Dollywood Roller Coasters: The Video!
Dollywood Roller Coasters
Dollywood has a very special attraction in Blazing Fury. It’s part dark ride and part roller coaster and was built by the park’s maintenance in 1978. If you ever get the chance to visit Silver Dollar City, you ride can its older sibling, Fire In the Hole.
Tennessee Tornado was built in 1999 by Arrow Dynamics and is one of the last Arrow loopers. Arrow built the Matterhorn at Disneyland and is credited with making the first mine train coaster at Six Flags Over Texas.
Thunderhead is a wooden coaster that debuted in 2004 and built by Great Coasters International. It’s one of my favorite wooden coasters of all time. There is so much speed and power.
Mystery Mine was Built in 2007 Gerstlauer. It’s a Euro-Fighter that features some unique theming and two vertical lifts. Mystery Mine is themed around a 19th century haunted mine and offers some of the best story-theming that I’ve ever seen.
Wild Eagle is a wing coaster built by Bolliger & Mabillard. It opened in 2007 and was the first wing coaster in the United States. Wild Eagle is an amazing experience and is great in the front car or the back car (not many coasters can say this).
FireChaser Express opened in 2012 and was built by Gerstlauer. It’s a steel family coaster that is fairly unique; it has two launches—one forward and one backward. The coaster is a lot of fun and does a great job of following Dollywood’s terrain.
Lightning Rod is well worth the hype. It opened in 2016 and was built by Rocky Mountain Construction (RMC). It’s the world’s fastest wooden launch coaster. Yes, it has a launch that rockets you up the lift hill at 43 mph. There are some amazing banked turns and an incredible amount of airtime. You can’t miss this one.
Whistle Punk Cheer is a junior-steel coaster built by Zamperla. It’s set to debut this summer and should be a great first coaster.
What’s your favorite of the Dollywood Roller Coasters?
We’ve already looked at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort in a previous post (click here for the article), but, like any resort attached to a theme park, you also have to look at the recreation that’s available. Dollywood’s DreamMore recreation encompasses more than just a swimming pool. There is so much more to do than just hanging out by the pool. The designers and staff at DreamMore have taken full advantage of the surroundings and the way that people like to vacation in Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg.
This is a shot from the lobby area that overlooks the pool. You can step outside the lobby for a second floor view and enjoy several rocking chairs!
The grounds have been well landscaped and will only look more beautiful over time. It looks like there are enough hard- and soft-scapes to maintain the beauty and natural look through all four seasons.
DreamMore Recreation: The Garden House Indoor Pool
The signage throughout the resort is very tastefully done.
The Garden House is an indoor pool with a lifeguard on duty and great views of the surrounding mountains. There’s even a special lift chair to assist people with special needs.
Dollywood’s DreamMore Recreation: Kid’s Play Areas
There’s a rustic play area for the kids that’s next to the splash pad area for the pool.
There’s not a lot of shade, so make sure you use plenty of sunscreen!
The kids’ play area near the main pool was very cute and looked appropriate for very young children.
Dollywood’s DreamMore Recreation: Family and Adult Nighttime Areas
There are a few very well-designed fire pits around the outer edges of the pool. One of them is located inside of a barn/outbuilding with a truck parked out front.
There were several chairs around the fire area and it is covered. It would be a nice and relaxing spot for a family or friends to hangout on a chilly evening.
There were two open-air fire pits with chairs and benches. Again, this looks like a great way to pend time with friends.
On the outer edge of the pool is a story time area. Along wit the Game Room and Camp DW, there will be plenty of opportunities for activities for children at the resort.
Butterflies abound at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort! There’s a special area near the restaurant that is in the shape of a butterfly and has butterfly bushes planted there. Interesting to note, that during my stay, I did notice many butterflies flitting around the resort.
More Images from the DreamMore Resort
You run into the fountain area outside of the lower lobby. It’s a nice place to rest for a few minutes and take in the area. I’ve also included a few shots of the pool area from my room on the fifth floor..
The pool has a miniature lazy river. If you look in the image above, you can see the curved area near the rocks at the top of the pool. It’s sort of like a fast lane for the pool!
What do you think of Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort?
I was invited to experience Dollywoods DreamMore Resort during the Family Media Day on August 1. My overall thoughts on rooms and recreation will follow later. The DreamMore Resort just opened and offers over 300 rooms, set-up for multi-generational families. My room had a king-sized bed and a bunk bed. I have to admit that the bed was one of the most comfortable I’ve experienced.
I was completely impressed with the resort, especially comparing it to the Deluxe resorts at Walt Disney World. It really felt like the Grand Floridian mixed with the comfort and welcoming nature of the Wilderness Lodge. It’s definitely a step above most hotels in the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area.
Outside Dollywoods DreamMore Resort
The resort has a great opening, with lots of green to play off the softer white of the building. I was surprised that you enter from the back and get a strange view of the support services from the parking lot, but the resort looks amazing from the main road. Once the vegetation fills in, it will be even more striking.
There’s a great fountain that welcomes you to Dollywoods DreamMore Resort. It offers some inspirational phrases from Dolly Parton, herself, and some butterflies! (Thanks to MoJo for the photos!)
As you cross under the porte-cochère, you’re welcomed by a wonderful stream that runs under the entrance. It’s very welcoming and very soothing. It will make a great photo op and a great space to wait for friends and families.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Dollywood Resort without some rocking chairs. There are 70 rocking chairs scattered around the resort. How fantastic is that?
Rocking chairs galore at Dollywoods DreamMore Resort!
Inside Dollywoods DreamMore Resort
They were still doing a few finishing touches to the interior (in the image below, they were installing a gorgeous inlaid DreamMore logo), but it was incredibly impressive to walk into the space. The check-in desk was very minimal and it only took a few minutes before I was greeted.
Behind the front desk is the Windows of Wonder, which are five screens that show some amazing high-definition videos of the Smokies. Once people noticed the Windows of Wonder, there were audible gasps and the front desk staff smiled. Seeing the clouds drift by or the bubbling brook was a very nice way to start the check-in process.
You can always find a five-gallon pitcher of pink lemonade in the lobby! It’s a refreshing treat while you’re waiting to check-in or while you’re headed to your room.
The windows along the back wall show off the pool and recreation area. There’s also a breathtaking view of Mt. LeConte. Obviously, great care was taken in laying out the resort.
Dollywoods DreamMore Resort is full of places for sitting and gathering, so to speak. The resort has several areas on the main floor (where the DreamMore Pantry is located) for sitting with family and friends and enjoying a quick meal or beverage.
The DreamMore Pantry is the place to pick up biscuits, cinnamon rolls, cookies, fudge, sandwiches, soft drinks, coffee, tea and other to-go items. The prices didn’t feel too high, but were what you would expect from a theme park hotel.
Dollywoods DreamMore Resort: The Song & Hearth: A Southern Eatery
DreamMore offers one full-service restaurant, The Song & Hearth. I didn’t get to eat there, but I did look around and it’s very well designed. With Dollywood opening at 10:00 AM most days, it will be a great place to stop and get breakfast before taking the trolley to the park.
The press release for the opening of the resort offers some information on the menu:
Southern favorites served here include chicken pot pie; corn fritters; fried chicken; corn pudding; chicken fried steak; and eggs, biscuits and gravy.
A family-style dinner priced at $54.95 serves four people. It includes the resort’s special “stone soup” or a salad, bread and butter pickles (which Parton says could always be found on her family’s table when she was growing up), fried chicken, pot roast, mashed potatoes, green beans, and signature apple donuts for dessert.
The Smokies are known for their abundance of pancake houses, and these popular breakfast spots line the parkway that leads to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Keeping in that spirit, the resort’s breakfast service is over the top. In fact, Song & Hearth serves four pancake flavors on its buffet – banana pudding, birthday cake, cinnamon roll and double chocolate – in addition to the standard buttermilk pancakes that can be ordered from the menu.
The Song & Hearth looks like a very comfortable, yet elegant restaurant.
Dollywoods DreamMore Resort: More Interior Photos
This is the shot of the lower level by the Song & Hearth. It’s a very refined stairwell that connects the two spaces. Restrooms are located down here as well as several private areas for conversations.
The signage is low-key but offers great way-finding. We’ll explore the other areas of the resort in later posts.
On the way to the Spa, Indoor Pool, Game Room, Camp DW and Fitness Center, you’ll pass by the wall featuring 69 album covers from Dolly Parton. Apparently, there’s room for more because she’s recorded more than 69 albums!
The Perks of Staying at Dollywoods DreamMore Resort
The best reasons for staying at Dollywoods DreamMore Resort are based on access to Dollywood and the fantastic attractions!
Wait Less in Lines- Reserve access at select Dollywood rides, shows and attractions with a complimentary TimeSaver Pass to hold your place in line – up to $25 value per guest per day.
Early Saturday Entry- Experience some of your favorite rides first at Dollywood Theme Park and Dollywood’s Splash Country on Saturday mornings.
Complimentary Door-to-Door Transportation – Enjoy our convenient resort shuttle to Dollywood parks.
Exclusive Entry – Use the special resort guests-only entrance at Dollywood parks.
Complimentary Package Delivery – Take advantage of in-room delivery for Dollywood parks’ shopping purchases.
Besides the beauty of the resort, the biggest reason to stay is the availability of the free TimeSaver Pass for each guest. It normally costs $25.00 per person. A family of four can save $100.00, which needs to be factored into the total cost. (The TimeSaver Pass is a much more effective version of Disney’s FastPass.)The six trolleys are a very nice feature, considering parking and taking the tram to the front gates. There is a special resort-only entrance (near the VIP/Press parking) that is very convenient and never crowded.
I’ve spent a good 20-25 minutes in the entire parking experience (even much longer in the evenings), so the trolley is a great idea.
Would you stay at Dollywoods DreamMore Resort? Leave me a comment and tell me what you think about the resort?