As a Dollywood Insider, I got to attend the sneak peek and the event did not disappoint: seeing the Christmas lights, taste-tasting a gingerbread cookie at the Spotlight Bakery, oh, and the part where Miss Dolly Parton herself walked out on stage!!!!
The crowd could not contain themselves as Dolly made her entrance. Her winter-white outfit sparkled so bright many of us marveled at how hard it was to get a good picture. She’s just a bright light wherever she goes… but, I’m not a fan girl or anything…
After a brief introduction, Dolly got right to the point and began to share the exciting plans for Dollywood next season. Where 2017 has been “the year of the family” and we were introduced to new rides, 2018 will be the year of family entertainment. As such, Dollywood is set to make its largest entertainment investment in its history, spending $1 million more than they ever have specifically on special acts!
The “Season of Showstoppers” will include nine festivals throughout the year that will showcase artists who range from up-and-coming to CMA Hall of Famers.
In addition to the current festivals, Dollywood will introduce two new ones: Spring Mix and Summer Celebration.
Check out this video announcement.
Festival of Nations is always the kick-off for Dollywood’s new season, and in 2018 it’s going to be huge! You may have heard of The Flamenco Kings and Ladysmith Black Mambazo, who worked with Dolly on her 1996 album Treasures, and they have also teamed with Paul Simon, Sarah McLachlan, Emmylou Harris, and many more. The lineup of Festival of Nations acts is full, so be sure to plan accordingly to fit it all in!
Then, Dollywood’s Spring Mix will be three weeks of amazing performances by artists such Dollywood alumnus Suzy Bogguss, Pam Tillis, Crystal Gayle, and Shenandoah. And that’s just the first week! Amy Grant, Larnelle Harris, comedienne Chonda Pierce, The Marshall Tucker Band, The Drifters and Debby Boone are some of the artists rounding out the second and third week.
Summer is always a fun time and Dollywood’s Summer Celebration will make sure it continues the tradition. America’s Got Talent finalist iLuminate will bring their glow-in-the-dark costumes to the Dollywood stage and thrill guests with their dance routines and illusions. Next, and close to my heart as a high school and college marching band alumna, the touring production of DRUMLine Live! will feature fast beats and choreography. The video preview gave me goosebumps.
Lastly, Dan Dunn will bring his PaintJam show to Dollywood and awe audiences with his spinning canvas while he paints and dances at the same time!
As summer comes to a close, Rock the Smokies will be back at Dollywood with TobyMac and Crowder serving as headliners.
Because Dollywood’s Harvest Festival proved to be very popular this year, the theme park is planning an even bigger celebration in 2018! (Think- even MORE pumpkins throughout the park with their second year of Great Pumpkin LumiNights!!) Plus, we’ll again enjoy Southern Gospel Jubilee with the biggest names in the industry flocking to Dollywood just in time for fall fun.
Finally, Christmas at Dollywood is one of the biggest holiday celebrations anywhere. Smoky Mountain Christmas will return with four million lights, seven Christmas shows, a nightly parade, and yummy seasonal menus. In 2018, there’s going to be a new experience with Coca-Cola Bears to add to the festivities.
And, for all the new entertainment offerings throughout the year, there’s a new venue to enjoy. Look for it in Wilderness Pass. Below you can see a few renderings of what to expect in different seasons. It will be known as Glacier Ridge during Smoky Mountain Christmas!
I’m incredibly excited for 2018 after hearing what lies ahead for Dollywood. There will be world-class entertainment with something for everyone in addition to the rides, food, shows and attractions we’ve already come to love.