Our absolute favorite time of year at Dollywood is Christmas. When I was invited to take a behind-the-scenes look at lighting preparations for the holiday season, I didn’t hesitate! I was curious to see how the magic of the season comes to life – literally strand by strand.
Did you know Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas displays more than 5 million lights? I cannot even imagine organizing, checking, and maintaining that many lights! The Dollywood Special Events team members are pros at breaking down and setting up the park for its festivals each year.
The team takes great care in stapling, by hand, each light into place. It takes, on average, three months to setup and tear down the lighting each year. A team of more than 20 people works around the clock to make the magic happen. That’s right, they’re working overnight, during days the park is closed, and early before it opens to ensure the best experience for guests. There are no shortcuts. Each light is stapled into place with meticulous detail.
If you’re a Dollywood regular, you know amazing lights are not limited to the Christmas season. In fact, colorful lights begin with Harvest Festival. The team is excited to provide a more immersive experience this year with music and elements throughout the park while supporting social distancing measures.
Maintenance of lights is a big job; even so, it may be similar to your family’s routine. Organized in totes, lights are maintained for about three years before replaced. The breakdown process is by hand, staple-by-staple and takes about three months to complete during the winter closures.
I cannot wait to see the finishing touches as our family prepares for many bright nights at Dollywood in the next few months.
Don’t forget to check out Dollywood’s Special Offers before planning your next visit!