I have been a self-proclaimed Dollywood Entertainment fanatic since I was a little girl. I still remember the excitement I felt way, way (way) back in 1992 when I first sat down in Showstreet Palace Theater to watch “Fire on The Mountain” when the Showstreet area first opened. And back in the ole days, when Spark and the gang tried to “save the Pines” every day at the Pines Theater during “Let the Good Times Roll,” I could be found happily eating my popcorn, dancing along in my seat to “Sh Boom, Sh Boom.”
Today, I still can’t complete a Dollywood day without visiting one or more of my favorite shows. There are so many fantastic offerings, from “Dreamland Drive-In” to the bluegrass vibes of the Smoky Mountain String Band. I usually get in one or two shows a day, but I recently challenged myself to see if I could fit in ALL of the Dollywood shows in one day. I had never done so before, and I wanted to see if it could be done.
Prepping for The Challenge
I knew that I would need to go in with a solid plan in order to accomplish my goal. Luckily, the Dollywood Entertainment schedule is usually released about a week in advance on the Dollywood app.
I wanted to plot out a course through the park so I wasn’t crisscrossing through the park too many times during the day. When you arrive at Dollywood, you are faced with a choice to go left toward Timber Canyon or right down Showstreet toward Rivertown Junction or Jukebox Junction. Most of the shows are found easily if you turn right—just like many of the roller coasters are found quickest if you turn left. I knew I wanted to start my day headed down Showstreet.
Finally, I made sure I had a strong battery on my phone so I could utilize the Dollywood app. There’s a section that is found both on the home page and on the menu along the bottom for “Show Schedule.” This schedule can be sorted by both times and by show name, and I personally like when it’s set to filter by “time” so I can see what my options are when each show is over.
Ready, Set… Show!
When I arrived at Dollywood, the first thing I did was grab This Week at Dollywood (the show schedule/map). These are along the front entrance and have a lot of resources to help you find the attractions and theaters you are looking for during your visit. Perhaps it’s because I’m old-school, but no matter how awesome the Dollywood app is, I love to plot out my show day on one of these guides.
I decided I wanted to base my day around the indoor theater shows. For the day I visited, that included seeing the Kingdom Heirs, “Dreamland Drive-In” and “Harmonies of the Heart.” (If you’re using this plan for Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Summer Celebration, you need to add Gazillion Bubble Show Aurora to this list!) Once I scheduled those, I was able to pick the outdoor theater shows around those three anchors to supplement my day.
Because Dollywood has a variety of entertainment options throughout the day, I knew that I needed to start with the earlier shows first, and that meant starting with The Kingdom Heirs at Showstreet. They sang for exactly 35 minutes, which enabled me to walk right outside of their show and catch the Wild Roots Band that was playing at the Showstreet Gazebo. This band only plays for 15 minutes, but I could have listened to them for a full hour. They play some Irish folk songs and mountain bluegrass, and the show seems to be a little bit different every time you see it.
They play right across the bridge from the Dreamsong Theater, where Dolly’s family and friends sing her hits for 30 minutes in “Harmonies of the Heart.”
Because I attempted my challenge during the Flower & Food Festival, I was able to catch Bloom! as I left that show to head to the Pines Theater to catch a Dollywood classic, “Dreamland Drive-In.” The Bloom! show was seasonal, but you could easily see one of the other outdoor streetmosphere entertainment options on your walk between shows. The summer festival has “Hydro Jive Junction” and “Liquid Beats” roaming those areas, so it’s easy to stop and have a little summer fun while you are walking in between locations.
When Faced with a Challenge, You Pivot
I love the entertainers at the Back Porch Theater. During the spring, the show is “A Brighter Day,” and in summer, their playlist changes to “Good Vibes.” This show stars four singers who can belt it like no other, and I’m pretty sure that they could sing the phone book and make it an instant hit. My plan for the day hinged on seeing their show at 2:30 p.m. As it turned out, that particular show had been cancelled, but the later shows would take place. For me and my one-day-all-shows challenge, it meant I had to choose between “A Brighter Day” or the last “Wings of America Birds of Prey” show of the day. You could try to split the time, but that means you wouldn’t get to see much of either. The moral of the story is this: it’s possible to see all the shows at Dollywood in one day, but because they have so much to offer, it’s wise to plan a few days so you can enjoy every moment.