Plan to Make Christmas Show Plans

The Christmas season is upon us!

At Dollywood, that means it’s time for Smoky Mountain Christmas. This particular festival has everything you would expect when combining the fun of Dollywood and Christmas: delicious seasonal treats, arrays of Christmas lighting and, most of all, award-winning shows.

Speaking of shows, if you want to catch them all (and you do) on your next Dollywood Christmas visit, it’s probably wise to begin thinking about a plan.


As you probably know, one of the great things about visiting Dollywood is that you typically don’t need a plan. The park’s wide mix of attractions, shows, dining and shopping make it easy to fill your day with fun.

Given the popularity of the Christmas season however, I don’t think winging your way through the festival is necessarily the best approach. This is especially true if you plan to experience the complete Smoky Mountain Christmas show line-up this season.

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas in the Pines Theater.

How do I know this?

Our first Dollywood Christmas show “plan” consisted of opening the daily show schedule in between rides to see if a show nearby was about to start. Most often, the show we wanted to see had either just started or was clear across the park from our current location.

Maybe you can relate.

After missing a few shows we really wanted to see, we decided it was time to rethink our Christmas show plan.

For our next Christmas visit, my wife and I sat down with Dollywood’s daily show schedule a few nights before leaving and mapped out a plan – something we would subsequently do on all future Dollywood visits.

The Mistletones at the Village Depot

Our Entertainment Plan

First, we made a prioritized list of shows we wanted to see and then checked show-times and locations to make sure there weren’t logistical conflicts. We then slotted in attractions and dining plans around the show schedule – rather than the other way around.

Some things we found helpful when mapping out a show plan:

• Make sure your show list is prioritized – this will help you better adjust to when the unexpected occurs.
• Plan to eat lunch before beginning your show line-up for the day.
• Pay close attention to location logistics – it takes longer to navigate around the park than you think.
• Take note of show lengths if traveling with little ones.
• There are no bad seats in any of the venues.
• Get in line for a show earlier than you think you “should”– lines typically begin after the previous show ends.
• Some of the “biggie” shows are the hardest to get into on their first showing – save these for later in the day.
• If you’re trying to do both a large number of shows and attractions, TimeSaver is a great option.
• Multi-task to save time – drinks and snacks are welcome in all venues.
• Make the plan do-able – you don’t want to forget the fun in the name of sticking to the plan.

The Candlelight Carolers at Robert F. Thomas Chapel.

Either way, it’s Still a Dollywood Christmas

As you can see, mapping out a show plan isn’t hard – the key is making time ahead of time, to put it together.

The good news? You can always visit Dollywood over the Christmas season, skip the shows and still have a great time. You have Dollywood’s every day attraction roster along with Christmas lighting and decor all around the park to enjoy. If you sneak in a show or two, all the better.

However, if you want to enjoy all of Dollywood’s limited-time, Christmas-themed shows, I think making a plan is the way to go.

Yule be glad you did!

By | 2021-11-22T10:46:04-05:00 November 19th, 2021|Entertainment|0 Comments

About the Author:

Born and raised in Alabama, Aaron has been a theme park enthusiast for as long as he can remember. He’s the father of two and husband of a fellow enthusiast. When not planning theme park outings, you’ll typically find him volunteering at church where he’s a worship guitarist and lighting designer. He is proud to call Dollywood his family’s home park and can’t wait to share the insight he’s gained over the years.
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