What is a Dollywood Insider? (And Other Insider FAQ’s)

What is a Dollywood Insider? Although I have only been one since late August of 2019, it’s a question I get asked often. In this post I’ll answer that question as well as a few other questions myself (and probably the rest of my fellow insiders) have been frequently asked.

So first things first, what is a Dollywood Insider?

A Dollywood Insider is a social media influencer of sorts. We share our love and knowledge of Dollywood with our followers, and we create content for the Dollywood website. Under the umbrella of digital media, we are invited to attend special meetings and events in exchange for social media content and blog postings like this one.

How do you become an Insider and what are your responsibilities? 

The road to becoming an Insider is different for each of us. For me, I found my way to the Insider panel via blogging for Knoxville Mom’s Blog and through some of the crossover work we have done over the years with Dollywood and Dollywood’s Splash Country. In July, there is an application link and a form to fill out as well as a sample blog posting and short video accompanying your submission. After that, semi finalists are narrowed down and interviewed.

As far as responsibilities, there is a mandatory overnight on-boarding event in August, we each write eight+ blogs (or create videos) throughout the year commitment, participate in about four 30-minute conference calls throughout the year, attend a two-day social media influencer event in the spring and a few other events throughout the year. And that leads into another question I’m often asked…

Do Insiders receive access to special events? 

The short answer? Yes! Insiders are invited to special media days throughout the year as well as special events, behind-the-scenes tours, etc. as they come up. For example, although I couldn’t make it, several insiders got to participate as extras in the Hallmark Channel movie, “Christmas at Dollywood,” this past winter and attended a press conference with Dolly Parton to promote her Netflix series Dolly’s Heartstrings. We also receive Season Passes to Dollywood and to Dollywood’s Splash Country for our tenure as Insiders so we and our immediate family members may attend the parks often.

How has being an Insider benefitted you the most? 

Again, I think this question will be different for each Insider, but my answer is two-fold. Obviously, I love the opportunity to take my boys to the parks and to make memories there with them—so much of my own childhood was spent at Dollywood with my grandmother. Also, as someone who has blogged or written in some form for several years, it’s been another really great way to flex my writing muscles and to be involved with writing for an organization that I have loved quite literally for most of my life.

And finally, my favorite and likely our most frequently asked question…

Do you get to meet Dolly?! 

Yes. We’re going to lunch next week.

Just kidding! No. I have not met her yet, but I am ever so hopeful to do so as an Insider at some point!

I hope this has answered a lot of questions about what it is to be a Dollywood Insider. We are all very different and arrived to our positions on the Insider panel in different ways, but we share a common thread of loving Dollywood and Dolly herself which has bonded us all together and will hopefully keep us friendly for years to come. I am still a fairly new Insider, but I really have enjoyed every single part of being one thus far and I encourage everyone who is interested in becoming one to apply for the 2020-2021 season.

By | 2020-02-10T17:02:28-05:00 February 10th, 2020|Behind the Scenes|0 Comments

About the Author:

Ashley Costerisan (Dollywood Insider 2019-2020) was born and raised in East Tennessee. She owns a small furniture restoration business and is a single mom to three boys- Maddox, Walker and Finn. Ashley grew up going to Dollywood with her grandmother and has always admired Dolly’s determination and her witty, beloved public persona. In addition to her furniture business, Ashley teaches voice lessons at a local non-profit and writes for Knoxville Mom’s Blog. She enjoys travel, wine, British period dramas, DIY, history and all things summer. She lives in South Knoxville with her boys and their three rescue dogs Charlotte, Ladybird and Nick Carraway.
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