The moment we've all been waiting for has finally arrived: Dollywood is officially open for 2021.
Dollywood reopened on Friday for its 36th season, and the family-friendly destination in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, is excited to welcome guests again this year.
"Our people are doing a great job to care for our guests, and I'm just glad that everyone is seeing what the good folks at Dollywood have been doing to make it one of the best family destinations in the entire country," said Dolly Parton, the namesake and founder of the park, in a statement. "What we have is special. It's a place where folks can come to enjoy those precious moments they will cherish forever. This season looks bright, and I just know families are going to love making a lot of great memories this year. Parton noted that she could not be in attendance for the opening since she is still waiting to get the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The park took on a number of projects to enhance guests' experience in the off season, including new infrastructure, additional restaurant seating, and new or enhanced rides at Lightning Rod, Blazing Fury, Thunderhead, and Mystery Mine. "There is no doubt; this is the year to have a season pass," said Eugene Naughton, president of The Dollywood Company, in a statement.
In addition, the park is planning new shows and entertainment, concerts, and culinary festivals that are sure to attract guests of all ages.
Dollywood's Flower & Food Festival will take place between April 23 and June 7, where guests can marvel at over half-a-million brightly blooming flowers and landscaping in the park. Some sculptures include a butterfly umbrella, various animal scenes, and even a depiction of Dolly's mother quilting the Coat of Many Colors. Guests will also be able to imbibe in lots of delicious food as part of the festival.
A concert series will also be a part of the festival. The Melodies of Spring concert series features Matthew West, Big Daddy Weave, I AM THEY, Rebecca St. James, Sidewalk Prophets, the Rhett Walker Band, Triumphant Quartet, and many more acts all appearing inside DP's Celebrity Theater.
In the summer, guests can attend Dollywood's Summer Celebration between June 25 and July 31. The park will adopt later nighttime hours, which means there are lots more chances for guests to ride on Dollywood's roller coasters and enjoy a nightly show that features hundreds of drones to create stunning 3-D animations as well as choreographed fireworks. Wildwood Grove will turn into a dance party with a DJ and dancers to help guests get on their feet.
In the fall, guests can get into an autumnal spirit at Dollywood's Harvest Festival between Sept. 24 and Oct. 30. The park will also stay open later each evening, so guests can be amazed by Dollywood's Great Pumpkin LumiNights, when the glow of thousands of carved pumpkins can be seen throughout the park. During the day, guests can enjoy a concert series featuring many contemporary artists across several genres.
During the holiday season, guests can feel the magic of Christmas at Dollywood's Smoky Mountain Christmas from Nov. 6 to Jan. 2. Of course, this is the perfect time to see colorful holiday light displays throughout the park (made with more than 5 million lights), festive show performances, and lots of holiday-themed food.
One-day tickets begin at $79 for adults, and season passes begin at $144 for adults. For more information or to buy tickets and passes, visit the Dollywood website.
Andrea Romano is a freelance writer in New York City. Follow her on Twitter @theandrearomano.
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