PIGEON FORGE — Dollywood kicked off its 2021 calendar with today’s Season Passholder and Media Preview Day.

Park officials said Dollywood received stellar guest reviews throughout 2020 about the overall park experience.

“The Dollywood Company earned several impressive awards and designations last year, including Dollywood theme park being recognized by Tripadvisor as the #8 best park in the world,” park representatives said in a news release Friday.

“In addition, Dollywood’s Splash Country was named a top-five water park by USA Today readers, while Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort & Spa was named a ‘Top 15 Best Resort Hotel in the South,’ as well as one of the ‘Top 25 Resorts in the US that are Perfect for Families’ by Travel + Leisure.”

“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. “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.

“I wish I could be there for the opening, but the doctors said I need to wait until after I’ve had the second dose of the vaccine. Let’s all be patient. All of this stuff is going to be over soon, and I know it won’t be long until we can be together.”

A number of projects, including park infrastructure enhancements and ride retracking efforts, took place during the off-season, and all are designed to add to the guest experience. New restaurant seating areas have been added to the park, while projects at roller coasters Lightning Rod, Blazing Fury, Thunderhead and Mystery Mine took place with guest satisfaction in mind.

“There is no doubt; this is the year to have a season pass,” explained Eugene Naughton, president of The Dollywood Company. “We have so many exciting things planned for our festivals this year — like concerts, new shows and entertainment, a number of new culinary items and more — that our guests are going to want to come back time and time again to experience the fun of Dollywood and the beauty of the always-changing Smoky Mountains.

“Our goal every single day is to provide the best possible experience for our guests. It is a lot of hard work, but the reward for all of us is to see the smiles, hear the laughter and read the great notes and emails about how they love the moments they have here at Dollywood. They tell us it is that time that helps them come closer together as a family and that those are the memories they will keep forever. That is the reason we all do what we do.”

Dollywood’s teams incorporate the surrounding Great Smoky Mountains into the park atmosphere, especially during the multiple festivals that take place each year. A different festival accentuates the outdoors each season of 2021.

A fresh festival highlights the spectacle of spring with Dollywood’s Flower & Food Festival presented by Covenant Health (April 23-June 7). Returning in 2021, the Umbrella Sky greets guests with a visual upon arrival as hundreds of colorful umbrellas are suspended above Showstreet.

Entertainment plays a lead role this season thanks to a number of new shows, as well as a concert series which debuts during the Flower & Food Festival. The Melodies of Spring concert series features contemporary Christian artists, Southern gospel groups and other fresh and inspiring acts all appearing inside DP’s Celebrity Theater. Among the artists currently scheduled are Matthew West, Big Daddy Weave, I AM THEY, Rebecca St. James, Sidewalk Prophets, the Rhett Walker Band and Triumphant Quartet.

Guests visiting during the park’s warmer months can enjoy Dollywood’s Summer Celebration (June 25-July 31), which is, just as the name implies, a celebration of family fun and laughter at a place everyone loves. 

Taking place every night during Summer Celebration, the show features hundreds of drones flying above the Smoky Mountain destination to create 3d animations that tell a dynamic, Dollywood-exclusive story. 

Later in the season, Dollywood’s Harvest Festival presented by Humana (Sept. 24-Oct. 30)— named by readers of USA Today as the best theme park harvest event in the world —features the Smoky Mountain tradition, Dollywood’s Great Pumpkin LumiNights presented by Covenant Health. Dollywood stays open late each evening, giving families more time to enjoy the glow of thousands of carved pumpkins throughout the park. 

The season ends with Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas presented by Humana (Nov. 6- Jan. 2, 2022). It features more than five million holiday lights, holiday performances, a traditional Christmas atmosphere, and the tastes of classic holiday-themed food. 

Season passes are currently offered at special pre-season pricing. Prices go up after Sunday, March. For 2020 season passholders who have yet to extend their passes beyond the June 15 expiration date, a special extension price currently is available as well, but that price goes away after March 14.

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