Dollywood has earned several major accolades in recent years, and the Smoky Mountain theme park won an additional three from Amusement Today’s Golden Ticket Awards held at Silverwood theme park in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
Dollywood became the inaugural winner for Best Guest Experience of any theme park in the world. The park’s expansive new Wildwood Grove also won Best Kids’ Area for the first time, while the Smoky Mountain Christmas festival earned its 12th consecutive win for Best Christmas Event. Dollywood is the only park in the world to ever win the Christmas award.
“I’m so proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish here since we opened Dollywood in 1986,” Dolly Parton said. “First, we’ve been able to provide so many jobs to the great people who live here in the Smokies. Second, I wanted the world to know how beautiful this area truly is. I’ve been able to travel the world and see so many great things, but in the end, the Smokies are where my heart sings. I wanted to give folks the world over a reason to come here and see it for themselves.
“We don’t do what we do to win awards,” she continued. “They are nice, but we do it because we want to provide families an escape to a beautiful place where they can forget about all the things going on in their daily lives and truly enjoy each other.”
According to Craig Ross, President of The Dollywood Company, the addition of Wildwood Grove and Dollywood’s strong heritage of family fun certainly led to the park’s impressive showing. “Dolly wanted Wildwood Grove to truly reflect the experiences she had as a little girl growing up here in the Great Smoky Mountains,” Ross stated. “As we started to develop the area and she began telling stories—some we had heard and some we hadn’t—we knew kids were going to love exploring the wilderness of Wildwood Grove she had dreamed up. The attractions included in this tremendous land were selected because they reminded her of those same dreams and memories she had from her childhood. The Golden Ticket for Best Kids’ Area reinforces what guests have been telling us since it opened; Wildwood Grove is a place where families can laugh, play and make memories together.”
Dollywood was also a Top Ten (finalist) in four additional categories:
- Best Food, second place;
- Best Park, second place;
- Most Beautiful Park, third place;
- Best Wooden Coaster for Lightning Rod, seventh place.
There are still many opportunities for guests to enjoy what has possibly become the biggest season in Dollywood’s history. Dollywood’s Harvest Festival includes the return of an even larger Great Pumpkin LumiNights, with new experiences in Wildwood Grove!
The 12-time winner for Best Christmas event makes the Dollywood Smoky Mountain Christmas a must attend celebration. This year will feature the return of Glacier Ridge, as well as the first year of Christmas in Wildwood Grove. With five million shining lights, Smoky Mountain Christmas puts guests in the holiday spirit with traditional shows and fun experiences like the Parade of Many Colors and Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer and friends.