Dollywood adding shows and extending hours in 2013

Posted Thursday, October 18, 2012 9:27 AM | Contributed by VitaminsAndGravy

[Ed. note: The following is an excerpt of a press release. -J]

Fresh off a fourth consecutive Golden Ticket Award for Best Shows, Dollywood announces new shows, festival headliners, a fireworks finale and summer-long celebration that span the 2013 season (Dollywood 2013).

"Of course I'm really proud of our four Golden Ticket Awards for Best Shows," Dolly Parton said. "Who wouldn't be? But I truly want to celebrate and share this great honor with our guests all season long in 2013 with all kinds of new entertainment and incredible shows from the stage all the way into the sky!"

Festival of Nations

From the coast of China, Dollywood welcomes for the first time Cirque Shanghai, the festival’s headliner. Cirque Shanghai boasts a cast of world-class acrobats who delight audiences with dramatic tumbling, juggling, balancing acts, hoop diving along with a variety of amazing feats. Cirque Shanghai celebrates the ancient traditions of the Far East amid the month-long Festival of Nations (March 23-April 22) in which 20 countries are represented. Guests also are invited to Mystic India where professional dancers, vibrant costumes and the dynamic music of Bollywood cinema combine in an explosion of colors and energy in this breathtaking show that fuses fast-paced dance, theater and visual effects.

Festival of Nations encompasses multicultural music, dance, food and art from all corners of the world, including:

  • Poland’s premiere glass harp duo;
  • Australia’s Swoon, an aerial ballet act atop 15-foot flexible sway poles;
  • Ecuador’s melodious Atahualpa
  • the a capella Zambian Vocal Group
  • China’s amazing “rolla bolla” balance board performer
  • Germany’s vibrantly costumed Zebra Stelzentheatre stilt act
  • Uganda’s heartwarming children's choirs, Ugandan Thunder and Suubi Tribe, each performing week-long engagements;
  • Mexico’s all-female Mariachi Divas;
  • United Kingdom’s interactive roving puppetry characters;
  • France’s unique hang drum and folk music performers;
  • a traditional Scottish bagpiper.

The festive international flair spills into Dollywood's many restaurants with the new Passport to Food. For an additional fee, Guests are invited to take a 'round the world culinary tour of signature specialty dishes from a variety of countries. Also on tap is a daily One World Celebration that invites park guests to join dozens of visiting international performers attired in their native costumes for a festive afternoon celebration of world harmony and friendship, complete with music, dance and audience participation.

The Great American Country Show

Country music takes the spotlight as Dollywood presents an all-new Great American Country Show in DP's Celebrity Theatre May 10-Oct. 26. GACTV and Dollywood join forces to present today's most popular country music live on stage. GAC's leading on-air personalities appear in the show via video presentations. Each 40-minute show, performed by six singers and backed by a six-piece band, also features a special appearance by one of country music's legendary performers.

The Great American Summer

Beginning June 22, Dollywood celebrates The Great American Summer with six weeks of extended park operating hours from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Each day begins with a live performance of the national anthem sung during a flag raising ceremony. At night, a daily fireworks extravaganza entitled Dolly's Nights of Many Colors paints the evening sky with an explosive, colorful display synchronized to music. The Great American Summer continues through Aug. 4.

Smoky Mountain Christmas

Dollywood's Smoky Mountain Christmas festival opens Nov. 9 with the new headliner show Dollywood’s Christmas Carol. Based on Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, the three spirits of Christmas visit stodgy Ebenezer Scrooge in this inspiring story of redemption told through song and story. The original musical adaptation entertains audiences with a 15-member cast, fully orchestrated musical tracks, Victorian scenery and period costuming. Dollywood’s Christmas Carol joins the five-time Golden Ticket Award-winning Best Christmas Event's entertainment lineup. The festival continues through Jan. 4, 2014.

In 2012, Dollywood opened Wild Eagle, the first wing coaster in the U.S. The 3,127-foot steel coaster won the amusement industry’s Golden Ticket Award for best new ride. In 2013, Dollywood’s Splash Country debuts RiverRush, the first water coaster in Tennessee. RiverRush blends all of the climbs, twists and turns of a traditional land coaster with a splash of water. Set to race through the trees four stories in the air, RiverRush opens in May 2013. For more information, visit

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Thursday, October 18, 2012 11:34 AM

Sounds like solid additions all around. If Dollywood's Christmas Carol is anything like the Silver Dollar City production we are in a for a treat.

"Thank the Phoneticians!"

Thursday, October 18, 2012 12:14 PM
LostKause's avatar

I've been to Festival of Nations for two seasons now, and I am a big fan. The shows are amazing, and with very little country music, which is a HUGE plus for me. :)

Thursday, October 18, 2012 2:48 PM

I hit Festival of Nations this last spring and thoroughly enjoyed it. With the rides in all-day walk-on status, it allowed plenty of time to enjoy the shows. The two big ones included an Irish dance show, which was great (saw it twice), and there was also one with these Russian (or something) dudes who did an act that eventually involved a lot of paper. Everywhere. They were hilarious, without a word of English.
However, there was very little country music which was a HUGE minus for me! :)

Thursday, October 18, 2012 4:51 PM
LostKause's avatar

My favorite show last season was Los Pampas Gauchos from Argentina.  They did some pretty awesome tricks with whips, and shouted "Ole!" to get applause. The Russian paper show was extremely entertaining as well!

As far as I can tell, people who really enjoy country music are not the same kind of people who would really enjoy a cultured even like Festival of Nations. I'm probably only kidding... or not.

Last edited by LostKause, Thursday, October 18, 2012 6:20 PM
Thursday, October 18, 2012 6:01 PM
Tekwardo's avatar

HALLELUJAH!!!! They're staying open till ten pm!! That's better than any addition ever!

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Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

Thursday, October 18, 2012 6:11 PM

Sorry, Krause, you lost me a couple times there. You're favorite Dollywood show was what? And us country bumpkins ain't cultured enough to enjoy... what?

Thursday, October 18, 2012 6:24 PM
LostKause's avatar

Oops! I should put a post it note on my computer reminding me of the copy and paste problem here at CoasterBuzz. I tend to copy and paste a little when I research stuff for my posts. Anyways, I fixed it.

As far as country music goes, I'm partly joking.

Thursday, October 18, 2012 10:52 PM

Spoken like a true West Virginian rocker!

Friday, October 19, 2012 2:26 AM
LostKause's avatar

I am a full blooded rocker. At ten years old, I heard Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody on an old AM radio for the first time, and it was so beautiful to my ears that I danced around the room until the song made me cry. I was never the same after that day.

I used to despise country music. When I was a kid, hearing it make me angry enough to want to break stuff. As I got older, I tolerated it, but still avoided it at all costs.

I read all kinds of how-to books, especially books about music and writing. A few years ago, I read a very interesting book on how to become a better songwriter. It gave examples of many different styles of music, some of which I listened to, like Nine Inch Nails and Nirvana, but also the book spoke respectfully about many country artists. That confused me a little bit. Country music was well known to be hokey, and silly, as far as I knew.

One piece of advice in the book was to try to find at least one thing to like about every song that I ever come across. I cringed at the idea, because of my dislike for country music in particular, but I did it anyways. I'd leave my iPod ear buds in my car when I went shopping or ate lunch so I could intently listen to the music played they would play. Because I live in hillbillyland, most of it was country. It eventually caused me to have a more open mind about music, which I really needed.

Around that same time, my mom was talking about all the things she still wanted to do before she gets too old to do it, and one of those things was to see the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. I told her that I would take her on the six-hour drive to see the show. I got VIP tickets for the show and the backstage tour. I very much enjoyed that show and tour... very very much.

After the Nashville part of our trip, we drove across the State to Pigeon Forge, and I enjoyed some of the country music shows down there. The only thing I did not enjoy while there was at Dollywood. I tell everyone to not waste their time on the show featuring Dolly Pardon's distant relatives. That's like expecting a Coke to taste like coffee because they both use water as the main ingredient. That show is awful.

So I respect country music nowadays. I will never prefer it to anything else, but I guess I have grown up a little when it comes to music styles.

Thanks for reading this long and stupid post. lol

To read my (very) short story about the day I became enchanted by rock music, click here.

Friday, October 19, 2012 12:14 PM

I love that story. I could've written the exact same thing, only please substitute Judy at Carnegie Hall for Queen. ;)
I grew up most of my life with a disdain for country music as well, my youth was spent listening to top 40 with an emphasis on Black music of the time- Motown, Philly, and the like. My mother was a great singer and musician and my parents loved the show tunes, so I got a good dose of that, too. My genes demanded that I enter show business, and from jr.high thru my early 50's I was active in theatre, dance, and music.
During a down period (must've been the painful transition from lead to character roles) a friend suggested I join them for the weekly country dance night at a local bar. I resisted for weeks, then finally put on some old boots, a dime store cowboy hat and went. It was fun, although I didn't know the first song they played, or any of those specific dances they did to each one. But through perseverance (and the lure of cheap beer) I worked my way in and we went on to become a successful amateur country dance group, winning many national competitions. (it's my other hobby that requires expensive travel- don't think I don't do my best to combine the two...)
But here's my point. Music genres cross over in many areas. Music history, particularly that of the U.S., tells us that there's a basic root to what we listen to, and it all goes back to Gospel, the music of the south. Which lead to country, which lead to rock, etc. etc... Nothing is new, in other words, and it's fun to take a song with a decided slant and try to perform it another way. Nashville Star was a country singer tv competition, ala Idol, and one of their challenges each season was to take a song from any other genre and make it a country song. It was always amazing and weirdly fun to hear familiar songs done another way, but in the end it shows that the musicality is universal. (your band should try that, Travis. Stand by Your Man with a rock track? I'm already diggin it!)
So I got to like and admire country music in spite of my initial resistance. The musicians and the singers, in spite of their accent, are awesome and they're at the top for a reason. Currently, Jennifer Nettles comes to mind. What a voice.
Thank you all for enduring this little conversation, but Krause's post really got me to thinking.
P.S. I TOTALLY agree about that dreadful Parton family show at Dollywood. I was glad we were in the back so we could scoot out. Just painful, and obviously somebody down there is riding in on somebody else's back, er... breast pocket!

Monday, October 22, 2012 8:57 PM

There are only two different types of music. Good Music and Bad Music. How can you tell the diffrence?

If you like's good.

Rare are the radio stations of today that play "EVERYTHING." I enjoy the classics like Nat King Cole and Mills Brothers to some but not all of the stuff that is out there today. That goes for pop soul and country.

In the 1970s the pop stations would play the current things from soul singers like Stevie Wonder to rock things like like Ramblin; Man to soft songs by the Carpenters. Now-a-days stations don' t broadcast...they narrowcast. Which is one of the main reasons radio is dying.

Country shows at most theme parks trend to be hokey and not very authentic because they cater to the lowest common denominator. There was a show at Great Adventure that used a music track instead of real instruments for the singers. There was only one word to describe it... "Painful."

Music that is authentic from any culture tends to be very good.

I have never been to Dollywood, but over the last few years, they seem to be making a lot of moves that cater to their audience in a positive way.

By the way, quite a while back I worked for a time on a Country Music Countdown radio show and met many celebrities. Dolly always treated everyone nicely and professionally. I can't say that for all of the many that I was fortunate to meet, but Dolly impressed me quite a bit.

Last edited by Richie Reflux, Monday, October 22, 2012 8:58 PM

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