Dollywood's Christmas event

I was wondering if anybody has been to Dollywood's Christmas event during November and December? It seems that Dollywood is the closest park open past October for me. Are all the coasters usually open? Is it usually busy and is entrance cheaper than it is now? I would probably try to get down there mid November.

Last edited by NitroRider,
LostKause's avatar

I've been thinking about taking my mom to Dollywood for the Christmas event, seeing that we both got a season pass when we were there for a week last Spring. I was wondering the same thing.

I expect that Dollywood would have an awesome Christmas event. It might even get me to somewhat enjoy the crappy holiday season a little more. lol


"CoasterBuzz - It feels like home" :)

Dollywood's Smoky Mountain Christmas is a very nice holiday event. There are lights just about everywhere. It's an impressive sight. The shows are also quite nice, as usually the case with Dollywood. Weather permitting all of the major coasters will be operating as normal. In terms of crowds, any weekend can be fairly busy, particularly if the weather is at all pleasant. Even visiting before Thanksgiving we encountered considerable crowds going on a Saturday.

"Thank the Phoneticians!"

I went last year early November and it was awesome - easily the best lights and atmosphere at any christmas event.

I think I went on a Friday and the park opened at 2pm. There were big lines to get in, but they were mostly seniors and the coasters were dead. Unfortunately they don't let you stay on to re-ride, but I just ran round and got on the next ride. All coasters and rides were open except the water rides. Could have clocked up some serious laps on Thunderhead but I did want to soak up the atmosphere and get a bite to eat.

Ate at Aunt Granny's (look out for 2 for 1 vouchers). Nice seaosnal food buffett, but LONG lines to get in. The park gets very busy after 5pm, but the coasters still had no lines, but the main shows are very busy, so I skipped those.

Note that the coasters do not operate if the temperature drops below 53f (I think that was what a ride operator told me, may have been 55f). So ride the coasters early, or check the forecast beforehand.

Don' think it is any cheaper to get in, but I think you can buy a seasons pass for next year and get in free or cheaper during the Christmas period.

I've got a review and some pictures on my website if you want more info, just click on the link in my signature and search for Dollywood.

OhioStater's avatar

We were there 4 years ago in the first week of December, and it was incredible. Temps were in the 50s, and all the major rides were open. It was our first trip to Dollywood, but certainly not our last.

Like Grant mentioned, my first thought was "uh oh...", based on the lines outside the park, but it turned out that nearly everyone aside from us had a walker and was there to watch the shows. Every coaster in the park was a complete walk-on, and with Dollywood being such a small park, we could really relax and just soak in all the atmosphere. The lights at night were simply incredible. I never heard of an exact temp the coasters close at, but the average temps there even in early December are somewhere in the 50's, so chances are you would be OK. Tickets are regular price.

We're headed back this year over Thanksgiving. There are hundreds of cabins in the Smokies close by, so we rent one out for about 4 days and really make the most of it. I would definitely recommend making the trip.

Last edited by OhioStater,

TT and Thunderhead operate if it's above 36 degrees. It needs to be a bit warmer for Mystery Mine to run, I think over 40 degrees. At least this is how it was one VERY cold day in December 2010. Not sure about Wild Eagle.

Coaster crowds are usually always very manageable during the event, however the park can get very crowded. If you want to avoid crowds stay away Thanksgiving weekend!!

OhioStater's avatar

We'll be there on Thanksgiving Wednesday...Thanksgiving Eve? :)

I'll be going down the week after Christmas (because my wife's a teacher)´╗┐ - so I'm sure it'll be extremely busy´╗┐. It's my understanding that most rides operate as long as the temp is above 40. I hope that's correct.

Last year I was one day early for the Christmas event, and they were still putting the finishing touches on the lights and decorations. If I was one day later, I could have got the season pass deal for the rest of last year, as well as this one. I asked, but unfortunately they wouldn't bend the rules by 1 day :(

Still, it was one of the best amusement park days I've ever had. It was a beautiful day, t-shirt weather in November, and everything was walk-on.

I recieved a reply from Dollywood regarding Wild Eagle operations. I want to say it closes once it gets down to 36. Then must get above 40 before re-opening. I will double check it when I get home tonight and post it.

Jerry - Magnum Fanatic
Famous Dave's- 206 restaurants - 35 states - 2 countries

Carrie J.'s avatar

I love the Smoky Mountain Christmas at Dollywood. We went in '10 & '11. The lights are beautiful, the coasters were walk-ons, and there are seasonal treats available in addition to the already awesome food selection there. I kind of wish we could head down again this year.

"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

Wow...I was figuring just lights, shows, and a handful of flats, but all coasters? This sounds like a dream come true. I love Christmas atmospheres, so Dollywood sounds like the perfect fix for the long off season.

I'm curious the coasters tend to feel much rougher in the low 40's temps? I was at Kings Island a couple years ago at 12-1AM for Haunt, and the temps had to be in the upper 30s / low 40s.

I'm thinking it was a combination of my body feeling frozen and tense from shivering and the steel track and components being very contracted, but my Vortex ride was absolutely brutal. There was this jarring pain in my spine that was making me actually fear the ride, along with intense pain through my head & neck. I had the worst headache of my life for hours.

Normally I find Vortex very tolerable, so I was shocked by this ride experience. Maybe others felt the same way, as we were the only ones on the train during a moderately busy night. Anyway, I noticed the Arrow / Vekoma / Premier coasters all felt much rougher, while the B&M / wooden coasters didn't seem as affected. I've also been at CP in the low 40's and felt the Arrows were considerably rougher while the Intamin's still seemed pleasant. Anyway, I'm just curious if you guys find Dollywood's coasters riding unpleasantly rough in the winter temps?

So I am planing on going november 15-17th. I figured the later i go the more risk there is of the coasters not running. Since I am going for three days I plan on getting a season pass, in the past thke pass was good for the following year also? If so that would be great since it would give me an excuse to drive 12 hours next year to go.

Last edited by NitroRider,

Ditto all of the positive comments. I might actually prefer a Dollywood Christmas over a Disney Christmas. But, if you are in the Atlanta area it is worth checking out Stone Mountain at Christmas too.

My mother in law is a Christmas enthusiast, loves Gatlinburg, and I have a Dollywood season pass this year so we've decided to treat her to a few days down there. Right now we're aiming for that first full week in December. I hope it's not too bitter cold by then, but if I miss rides that's fine, I had plenty of fun on several visits there in the spring. We'll be lucky to coax her on the train!
Just for her, we're going to stay at that huge Christmas hotel there in Pigeon Forge, which I don't know much about. I hope it's not gawdawful.
But I'm really looking forward to my first Dollywood Christmas. I was at SDC a couple of weeks ago and they were busy applying the lights to the buildings. It looked fantastic even during the day, and there wasn't a straight line on any building that didn't have a row of lights attached, including each individual board of siding. They did a great job too, they didn't just haphazardly string twinkle lights, but carefully stretched each strand and stapled them in a way so each bulb faced the same direction and looked perfect. (are you listening, Cedar Point?)
But you don't get to three million lights by being chintzy, and I've heard Dollywood's display is even better. I can't wait to see it.

Raven-Phile's avatar

How does one become a Christmas enthusiast? Is there a website (I.E. "")? Is there a conflicting name "American Christmas Enthusiasts/AKA ACE"?

Does he keep a record of how many bulbs he's got on his display? Does he rate tree toppers?

I gotsta know!

Hee Hee.

The amusement park rises bold and are huddled on the beach in a mist

Well, it's a fitting term. And if you'd see Doris' house (anytime of year) you'd believe!

We started our trip on Meadowlark Lane, heading into the subdivision. The McNealys definitely expanded their generic, fifteen-string mini-bulb set with some nice new multicolor LEDSs on a program randomizer. I was also impressed with the addition of the two inflatable snowmen flanking the front walk. (6/10)

It was a shame, heading west then on Spruce Ridge Drive, to discover that the former powerhouse trio of the Schmidts, the Tuckers, and the Varassos were all absent of the huge displays they'd become locally famous for in recent years. The lone illuminated wreath on Jim and Sarah's front door practically mocked us with its lack of effort. (3/10)

Over on Shalestone Way, we were surprised to find that the Grangers' traditional eave/window/window/door/garage/eave out-and-back had been completely replaced with a brand-new Aidlite package. I suspected a professional installation, but my wife noticed enough irregular spacing on the Newway barberpole drapes to confirm an in-house job. (7/10)...

My author website:

That's nice, Mike, but doesnt that belong under Christmas Enthusiasts Trip Reports?

I looked for the forum but couldn't find it...

My author website:

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