Living in East Tennessee, seeing the Dollywood Christmas lights has become one of our favorite family traditions. Find out how to get the most out of your Christmas visit to Dollywood whether you are a local or not.
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Seeing the Dollywood Christmas lights has been a tradition in our family for many years. That first visit to Dollywood when the lights are up is a super special treat that is loved by our entire family from the teens down to the youngest of our children.
How to See the Dollywood Christmas Lights
Going to Dollywood to see the Christmas lights is much like taking a day trip to Dollywood any other time of year. The secret to a successful trip is planning. After 2020, there are a few more things to think about in the planning like reservations, local health requirements, and possible restrictions.
****For a live look at Dollywood this Christmas season, you can see my families adventures at Dollywood on my Instagram Stories Highlights here!
Do you have to have a reservation to visit Dollywood?
If you are a Dollywood season pass holder, you can visit Dollywood any day of the year that the park is open. However, Dollywood does have some new restrictions on the number of people they will allow in the park at a time. Though a reservation is not required for pass holders, it is safest to make a reservation on the date you want to visit. The actual verbiage from the Dollywood website is as follows:
Season Passholder reservations are encouraged and guarantee entry. Visiting for one day? Your daily ticket purchase confirms your entry. Until park opening, tickets are available online only. Without a reservation, entry into the park on high attendance days might be suspended due to capacity limits.www.dollywood.com/reservations
How much does it cost to see the Christmas lights at Dollywood?
There are couple of ways to visit Dollywood during the Christmas season. The simplest way is to purchase a one day ticket. You can find the current ticket prices here.
NOTE: In previous years, visitors who purchased tickets and entered Dollywood after 3 PM were allowed to return the following day for free. This program has been discontinued and tickets purchased after 3 PM are not valid for reentry the following day. In order to return, you will have to purchase another ticket.
If you plan to visit Dollywood for more than one day, the best way to visit is with a season pass.
How long are the Christmas lights up at Dollywood?
The Christmas lights at Dollywood are up for the remainder of the season. Dollywood closes in January just after the New Years Holiday and does not reopen until the new season begins in the spring. The Christmas lights are up until the park closes in January so you can enjoy them even after Christmas.
For some people, the best week to visit Dollywood is the week between Christmas and New Years when many people take off from work and the kids are out of school. You can find the Dollywood Calendar here.
How many lights are at Dollywood?
More than five million lights are used to decorate the entire Dollywood park. Each themed section of the park also has a Christmas theme. You can learn more about the details of each of the themed areas of Christmas lights here.
What is there to do at Dollywood at Christmas?
There is always plenty to do at Dollywood, especially during the Christmas season. In addition to the regular rides and the atmosphere that is uniquely Dollywood, there are new Christmas shows and the park is decorated with millions of lights.
It is absolutely worth a trip to Dollywood for an evening, or even two just to see all of the lights. With kids, it actually takes my family two nights to cover the entire park and see all of the Christmas lights.
You will also want to plan a visit to Dollywood during the Christmas season just to see the Christmas shows!
Does Dollywood have a Christmas program?
One of the Dollywood shows that runs during the Christmas season is a traditional nativity play called O’Holy Night. A little girl looks for an angel, while three shepherds follow a star. In the end, they all find their way to the heart of the Christmas story. This living nativity narrative musical tells the true meaning of Christmas. You can find a complete listing and description of all the holiday shows and performance times here.
Do you have to wear a mask at Dollywood?
Dollywood has a new “PlaySafe” page on their website that can be found here. This page outlines Dollywood’s policies in response to the current state of the pandemic. The mask requirement policy states:
Following updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fully vaccinated guests can now visit Dollywood and Dollywood’s Splash Country without wearing a mask or physically distancing. Additionally, consistent with state guidelines, guests aged 12 and under may also visit without wearing a mask or physically distancing.Dollywood.com
I did call Dollywood to find our how they were verifying the vaccinated status of guests. The guest services specialist on the phone said they were not checking the status but simply asking people to honor the guidance.
Does Dollywood have fireworks every night?
The Dollywood fan favorite Merry & Bright Holiday Fireworks show returns for an enchanting encore this Christmas season! Watch as festive fireworks light up the night sky, dancing in tandem with cheerful holiday classics the whole family can sing along to. This fireworks show is presented every evening at 9pm. However, the website disclaimer state that the times can change without notice.
Can you bring food into Dollywood?
During the Christmas season, the Dollywood rules about outside food and drink remain the same. Guests are not permitted to bring outside food and drink into the park. You may leave to eat and return with your same day ticket or you can enjoy any of the dining experiences inside the park. In addition to the traditional theme park menu, Dollywood offers an all-new menu of Christmas culinary delights! Enjoy everything from hearty dishes like our Braised Beef Short Ribs to sweet treats like the Bear Country Apple Cinnamon Funnel Cake.