What to Expect at Dollywood in 2021

April 13, 2021

Spring is in the air and after months of a global pandemic and unexpected park closures, media members recently gathered at Dollywood to celebrate the annual re-opening of the world-famous Dollywood’s 36th season on March 13th, 2021.

Dollywood is an ode to the big-hearted country singer Dolly Parton and is ranked the “8th Best Amusement Park in the World” by TripAdvisor. A world-class theme park with southern charm, a rich heritage, and everything from gospel and rock to exhilarating rollercoasters (some of the best in the US), unique craftsman, and delectable cuisine.

Visitors to Dollywood can enjoy an action-packed Calendar of Events for 2021 with year-round festivals and entertainment. Traditional favorites include the Flower & Food Festival in Spring, Summer Celebration, Harvest Festival, and Great Pumpkin LumiNights in the fall, and Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas. Other highlights of Dollywood are the famous Cinnamon Bread at Grist Mill, the activities and attractions of Craftsman Valley, one of the largest eagle sanctuaries in the US, family-friendly dinner shows, and award-winning restaurants.

Dollywood is always looking to enhance the guest experience and the off-season months are used to maintain and upgrade the park to the highest standard. Here’s a look at what changes and upgrades we can expect at Dollywood for the season ahead.

Coaster at Dollywood

Dollywood’s Lightning Rod Coaster Gets a New Track

Dollywood coasters get paid special attention in the off-season (early-Jan to mid-March) with some coasters being virtually rebuilt. The Lightning Rod coaster has a troubled past but returns to Dollywood with a new track for 2021. Upgrades have also been made to Thunderhead, Mystery Mine, and Blazing Fury, the #1 coaster ride at Dollywood.

Dining at Dollywood

Dollywood’s Outdoor Seating Expands

Craftsman Valley is popular among the non-riders with crafts, demonstrations, and lots to do if you’re not into riding the rollercoasters. Craftsman’s Valley is also Dollywood’s most popular dining location. The park has added two large seating areas next to Hickory House in Craftsman Valley and Dogs N Taters in the Rivertown Junction area for visitors and foodies to enjoy Dollywood’s award-winning culinary delights.

Blacksmith at Dollywood

Dollywood’s Blacksmith Shop Finds a New Home

Spring is about new beginnings and Dollywood’s Blacksmith & Foundry Shop has been moved to make space for the extended outdoor dining. Returning to its former location across from the Robert F. Thomas Chapel, the blacksmith shop has a new retail space and in a couple of months, visitors will be able to craft their own knives!

Chapel at Dollywood

The Historic Dollywood Chapel is Being Renovated

The iconic Robert F. Thomas Chapel was originally built in 1973 and is named in honor of the doctor who delivered Dolly Parton. There are services each Sunday and guests are invited to ring the bell! Much of the church was donated with pieces dating back to the late 1800s. The chapel is currently being renovated and will receive new footings and a new roof with several other upgrades.

Dreamsong Theater Dollywood

Dollywood Will Debut New Shows in 2021

Several new shows will debut when the park opens and will run until Fall. Harmonies of the Heart in the Dreamsong Theater will feature members of Dolly’s family, A Brighter Day offers uplifting favorites at the Back Porch Theatre and The Tones bring a contemporary take on acapella in The Village.

Dollywood’s Flower & Food Festival

The Flower & Food Festival, a new springtime festival due to open last year, will make its Dollywood debut from April 23-June 7. A beautiful display of floral sculptures and colorful topiaries over 10 feet tall adorn the grounds of Dollywood with each sculpture offering a variety of flowers, colors, and designs (everything from black bears to heart umbrellas). Aside from a spectacular floral display, the festival features 12 festival dining locations and 30 specialty menus with cuisine from around the globe.

Dollywood’s Dining Day Pass

Twelve locations and 30 international cuisine options is a tough choice! Dollywood’s Dining Day pass allows visitors to sample five items from any dining location at the Flower and Food Festival. Sample everything from hand-breaded fish and chips, lobster rolls, and Cuban sandwiches to mini cakes and specialty drinks.

The Melodies of Spring Concert Series Introduces New Artists

The Melodies of Spring Concert Series runs April through June during the Flower & Food Festival. New “fresh and inspiring” acts including contemporary Christian artists and Southern Gospel groups will be added to the lineup with two to three different artists each weekend. See the full schedule here.

Pigeon Forge, TN is a fun and family-friendly vacation destination with endless attractions and activities, and easy access to miles of wilderness to naturally isolate in the Great Smoky Mountains. Dollywood is open for the 2021 season and ready to take your trip to Pigeon Forge to the next level.