• 'Best Theme Park Christmas Event' returns to Dollywood

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    PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. - Christmas comes early in the Smokies thanks to the festival voted the Best Theme Park Christmas Event in America for 12 consecutive years,

    During the festival, the park boasts an impressive count of more than five million brilliant lights, heartwarming Christmas entertainment, delicious holiday meals and the fun of Dollywood at Christmas.

    Glacier Ridge opened last season, providing guests a completely new way to experience the Smokies at Christmas. Thanks to the opening of Wildwood Grove earlier this year, there is even more to explore in this dazzling area. Glacier Ridge offers a number of activities, displays and dining options to enjoy for guests while they wander through this immense winter wonderland, which includes the areas of the park known as Timber Canyon, Wildwood Grove, Wilderness Pass and the upper portion of Craftsman's Valley.

    "There's nothing like Christmas in the Smokies," Dolly Parton said. "I've been a lot of places and seen a lot of things, but the feeling of being home with the people I love at Christmas really is one of the most special things in the world to me. It's my hope that the people who come experience my Dollywood at Christmas make those same sweet memories they'll be able to share forever. I also hope we're able to help them start some brand new Christmas traditions right here!"

    Guests visiting Glacier Ridge may feel as if the Smokies have frozen over, and they've been transported to the arctic. The Plaza at Wilderness Pass transforms into a winter wonderland, complete with a 50 ft. tall animated tree which anchors the area. Every 30 minutes the Plaza sparkles to life, presenting a fully-synchronized, dazzling light show complete with holiday hits that leave guests singing along.

    For those entering from Timber Canyon, the Arctic Passage, a 130-ft. long programmable light tunnel, transports them into Glacier Ridge in a stunning array of light and color. Once emerging from the tunnel, guests are greeted by polar bears who have made a home at Drop Line Bay. Those coming to Glacier Ridge through Craftsman's Valley experience a one-of-a-kind light installation that mimics the natural phenomenon known as the aurora borealis. Guests can walk through Dollywood's version of the Northern Lights, brought to life with music as only Dolly can do to help guests feel as if the aurora borealis has come south, even if for just a few weeks. 

    From the cheer and joy of Dollywood's Parade of Many Colors, to traditional holiday shows like It's a Wonderful Life and Christmas in the Smokies, Dollywood's Smoky Mountain Christmas fosters family memory making for guests. Guests can experience the fun enchantment of Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer and friends straight from the children's holiday classic or sit down together for a fabulous Christmas feast at many of Dollywood's award-winning dining locations.  Most of Dollywood's signature rides and attractions also operate in this merry environment, with rides racing along just above the millions of twinkling lights.

    Amusement Today contributors and voters bestowed the Best Theme Park Christmas Event award on Dollywood in 2008 when the honor was first created. Dollywood is the 12-time—and only—winner of the award.

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