Dolly Parton Greets Season Passholders, Media during 2024 Preview Day

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (March 8, 2024) — Dolly Parton and Dollywood Parks & Resorts President Eugene Naughton welcomed guests and media to great fanfare during the opening ceremonies for the 39th season at Dollywood, her world-renowned Smoky Mountain theme park. Dolly shared an update on her busy winter, a look ahead to Dollywood’s 2024 season, and introduced some of the new entertainment guests can see during the year—including a “duet” with Naughton during a preview of the new “Sing-a-long with Dolly” show.  

Opening week already has been special for the Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, park. On Wednesday, Southern Living named Dollywood one of the South’s Best Attractions as part of its 2024 The South’s Best awards, with the article headline proclaiming “Why Dollywood is Better than Any Other Theme Park.”

The I Will Always Love You Music Festival (now- April 14) features three new shows celebrating Dolly’s career. Her remarkable story is told in “From the Heart—The Life & Music of Dolly Parton.” The new show takes place in Celebrity Theater and will run through the Flower & Food Festival presented by Covenant Health (April 19-June 9). 

For those who cannot contain their love of Dolly, “Sing-a-long with Dolly” invites guests (and park presidents) to belt out the lyrics to some of her most-loved songs. This fun and interactive new show takes place at the Back Porch Theater. Finally, “Trio, Again featuring Three Times A Lady” honors the “Trio” albums released by Dolly, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt. The Three Times A Lady trio, made up of singer/songwriters Lauren Mascitti, Kenney Scott and Hannah Blaylock, presents this timeless show for Dollywood guests at the Showstreet Palace Theater. 

In addition to the new shows, Dollywood has invested $1 million in technology upgrades to various theaters and show venues across the park. Also, every stage throughout the park will feature shows during every season of the year. 

“I’m so excited for everything we have in store for our guests in 2024,” Dolly said. “We’re investing a lot of time and money into our entertainment this year, and I think the work we’ve put into these shows really is going to be noticed. One of those new shows is ‘From the Heart.’ It is a Broadway-style production about my music and my life, and John Dietrich (co-writer/director) and I can’t wait to hear what guests think about it. We also have ‘Trio, Again featuring Three Times A Lady’ to celebrate the Trio albums I did with my good friends Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt. Those were such fun albums to make so I’m glad we are going to have a show to remember those.

“And you know, the last show might be my favorite. I always hear people everywhere I go singing my songs, so we thought it would be good to give folks a place to come and do it with their friends. We’re doing a show called ‘Sing-a-long with Dolly’ so guests can come to the park and sing along to my songs as loudly as they want. I’m sure it will be a joyful noise! But if Eugene is leading the singing, it might just be noise,” she added with a laugh.

Dollywood Parks & Resorts plans another large year following a massive 2023 season. Last year, the park added Big Bear Mountain—subsequently named the Best New Family Coaster in the world—and expanded the company’s lodging properties with the October opening of Dollywood’s HeartSong Lodge & Resort, now named one of National Geographic’s “Hotels We Love in 2024.”  

Not resting on its laurels, The Dollywood Company debuts the multi-faceted Dolly Parton Experience in May alongside several new guest-friendly amenities and an operating calendar that includes another 23 operational days—or 357 operating hours—for the 2024 season! With the addition, Dollywood theme park’s calendar grows to 281 operational days for 2024, this after an additional 21 operating days were added to the 2023 calendar in comparison to the 2022 season. 

The Dolly Parton Experience, which opens May 24, features a number of interactive elements to make guests feel as if they were alongside Dolly as she journeyed from Locust Ridge to stages around the world. The entire Adventures in Imagination area transforms to create The Dolly Parton Experience. Housed in multiple buildings, the multi-faceted experience includes exhibits which span her unparalleled career, a look at the inspiration for and results of her biggest dreams, the importance of her family, and even a curated exhibit that highlights Dolly’s signature style through the years. The Dolly Parton Experience provides guests more Dolly than ever, as it is three times the size of the former Chasing Rainbows Museum. 

In Songteller, guests will trace Dolly’s roots from Sevier County to the bus she boarded to Nashville the day after her high school graduation. Several exhibits showcase some of Dolly’s favorite mementos from music, movies and TV shows, while one room is dedicated solely to her record-selling albums. The showstopper for the experience is a massive room which features a 360-degree, projection mapped story that tells, in her own words, how Dolly has become one of the most beloved figures in the world. 

At Behind the Seams, guests will get a sneak peek at how this Smoky Mountain girl’s iconic look comes to life, while the Precious Memories exhibit, located in the front of the Dreamsong Theater, honors Dolly’s friends and family and shows how their support allowed her to spread her wings to unimaginable heights. A new show, “Heidi Parton’s Kin & Friends,” debuts in the Dreamsong Theater when the area opens on May 24. The show features Dolly’s niece, Heidi Parton, and a cast singing songs and telling stories; and since Heidi wrote it alongside her aunt Dolly, it includes songs and stories that only family would know! 

Lightning Rod, one of Dollywood’s most popular attractions, also reopened today. The ride debuted with a new, high-speed chain lift that will provide guests with a more consistent and efficient ride experience. Despite the removal of the launch system, once the coaster trains reach the first drop, the ride experience remains identical to the previous format revered by coaster enthusiasts around the world. With the anticipated improvements to the ride, it is estimated an additional 1 million guests will be able to ride Lightning Rod each season. 

All of the projects and calendar changes have been undertaken with one thing in mind—Dollywood guests. 

“Our Dollywood Parks & Resorts properties have truly become among the top vacation destinations in the entire country,” said Eugene Naughton, President of The Dollywood Company. “We’ve earned several great honors this past year, including being #27 on Forbes’ list of Best Customer Service in the entire country. Recognition like that comes because of the effort we place each day on ensuring the guest experience for every person who visits us is the best it can possibly be. We really believe the only way to do that is by asking guests for their honest opinions and listening fully to their responses.” 

The Dolly Parton Experience provides guests an opportunity to learn more about the park’s Dreamer-in-Chief through curated exhibits, interactive experiences and live entertainment. Attractions like this—as well as last year’s Big Bear Mountain and HeartSong Lodge & Resort additions—are integral in the company’s half-billion dollar, 10-year expansion plan announced by Dolly and Naughton in 2021. Naughton says the expansion strategy should allow Dollywood Parks & Resorts to remain among America’s top theme park destinations. 

“We really do offer something different here,” he explained. “The hearts of our hosts go far beyond the tasks they complete at excellence each day. Our hosts make a true connection with our guests, making them feel like they’re part of the family. It’s been that way since the park opened. Now, our strategy of adding more attractions and resorts—five total resorts and an outdoor resort—lets us grow our infrastructure and offerings in a way that allows Dollywood Parks & Resorts to regularly be considered among the top destinations in the country. Include the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains right at our doorstep, and it really is easy to see why so many families are now making us their theme park of choice.”  

Following the I Will Always Love You Music Festival, Dollywood’s Flower & Food Festival presented by Covenant Health (April 19-June 9) blooms bright with vivid larger-than-life flower sculptures. Park guests enjoy this immersive atmosphere as they make their way through more than half-a-million blooms during this stunning festival. In addition, Dollywood’s culinary team showcases their world-class abilities with a menu full of delicacies that highlight the tastes of spring in the Smokies. 

Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Summer Celebration presented by Food City (June 15-Aug. 11) is everyone’s favorite summer tradition, and once again includes Dollywood’s Sweet Summer Nights drone and fireworks show every night, with weekend shows through Sept. 1. Another favorite, the “Gazillion Bubble Show,” returns to mesmerize guests in Celebrity Theater. 

A family tradition for many, Dollywood’s Harvest Festival presented by Humana (Sept. 9-Oct. 28) opens two weeks earlier this season, providing guests more time to celebrate the beauty of fall with thousands of carved pumpkins, spirited performances from talented performers including Suzy Bogguss, Rhonda Vincent and The Isaacs, and the fun of Great Pumpkin LumiNights presented by Covenant Health. Great Pumpkin LumiNights, which previously has been named the best theme park harvest event in the world, features elaborate displays that are fun for every member of the family. Creative culinary items, accomplished artisans, and fall fun in the Smokies make this a picture-perfect time to enjoy Dollywood. 

The industry’s Best Theme Park Christmas event—Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas presented by Humana (Nov. 1- Jan. 5)— also opens earlier and concludes the park’s 2024 season with six million lights, festive holiday shows, and the warm Christmas atmosphere guests have come to expect during this joyous time of year. 

With so much more in ’24, guests should consider a season pass to ensure they can experience all of the fun! The Gold Pass represents a tremendous value for guests. Those who purchase now receive a Bring-A-Friend Free ticket and free general parking, as well as discounts on dining, merchandise and lodging. Diamond (Diamond Passes are sold out) and Gold passholders also receive access to special “Golden Events”—exclusive events and activities just for them. (Only the named passholder can receive the perks associated with each pass.)

Gold and Diamond passholders also can take advantage of another great perk: daily “Golden Hours.” During the first hour of every operating day, Gold and Diamond Season Passes operate just like TimeSaver Passes, allowing the named passholder expedited boarding on Dollywood’s world-class rides and attractions including Big Bear Mountain. Silver Season Passes also are available and include a Bring-a-Friend Free ticket and a discount on Dollywood lodging. Select blackout dates apply to adult and senior Silver Season Passes and Silver Bring-a-Friend Free tickets. Child Silver Season Passes do not have blackout dates. 

Season pass prices increase after March 17. For more information about Dollywood’s 2024 season or season passes, please visit or download the Dollywood app. 


About Dollywood Parks & Resorts: A highly awarded and widely recognized leader in the amusement industry, The Dollywood Company consists of the 165-acre Dollywood theme park; the 35-acre Dollywood’s Splash Country; and Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa, and the newly opened Dollywood’s HeartSong Lodge & Resort. As unique as its namesake and owner Dolly Parton, Dollywood is the 2010 Applause Award winner, the theme park industry’s highest accolade; winner of 58 Golden Ticket Awards; and recipient of 28 Brass Ring Awards for Live Entertainment. The park is located near Great Smoky Mountains National Park and earned the Golden Ticket Award for the Best Park in the world in 2023. In 2022, Dollywood was named by Tripadvisor as the #1 theme park in the country based on actual guest reviews. It also has been recognized as a top U.S. theme park by USA Today on multiple occasions. Dollywood is open mid-March through early January and offers rides and attractions, shows and crafters authentic to the East Tennessee region. Dollywood’s Splash Country, recognized by the Travel Channel and Tripadvisor as one of the country’s most beautiful water parks, operates from mid-May to Labor Day. Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa as well as Dollywood’s HeartSong Lodge & Resort provide guests with spectacular mountain views and family-friendly amenities next door to Dollywood theme park and Dollywood’s Splash Country. For more information, visit Operating days and hours vary.  

Media Contacts:                   

Pete Owens: Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations, (865) 428-9486, (865) 755-7972 or [email protected]   

Wes Ramey: Public Relations Director, (865) 428-9484, (865) 640-3805 or [email protected]

Ellen Liston: Public Relations Manager, (865) 428-9629, (865) 919-7001 or [email protected]

Jennifer Webb: Sr. Publicist, (865) 428-9602, (865) 323-7584 or [email protected]

Josh Sauer: Publicist, (865) 428-9891, (865) 323-2653 or [email protected]

For B-roll, photography and more information, visit the Dollywood Media Room at