Southern Living Declares “Dollywood Is Better Than Any Other Theme Park”

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (March 6, 2024) — A new accolade has come Dollywood’s way just as the park prepares the grand opening ceremonies for its 39th season later this week. Southern Living named Dollywood as 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.” 

Southern Living’s 2024 The South’s Best awards showcases a number of categories including best cities, best cities on the rise, best small towns, best food and drink, local treasures, best islands and more. Southern Living consumers were asked to rate their favorite places across the South in an online survey conducted by third-party agency Proof Insights. The survey was fielded from July 12 to August 23, 2023, and had more than 20,000 respondents. The complete list of awards and winners can be found on Southern Living’s site.

The other best attractions are The Fox Theatre (Atlanta), Ground Zero Blues Club (Clarksdale, Mississippi), Renfro Valley Entertainment Center (Mt. Vernon, Kentucky) and the Grand Ole Opry (Nashville). 

“The author of the article repeatedly mentioned how warm and welcoming the park was during her recent visit with her son,” said Dollywood Parks & Resorts President Eugene Naughton. “We are so happy to hear that; it is a common refrain among our guests. We believe the hosts who work here and the friendly atmosphere they provide for those who visit are what make the Dollywood experience unlike any other theme park in the world. 

“Just last year, we earned Golden Ticket Awards for Best Park and for Best Guest Experience of any theme park in the world, and we also ranked number one and number two in the country by Tripadvisor the past two years. These awards and recognitions validate the efforts we place on providing the absolute best theme park experience anywhere. I think it is safe to say Dollywood has become the theme park everyone needs to put on their travel bucket list.”  

Earlier this year, National Geographic named Dollywood’s HeartSong Lodge & Resort as one of the top 22 hotels throughout the world for 2024. In December 2023, Forbes’ newly created Best Customer Service list ranked Dollywood in the top 1% (#27) of more than 3,000 rated US brands commonly recognized for exemplary customer service. 

Dollywood Parks & Resorts boasts world-class roller coasters, award-winning entertainment, delectable Southern-inspired culinary options and one of the world’s “most beautiful water parks” all in a place where everyone feels like part of the family. Dollywood’s HeartSong Lodge & Resort and its sister property Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa truly have made Dollywood a leading vacation destination for families seeking a memory-making experience.  

Dollywood opens this Friday (March 8) for season passholders and to the general public on Saturday (March 9). This season features the much-anticipated opening of The Dolly Parton Experience, which includes multiple experiences in a newly designed area of the park. Opening in the area surrounding and including the former Chasing Rainbows museum, The Dolly Parton Experience will allow guests a behind-the-scenes look at Dolly’s iconic status while they learn more about her incredible story. The area is scheduled to open in late May. 

For more information about Dollywood Parks & Resorts, 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; 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: 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