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A train pulling into the station at the Dollywood theme park.

Dollywood Shows and Rides Win Golden Ticket Awards

Our favorite theme park recently earned some major recognition! Dollywood cleaned up at Amusement Today’s Golden Ticket Awards, taking home four of the coveted “best of” prizes. The Golden Ticket Awards are a huge honor – essentially the Academy Awards for theme parks. The Golden Tickets are awarded based on surveys given to well-traveled amusement park enthusiasts from all over the world. Read on to learn which Dollywood shows and rides were singled out for the awards.

Dollywood’s Golden Ticket Awards for 2017Water running on the Dollywood Grist Mill.

This year, Dollywood took home these four Golden Ticket Awards:

  • Friendliest Park (for the sixth consecutive year)
  • Best Shows (for the ninth consecutive year)
  • Best Christmas Event (for the tenth consecutive year – the only park to ever earn this award)
  • Best Food (Dollywood’s fourth time winning this honor)

Dollywood also placed in the top-ten in five additional Golden Ticket categories:

  • Cleanest Park – second place
  • Best Park – third place
  • Best Water Park (for Dollywood’s Splash Country)- fourth place
  • Best Landscaping – fourth place
  • Best Wooden Coaster (for Lightning Rod) – fifth place
  • Best Wooden Coaster (for Thunderhead) – eighth place

Dollywood is officially the winningest park in the history of the Golden Ticket Awards! The Pigeon Forge theme park has won more awards than any other park and has placed as a finalist in more categories than any other park.

Dolly Parton posing for a photograph.Dolly Parton Reacts to the Awards

Dollywood’s co-owner and namesake Dolly Parton was elated by her theme park’s performance in the Golden Ticket Awards. Going out of her way to give credit to the 3,000 people who work at Dollywood, Parton told the media:

“You all know how very proud I am of my Dollywood and the special folks who work there. It makes me feel so good to know that our guests feel the same way about the park when they come visit us. It’s the perfect place to help them make those memories they’re always going to hold close. Our people do a great job of doin’ just what my mama always used to say – they treat our guests just like they’d want to be treated. And isn’t that what really makes the difference?

Families can feel the love our folks have for them by the effort and attention they put into every single detail of the park. They want to make sure every guest leaves with a smile on their face. Dollywood will continue to grow, but I’m thankful my team will never forget what got us to where we are: going above and beyond to give our guests experiences they’ll always remember”.
Flowers arranged in the shape of a butterfly at the entrance to Dollywood.

Last Year’s Article: Dollywood’s Golden Ticket Awards for 2016

The Dollywood Theme Park won the following Golden Ticket Awards:

  • Best New Ride (for the Lightning Rod roller coaster)
  • Friendliest Park (fifth consecutive year)
  • Best Shows (eighth consecutive year)
  • Best Christmas Event (ninth consecutive year)

In addition to the above awards, Dollywood also placed highly in five additional categories:

  • Best Food – second place
  • Cleanest Park – second place
  • Best Park – third place
  • Best Water Park (for Dollywood’s Splash Country) – third place
  • Best Landscaping – fourth place

Dollywood was a finalist in more Golden Ticket Award categories than any other theme park!

Dolly Parton waving to her fans from the Dollywood float in her annual parade.Dolly Parton’s Reaction

Dolly Parton was thrilled with her park’s impressive victories, telling the press:

“I’m so very proud of the experience families have when they come visit my Dollywood. While they’re here having fun with us, I want them to create those special heartfelt memories they’ll always treasure. I know it’s our people who work here who help make those memories happen for them. Some people call it friendliness, but I just call it what it is – caring for others”.

Dolly is on quite a winning streak these days! In addition to the Golden Ticket Awards, it was recently announced that the singer will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the CMAs.

Best New Ride: The Lightning Rod Roller Coaster

The Lightning Rod roller coaster was certainly a deserving candidate for the Best New Ride Award. With a top speed of 73 miles per hour, the Lightning Rod is the fastest wooden coaster on earth! The key to the coaster’s thrilling speed is its one of a kind 1,500 horsepower launch system. Passengers on the coaster experience a 165-foot drop and nearly 20 seconds of airtime during the ride. Adrenaline junkies will absolutely love the Lightning Rod!

Best Dollywood ShowsA Dollywood show with great live music.

It’s no surprise that a theme park owned by Dolly Parton has great musical entertainment! Dollywood is home to a variety of wonderful shows that include all different types of music, including gospel, bluegrass, country, and hits from the 50s and 60s. One of the best shows at the park is “My People!”, which stars Dolly’s brother Randy and her sister Cassie.

In addition to all of the great year round shows, Dollywood also hosts special seasonal entertainment. Highlights include the National Southern Gospel & Harvest Celebration, which features over 350 concerts from some of the biggest names in gospel music, and the Festival of Nations, which brings talented performers from all around the world to the theme park.

Best Christmas Event: Smoky Mountain Christmas

No other theme park celebrates Christmas quite like Dollywood. In fact, Dollywood is the only park to ever receive the Golden Ticket Award for Best Christmas Event, with nine consecutive wins in the category!

Glittering holiday lights at Dollywood's Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival.As part of its Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival, Dollywood decorates the park with thousands of breathtaking holiday lights. Guests will enjoy a number of superb Dollywood shows with plenty of Christmas spirit, including an adaptation of It’s a Wonderful Life, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, and the Nativity story. Kids will even have the chance to have their picture taken with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and all of his friends from the classic holiday special!

Visit My Smokies offers Dollywood tickets with free cancellation, so you can rest assured that you won’t lose money if you have an unexpected change of plans! Click on the box below to buy your tickets to the theme park.

Cilck here for Tickets to Dollywood

Before your next visit to the park, be sure to check out these 15 Tips and Tricks for Saving Money at Dollywood!