A fifty-foot Christmas tree is the center of all of the wonder at the Smoky Mountain Christmas in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Glacier Ridge in the Dollywood theme park is called Winter Wonderland and includes a video motion tree where memory-making begins. Gather your family round to be awe-inspired.
Other Christmas highlights that will start the forging of your family’s Christmas memories include the Parade of Many Colors and the appearance of favorite holiday characters like Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer. You may even see Santa himself. Grab a cup of hot chocolate and a tasty gingerbread cookie as you wait for the parade to pass by.
Millions of lights make up part of the magic of this Christmas-themed land. Walkthrough archways of silver and blue, and see columns of brilliant color lining a meandering pathway. A historic country church, complete with wooden pews, is adorned with light. It is called the Smoky Mountain Christmas Chapel, and there is a service held there every Sunday night.
While in Pigeon Forge, play a game of mini-golf or take the kids go-karting. Visit the Titanic Museum, or find treasure at the Island Miner’s Gems. If you are looking to take a trek, head over to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You may even want to camp there.
Packages are available as well as single-day tickets. Plan on spending between $55 and $125 as the cost ranges by the age of attendee and ticket type. The price you pay will depend on whether you are looking to spend a day at Smoky Mountain Christmas, or want to purchase a 2-day or 3-day flex ticket.
Head southeast on the I-40 from the City of Knoxville, and you will land in Dollywood. I-75 and I-81 are other routes that lead to this area of Tennessee as well. Download the Dollywood Destination Map for a close-up view of this large theme park. Tennesse 511 is the site to refer to for road closures and weather alerts, which will be handy as you travel this mountainous region.
This fun and spacious theme park has a special section for owners to leave their recreational vehicles. When you pass through the Dollywood Tollbooth, you can buy your parking pass. From there, a tram will take you to the park gates. No overnight parking or camping in Dollywood, though.
Pigeon Forge is a city that has the environment and clean air in mind at all times. Because of this, a trolley system has been created that travels throughout Pigeon Forge and neighboring Sevierville. The Dollywood Theme Park is on the route, which means that you can get to the Smoky Mountain Christmas event via the trolley, making it a stress-free way to get around.
Despite the size and variety of things to see and do, the site of this Christmas celebration does not have a place to camp. There are several spots for RV camping in the area, so hold a family meeting to decide on your perfect destination. Choose a creekside site, a place near the mountains, or an RV resort with all the bells and whistles. It is recommended you call your chosen campground to confirm they are open in December.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park does offer winter camping, but it is limited. Call ahead to confirm which section of the park is set up for cold season visitors and which roads are open for travel. Winter camping in Pigeon Forge or nearby Gatlinburg requires research and calls to the RV parks to verify their seasonal dates. Pigeon Forge / Gatlinburg KOA Holiday may also fit your travel preferences for multiple vehicle designs within a ten-minute drive. Neighboring North Carolina may have options to look at as well.
Being a family-oriented venue, Smoky Mountain Christmas at Dollywood allows strollers in the park and on their trams. The park offers stroller rentals, but on a first-come, first-served basis. Electric convenience vehicles and wheelchairs can be rented, too, but a limited number are available. The park is described as “gently rolling,” and assistance may be needed in some areas.
Pack warm clothing. Layering is a good idea because the temperatures in the region of the Great Smoky Mountains can fluctuate from day to day, and from morning till evening. Sweaters, mitts, and jackets are suggested. Wear your favorite woolen tuque and colorful scarf along with cozy weatherproof boots.
Winter camping brings the need for extra blankets and plenty of cold-weather clothing. Pack electric blankets to be enjoyed at a full-hookup site, and that way, you do not have to heat by propane. During the day, the sun will heat up your motorhome, and you’ll be cozy under the blankets at night. Other gear to remember includes batteries, a flashlight, hoses, clamps, and duct tape for efficient water and sewer hookups.
When camping in the winter and using propane, having a working carbon monoxide detector in your Class A is a must. Check the device each evening before turning in for the night. When the kids are playing outside, make sure they are wearing moisture-wicking clothing under their snowsuits. A wool hat and thick socks will keep the heat from escaping the body. Lip balm is a must, as is sunscreen.
Cooking inside the RV in winter may cause the humidity levels to rise. Keep your vent covers open to allow for the humidity to escape. This also helps with carbon monoxide. Plan on meals that are easy to prepare to save on expenses like electricity and propane. Soup, chowder, chili, and hearty sandwiches to accompany the meal will sate hungry appetites.
Pigeon Forge has a myriad of restaurants to choose from for a warm winter meal within a 10 to 15-minute drive. The variety is just what the hungry camper needs after a day hiking or wandering through the Smoky Mountain Christmas venue. Settle into a café for a coffee and light lunch, or go all out and enjoy a fill of ribs, catfish, or steak.
The opportunity to shop is yours for the doing a Smokey Mountain Christmas. Dollywood has gift shops, mercantile stores, and more. There are ATMs on site, and credit cards are accepted as well. Guests cannot bring food or coolers, but there are several restaurants on the property serving kid-sized and adult meals. If you want to eat off-site, have your hand stamped before you leave and keep your ticket for re-entry scanning.
Personnel will ensure that families taking part in the Smoky Mountain Christmas extravaganza adhere to the rules to ensure all have a fantastic time. Stay on designated pathways and keep a patient attitude when lining up for rides. It will be a busy place, so set ground rules for the kiddos who will no doubt be excited and hard to contain. Point out Dollywood Hosts to your kids so that they know who to approach if they get separated from you.
When camping at any time of year, especially the winter, keeping an eye on the forecast is a necessity. Make sure the Airstream refrigerator is well-stocked at all times, just in case inclement weather rolls in, and you have to stay put for a few days. Secure your outdoor gear each evening, and if heavy rain or snow is expected, stow chairs, sleds, and other items in the RV.
Safety/First Aid Offices are staffed by qualified medical personnel throughout opening hours during Smoky Mountain Christmas and all other Dollywood events. Take note of the stations as you arrive. Identifiable service animals are welcomed at the theme park, but cannot accompany anyone on the rides. If you need sundry items like pain relief, there is a general store on-site where you can buy needed supplies.