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Dolly Parton Returns for Dollywood Season Debut

March 11, 2022, 8:17 PM · Dolly Parton returned to Dollywood today for the first time in two years to kick off the park's 2022 season.

"I can't believe it's been two years since the last time we’ve been together here at Dollywood," Parton said prior to this morning's kick-off event for season passholders and invited reporters. "I've missed seeing everyone, but I can promise you I've been staying busy and working a lot more than '9 to 5.' And all of our guests have certainly been keeping everyone here at Dollywood busy the last two years, and I want to thank everybody who has visited for their support the last two years."

Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton at today's Dollywood opening. Photo courtesy Dollywood

"Dollywood and the Smokies truly are a special place, and I'm just proud that so many people are wanting to come to these beautiful mountains to experience all of God's beauty and find out why this area has become so popular," she said. "Once they come, they might just not want to leave my Smoky Mountain home."

While Dollywood has not added a major new attraction for 2022, guests will find improvements throughout the park. That starts in the parking lot, where the park has added toll booths and lanes and reconfigured the parking and traffic flow to ease guests' access to and exit from the park.

"During the last two years we’ve placed a lot of focus on those things that you might not immediately think about in terms of affecting someone's visit, but once our guests see them, they tell us they are the things that really make a difference," The Dollywood Company President Eugene Naughton said.

Other improvements include renovation of the Dollywood Emporium, wider walkways in Craftsman's Valley and Rivertown Junction, and the removal of the tunnel connecting lower Craftsman's Valley to The Village.

Dollywood's annual festival line-up starts with Dollywood's Flower & Food Festival from April 22 to June 5, followed by Dollywood's Smoky Mountain Summer Celebration June 18 through August 7, and Dollywood's Harvest Festival running September 23 to October 29. Dollywood's Smoky Mountain Christmas completes the season November 5 through January 1, 2023.

For more on Dollywood, please enjoy our readers' trip reports from the park last year:

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