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Weekend Drive: Smoky Mountain Christmas at Dollywood

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Family, Friends and togetherness. Those ideas embody the holiday season and are what a famous theme park celebrates during the holiday season. Voted "Best Christmas Event" nine times in its history, Dollywood's Smoky Mountain Christmas is a must see for everyone young and old. Work to get the park ready for guests begins early in the day, especially at the train shop, where dedicated crew members keep the historic steam locomotives running daily.

"This was built specifically for WW2, this engine was meant to be thrown away after the war… they built 11 of these and sent them to Alaska," said Train Shop Lead Tim Smith. Today, Cinderella carries guests up and down the Tennessee mountain daily, burning 2 tons of coal and using 5000 gallons of water daily! The unique experience of the train is only one unique adventure waiting at Dollywood. "The whole trick is to watch it slowly expand.." Glass blowing your own ornament is unique because everyone takes home one that's slightly different. "Ornaments are like fingerprints.. I cannot make the same ornament over again… I could make 300 out of the same color each will be different" And don't worry if you don't have any skill… that's part of the fun! Dollywood's glass blowers will walk you through it, helping to get the perfect shape for the perfect memorable experience. "It's an experience… and that's what matters. You have an object that signifies that experience, but it's the act of being in the place, with those sights and smells, even the crowd plays into it… some kids they get scared being on that stage but they're gonna see that ornament year after year hanging on that tree.. and it's gonna bring them right back here to Dollywood" And don't worry if the weather is cold- with eight shows, several of them inside, Dollywood's entertainment department really steps it up during Christmas!

"At Christmas we get it right… there's not a guest that can walk in here without seeing something that entertains them as far as entertainment goes," said Justin Bradley, Creative Entertainment Manager at Dollywood. And the fun isn't limited just to the daytime hours. "With over 4 million lights all across the park, Dollywood's award winning Smoky Mountain Christmas takes over three and a half months to put up."

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