PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (WATE) — Dollywood has won three more Amusement Today’s Golden Ticket Awards. The awards were announced at a Saturday ceremony held at Silverwood theme park in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
Dollywood earned finalist placement in seven total categories and won more awards than any other park, according to a news release from the park.
Two categories Dollywood has dominated for a number of years — best shows and friendliest park — have been retired and replaced with new categories. Best guest experience combines the previous friendliest park award with the cleanest park award into one prestigious new category. On Saturday night, Dollywood became the inaugural winner for best guest experience of any theme park in the world.
The park’s expansive new Wildwood Grove also won best kids’ area for the first time, while the Smoky Mountain Christmas festival earned its 12th consecutive win for best Christmas event. Dollywood is the only park to win the Christmas award.
“I’m so proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish here since we opened Dollywood in 1986,” Dolly Parton said. “We don’t do what we do to win award. They are nice, but we do it because we want to provide families an escape to a beautiful place where they can forget about all the things going on in their daily lives and truly enjoy each other.
“I’ve been able to travel the world and see so many great things, but in the end, the Smokies are where my heart sings. I wanted to give folks the world over a reason to come here and see it for themselves.”
The Dollywood Company President Craig Ross credited the park’s success this year to the addition of Wildwood Grove and the parks commitment to family fun.
“Dolly wanted Wildwood Grove to truly reflect the experiences she had as a little girl growing up here in the Great Smoky Mountains,” Ross said. “The Golden Ticket for Best Kids’ Area reinforces what guests have been telling us since it opened; Wildwood Grove is a place where families can laugh, play and make memories together.”
Dollywood also had Top 10 finishes in the best food (second place); best park (second); most beautiful park (third); and best wooden coaster (seventh) for Lightning Rod.