I really don’t know why I haven’t written more about Pigeon Forge. Aside from The Smokies for Less piece I wrote a couple years ago, I’ve been relatively quite on the destination when in reality we take a weekend trip a couple times a year.
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As soon as you get off the interstate you will notice the Christmas lights. They will be set up all the way into Pigeon Forge (and even over in Gatlinburg if you want to drive over there). They are beautiful. I recommend driving down the main drag to see all the different set ups. Dolly’s Stampede and Dollywood also have elaborate light setups.
We didn’t do Dollywood on this trip, but have in the past during Christmas. Depending on the weather you may or may not want to hit up a bunch of roller coasters, but I do think overall lines are shorter this time of year. The indoor shows during Christmas are great and I would recommend if you have season passes to stop by for a few hours to check some of them out. If you don’t have season passes, you can always do the age old trick of going in after 3pm so you can come back on the same ticket the next day. This is great because it breaks up the experience while the weather is chilly. Make sure you are there at least one day after dark to fully experience the Christmas lights around the park. They are some of my favorite.
Dolly Parton’s Stampede has the absolute best Christmas show and this years upgrades didn’t disappoint. It begin with Dolly telling us about her favorite parts of Christmas during her childhood and moved on to include a live nativity scene (per usual) that was taken to the next level. Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus were dropped from the air, joined on the ground by sheep and later by 3 wise men riding camels. The use of Christmas carols and old hymns was different this year as well (in a good way). However, the Let it Snow ending was not up to my normal expectations. I missed the “wow” factor of past endings. Luckily, Santa rode out on his sleigh at the very end and saved the day. Who doesn’t love seeing Santa ?
The meal at The Stampede was amazing as always. If you’ve never been a traditional meal includes: veggie soup with a biscuit, chicken, pork lion, a potato, corn on the cob, and ends with an apple turnover. Yummy!
Make sure you take at least a hour to stop and check out The Christmas Place. The extensive decoration options will have you shopping and shopping. From pre-made bows and decor, to asking for something to be made for you, there’s pretty much everything. You can even grab some pieces to make your own Christmas decorations if your super crafty. (I’m not, but have tackled a few projects using items I’ve picked up at The Christmas Place in the past.)
If you really want to complete the Christmas experience, stay at the Inn at Christmas Place. You will need to book the inn in advance as it almost always books up. However, this Christmas themed hotel will not disappoint any time of year. (Yes, it’s really Christmas there all year long.)