Fall is my favorite time of year and Halloween is my favorite holiday so I was thrilled to get to experience Dollywood during their award-winning Harvest Festival. USA Today recently award Dollywood with Best Halloween Theme Park Event! The Harvest Festival has been a beloved tradition for quite some time at Dollywood but the Great Pumpkin LumiNights was just added two years ago. The nighttime display brings a whole new level to the fall festival.
To start: yes, the Harvest Festival is family friendly and no, it is not scary. It’s cute as can be but also not particularly skewed toward children so all ages can happily enjoy fall at Dollywood.
The Harvest Festival has pumpkin displays all over the park, from pumpkin characters painting to carved pumpkins themed to specific rides. The Harvest Festival offers glow face painting and character photos for younger guests and fun photo ops for everyone, including a giant pumpkin tree, Jack-o-Lantern wall, and a coffee at the end of a pumpkin disco.
Special Harvest Festival foods include pumpkin pie funnel cake (which is NOT to be missed), caramel apple danish, pumpkin spice milkshake, pumpkin ice cream sandwich, caramel apples, and all sorts of fun Halloween treats. Read my full article about Fall Eats & Treats at Dollywood here.
The Great Pumpkin LumiNights (presented by Humana) first opened in 2017 and has since doubled in size. The nighttime display adds a whole level of enchantment to the Harvest Festival. At night, the pumpkin displays become even more magical when illuminated. The whole park gets a Harvest Festival treatment after dark with purple, green, and blue lights adding just the right touch of spookiness.
The pumpkin butterfly (Dollywood’s signature) was a huge hit with guests but my personal favorite LumiNight display was the guitar, which actually played music! The carved music note pumpkins and guitar strings lit up with every song. It was mesmerizing to watch.
Another favorite area is the pumpkin tree in Wilderness Pass. There are characters, photo ops, the giant pumpkin tree of course, plus a purple light tunnel that leads to the pumpkin wall. The whole area oozes with Harvest Festival fun. I also loved the purple light forest and the pumpkin river.
The Great Pumpkin LumiNights opens at 7 pm every night. Enter through Craftsman’s Valley and give yourself at least an hour to enjoy all of the displays. Dollywood’s Harvest Festival and Great Pumpkin LumiNights run September 27 through November 2. (Note: the park is closed Tuesday, October 22 and Tuesday, October. 29, 2019.) The park is open every day from 10 am – 9 pm. For more information, visit dollywood.com. Don’t forget the funnel cake!
Disclaimer: This article is intended to be a general resource. Any recommendations are based on personal opinion. A portion of this trip may have been compensated but opinions are my own, always. I’m not a fan of negativity so if I don’t like something, I don’t write about it. I’m here to tell you about the best of the best!