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Dollywood Beats Out Disney In Favorite Theme Park Survey

Dollywood came tops in a NAPHA survey
Dollywood came tops in a NAPHA survey [Image by Missvain on Wikimedia Commons]
The National Amusement Park Historical Association recently ran a survey to reveal which is the favorite theme park. While “Disney” would likely come to readers’ minds, the top-most favorite theme park was revealed to be Dollywood. Meanwhile, that was followed closely by Disney World and Disneyland.

Dollywood beats out Disney World and Disneyland as the favorite theme park

According to a survey by the National Amusement Park Historical Association (NAPHA), Dolly Parton’s theme park, Dollywood, beat out Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in California, which came second and third respectively.

Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton [Image Dollywood on Facebook]
Meanwhile, NAPHA runs a survey each year to find the favorite theme park. Using categories such as “most beautiful theme park”, “favorite wooden roller coaster”, “favorite traditional theme park,” and “favorite theme park” overall, this year the latter is Dolly Parton’s theme park, Dollywood.

Moreover, Dollywood also came in at number one for having the top new attraction – the Big Bear Mountain roller coaster. These results come from NAPHA’s 38th annual survey of America’s theme parks taking data from the 2023 season as voted on by park enthusiasts.

The Knoxville News Sentinel quotes Dollywood President Eugene Naughton in a press release:

Look at The Dolly Parton Experience, which we opened less than two weeks ago. It is an industry-leading offering that follows closely behind two spectacular additions last year: the greatest new ride in the industry, Big Bear Mountain, and one of the top resort properties at any theme park, HeartSong Lodge & Resort.

Meanwhile, Naughton attributed Dollywood’s success to investing in new rides and attractions and prioritizing the guest experience.  Moreover, the newspaper reports that the average NAPHA member has visited more than 100 theme parks in the US and globally.

About Dolly Parton’s Theme Park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Fun on the roller coaster
[Image Dollywood on Facebook]
Dollywood first opened in 1986, some 15 years after Walt Disney World in Florida. Meanwhile, Disneyland, which went on to revolutionize modern theme parks, opened in 1955.

Looking at the theme park’s website, it promises the following:

At Dollywood we celebrate the best of life as we light up the Smokies with rides, slides, music, food and laughter – day and night.

We invite you to our Tennessee home where you can hold on tight to those you love most in the great outdoors in each beautiful season of the year. Start planning now!

Meanwhile, the Tennessee theme park is located in Pigeon Forge, close to where Parton herself was born.

Dollywood’s other recent awards and honors

Big Bear
[Image Dollywood on Facebook]
The Tennessee theme park isn’t exactly new to winning awards and has attracted many over the past decade, including Best Park in the World at the Golden Ticket Awards in 2023.

Meanwhile, the Knoxville News Sentinel lists several other recent wins for Dollywood as follows:

  • No. 1 Best Park in the World (2023 Golden Ticket Awards)
  • No. 1 Best Family Coaster, Big Bear Mountain (2023 Golden Ticket Awards)
  • No. 1 Best Kids’ Area (2023 Golden Ticket Awards)
  • No. 1 Best Guest Experience (2023 Golden Ticket Awards)
  • No. 1 Best Christmas Event (2023 Golden Ticket Awards)
  • No. 3 Best Theme Park Restaurant, Aunt Granny’s Restaurant (2024 USA TODAY 10 Best Awards)
  • No. 5 Best Theme [ark (2024 USA TODAY 10Best Awards)
  • No. 5 Best Roller Coaster, Lightning Rod (2024 USA TODAY 10Best Awards)

Congratulations to Dolly Parton and her staff on these major achievements.

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