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What’s New in 2020



Did you know that there are new attractions, dining and lodging options coming to the Smokies in 2020? There will be a new mobile attraction, Dollywood festival, and Anakeesta expansion . . . just to name a few! Read on to find out what will be coming to the Smokies in 2020.



Double Decker Bus Tours

Hop aboard this unique, all-new, never-been-done-in-the-Smokies mobile attraction!  This new attraction includes tour guides to tell you about things to do, where to eat, what attractions to see and much more. In the Spring of 2020, they will be offering specialty tours such as Cades Cove, Moonshine and Wine, Harrahs Cherokee Casino and much, much more! They currently have 2 double-deckers running but are adding up to 3 more by the Spring of 2020. They will also be adding MANY MORE stops.


Dollywood’s Flower and Food Festival

The festival will feature 500,000 flowers, springtime culinary creations, an umbrella sky on on Showstreet. The festival features several larger-than-life mosaicultures, or plant sculptures, like a butterfly umbrella, animal scenes, and a depiction of Dolly’s mother quilting the Coat of Many Colors. And, interactive displays are located throughout the festival area. An abundance of flowers throughout the park creates a stunning spring wonderland. Featuring a wide-selection of culinary creations that take inspiration from spring in the Smokies will delight your taste buds. Dance under an “Umbrella Sky” with hundreds of multi-colored petal parasols stunningly suspended above your head. The festival will be held at Dollywood from May 8 – June 14.


Anakeesta Expanision

In the summer of 2020, Anakeesta will be adding a new restaurant, restroom facilities, expanding the Vista Garden area, build an iconic observation tower and add an interactive family area with water play, additional seating, and a musical stage. Towering 55’ above Vista Gardens and 655’ above downtown Gatlinburg, guests will take in breathtaking 365-degree views of the mountains. Grab a snack and browse through the new garden shop for the perfect outdoor gift. Grab Southern BBQ favorites at the new Smokehouse BBQ & Brewhouse.  Families will love the new outdoor play area with cool wading streams and cascading waterfall. Relax around the fire pit, listen to live music and enjoy ample areas to relax and unwind and discover the magic in the mountains.


Pigeon Forge Chair Lift

The Pigeon Forge Chairlift will be the first of its kind in Pigeon Forge.  More information will be provided at a later date. You can follow the progress of the chairlift by visiting the Pigeon Forge Chairlift Facebook page (linked above).





Chicken Guy!

Guy Fieri’s Chicken Guy! is coming to Gatlinburg! The restaurant features all-natural fresh chicken tenders, hand-pounded to maximize crunch and paired with sauces. Combining fresh lemon juice, pickle brine, buttermilk, and fresh herb, this real-deal chicken scores an A+ on flavor and texture. There’s also a wide selection of sauces available.

Items include Sandwiches, Chicken Tenders, Salad Bowls and a Kid’s Menu. For a detailed menu, visit

There are no details regarding the location or opening date as of yet.


Ruby Sunshine

Ruby Slipper Restaurant Group brings the unique flavors and hospitality of New Orleans to everyday breakfast and brunch at all Ruby Slipper Cafe and Ruby Sunshine locations. Founded in post-Katrina New Orleans, Jennifer and Erich Weishaupt revitalized a blighted corner store into a cozy restaurant with the hope that it would help draw people back to the community – and that’s exactly what it did. In the decade since opening that neighborhood storefront, the number of restaurants have grown, but the same powerful sense of homecoming is still present in each location. Both Ruby Slipper Cafe and Ruby Sunshine restaurants remain owned and operated by the original founders. They serve creative twists on brunch classics and eye-opening cocktails seven days a week.





REI Co-op

REI Co-op will open a new store in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee in spring 2020, bringing quality outdoor gear, rentals, expertise and experiences to the region. Designed to be a gateway to outdoor adventures in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the new 21,500 square-foot store will offer numerous ways for people of all skill levels to get outside. Located in The Tower Shops at The Mountain Mile shopping center, REI Pigeon Forge is designed to both serve the nearly 250,000 lifetime co-op members in Tennessee and the millions of visitors that adventure in the region every year.





Treehouse Grove at Norton Creek

Treehouse Grove at Norton Creekis perfect for those who want a more adventurous getaway! With 8 treehouses available, your vacation in the trees is just a few clicks away! Their treehouses feature unique layouts while including everything you have come to expect from resort-style amenities. Pete Nelson of Animal Planet’s Treehouse Masters is working with Norton Creek to create eight unique treehouse rentals. The treehouses are set to open in Spring 2020.

The owner and founder of The Smoky Mountain Life, Kim Hunt, is a lifelong resident of southeast Tennessee and lover of all things Smoky Mountains. 

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