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Are you in search of a unique vacation destination that offers fun for the whole family? Look no further than Dollywood! Tucked away in the scenic Smoky Mountains of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, this amusement park offers a thrilling experience for everyone.
From heart-pumping rides to tasty food, from stunning nature views to exciting entertainment, there’s something for everyone at Dollywood. It’s owned by country artist Dolly Parton and you can see, and hear, her influence throughout the park. Here is the ultimate guide of the best things to do at Dollywood to help you make the most of your visit!
I was hosted by Dollywood to experience their theme park and share my experience with my audience.
Thrilling Roller Coasters
For those who enjoy fast-paced rides, Dollywood offers some of the most exciting roller coasters in the country. Daredevils can take on the Lightning Rod with a top speed of 73 miles per hour. If you’re looking for something even more intense, try the Wild Eagle, a steel coaster that takes you through twists, turns, and loops at over 60 miles per hour while giving you the feeling of soaring through the air.
For those seeking a unique experience, why not take a ride on the Mystery Mine? This coaster takes you through an abandoned mine shaft, complete with special effects and a 95-degree drop that will have you screaming with excitement. Tennessee Tornado is a steel ride that features three inversions and a 128-foot drop at a 70-degree angle. Riders experience speeds of up to 63 miles per hour as they twist and turn through the scenic Smoky Mountains. For those who enjoy water rides, the Smoky Mountain River Rampage is a must-try, but be prepared to get soaked!
If you’re looking a coaster that isn’t intense for someone’s first time, check out Blazing Fury.
Dollywood uses three symbols throughout the park to rate the ride’s intensity: a black diamond, a blue square, and a green circle. Along with watching the actual ride or attraction, the symbols are posted to help you decide whether or not it’s something you want to ride. The black diamond indicates a high thrill attraction, the blue square indicates a moderate thrill attraction, and the green circle indicates mild thrill attraction.
An all new coaster, Big Bear Mountain, will be opening in May 2023. It will be part of the new park expansion, Wildwood Grove. It will be the longest Dollywood coaster – the ride will last nearly 2 minutes! – and will feature onboard audio, including music throughout the ride.
Dollywood’s lineup of exciting rides is sure to satisfy even the most adventurous adrenaline junkie. So, if you’re looking for an unforgettable experience, put on your brave face, strap in, and get ready for the ride of your life.
Of course, all that excitement is bound to make you hungry. Luckily, Dollywood has a wide range of food options to satisfy any craving. From southern BBQ to sweet treats, you will find something delicious to indulge in. For those seeking classic amusement park fare, there are plenty of options like burgers and fries. However, if you’re feeling more adventurous, try the BBQ pork sandwich with sidewinder fries. We loved it!
If you’re in the mood for something more substantial, Dollywood has plenty of sit-down restaurants to choose from. Aunt Granny’s is a Southern-style restaurant that is sure to leave you feeling full and satisfied with meals served family style. The Front Porch Café features a menu with many of Dolly’s own favorite meals, along with a selection of seasonal specials.
For those with a sweet tooth, stop by Sweet Shoppe for some fudge, caramel apples, or a funnel cake. At the Spotlight Bakery, the pastry chefs create fresh baked goods. You have to see the 25-pound apple pie baked in a cast-iron skillet! The standout though is definitely the famous cinnamon bread from the Grist Mill. It is made fresh daily and you can get it with buttercream icing or apple butter. It is a must-try!
With so many options, there is something for everyone. And the best part? The food is just as delicious as the rides are thrilling. After a day full of fun and excitement, you will leave Dollywood with a full stomach and a satisfied smile on your face.
Gorgeous Scenery for Nature Lovers
Dollywood isn’t just about the rides and the food. It’s also a great destination for nature lovers. The park is situated in the beautiful Smoky Mountains, which offer stunning views and peaceful spots for visitors to relax and take in the scenery.
One of the highlights of the park is the Dollywood Express, a vintage steam train that takes visitors on a scenic tour through the mountains. It’s a great way to see some of the most beautiful spots in the area and get unique views of the theme park.
If you’re lucky, you might even spot some of the local wildlife, including deer and wild turkeys. There’s nothing quite like seeing these animals in their natural habitat.
Dollywood is also home to the world’s largest exhibit of non-releasable American Bald Eagles. You can view the 30,000 square foot aviary for a rare glimpse of these beautiful birds.
If you’re looking for a vacation that offers both thrilling rides and stunning natural beauty, Dollywood is the perfect destination for you.
Fun Activities for the Whole Family
A family vacation to Dollywood is not only a thrilling adventure, but it also offers plenty of fun activities for everyone in the family. With over 150 acres of natural surroundings, you can experience the great outdoors while enjoying various activities.
To determine which rides your child can ride, visit the Centralized Measuring station located between the Ride Accessibility Center and Rental Services on Showstreet when you enter the park. They’ll measure each child and give them a color-coded wristband which will help you quickly identify which rides they are tall enough to ride. The wristbands correspond to the color-coded information displayed on signs at each of the rides. Doing this first thing is super helpful and will save you time and frustration.
The Country Fair section of the park has a lot of rides for little ones to ride as well as a number of games and activities that will keep them entertained for hours. Some of the most popular rides in the Country Fair area include the Amazing Flying Elephants, which is a classic Dumbo-style ride that lets kids control the height of their elephant; the Busy Bees, which is a spinning ride that is perfect for toddlers; and the Demolition Derby, which is a fun bumper car attraction. The Country Fair area is also home to a number of food and beverage options, so you can easily grab a bite to eat while you’re there. There are a variety of kid-friendly options available, such as hot dogs, hamburgers, and cotton candy.
Wildwood Grove is another great place for families with young children. It is a safe and fun environment where kids can explore, play, and learn. This area is themed after a magical forest and features a variety of rides, attractions, and experiences. The centerpiece of Wildwood Grove is the Wildwood Tree, a 60-foot-tall tree that serves as the entrance to the area. The tree is home to a number of interactive elements, including a wishing well, a treehouse, and a slide.
With its natural beauty and exciting activities, Dollywood is truly a vacation destination for the whole family. And if you’re not convinced yet, just wait until you discover the park’s many exciting entertainment options.
As if the thrilling roller coasters and exciting water rides weren’t enough, Dollywood also offers a variety of shows and performances to keep your family entertained throughout the day.
There are several musical shows, like The Tones and Harmonies of the Heart featuring talented singers and musicians. You can also listen to the Smoky Mountain String Band for authentic mountain music.
The Wings of America Birds of Prey will give you an up close look as amazing birds of prey are presented in an open-air theater in the Craftsman’s Valley area. It is a fascinating and educational experience for audiences of all ages. The show features a variety of birds of prey, including eagles, owls, and vultures. The birds are presented by experienced handlers who share information about the birds’ natural habitats, diets, and behaviors.
With so many captivating shows and performances to choose from, you’ll never run out of things to do at Dollywood. Make sure to plan your itinerary accordingly so that you can experience all the excitement and entertainment this theme park has to offer.
If you really want to make the most of your visit to Dollywood, it’s important to take some time to plan ahead. Now that you know some of the best things to do at Dollywood, it’s time to get the nitty-gritty details about the park, some helpful information for planning your visit, and Dollywood tips so that you are prepared for the best possible experience.
Dollywood is located in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
2700 Dollywood Parks Boulevard, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
Dollywood Hours of Operation and Park Opening
Dollywood is not open year-round, so be sure to check their park calendar before planning a visit. The theme park is typically open from mid-March through December. The Dollywood hours of operation also vary and there are some days that the park is closed. Be sure to plan accordingly!
Parking at Dollywood
Parking is $25 for all standard length vehicles and $30 for oversized vehicles like RVs and trailers. Preferred parking is available for $41 and is in a lot closer to the park entrance. There are complimentary trams to get you from the parking lot to the front gate and back if needed. The parking lot signs will tell you the approximate walking time to the park if you would like to walk.
You can purchase Dollywood theme park tickets online ahead of time to avoid waiting in the ticket line once you arrive at the park.
2023 Ticket Pricing (prices do not include tax):
- 1-Day Theme Park Tickets – $89 adult/$79 child (ages 4-9)/$79 senior (ages 62+)
- 2-Day Theme Park Tickets – $109 adult/$99 child (ages 4-9)/$99 senior (ages 62+)
- 3-Day Theme Park Tickets – $119 adult/$109 child (ages 4-9)/$109 senior (ages 62+)
If you have a child that is in Pre-K, look into registering them for the Dollywood Pre-K Imagination Season Pass for free admission if they qualify.
If you are visiting Dollywood during a busy time of year or on the weekends, you may want to purchase the TimeSaver Pass. TimeSaver allows you expedited access to lines at select rides. While all rides and shows are still FREE with your paid admission, TimeSaver helps you maximize your visit so you can spend less time waiting in line.
There are two options: TimeSaver ($60 + tax) or TimeSaver Plus ($80 + tax).
TimeSaver includes five expedited entries on any of the thirteen participating TimeSaver attractions plus priority seating at shows in participating theaters. Your five entries can be used on a combination of eligible TimeSaver attractions. However, TimeSaver may be utilized on Dragonflier and Lightning Rod only once. Entries on Dragonflier and Lightning Rod are taken from your 5 allotted entries.
TimeSaver Plus includes unlimited entries on participating TimeSaver attractions, as well as priority seating at shows in participating theaters. However, TimeSaver Plus may be utilized on Lightning Rod only once.
Download the Dollywood App
The Dollywood app is designed to help you plan your trip to the park and make the most of your time. You will be able to view all of the rides and attractions in the park along with their locations, food locations, show times for entertainment, and more.
I loved the List feature of the app where I could add everything I wanted to see on our Dollywood visit and check them off throughout the day. The app also has an interactive map that will help you find your way through the park. You’ll be able to view the current wait times for rides throughout the day.
Prepare for Walking in the Mountains
Dollywood isn’t like other theme parks you may have visited in Florida with flat surfaces. Since it’s located in the Smoky Mountains, you’ll be walking up and down some hills during your day getting from one place to another. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes for all of the walking you’ll do!
Know Which Direction to Start
If you’re looking to ride the roller coasters, head to the left as you enter Dollywood. You’ll be able to find six of the coasters can be found by going this direction and you may be able to have shorter wait times, especially at park opening.
Make sure you stay hydrated! Complimentary cups of water are available at all food locations, just ask! You can also find water fountains and bottle refill stations throughout the park. Bring your own water bottle to fill up and keep it cool. You’ll appreciate being able to close the lid on it and keep it with you.
All-day lockers available at the front of the park if you’ll have larger items for $15 for the day. There are also floating lockers throughout the park. Ride to ride floating locker rentals are available at Wild Eagle, Mystery Mine, FireChaser Express, Daredevil Falls, Barnstormer, River Rampage, Tennessee Tornado, Country Fair, & Lightning Rod. You can use these lockers for $10 for the day. This means you can rent and float from locker to locker without having to pay for a new locker.
If you can manage not to bring too much into the parks with you, many rides have a place to set your items off to the side. Try to keep your valuables on you or with someone in your party not riding.
Re-Entry to Dollywood
If you want to leave the park for a bit to take a break, and come back later in the day or evening, you can get your hand stamped at the park exit. Be sure to also hang on to your parking lot receipt so that you’ll be able to re-enter the toll booths when you return.
Seasonal and Special Events
Dollywood hosts several special events throughout the year, including the Flower & Food Festival, Smoky Mountain Summer Celebration, Harvest Festival, and Smoky Mountain Christmas. These events feature unique shows, seasonal décor, and special activities that are worth planning a trip around.
Dollywood is a one-of-a-kind destination that offers an unforgettable experience, and with this ultimate guide, you can make the most of your trip. Plan ahead, explore the rides and attractions, taste the food, and enjoy the entertainment and scenery to create lasting memories. Start planning your trip today and experience everything this amazing amusement park has to offer. Download the Dollywood app and purchase a timesaver for maximum fun and convenience. Your next unforgettable vacation awaits at Dollywood!