The Ultimate Guide to Dollywood
Dollywood is famous for having more stages and live entertainment than any other theme park in the United States. As you might expect from a park themed after the country music icon, Dolly Parton, this park has a big personality just like its namesake. With plenty of live music, lavish stage shows, and epic coasters the park highlights the beauty of the Smoky Mountains. This guide to Dollywood will help you to make the most of your time at this charming Tennessee theme park.
Dollywood is an amusement park co-owned by the legendary Queen Of Country Music herself, Dolly Parton. It’s located in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee in the heart of the Smoky Mountains. The park officially opened in 1986 and quickly became one of America’s largest theme park attractions. Brimming with good old-fashioned southern charm, history, and heritage, Dollywood has 40 thrilling rides and so much more.
Getting To Dollywood
2700 Dollywood Parks Blvd, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
Dollywood is located in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee making it easily accessible to a large portion of the country.
Passes And Admission
Passes to Dollywood include admission to the theme park only, they do not include admission to Dollywood’s Splash Country Waterpark. But have no fear, there are multi-day and combo park passes available that will allow you to visit both parks. It’s recommended that you buy tickets in advance. The park season is long and it’s generally open from March to December.
Dollywood offers discounted tickets for seniors (62+) and children (4-9), and children under 3 always get in free.
- 1 Day Park Passes – an adult ticket for Dollywood costs $79.00 per person. Children and senior tickets are available for $69.00 per person.
- 2 Day Park Flex Tickets – for just $20.00 more than a 1-day pass this is the most popular ticket option for Dollywood. You can easily spend 2-4 days exploring both parks, so this is a great option if you have the time.
- 3 Day Park Tickets – costing only an extra $10.00 more at $109.00 per person, as well as, children & seniors at $99.00 per person.
Standard parking at Dollywood costs $20.00 per vehicle, and trailers and RVs are $25.00. Preferred parking, closer to the park, is also available for $30.00.
Best Time To Visit Dollywood
Spring is the best time of year to visit Dollywood. The flowers are in full bloom in the Smokies and Dolly herself tends to frequent the park more often at the beginning of the season in spring.
The end of the season is another great time to visit this Tennessee theme park. One of the most popular festivals of the year is focused around the Christmas season, Smoky Mountain Christmas.
What To Do + The Rides At Dollywood
The lineup of thrill rides at this amusement park is impressive and it includes the famous Lightning Rod. When the coaster made its debut in 2016, it took the title of the world’s fastest wooden roller coaster. Speeding at 73 miles per hour it also has the distinction of being the world’s first launched wooden coaster. Lightning Rod is also known for being remarkably smooth for a wooden coaster. Here are a few notable thrill rides:
- Wild Eagle is a wing coaster featuring a soaring 110 ft loop.
- Tennessee Tornado is a classic steel looping coaster that climbs a staggering 163 feet and hits an astonishing 63 mph. It also includes a butterfly loop element paying homage to Dolly’s love of butterflies.
- FireChaser Express is a dual launch family coaster, but children must be 39 inches tall to ride it. Beware, it packs quite a punch!
- Blazing Fury is the park’s oldest coaster and a fairly tame indoor ride that includes some old-school dark ride scenes.
Beyond the roller coasters in the park, there are plenty of other options including the Mystery Mine which includes indoor dark ride scenes as well.
Ride The Dollywood Express
Don’t miss hopping aboard the famous Dollywood Express for a trip through the majestic Smoky Mountains. Considered the oldest attraction in the park, this is one of Dollywood’s most iconic attractions making it a can’t miss!
Take In A Show Or Live Entertainment
Dolly Parton’s influence is really felt in the entertainment aspect of the park. The shows are reason enough to visit Dollywood and the sheer number of shows and entertainment is staggering. The park offers plenty of country music options such as the Smoky Mountain String Band.
Festivals At Dollywood
Dollywood is known for its festivals as much as its thrill rides. Bonus: the festivals are included in the price of admission. The most famous being the end of the season, Smoky Mountain Christmas ranked as one of the best holiday events at any theme park in the U.S. This festival features dazzling lights and Broadway-caliber shows.
Another great festival to consider is the Festival Of Nations, which happens in the spring and is the season that kicks off in the park. This celebration includes music, food, and cultures from around the world.
The Barbecue And Bluegrass Festival happens a little later in the spring, you’ll smell the delicious brisket and hear the sounds of bluegrass music fill the air all over the park.
Of course, the Harvest Festival is the premier festival of the fall and at this time of year, the sounds turn to gospel music. The park welcomes artisans from all over to demonstrate their craft and talent, and all of the crafts are for sale.
Check Out Craftsman’s Valley
Wander around Craftsman’s Valley where traditional Smoky Mountain artisans sell their trades. You’ll find blacksmiths, leathersmiths, candlemakers, glass blowers, jewelry makers, and so much more.
Stop At Chasing Rainbows
If you need a little more Dolly in your life make sure to stop at Chasing Rainbows, a museum that has artifacts and exhibits from Dolly Parton’s career and life. Take a peek into her tour buses and walk through a replica of the Smoky Mountain home where she grew up.
Dollywood Splash Country
Although it is not included in the regular price of admission, Dollywood’s Splash Country is worth the added expense. It’s chock full of slides and rides that are fun for the entire family.
Where To Eat At Dollywood
At Dollywood, the food is one of the main highlights and there are plenty of options to choose from inside the park. Among them are sit-down restaurants, buffets, and of course southern favorites. Here are a few suggestions:
Famous for their desserts, you’ll want to save room to try some of the sweets from Spotlight Bakery. This place is famous for its 25 lb apple pie that can serve 4 very hungry adults.
Whatever you do, don’t skip the cinnamon bread at the Grist Mill in Craftsmans Valley. The bread is served with hot icing and at only $10.08 a roll, it actually comes as a large loaf which is more than enough to share. You can also try it with apple butter for an extra $1.00.
Miss Lillian’s Steakhouse
This steakhouse is also located in Craftsman’s Valley and is an all-you-can-eat buffet restaurant. If you’re looking to indulge in southern food then this is the place for you because Lillian’s serves up favorites such as smoked beef, and smoked or fried chicken. Southern-style sides include green beans with mashed potato and white pepper gravy.
Where To Stay At Dollywood
The DreamMore Resort
2525 DreamMore Way, Pigeon Forge, TN
The DreamMore Resort is just 3 miles from Dollywood. This resort and spa are inspired by Dolly’s life, memories, and epic imagination. The rooms are spacious, comfortable, and offer family-friendly touches. The amenities include a restaurant, Song And Hearth, which includes a buffet breakfast and dinner. Another bonus is complimentary parking and shuttle services. You can also hang out at the resort’s pool or get a massage at the spa, how relaxing?
Dollywood Cabins (off-site)
Dollywood also offers off-site cabins which can accommodate small and large groups. The cabins are located in the Smoky Mountains overlooking the park. They feature full kitchens, fireplaces, and a nearby swimming pool.
Tips For Your Visit To Dollywood
- Dollywood offers a Time-Saver pass for when the lines get really long in the park. This pass allows you to skip to the front of the lines on most rides, and it also allows you to take advantage of reserved seating at restaurants.
- You can download the Dollywood App to really maximize your visit to the park. It has interactive maps, live wait times, scheduled shows & entertainment plus exclusive offers.
- If you aren’t staying at the resort and want to skip Dollywood’s parking fees consider taking the trolley from downtown Pigeon Forge to the park.
Dollywood is an experience that you’ll want to share with the whole family, and you’re sure to leave with fond memories of the Queen Of Country and her fantastical theme park.