Dollywood is one of the world's best theme parks - from delicious Southern food to thrilling rides and incredible international performances - Dollywood has it all in the state of Tennessee in beautiful Pigeon Forge.
Dollywood has received numerous awards and it's easy to see why - the folks that work there love their jobs and treat the guests just like they would like to be treated.
The park was the winner of the 2010 Applause Award, an award that is bestowed upon the park whose management, operations and creative accomplishments have inspired he theme park and attractions industry with its foresight, originality and sound business development.
Dollywood's awards also include Amusement Today's Golden Ticket Awards for Best Shows (2009-2015), was twice named the world's number 1 wooden coaster (Thunderhead), winner of Amusement Today's Friendliest Park (2012 - 2015), and so many more.
It's easy to work up an appetite at the park and just as easy to satisfy your hunger. There are over 2 dozen locations to grab a bite to eat, serving everything from homemade cinnamon bread to fresh pork rinds to a 12-pound pizza pie and everything in between.
25 Pound Homemade Apple Pie - yes, it's real!
Keeping with trends, there is a food truck which you can find in Jukebox Junction.
You just might hear Frannies famous fried chicken sandwich and legendary crinkle cut fries calling your name.
Rather have a burger? You can step back in time and enjoy one at Red's Drive In. In addition to old fashioned hamburgers, they also serve thick, creamy milk shakes. (Fact: Red's was named after the restaurant where Dolly had her first hamburger.)
If you find that your phone or mobile device has a low battery, you can recharge it at one of these Coke bottle replica charging stations, located at Red's Drive-In.
There are plenty of sit-down and dine-in options, like Aunt Granny's.
Named by USA Today as one of the top-10 best theme park restaurants in the country, Aunt Granny's is an all-you-care-to-eat buffet.
Some of the thrill rides are tucked into the trees, like Daredevil Falls, an attraction that takes passengers over a waterfall down a 60-foot drop at a heart-racing 50 mph.
One of my favorite rides is the Wild Eagle, America's first wing coaster that takes riders on a smooth and thrilling ride 21 stories above Dollywood.
If you are a thrill-seeker, then Barnstormer will be up your alley. It may look like a giant swing, but it is so much more - Barnstormer reaches 45 miles per hour and rotates 230 degrees.
Like roller coasters? Lightning Rod is the world's first launched and fastest wood coaster. Lightning Rod races down a 165-foot drop and propels guests along its 3,800-ft. track to a top speed of 73 mph, the fastest speed for a wood coaster in the world.
There are rides for kids of all ages and all levels of thrilling excitement.
For those who are seeking a milder attraction, the Rockin' Roadway is located next door to Lightning Rod. (Fact: The cute used car lot is actually extra storage for cars for the ride.)
Live entertainment abounds around the amusement park with performers coming from around the world.
The park hosts the gospel quartet, the Kingdom Heirs, at the Showstreet Palace Theater.
Some of the other entertainment around the park includes:
- A Brighter Day - Four vocalists and a five-piece band perform a curated selection of songs from various genres, including country, contemporary Christian and pop, creating an uplifting and positive message you are sure to be inspired by, at the Back Porch Theater.
- Harmonies of the Heart - Two of Dolly’s nieces, Heidi Lou and Jada Star, Dolly’s cousin Shelley and family friend Barry J sing original songs and tell stories about their doting “Aunt Granny” (Dolly Parton) at the Dreamsong Theater.
- Smoky Mountain String Band - Bluegrass fans rejoice! You can get your fill of banjo playin', pickin', and grinnin' at Valley Theater.
A great place to rest your feet and learn about fascinating raptors is at the Wings of America Show. Adjacent to the show's venue is Eagle Mountain Sanctuary, a 30,000 square foot home for birds of prey that are cared for by the American Eagle Foundation.
Trees are everywhere, which is especially great for escaping the scorching summer heat in the South. When you go, be sure to look into the shady areas - there are some cute and interesting sculptures.
Throughout the park, you may notice special "guests." There is even a spot by the bridge where you can purchase a handful of feed to feed the fish.
The park is beautifully landscaped with little touches throughout.
Guests of all ages enjoy riding the authentic coal-fired steam engine on a 20-minute journey through the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. (If you have sunglasses, put them on. Remember, this is a real steam engine and you don't want to get soot in your eyes.)
There are 2 engines that operate at the park. In their former life, they both were in service in Alaska during World War II.
This park is a great place to learn more about Dolly Parton, America's favorite country music legend, starting with her Tennessee mountain home.
Below is a two-bedroom replica of the home in which Dolly grew up. She was one of 12 children living in this small house. Can you imagine yourself in that situation?
For a modern take, be sure to make your way to Chasing Rainbows, the state-of-the-art Dolly Parton museum that houses memorabilia from Dolly's life and behind-the-scenes collections. Just outside of Chasing Rainbows is Dolly's former tour bus.
Walking through the park you will see artisans and master craftsmen hard at work. Below is an example of hand-thrown pottery made at Dollywood.
There are numerous gift shops to find gifts for your friends and family who weren't able to make it to the park with you.
The cute firetruck below was for sale in Craftsman's Valley.
Further exploring the park there are even more rides to thrill and excite. All told, there are over 40 rides and attractions.
Dollywood is a great place to take the entire family to get away from it all and enjoy time together. Fun awaits you just miles from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
A few short notes:
- There is a fee for parking. $20 for regular-sized vehicles, $25 for oversized.
- A cup of water is free if you ask for one.
- You can leave the park and return the same day. Be sure you save your ticket stub and get your hand stamped before you leave. You will need to have your ticket re-scanned before re-entering the park.
- Credit cards are accepted. (American Express, VISA, MasterCard, and Discover) Checks are accepted with a valid driver's license.
- Did you bring Fido with you on vacation? He can visit Doggywood (for a small fee). Be sure to read all of the details about boarding by clicking here.
- According to Dollywood FAQs: If it is raining when you leave the Park and your visit is shortened by the rain, you can request a Rain Check—just ask.
The regular prices of one-day tickets are:
- Regular (ages 10-61) $79
- Child (ages 4-9) $69
- Senior (ages 62 - 99) $69
Season passes are available. You can purchase one day or season pass on-site or online.
I was a guest at Dollywood and was able to check it out for myself. All thoughts, opinions, and grammatical errors are my own.
Looking for a sweet place to lay your head after a fun day at the park? Click here to read my post about Dollywood's DreamMore Resort.
Ready to start planning your trip to Dollywood? Great! Now read these other posts to help you on your way: