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The Fascinations of Dollywood Theme Park

Millennial Magazine - Dollywood
Photo by Mike Burton

Are you visiting Pigeon Forge for vacation and wondering what to do to kill time? Even though there are loads of attractions you can search online, the idea of going to a theme park might not cross your mind. A theme park like Dollywood could be a spectacular option if you plan on having a good time. Dollywood has attracted over two million visitors every year since 1986, thanks to its family-friendly theme park entertainment.

It began as a small attraction with the Klondike Katie coal-fired steam train, a general store, a blacksmith shop, and a saloon, but has since grown to over 150 acres with millions spent on upgrades and additions. We will take an in-depth look at the Dollywood theme park and all the benefits that come along with visiting it. 

Where is Dollywood’s location?

Dollywood’s location is in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, in the foothills of the mountains. The Smoky Mountains are the most visited national park year after year due to its location and accessibility from the southeast United States. In 2018, 11 million visitors visited the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, compared to 6.4 million at the Grand Canyon, the second most visited national park.

When is the best time to visit?

You can visit this theme park any time between 9 am to 5 pm. Hours may vary according to the months, but Dollywood is typically open from 10 am to 9:30 pm. Each year, the park will stay open from mid-March to early January of next year. If your timetable is flexible enough, you should go early on in June or consider visiting at the end of August.

These particular timings will let you bask in the fun of the summer amusement park experience. You should note that the park is relatively less crowded if the forecast shows some rain during the day. If you’re planning to visit for a short stay, a spring or fall weekend could mean more manageable parking and shorter waiting lines. However, you should know that the majority percentage visits in October and the summer weekends, which you might want to avoid.

Is Dollywood age-specific?

The rides and attractions at the theme park are generally family-based and relevant for all age groups. Families, couples, children of all ages, grandparents, and groups of children are the perfect audiences for a trip to Dollywood. But considering it’s still a theme park, it’s ideal for the young and young-at-heart in general. If you’re still a youngster from the heart, you should check it out as well. 

Admission to the park

If you’re visiting for a day, an adult ticket to Dollywood costs $79, while a child ticket costs $69, and a senior ticket goes for $69. The rate of a two-day ticket is around $20 extra. Active or inactive soldiers, disabled veterans, and military reservists, as well as their families, will get a 30% discount at the front gates by showing military or dependent ID.

If you’re in no hurry, you can get more value for your hard-earned money by purchasing a season-long ticket. And if you want Dollywood alone, the price is around $139. However, the price for season access to both Dollywood theme park and Dollywood Splash Country can go up to $189.

Anyone who comes with their car will have to get the general parking pass that costs $15. Since gold season pass holders don’t have to pay for parking, you should consider that as an option. If you don’t want a long walk to the entrance, you can get a Preferred Parking pass for $27 that gets you close enough. Moreover, the guests staying at the Dollywood resort can take the free complimentary shuttle to the park. 

The highlights of Dollywood

Dollywood pays homage to the Great Smoky Mountains’ mountain roots, culture, and tradition. The majority of the original attractions focus on the history and culture of the southern Appalachian region, especially Dolly Parton’s house.

You’ll find that eight of the 11 themed areas represent East Tennessee’s numerous historical periods and culture. These areas include Jukebox Junction, Country Fair, The Village, Craftsman’s Valley, Rivertown Junction, Wilderness Pass, Timber Canyon, and The Show-street. Apart from that, the theme park even opened Wildwood Grove last year, one of Dollywood’s fan-favorite areas.

What rides can you take?

Arguably the most fun part of Dollywood, the theme park packs a big punch. If you love the classic rides, you will see spinning teacups, giant swings, carousels, bumper cars, and so much more. In addition to the classics, Dollywood also has the following rides.

  • Dollywood Express: This 19th-century steam engine has been functional even before Dollywood. The original 110-ton coal-fired steam locomotive, which can be seen and heard in the park, transports visitors backward in time for a five-mile trip through a section of the Great Smoky Mountains, where they can take in some of the area’s most astonishing scenery. At the start of each hour, the train leaves for a 30-minute ride bound to entertain the whole family. If you want to experience the genuine beauty of the Smoky Mountains, taking the trip during the fall season is advisable.
  • Smoky Mountain River Rampage: This one is based on a white-water rafting experience and has lots of wet and unexpected turns. You should put this one off for last because you are bound to get a soaking. Bring a set of clothes; lockers are available for use at various locations in the park. Moreover, for a small fee, you can use the air dryers located directly outside this ride.
  • Dragon-flier: This family-friendly roller coaster is the newest addition to the theme park. Situated in Wildwood Grove, this ride mimics the movements of a dragonfly, leading to an exhilarating experience.
  • Lightning Rod: This roller coaster is the world’s fastest wooden roller coaster, reaching speeds of up to 73 miles per hour.
  • Wild Eagle: As the nation’s first wing roller coaster, it carries riders to the Smoky Mountains and gives them the sensation of soaring. Unlike a traditional roller coaster, which has cars in a line, this ride has passengers sitting on either side of the track with nothing but air directly beneath them.
  • Fire-Chaser Express: The first dual-launch family coaster in the country, this roller coaster opened back in 2014. The unique ride takes riders forward and backward simultaneously for a truly unique experience. 

In a hurry?

Since Dollywood is a famous park, there are endlessly long lines. If you’re there only for a short time, you wouldn’t want to spend it waiting around for a handful of rides. And if you make it in time, you might be able to get your hands on a TimeSaver pass, which is limited and sold on first-come-first-serve. 

Final Thoughts

Dollywood Theme Park is undoubtedly one of the most exciting places to be when you’re in Pigeon Forge. However, you’ll need a place to stay if you’re visiting for a few days. When it comes to lodging options, there is no shortage. If you want a genuinely authentic mountain visit, go for one of the Pigeon Forge Cabins. Once you have that covered, you can swing by Dollywood and have the time of your life!

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Written by Dixie Somers

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband.

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