One of our favorite things that we have gotten to do on this trip, has been our visit to Dollywood, hands down! We are a theme park family by nature, and would spend just about every summer weekend at a different theme or water park if we had the choice, but we don't get to theme park it up nearly as often as we would like! So, when our chance came to visit Dollywood, we were thrilled! It turned out to be, hands down, our favorite theme park we've ever visited, and that says a lot!
We arrived at Dollywood as soon as they opened for the day, and when it was time for them to close up, we still weren't done for the day! We could definitely have spent two days there! The entire place has a "country fair" type theme, and I love that the whole place sort of just "goes together"! It is very homey, and has a very welcoming atmosphere! What more could you ask for than a HUGE theme park that feels like a down home country fair? It's perfect!
Okay, one thing you're going to have to know... When you're at Dollywood, you're not just there for the rides! You're there for the shopping and you're there for the food too! It's like a package deal! Aunt Granny's All You Care To Eat Buffet is a MUST STOP, but be warned, you'll be stuffed to the brim when you leave! We also ate a bite at the Red's Drive In, which is an adorable 50's style diner, and the boys loved it there! Make sure to stop by Miss Lillian's Chicken House, even if you don't eat there, for a chance to meet Miss Lillian, one of Dollywood's most famous faces!
The rides are great, we had so much fun! My oldest son and my hubby are the "thrill seekers" in the group, and they like to ride the big coasters and the scary thrill rides. My little Bean and me, however, we are a little more laid back, and we like small, easy going rides, walking around, and snacking! Well, this was no problem, because Dollywood had something for everyone, and plenty of things that we could all ride together and have a great time! We really made some amazing family memories here, and I can't wait to come back every year from now on to build on those wonderful memories that we made!
My boys didn't get a chance to ride Wild Eagle, and they were very disappointed, but there was some sort of issue with bees (!?!?), so I don't think they would have wanted to ride it like that anyway! They did however, get the first seat on the wooden roller coaster, Thunderhead, and my big guy was absolutely petrified! After he got out of there though, he said it was the most awesome thing ever! He was also thrilled that he got to ride the Mystery Mine.. He had been watching YouTube videos of that coaster for MONTHS before our trip, and it was his one "MUST DO" on our visit!
I have to say that I think the Dollywood Express was the highlight of our trip! My boys had never been on a real train before, so a steam locomotive was a real treat! They were completely in awe, and I was too! We really had a great time on our trip, everything was so homey there and we felt so comfortable, never rushed, and never bothered. Every staff member that we came into contact with were so professional and so genuinely kind, it was so nice to see! We will, without a doubt, be heading back to Dollywood next year, so that we can check out the things that we missed and make some more family memories!
Things To Know Before You Go:
- If you have any food allergies, just let the staff know, and they will accommodate you, no problems at all!
- Near the Market Square area on Showstreet, there is a Centralized Measuring Area where your kiddos can get measured and receive a wristband, so they will know what they are tall enough to ride without standing in line- this is great and saves LOTS of tears!
- Parent Swap is awesome! If you have a big kid, and smaller kids (or kid!), one parent can ride, and the other can wait with the little ones. Then the other parent can ride with the bigger kid again, without waiting in line! A GREAT option to make sure that both parents get quality time with their kids on the rides! This saved us SO much time, and everyone was SO helpful!
- If you think you'll be heading to Dollywood in the afternoon, here's a GREAT deal for you!! If you enter Dollywood after 3pm, you get in the next day for FREE!!! That's right, FREE!!! Nothing better than that, and a great way to get extra fun hours without paying big money!!
- If you buy something at the shops, you don't have to lug it around all day! The Package Pickup service allows you to buy whatever you want throughout the park, and then have all of your packages delivered to the Dollywood Emporium for pickup at the end of the day. A great way to keep from carrying a bunch of stuff around all day!
Bottom line, if you are heading to the Smokies, you need to take an extra day and hang out at Dollywood! Don't miss it for anything, or you will be very sorry! If you want to find out more info about Dollywood and plan your trip, check out their website HERE!