Tips For a Fun-Filled Day
How to Have Fun and Avoid Hassles
A day at Dollywood is fun even when things don't go smoothly, but there are things you can do to maximize the fun and avoid problems. Follow these tips to make your visit more pleasant.
- Avoid the Crowds. Plan your visit for midweek if you can, and avoid holiday weekends. Dollywood can get very crowded during weekends and when there are special events. We once made the mistake of coming on the last day of the season (at the end of December). The parking lot was jammed, and so was the park. It's a lot more fun when the crowds are thinner.
- Arrive early. If you get to Dollywood just before the park opens or soon thereafter, you’ll have fewer problems with traffic, and you’ll get a spot closer to the entrance. A close spot isn’t a big deal, because there are trams to transport you from the far lots. Still, if you want to pack as much fun into your day as possible, saving a bit of time will help.
- Carry your own water. Dollywood doesn’t allow you to bring your own food or drink, but I like to bring my own water and perhaps a protein bar or raisins for a quick snack. It saves time and is very convenient.
The restaurants in the park offer a variety of fare, and the food is pretty good. Still, they’re a bit pricier than what you’d pay for similar meals outside the park. That’s pretty much par for the course for theme/amusement parks.
If you want to save a few bucks, pack a meal in a cooler and return to your car for a little lunch in the comfort of you vehicle. Just remember to have your hand stamped so you can return to the park.
- Wear comfortable shoes. I saw one lady tottering around on platform shoes. Bad idea! You’ll be doing a lot of walking, and there are some gentle slopes to negotiate.
You also might want to think twice before wearing flip flops. Some of the rides at Dollywood lift you into the air with your feet dangling. If you wear flip-flops you’ll be asked to take them off on these rides, because nobody likes to get hit in the noggin with a flying flop. It can be pretty uncomfortable skipping over that hot pavement in your bare feet. So if you like these sorts of rides, you might want to wear sandals instead.
- Make good use of the lockers. They’re located near the entrance at the Stroller & Wheelchair Rental, and also near Tennessee Tornado, Daredevil Falls, Mountain Slidewinder and Mystery Mine. They’re handy for storing extra stuff you don’t want to carry, like a change of clothes, raingear just in case, or a jacket for the evening.
If you're carrying stuff you don't want to get wet (like a camera!) stash it in a locker before you get on the ride. And don't forget to bring quarters. You'll need two quarters every time you want to lock the locker.
- Be prepared to get wet. Dollywood has many rides and attractions where getting splashed is part of the fun. And for the kiddies, there’s a fountain in Dreamland Forest that’s a popular place to splash around. Some people even put their kids in swim suits.
You can wear clothing that dries quickly, or bring a change and stash it in the lockers. You might also want to bring plastic bags or waterproof pouches to protect items you don't want to get wet. Also be aware that afternoon rainshowers are very common in the Smokies, so you might just get caught in a downpour.
- Plan your visit. Download a map and schedule at Dollywood's official web site. They have an informative FAQ section that should answer most of your questions.