Tips for Visiting Dollywood

So you, your family, and friends have decided to visit Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, TN for the day and you’re looking for some tips on making the experience more enjoyable. Well you’ve come to the right place as we’ve compiled the best tips on Dollywood coupons, the best days to visit, what to wear, ways to save money, and more! Here’s our list of 10 tips that will make your day at Dollywood much more enjoyable!

    1. It’s Dollywood…not Dollyworld or Dolly World – Many people mistakingly call the theme park “Dollyworld” I suppose since it sounds close to “Disneyworld”. Dolly’s theme park, though, is named Dollywood as a play on words to Hollywood. So now that you know how it’s pronounced, spelled, etc you don’t have to come to town asking for information about Dollyworld. This should save you at least a laugh or two!
    2. Ride the Trolley – Parking is $6 for a standard-sized vehicle and $9 for RV’s or anything larger. A trolley ride is .50 per person and it will take you right to the entrance of Dollywood. So yeah, you would have to have 24 people riding the trolley to equal the cost of parking! You can park at Patriot Park for free and then hop on a Dollywood trolley that runs every 15 minutes.
    3. Eat Before You Go – This may sound like a no-brainer, but it’s important to remember. Food at Dollywood can be pricey, so try to fill up before you enter the park and then try to make it through the day on snacks purchased at Dollywood or a single meal. A local favorite is Red’s Diner in the 50’s section. The burger, fries, and shakes are great!
    4. Dollywood Provides Water – You are not allowed to brink snacks or liquids into the park, but Dollywood does provide free cups of water in their restaurants and plenty of water fountains. If anything, this keeps you from carrying bottles around all day. Keep this in mind as water is a good thing if you’re in the heat.
    5. Dress for Action – Dress according to how you plan to enjoy Dollywood. If you plan on riding lots of rides (especially the water rides), plan on wearing light clothing that will dry quickly. Sandals are a good choice as well if you have a comfortable pair…and be sure they attach to your feet with velcro or other straps in order to keep them from flying away on certain rides!
    6. When to Visit – Wednesdays and Thursdays are typically the least busy days. Saturdays are nuts and should be avoided…unless you like waiting in lines.
    7. Purchase Tickets at Home – If you need to buy tickets, then purchase them at home. Information can be found on Dollywood’s Ticket Page
    8. Consider a Season Pass – If you’ll be spending more than one day at Dollywood or if you plan on going back at least one more time during the year, then get a season pass…it’s cheaper, plus it comes with extra benefits…like free parking if you don’t like the trolley.
    9. Get Dollywood’s Latest Info – Dollywood provides downloads of the latest schedules, maps, guides, etc on their website – Dollywood.com.
    10. Dollywood Coupons: One of the biggest questions we get asked is where to find coupons for Dollywood. Unfortunately, Dollywood doesn’t broker out discounts to third parties much any more, so if you see discounts from other places then it is probably timeshare bait. McDonald’s and Wendy’s restaurants in Pigeon Forge often have $5 off coupons for Dollywood or Splash Country on their bags. It’s definitely worth a look when you roll into town to stop at either of those restaurants! The official Dollywood website is the main source of Dollywood coupons. There you can find the official list of current special offers and coupons for Dollywood in Pigeon Forge.

The following tips were provided by “Charlie” in the forums in his winning entry into the Inside Pigeon Forge Getaway Giveaway where users submitted their best tips for visiting Pigeon Forge, TN.

Charlie’s Tips for Visiting Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, TN

  1. Wear a fanny pack/belt bag to hold items such as keys, camera, money, sun screen, sun glasses, lip balm, first aid kit (details later) and whatever else you may need.
  2. If you are taking a digital camera and are parking in a large lot, take a photo of the row/section sign so that you can easily locate you vehicle after a long exhausting day.
  3. Don’t carry bottles of water around all day, they offer free cups of ice water at most all of the restaurants
  4. (probably my best tip!) Take several small zip lock type baggies with you for your camera and any other valuables you need to protect from water. They will take up little room in you pack/bag and will protect your camera should you visit any water type attractions. I have seen so many people looking forlornly at their cameras after a water ride, please protect yours. Whether it is an expensive digital camera or an inexpensive disposable one, nothing is worse than losing cherished vacation photos to water.
  5. Get to the park early and head straight for the back. It will be a lot less crowded and you will be working your way back toward your end destination. The front of the park always fills up first.
  6. To save money on eating if you have a large group, pack a picnic lunch. You can have your hand stamped at the gate, go find a nice, quiet, relaxing spot in the forest and eat your lunch, then return to the park.
  7. As I’m sure many others have mentioned, if you can, take advantage of Dollywoods’ After 3 PM, Next Day Free option.

We also have information on ways to visit Pigeon Forge on a budget, so be sure to check that out as well!

31 thoughts on “Tips for Visiting Dollywood”

  1. The new Q2Q system will make a visit to Dollywood much more worth while. I have used it and never had to wait more than 5-10 minutes for a show or ride.

    It is a pager-like device with a screen and some buttons, and a heavy duty clip to make sure you don’t lose it.

    The cost is $10 (plus tax) for the first person; $5 (plus tax) for each additional member of your party using the same Q-bot. One Q-bot is valid for a maximum of six people.

    What does it do? The more popular rides in the park are listed on the Q-bot’s screen with the next available times for each. You can choose a ride and it will save you a seat for each person in your party. You enter the ride in a separate queue from regular guests. Many times you enter through the normal exit for the ride. On a busy day, you bypass hundreds of people waiting in the normal line. The Q-bot vibrates to remind you the time for your ride is near. You cannot reserve more than one ride at a time. After you check in at a ride and they scan your Q-bot, you can go ahead and reserve another ride.

    You can also reserve seats at Showstreet Palace, Celebrity Theater and the Pines Theater. All have separate entries for Q2Q. Your seat(s) are saved up until 5 minutes before show time. At that time, the seats are opened to anyone needing a seat.

    The day I used it was very crowded (they said 20,000 ). We could have ridden the most popular rides over and over if we had wished as the Q2Q line was at most about 15-20 people long at any one time.

    The Q2Q system should be free to all guests in my estimation. Imagine a park that intelligently placed guests evenly throughout the park for most of the day! I guess the problem is that the devices are not cheap to purchase/maintain.

    For $35, a group of six can breeze through the park. That’s cheaper than the cost of a snack for six people and much more worth the price.

  2. Do you have a would-be locomotive engineer in your party visiting Dollywood? If you do, did you know you can talk to the engineer when the train is “in the station” and request to ride in the locomotive? Go early to make your reservation as the train doesn’t make as many trips each day as you might think.

    Be aware that you will definitely get soot on you and your clothes. Be aware that the steam whistle, while sounding cool from a distance is very loud in the engine. The engineer will look back and gesture “hold your ears” before he blows the whistle, so believe his gesture and “hold your ears!”

    Some children who think they will enjoy sitting in the engine will not enjoy it because of the heat, noise and soot. My granddaughter hated the whistle though I had warned her it was very loud.

  3. if you leave the park when it is abt closing time…at least 15 minutes until closeure stop by the bakery alot of things in there are buy one get one free….makes for a good breakfast the next day…that is if you like sweets….

  4. Thanks for the tips. I’ve never been to Dollywood & would love to go sometime. I have on several occasions been to the Dixie Stampede & loved it. Do you have Senior Citizen rates?

  5. I really enjoyed Dollywood in July ’07 and plan to go again August ’08. Light, fast drying tee shirts and baggy shorts are important during the hot days so you can get in the cooling water mist fans and water rides to stay cool and then dry comfortably later. I went one crowded Saturday. After an afternoon 40 minute rain drenching much of the crowd left and I enjoyed getting on rides rapidly when the rain cleared. The rollercoasters are top notch. The only things I did not like was the high parking fee and the constant talking on the microphone by the train ride host. I am 51 and Dollywood was a blast and had lots of fun rides and exhibits.

  6. We have visited Dollywood numerous times over the last 15 years. It seems Dollywood gets bigger and better every year! We are going again in a couple weeks during our Smoky Mountain vacation and our kids are so excited to see the new rides.

    I agree that it is a very good idea to head straight for the back of the park first if you get there at opening time. I use a drawstring backpack to put all our essentials in and never leave home without plastic baggies to protect my camera.

  7. I have brought my family to Dollywood multiple times and each time it gets better. We never get tired of coming to the mountains and we will be visiting again in a couple of weeks,everyone is excited.

  8. Dollywood is the best. I live in Florida, ie Disney Central, and I love Dollywood so much more. I am not comparing the two – I just love it more. I have been going since it was Silver Dollar City and I have seen it grow big time since I started going with my family in probably like 1985. And yet, as big as its grown, it still maintains its magic and charm.

    The shows, rides, food, crafts, shops… I never get tired of this place. Still, there are two things I miss – two things that you won’t miss unless you go WAY back like I do…

    1. The Flooded Mine, demolished to make way for Daredevil Falls. I miss it so much. I can hear the tune in my head as I write this. Basically, it was a slow-moving, indoor boat ride through a flooded mine with prisoners in the mine! It was so much fun! They REALLY need to make the Flooded Mine’s successor…

    2. The Dollywood Jamboree. Every evening, Dollywood would close out the day with a 2 hour (at least, I think it was two hours) show starring James Rogers, who has his own one-man show throughout the day at Dollywood, a lead female singer, cloggers (dancers), a live band, and Elwood Smooch aka Billy Baker for comedy relief. The show would start around 7. By the time we left at like 9, it was dark and Dollywood was shut down. I can remember walking by the River Rampage as it was empty for the night… Ahhh, memories…

    I know some sites freak out if people put links, but InsidePigeonForge.com does allow us to enter our website when adding comments. I am adding my memories and pictures to a site all about Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, The Great Smoky Mountains and I have done several articles on Dollywood if anyone is interested! I hope this isn’t inappropriate – its completely relevant to the topic and its just a site with info and pics, thats all! If the link is removed from this comment, the name above is clickable. Somewhere In The Mountains

  9. Don’t go if rain is in the forecast. We arrived around noon and when it started to rain about 3:00 pm they shut everything down. Not only all the rides but all the shows too. We felt like we were ripped off and won’t return again. How about offering a rain check for a future date? The price of the ticket is ridiculous for what you get inside.

  10. Found your site through google search. I have enjoyed reading your posts. Looking forward to more. Thanks!

  11. Never ride the water rides last, then you’re all wet when you get to the car. Make sure to check out the magic show in the very corner of Dollywood. A lot of people miss it (next to the train station). It’s awesome and the magic store is great too. I recommend a season pass if you love Dollywood. Its great and a heck of a lot cheaper, and it has benefits. If you’re thinking about going, GO! Its great for the family and you can get a work out walking. There are LOTS of stores and things to eat. I have gone 100 times and if you want to know anything write me on my website.

  12. What happened to Thunder Road? The last time I was there, it wasn’t. I noticed a few new things in Jukebox Junction, but I was really looking forward to Thunder Road… :(

  13. Right now, I believe it’s Journey to the Center of the Earth. They change it seasonally.

  14. I’m not sure I understand the math in tip number two regarding the trolley. If parking is $6 and a trolley ride is $.50, not 24 but 12 people would equal the price of parking. However, according to the trolley website, the $.50 applies each time you board the trolley. Thus 6 people riding the trolley both ways (to the park and back to the car) would equal the cost of parking. For our family of 5, that $1 savings wouldn’t be worth the hassle.

  15. I have tried to purchase a one day pass on line but keep getting a page on splash park. I would like the one day pass with the free Christmas dinner for two. Please help?

  16. I am going to the Smokies in about 2 weeks and I can’t wait!!! We might be going to Dollywood (I sure do hope so). After I read this I have my hopes up :) Hopefully I get to go! Sounds like so much fun!!!

  17. we are coming to dollywood over the 4th of july for 1 week.
    we will be buying season passes for the family, but its just cost to much for us to buy a season pass for my son’s friend who want be coming back with us next time.he always want to bring someone else. they should offer a season pass for a guest thst different kids may use. we love the park & have bought several season passes.please come up with a better ideal. north carolina family. we always come up on sat evening and stay til mon around 5pm, then drive back home.nice little couple of fun in the sun & water days! a great family place to go!!!

  18. We will be heading to Dollywood and the surrounding area in a week and I’ve been looking for tips and coupons. FYI – None of the links work on here. :(

  19. My husband is from Ashville, N.C. and we get the chance to go to the Mountains pretty often to see family. I never get tired of this piece of Heaven.
    We have been to Dollywood several times, and we cannot get enough. The place smells so good! Love, love, Aunt Granny’s.
    We have never had a bad experience. Will be going again in September. SO excited!

  20. well to began this place they call dollywood is very nice.but also very buzy the best way to beat the crowds is the q-bot.dont spare the exspence i live in knoxville,tn and its like the next door neighbor to pigion forge i go like 50 to 100 times a year.I have no prob. paying for parking its the whole 20 bucks for a snack.But there are four roller coasters and they are alot of fun to ride.i have a 2 yr old and she has plenty to do there as much if not more than me and my wife.if your wanting to go.GO its all good not a bad thing grat for the family.

  21. I am interested to know if there is cell service in Dollywood? I need a way to stay in touch with my kids and I know cell service is spotty in the mountains. If cell service is an issue, do people use walkie-talkie like radios? Thanks.

  22. Ive been to Silver Dollar where they have the refill cups. Do they have this here or do they partner with Silver Dollar City with this perk?

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