When I started looking for a little July 4th weekend getaway, I didn’t really know much about Dollywood. I have had some friends that went there and told me it was fun, but it was never really on my “list”. We had been to Pigeon Forge and knew it was a vacation playland full of commercialized fun. Then our oldest mentioned he really wanted to go to a theme park. So, I began searching.
I mean we have a theme park in our backyard, with Carowinds, and it is a pretty good one. My thought was how do we top that without going to Disney or Universal? As I searched the top 10 theme parks, Dollywood kept popping up. So, with one day to spare, I got an amazing deal on a historic hotel called Central Hotel. (It is an awesome hotel in that area, and we highly recommend it to anyone) We quickly packed our bags and were off on our adventure to Dollywood.
We ended up spending a full day at Dollywood, with one break in between. We had all four children with us, from toddler to tween. Overall, we really had a wonderful time, and we will visit again. We recommend the trip to everyone now. Here’s what we discovered.
Dollywood Is Beautiful
Let me just say this is one of the most scenic and beautiful amusement parks we have ever been to. It isn’t just paved walkways that take you to rides. It is so much more. It is set in the mountains, has beautiful landscaping, and is really just so nice to explore. They have strategically placed little streams, waterfalls, and fountains throughout the park. So, it made for wonderful pictures.
TIP: Because it is set in the mountains, it is not flat. There are some pretty large hills to take on. So make sure you wear good shoes and are prepared for a lot of walking.
It’s So Family Friendly
They really thought about this park when they made it. It is built for families, and especially families with multiple children. Being that it was just my husband and I with all four kids, in different age groups, we really loved this aspect of the park.
They have deliberately placed a ton of play areas throughout the park. So, while my husband rode the “big” rides with our oldest, I could entertain the littles at these nearby play areas. There are water play areas, indoor playgrounds, “toy” areas, and even foam parties placed near the larger rides, so you didn’t have to split up too much.
TIP: The park also offers a parent swap on rides. So one parent can ride, while the other waits with the littles. When the ride comes back, you swap. So you don’t have to wait in the long lines twice to both ride!
You Can Beat the Heat
Someone thought about the heat when they laid out this park. I personally, have a very hard time in the heat and that was my biggest worry about going to the park. I purposely chose the coolest day of the week and even a day when it was supposed to rain a little. It was still blazing hot because we were there in July. But I was pleasantly surprised with all the accommodations they had.
There are fans and misters everywhere! They have little “break” areas throughout the park. These are areas that have benches, misters, and fans. Then there are several water play areas for the kids and is even an indoor play area, with air conditioning. Being that the park is in the mountains, there is also a lot of natural shade. Trees line the walkways in many cases, and it is not hard to find a shaded spot.
TIP: Because there are so many water areas, it is worth bringing swimsuits or a change of clothes. The kids, and maybe even you, will get wet.
The Summer Drone Show is Awesome
There are fireworks in the evening but, there is also a drone show in the summer. It is one of the coolest things we have ever watched. I mean the fireworks were good, but the drone show was worth staying into the evening. I am really glad that we stayed and got to experience it.
All in all, we had a wonderful day at Dollywood. Next time we will probably do a multiple day pass and try the waterpark as well.
One final tip is, get the preferred parking! It is SO worth it. It is right next to the park, you don’t have to wait on a tram, and has a separate entrance. Worth every penny!
Be sure to check out some of my other travel posts with neat destinations and even tips on packing for the family.
-Kristy M., Mommy to Many