Guide to Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, TN: Tips and Tricks

A family trip to Dollywood ensures your Pigeon Forge vacation feels complete. Founded by and named for the country music star and humanitarian Dolly Parton, Dollywood has received numerous awards as one of the top attractions in the U.S. and draws visitors from all over to this Smoky Mountain theme park.

With so much to do, it’s no surprise people can’t get enough of this attraction. Dollywood features more than 40 rides, 15 family-friendly live shows, festivals and a 35-acre water park. The park has also won national accolades including Amusement Today‘s golden ticket awards in friendliest, best shows and best Christmas events categories. And since we enjoy this attraction as much as everyone else, we thought we’d share some inside tips and tricks. Get the scoop with this guide to Dollywood.

Guide to Dollywood: Top Tips and Tricks

guide to dollywood tips itrip vacations

Photo: Todd Van Hoosear

Buy Tickets Online

To avoid long lines at the entry gate, buy tickets online or by phone ahead of time. Ticket packages include single and multiday passes, and if planning to visit Dollywood frequently, a season pass saves the most money. The park also offers add-ons, which include opportunities for ziplining, VIP tours and the time-saver program that reserves your spot in line. Learn more about Dollywood tickets.

Download and Print

Before leaving for your Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg vacation, print out tickets, show schedules and park maps. This saves time and allow the family to plan which rides and shows to see. If visiting the water park, this also helps plan which days to visit the theme park and which to play in the water.

Dollywood’s theme park is typically open from mid-March to early January, and hosts regular live entertainment and holiday festivals. View the park’s map.

Take the Trolley

Save on Dollywood’s parking fees and park for free in Pigeon Forge’s Patriot Park. From there, guests can hop on Dollywood Trolley and Dolly’s Splash Country Trolley, both of which stop at Dollywood and Splash Country continuously. The Dollywood Trolley runs 30 minutes before and after the park’s operational hours, ensuring everyone gets back to Patriot Park.

Eat at Home

To keep food costs down, prepare and eat meals in your vacation rental. Dollywood does not allow outside snacks and drinks, so eat a healthy meal before leaving for the park. Those who decide to splurge — on dinner for example — will find more than 24 restaurants located in Dollywood. Popular choices include: Miss Lillian’s Chicken House, Country Cookers, Hickory House BBQ and Sweet Shoppe.

dollywood pigeon forge guide tips

Photo: matthew macpherson

Wear Comfortable Clothes and Shoes

If not wearing the proper attire, spending all day at the park can seem exhausting. During the summer, wear light-colored and breathable fabrics such as cotton. In cooler seasons, Tennessee evenings can get chilly, so bring a light jacket that you can tie around your waste during the day.

Guests should also wear comfortable walking shoes or strap-on sandals to feel your best and can ride all the rides. Many thrill coasters will not allow passengers to ride if wearing shoes without a heel strap, such as flip flops. View the dress-code rules and guidelines.

Store Personal Items

Lockers are available at the front gate and throughout the park. Families can securely store belongings up front or rent a floating locker. Guests may carry money, keys, phone, etc. in a fanny pack to keep items safe and hands free for rides. Just make sure to bring along a waterproof bag for cameras and phones.

Shop Before You Leave

Theme parks offer a variety of different souvenirs, and kids love having something special to remind them of their trip to Dollywood. However, you don’t want to carry these items around all day. It’s best to shop and play carnival games before you leave, so you don’t have to worry about toting purchases and winnings around the park. Plan to ride and dine first, and then spend a couple of hours browsing shops before you leave. Dollywood houses more than a dozen shops that sell handmade crafts, Smoky Mountain trinkets and clothing, Southern sweets, and more.

After reading this guide to Dollywood, plan your Smoky Mountain vacation. Find your Pigeon Forge vacation rental today.

For more family fun, check out these family-friendly Pigeon Forge museums.