Visiting Dollywood

It might not be Hollywood, but at Dollywood, guests are treated like stars. Call it good ‘ol fashioned Southern manners if you like, but a trip to Dolllywood will leave your family feeling like part of their family. Just a warning – after visiting Dollywood, you may find yourself longing to live the Smoky Mountain way of life.

This huge 125 acre theme park nestled in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee is one of the more unique family vacation spots. A perfect blend of some of its namesake’s favorite things, Dollywood features live entertainment showcasing the best in country, bluegrass, mountain and gospel music. And Dollywood certainly does live stage shows right – they feature more than a dozen different options throughout the year. With all that music going on, might you even catch of glimpse of Ms. Parton herself?

Dollywood is not just about the tunes, however. It also boasts an award-winning wooden roller coaster named The Thunderhead, coined as “the wildest ride in the woods”. There are also plenty of rides and activities for the young ‘uns, with 10 new family attractions in the expanded Country Fair area. You’ll also find demonstrations of old-time craftswork including blacksmithing, glass blowing, rope making and wood carving.

Dollywood is also home to five of the South’s largest festivals including the Festival of Nations, KidsFest, Bluegrass & BBQ, National Harvest & Music Celebration and Smoky Mountain Christmas. Regardless of when you visit the park, there is sure to be something special going on.

In fall, enjoy the splendor of the Smoky Mountains with performances by some of Southern gospel music’s biggest names providing the musical backdrop. Regular visitors include The McKameys, Gold City, Brian Free & Assurance, the Crabb Family and many, many more!

For the holidays, Dollywood’s Babes in Toyland – their most elaborate stage show ever – celebrates an old-fashioned family Christmas with characters that spring to life through puppetry, acrobatics, and the commanding march of the giant toy soldiers, led by an 11-foot-tall general!

Round out your holiday happenings with a grand lineup of Christmas shows, holiday foods, and thrilling rides, not to mention Dollywood’s breath-taking Carol of the Trees.

If your family is a band of thrill-seekers, be sure to check out these rides while you’re there:

Mystery Mine
Dollywood’s new ride, Mystery Mine let’s you know what happen when there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. This steel roller coaster travels on a 1,800+ foot track through an abandoned coal mine and plummets you into darkness with a whiten-knuckled 85-foot vertical drop. Whee!

Blazing Fury
Plan on getting wet as you embark on a wild ride to help extinguish an out-of-control fire that is just minutes away from wiping out an authentic-looking 1880s town.

Dollywood Express
Great for kids of all ages, Dollywood’s authentic 110-ton coal-fired steam engine takes you on a scenic five-mile journey through the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. This is ride is the perfect start to your day at the park, or works well as a mid-day break.

Other family-friendly attractions include:

Smoky Mountain Home
If you’ve ever wondered about Dolly Parton’s Tennessee Mountain upbringing, you’ll find just the answers you’ve been looking for with a visit to the two-room replica of her Locust Ridge childhood home. What the tiny house lacked in electricity and running water, it more than made up for with love.

Robert F. Thomas Chapel
Named for the doctor who delivered Ms. Parton, this one-room country church is a step back in time, where togetherness with family and neighbors was the main focus of Sundays in the mountains.

Whatever the season, you’re sure to enjoy a down-home fun and educational family vacation at Dollywood.
Creative Commons License Photo credit: scmikeburton