I received complimentary Dollywood tickets for my recent visit. All opinions are my own and I’ve ALWAYS believed that Dollywood should be considered as the best Family Vacation spot!
Last month, my family and I had the amazing opportunity to visit Dollywood and stay at the new Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort for a mini family vacation during my daughter’s Fall Break. I wrote a blog post all about our experience in the amazing resort and today I can’t wait to share with you the many reasons of why I absolutely love visiting Dollywood and why I think the Southern treasure should be at the top of your Family Vacation spots!
Family Friendly Budget
Let’s face it – budget is probably one of the top considerations when you’re planning a family vacation and rightfully so. Of course, we would all love to go on extravagant vacations every year, but we’d also like to be able to feed our family for the other 51 weeks. Here’s a little secret – a vacation in the Smoky Mountains CAN feel extravagant, even on a budget.
You might be surprised to find out that you can purchase a Season Pass to Dollywood for less than 2 park visits – that means, you can enjoy time at Dollywood for the entire week you’re visiting! At less than $100 for an adult season pass, you can play all week while staying within budget.
One important thing to remember is that all the shows and rides within the park are included in your ticket price!
Whether you’re visiting with little kids, teenagers, or maybe vacations that are kid-less [some of my favorite trips with my husband were to Dollywood before we had the girls!], the park has something for everyone. On any given day there are a ton of different shows going on throughout the park. Then, when you factor in the special celebrations, like the National Southern Gospel & Harvest Celebration that was happening during our visit, you’ll find even more entertainment.
The girls always request to see the horses by the Carousel in the Fall, where they make sorghum.
Dollywood decorations are a form of entertainment all of their own. There really isn’t a bad time to visit Dollywood, but Fall and Christmas are definitely my favorites because of the decor. Starting in early November, Dollywood lights up at night and features over 3 million, yes MILLION, Christmas lights. It’s an absolutely gorgeous transformation that has to be seen at least once in your life – or more if you get that season pass!
Shopping also takes on a new meaning during festivals at Dollywood. During the Harvest Celebration, not only will you find musical artists singing throughout the park, but you’ll also see artists displaying their amazing crafts and abilities in booths all over Dollywood.
DreamMore Resort & Cabin Lodging
Dollywood has always been a popular Family Vacation spot, but now with lodging so close, literally right beside the park, it definitely tops Vacation Lists now.
If you’re looking for a bit more of a “mountain” type getaway, you’ll want to check out the Dollywood Cabins. We’ve stayed in a couple ourselves and they’re really beautiful and feel like you’re so far in the mountains, yet only minutes from Dollywood! Both have great exclusive privileges for Dollywood visitors – so be sure to check them both out to see what works best for your next family vacation.
We’re in the South. I’m from the South. It’s only natural that I mention the food, because, well, it’s something that I’ve been enjoying for the last 30 years that I’ve been visiting Dollywood. I can still remember as a little girl, walking by the Pork Rinds and my Mom always stopping for a bag. I can also remember the obligatory stop at the Funnel Cake stand because we still do it.
There are a ton of food type stands where you can find the greatest turkey legs, Southern BBQ, foot long corndogs and more, but there are two restaurants that I would always encourage visitors to try. Red’s Drive-In is a fun, family friendly restaurant serving up the most delicious burgers and shakes since the 1950s which is appropriate since it’s in the Rockin’ part of the park. But if you’re wanting to get a taste of the Southern side of things, Granny Ogle’s Ham and Beans is NOT to be missed. I highly recommend the All You Can Eat Beans ‘N Greens… and that cornbread! You’ll thank me later.
Let’s be honest – the rides are where it’s at. I can talk about shows all I want, but the first place the girls want to head are the rides, and lucky for us, all rides are included with admission so we let them ride and ride and ride and…
If I’m being honest, it gets to the point when we’re driving through Pigeon Forge and they see a carousel and request to stop and ride, and my response is, “Let’s just go to Dollywood instead!” The park is full of rides for all ages and fear levels. One of our current favorites is one of the newest rides, Fire Chaser Express, which is a family roller coaster. It’s large enough of a coaster to still be a thrill ride for me, but made for all ages, so much so that both girls can ride!
There are simply too many rides to name, but some of our own favorites are The Shooting Star, the Dollywood Express, and the Rockin’ Roadway.
The Roller Coasters
I am fully aware that roller coasters are rides, but Dollywood’s coasters are a reason all on their own to make Dollywood your next Family Vacation. With coasters like Mystery Mine, Tennessee Tornado, and Thunderhead, Dollywood rivals other coaster amusement parks. But when you throw in the Fire Chaser Express [pictured above] which is the nation’s first dual launch family coaster and Wild Eagle which happens to be America’s first winged coaster, making it feel like you are actually soaring through the Smokies, well, Dollywood really is in it’s own coaster category.
With those amazing coasters, you’d think Dollywood would be done, right? Nope! In fact, the park usually boasts a new ride every year or two and 2016 is a BIG one. I am personally SO excited for Lightning Rod, which will be the world’s fastest and launched wood roller coaster!
I’m also excited that it’ll be situated in Dollywood’s Jukebox Junction which is probably one of the lowest trafficked areas of the park, bringing that section back to popularity too! Dollywood is also making a difference with this addition, making the area a Litter-Free Construction Zone to help keep the Smokies beautiful.
These are only 6 reasons, but I could continue writing 60 more for you – I hope that you visit Dollywood with your family on a future family vacation and understand why Dollywood is so loved by the it’s 3 million visitors yearly!
What’s your #1 reason for visiting Dollywood for a family vacation?