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What is Dollywood?

It still blows my mind that not everyone knows what Dollywood is and offers visitors. I suppose it’s because I live in the Dolly belt and everyone knows what a Queen she is to our state and Smoky Mountains! While everyone knows who Dolly is, Dollywood is sometimes a little vague for some people.

While it’s definitely a theme park with a definite Tennessee theme, it’s anything but a small Southern kitsch attraction. In fact, Dollywood has won MANY awards [beating out the Mouse] in areas/subjects like Theme Park Food, Decorations, etc.

So what is Dollywood? It’s a theme park that offers something for everyone. There are 39 Dollywood rides and attractions that range in thrill from mild so that everyone in the family can enjoy to amazing roller coasters that have won best of the best awards and are first of it’s kind too!

Dollywood is a theme park that offers some of the best cuisine you’ve ever seen at an amusement park! Two words – Cinnamon Bread.

Dollywood is also an amazing source of entertainment. With 5 yearly festivals, award-winning singers and shows, an incredible Great Pumpkin Luminights display, and over 5 million lights at the best Christmas decorated festival you’ve ever seen… there is really something for everyone… so come visit!

What’s the history of Dollywood?

Dollywood opened in 1986. Before Dolly got her hands on the beloved theme park, it was known as a few different names. Originally Rebel Railroad opened on the land in 1961.

Then it became Gold Rush Junction in 1970 and then became Silver Dollar City in 1977. Read more about the history of Dollywood and the land here.

Dollywood has changed and grown over the years with one of the biggest expansions coming this year with Wildwood Grove!

Where is Dollywood located?

Dollywood is located in the heart of the Smoky Mountains in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Dolly actually grew up just one town over in Sevierville, TN and wanted to bring back to her community. The historic town of Gatlinburg, Tennessee is also just about 20 minutes from Dollywood.

When is Dollywood open?

list of important dates and Dollywood hours to plan visit

You can check this post for all the details and important dates and Dollywood hours and open times for the year. The park is open from mid-March until very early January. Splash Country is open from mid-May to early September.

How is Dollywood handling COVID-19 procedures?

When Dollywood opens again for the 2021 operating season, it will look similar to that of the 2020 season. Park guests will be required to wear masks if they are 2 or older.

The park will also be running at a limited capacity to help maintain social distance. Guests must have a dated ticket or make a reservation to use their season pass. For more info on this COVID-19 operating procedure, you can visit here.

Does Dolly Parton really own Dollywood?

She does… kinda! She and partner, Herschend Family Enterprises have owned Dollywood since 1986. She is very involved in all details of the park including new rides, attractions, and festivals! And her official title is Dollywood’s Dreamer-in-Chief!

Is Dolly Parton ever at Dollywood?

Yes, yes, and yes! You can almost always catch Dolly Parton at Dollywood Opening Day in early to mid-March, which is open to Season Pass Holders only.

I’ve seen her over a dozen times at opening day throughout the years. She also visits throughout the operating year, usually during special events and openings.

There is also a homecoming parade in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee every May in which Dolly usually rides in the big town parade. She usually visits the park while she’s in town too!

While it’s almost impossible to meet Dolly when she visits Dollywood, you’ll almost always see her! She usually does a parade through the park so be sure to ask your friendly hosts at Dollywood if a parade is planned when Dolly is on park.

How much does it cost to go to Dollywood?

There are a few different ways to visit Dollywood. You can visit one day with Dollywood tickets. You can also get multi-day tickets through deals with Dollywood DreamMore Resort and Dollywood Cabins. But the best way to visit Dollywood is by purchasing a season pass.

Season passes cost less than 2 days at the park and you can visit an unlimited amount of time in the calendar year in which the pass is purchased.

Dollywood Season Passes explained

2021 prices will be announced soon:

1 Day Adult Ticket –
1 Day Child Ticket –
2 Day Adult Ticket –
3 Day Adult Ticket –
Dollywood Season Pass Adult –
Dollywood Season Pass Child –
Dollywood Gold Pass –
Dollywood Super Pass [with Splash Country] Adult –
Dollywood Super Pass [with Splash Country] Child –

What can I do at Dollywood?

I really think the better question is what can you not do at Dollywood? There are plenty of rides both roller coasters and more mild rides for the whole family to keep you busy for an entire day.

You’ll also find plenty of shows and musicals with world-renowned entertainers to enjoy, as well as many great shopping experiences. If you’re a Dolly fan, you can NOT miss her museum, Chasing Rainbows where awards, pictures, and some of her amazing outfits are on display. You’ll get to see the original Coat of Many Colors!

Does Dollywood have it’s own resort?

Yes, the Dollywood DreamMore Resort opened in 2015 and sits right beside Dollywood Splash Country. There are many benefits to staying at the Dollywood Resort including a free shuttle to the park and Timesavers [skip the line type pass] for everyone in your party!

Head here to see even more about Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort.

What other attractions are around Dollywood?

The largest attraction in both yearly attendance rates and acreage is definitely the Great Smoky Mountains. Tennessee’s free [yes FREE] state park attracts over 11 million visitors a year! It’s beautiful to hike, drive through, and take in through a picnic at many of the locations in the park.

There are also a ton of other attractions in Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg and surrounding areas. Be sure to visit my post on the Top 20 Attractions to NOT Miss on your next visit, plus these great ideas of where to go when it’s a rainy day in the Smoky Mountains.

Does Dollywood have a water park?

Yes! Splash Country is a totally separate park from Dollywood. You do have to have a separate ticket or combined Super Pass to visit Splash Country. It has a separate parking area and entrance as well.

One thing you’ll immediately notice about Splash Country is that it isn’t your typical concrete water park. Just like Dollywood, every detail points to the mountains including the lush landscape and decor. Splash Country is open from May to September and is also a great destination for the entire family!

I’ve been visiting Dollywood since I was a little girl, as it opened when I was 3 years old! I have been a Dollywood Season Pass Holder more years than not so I have a lot of experiences with the park as both a child, teenager, young adult, and now parent!

I was also honored to serve as an inaugural Dollywood Insider and achieved my ultimate blogging goal by working with one of my favorite places in the entire world!

I’ve written a lot of about my favorite theme park over the past couple of years. Feel free to check out some of my favorite Dollywood articles: