Are you familiar with Dollywood? You know… Dolly Parton’s theme park in Tennessee? Maybe you’ve heard of it, but did you know that Dollywood is a family destination that includes a 160-acre theme park, an award-winning water park, luxury resort and mountain cabins? Did you know that it’s located at the foot of Great Smoky Mountains National Park? And, did you know that it’s within a day’s drive for two-thirds of the U.S.’s population?
So, if you’re looking for a last-minute trip to maximize your summer memories, or if you need some plans for later in the year give me a minute and a half to tell you why Dollywood needs to be on your must-do list.
Dollywood is the complete package. It checks all the boxes whether you’re traveling with small children, thrill seekers, show enthusiasts, foodies, nature-lovers, or history buffs. Here’s why:
Nestled into mountain hollows, Dollywood is not short on natural beauty. Native trees shade walkways and streams flow throughout the park. Soak in the spectacular views of the Smoky Mountains as you crest the top of a world-class coaster or as you’re taking it easy on the authentic steam locomotive that takes you on a ride up a ridge for a view of some of the Appalachian peaks. You’re not going to find another mountain theme park like this!
WHAT IT OFFERS
Pennsylvanians know good theme parks, and Dollywood certainly should be on the list. Dollywood offers more than 50 rides and attractions in 11 themed lands, seven theaters with show-stopping entertainment (it IS Dolly’s theme park!), award-winning food, daily craft demonstrations, the largest population of non-releasable bald eagles, and more. In fact, this park has quite the awards collection: Dollywood is the 2010 Applause Award winner, the theme park industry’s highest accolade; winner of more than 35 Golden Ticket Awards; and recipient of 26 Brass Ring Awards for Live Entertainment—more than any other theme park in the world!
Just this year, Dollywood opened Wildwood Grove—the park’s largest expansion in its 34-year history. It features 11 new experiences including a suspended family coaster, a 4,000-square-foot indoor playground, and splashing pools, to name a few of the fun attractions that await.
Dollywood is home to the world’s fastest wooden coaster, the country’s first wing coaster, the first family dual-launching coaster, an authentic steam engine, two museums, seven craftsmen who demonstrate their trade and sell unique, hand-made treasures.
Visit from mid-May to Labor Day and you can enjoy the award-winning water park, Dollywood’s Splash Country, that sits adjacent to the theme park. Travel Channel and Trip Advisor recognized this park as one of the most beautiful water parks and the International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions named it 2009’s Must-See Waterpark.
Get the full Dollywood experience when you stay on property. Choose from nine different room types at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa and you’ll enjoy the added benefits of door-to-door trolley service, complimentary TimeSaver passes which gives you front of line access, nightly bedtime stories and s’mores.
Or, you could go for a true mountain getaway with a stay in a luxury cabin with sweeping views. Choose this option and you’ll enjoy reserved parking at Dollywood, special length-of-stay ticket and TimeSaver options, and amenities such as game rooms and hot tubs.
TIPS FOR VISITORS FROM PITTSBURGH
–Travel to Dollywood in August! School systems in the Southeast return to the classroom by early August so local traffic and regional visitation slows down.
-If an August visit is not in the cards, Dollywood’s most popular festivals are still to come in the 2019 calendar year: Harvest Festival featuring Great Pumpkin LumiNights and Smoky Mountain Christmas. (Dollywood is open mid-March through early January.)
-East Tennessee experiences four seasons. The heat and humidity begin to wane in August. Fall is arguably the prettiest time to be in The Smokies. Winter is usually mild, especially early in the season.
-There’s a direct flight from Pittsburgh to Knoxville. You can be at Dollywood an hour after landing!