A big thanks to Sevierville for sending us to spend the day at Dollywood!
When we originally planned our trip to the Smoky Mountains our biggest focus was on spending time at the national park, BUT how can you visit the state of Tennessee and not visit Dolly Parton's hometown?!? The girls were excited to drop their hiking boots for a day of music, rollercoasters, food, and fun at Dollywood in Sevierville!
7 Things You Must-Do (or EAT) — Our Favorite Dollywood Rides and Dollywood Restaurants!
We had a wonderful family day at the theme park and below are seven of our favorite ride and food adventures:
1. Dollywood Rides — Blazing Fury
We started the morning with rollercoasters. The first one we hit was Blazing Fury.
RIDE DESCRIPTION: An out-of-control fire is just minutes away from engulfing this 1880s town, and chaos ensues as the town’s residents, a cast of characters ranging from firefighters to gunslingers and damsels in distress, hurry to escape the blaze. Riders scream through town on this indoor roller coaster, taking each hill and curve with great speed as they try to outrun the fire. See more photos.
My two girls (nine & ten) thought Blazing Fury was a hoot. The oldest found it thrilling, while the youngest (ironically) wanted to do something more daring.
2. Dollywood Rides — FireChaser Express
So the two of us headed over to the FireChaser Express and got in line.
RIDE DESCRIPTION: They say where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Well, in the Smoky Mountains that’s more than just a saying. Fortunately, it seems like, with every big blaze, there’ve always been a few brave souls willing to answer the call – heroes able to tame nature’s fury and preserve the Smokies for generations to come! Now comes your turn to celebrate that heroic spirit in a new coaster that’s sure to test your mettle, and leave you screaming for more! It’s the FireChaser Express – the nation's first dual-launch family coaster – blasting riders forward and backward! See more photos.
The waiting area for FireChaser Express definitely set the mood for what was to come. This is a great ride for adventurous kids. My daughter LOVED the explosions! We were ready for more!
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3. Dollywood Rides — Tennessee Tornado
We'd dared the FireChaser Express, but I admit I was still shocked when my daughter wanted to do the Tennessee Tornado.
RIDE DESCRIPTION: What happens when a mighty twister sweeps through an old Tennessee Mining Company? Locals say the swirling winds twisted ore into what we now call the Tennessee Tornado. A force of nature all it's own, this triple spiral-looping coaster makes you feel like you've landed inside a funnel cloud as you zoom down a 128-foot drop through an actual mountain at speeds of 70 mph. It's enough to make local weather forecasters issue a "Tennessee Tornado Warning!" See more photos.
We held hands and both screamed the entire loop. It. Was. Awesome.
4. Dollywood Rides — Thunderhead
My husband had read online that Thunderhead was highly praised by wood coaster enthusiasts, so we had to try that next.
RIDE DESCRIPTION: An old sawmill once moved lumber out of the mountains at Thunderhead Gap. Wood is still the focus, but now the operation known as the Thunderhead is the wildest ride in the woods! Carefully situated between two mountains, this massive wooden coaster stands tall among the mighty trees and takes advantage of the area's rough and tumble terrain to create a daring ride featuring a 100-foot drop and a top speed of 55 mph.
Unfortunately for us, it started POURING as we headed out of the sawmill. The raindrops were pelting us so hard we had to close our eyes. When we got back to the sawmill we learned they were shutting down the ride as they waited for the downpour to pass.
5. Dollywood Show — Gazillion Bubbles
So we headed inside to the Gazillion Bubbles show.
The entertainment at Dollywood changes with the season, so click here to see the current line-up.
The rides at Dollywood are a blast, but the entertainment is great too. At any place in the park, you'll find yourself surrounded by music and kid-friendly options. The Gazillion Bubbles Show was INSANELY cool. Check out Dollywood's current entertainment line-up.
6. Dollywood Restaurants — Ahhh-mazing Fresh Baked Cinnamon Bread at Grist Mill
Picking a place for lunch was a challenge; there are a lot of great dining options at the park. Whatever you decide, be sure to save room for when you walk past Grist Mill.
The aroma of the famous fresh-baked cinnamon bread will lure you into the building. I could not believe how delicious it was. We actually ate it at the park and then bought more to bring home to our cabin. You must try this!
7. Dollywood Rides — Smoky Mountain River Rampage
The rain didn't want to let up, so after a few shows and snacks, we ended our day with multiple runs on the Smoky Mountain River Rampage.
RIDE DESCRIPTION: If you want to experience one of the Great Smoky Mountain's most popular sports, then Dollywood's Smoky Mountain River Rampage is a must! This white water rafting adventure is full of exciting dips, twists and turns along the way. No two excursions are the same, but each one promises a good soaking for all who dare to brave the rapids. See more photos.
Our girls were already soaked from the rain, so they thought this water ride was absolutely the best.
Additional Dollywood FAQS
A couple of additional bits of information if you're planning a visit to Dollywood!
Where is Dollywood?
Dollywood is located about 35 miles southeast of Knoxville, Tennessee in Pigeon Forge near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Here is the official address for mapping directions: 2700 Dollywood Parks Blvd., Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
From Interstate 40...
- Take Exit 407 toward Sevierville / Pigeon Forge / Gatlinburg.
- Follow TN Hwy. 66 South which becomes US 441.
- At Traffic Light #8 in Pigeon Forge, turn left and follow the signs to Dollywood.
Will you tell us more about Dollywood tickets and passes?
You can get Dollywood tickets for one, two, or even three days! The deals get better the more days you plan on returning. We had a lot of fun with the one-day pass. However, a two-day pass would allow you to keep this slow, go on rides multiple times, and not worry about cramming everything into a single day.
Check out the current rate for Dollywood tickets and daily passes here.
Did you stay at Dollywood Cabins?
We did not stay at the official Dollywood Cabins. However, if you're looking for alternative cabins NEAR Dollywood, we highly recommend Hidden Mountain Resort. The properties are perfect because they are close to all the attractions, but tucked up into the mountains so you feel like you’re in the country. Some of my favorite memories from our vacation were just hanging out at the Hidden Mountain Resort.
Every time I opened the doors to our cabin I smiled. So pretty!
- Visit the Hidden Mountain Resort website
- Check out the latest happenings on Facebook
Watch Dolly talk about the Heart of Dollywood!
And that's the thing about Dollywood, it really did feel like an invitation to her world. You can learn a bit more about the heart of Dollywood in this video...
The Heart of Dollywood from Dollywood on Vimeo.
We hope you enjoy your visit to Dollywood!
We had an amazing time at Dollywood, even though it rained most of the day we visited. The park was so very welcoming. There was one particular sign that caught my attention while we were there, it read..
These mountains and my childhood home have a special place in my heart. They inspired my music and my life. I hope being here does the same for you.
If you're planning a trip to the Smoky Mountain area, I'd love to chat. If you have any questions about our Dollywood experience, let me know in the comments!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products, tickets or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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