Tips for Family Fun at Dollywood

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Dollywood is one of my favorite places to bring my family for vacation. A beautiful theme park nestled in the Great Smokey Mountains, it offers wonderful rides, shows and of course FOOD! Check out these tips for family fun at Dollywood. 

dollywood tickets

Thank you Dollywood for sponsoring my visit. All opinions are my own. 

I grew up in east Tennessee/southwest Virginia area and every summer I looked forward to our annual trip to Dollywood. Now I have 3 young children of my own and wanted to share my memories with them.

We live just outside Atlanta so Pigeon Forge is an easy four hour drive. This trip we decided to take the highway on our way there and then drove back through the mountains on the way home. It was a beautiful drive! Check out some of my favorite road trip tips to help ensure a smooth ride.

Dollywood Tickets and Calender

Before you plan your next trip to Dollywood, be sure to check out their calendar for hours of operation. They can vary depending on the season. When we went for spring break this April it was the Festival of Nations, an event Dollywood has hosted for nearly 20 years. The festival includes food, merchandise and shows from around the world.

The park offers several different ticket options. You are able to buy a one, two or three day ticket and also have the option of purchasing a combo ticket that includes Dollywood’s water park, Splash Country. For information about tickets click HERE.

Tip: Think you will be visiting more than one time a year? A season pass is a great option and best value.

dollywood food

Dollywood Rides and Attactions

Dollywood offers rides for every age. No one is left out of the fun. The Country Fair area has the best rides for little ones. From teacups, a carousel and even flying elephants, the little guys will love this area of the park.

Need a little break from walking? The Dollywood Express train is a great way to take a rest and enjoy the 5-mile, 20 minute ride through the mountains.

My 7 and 8 year old could not get enough of the roller coasters. My son rode the Thunderhead coaster at least 5 times! My daughter’s favorite was the Mystery Mine coaster that travels through an abandoned coal mine. Dollywood has several exciting roller coasters for the daredevils in the family.

Tip: One thing to take into consideration is the Dollywood TimeSaver Pass. These passes allow you to use expedited entrances up to 10 times per day for TimeSaver rides. If you are ride enthusiasts like my kiddos, I highly recommend the pass.

dollywood rides

Dollywood Food

This is one of my favorite things to talk about, the food! Dollywood has some seriously amazing places to eat that is perfect for any foodie. Their focus on great food really shows in all of the restaurants in the park.

  • You must try the cinnamon bread at The Grist Mill! The cinnamon smell floating through the air as you walk by draws you into this cozy bakery that has the best cinnamon bread I have ever tasted.
  • Aunt Granny’s All-You-Care-To-Eat Restaurant: This is one of Dollywood’s best known restaurants. This year it received a fresh look complete with new menu items.
  • Frannie’s Famous Fried Chicken Sandwich
  • Grandstand Cafe
  • Dogs N Tators – The best corn dog period.
  • Granny Ogle’s Ham ‘N’ Beans – Southern favorites like ham and pinto beans, beef pot roast and cobbler.
  • Hickory House BBQ
  • Miss Lillians’s Smokehouse

Tip: Dollywood is also food allergy friendly. I recommend trying Granny Ogle’s Ham ‘N’ Beans or Backstage restaurant for allergy friendly meals.


Dollywood App

Did you know that Dollywood has it’s own smartphone app? I loaded it the day before we visited the park and loved how it gave us an idea how long the wait times were for each ride and that it provides a list of show schedules. The app also has a map of the park so you don’t need the paper version.

Tip: Use the filtered lists and maps to narrow down the specific category you are trying to find.

More Fun

We also had the chance to visit Dolly Parton’s Stampede dinner attraction. We all really enjoyed the interactive show that includes music, special effects, horse riding stunts and a finger licking 4 course meal. The kids loved it so much they already want to go back.

Tip: Dollywood is a beautiful, clean and friendly family destination. I highly recommend visiting this gem in the mountains. Enjoy and have fun!

A person sitting at a table in a restaurant.


Thank you for visiting Food Lovin’ Family! With 3 kids I know it can be hard getting food on the table. Here you will find easy and delicious recipes that the whole family will enjoy.

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