The kids and I decided to end our last days of summer and celebrate Labor Day with a quick getaway to Tennessee. The kids and I have taken many trips to Tennessee visiting many places but we never had the opportunity to visit Dollywood, however my 15-year-old had visited several times when he was in Middle School with his chorus club. It was a bonus having him as our personal tour guide.
Dollywood is beautifully located in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and was created by one of my favorite country singers Dolly Parton. I learned a few years ago that Pigeon Forge was named after an iron forge owned by Issac Love in the 1820’s. The forge, in turn, was named for the Little Pigeon River from the massive flocks of passenger pigeons that used to live in the area (unfortunately the birds are now extinct).
Dollywood is located on over 150 acres near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (If you’re ever in town be sure to add the Park to your “MUST SEE” Destination list). The hotel where we stayed was a little over 20 minutes away. Keep in mind that although the area may be deemed a “Tourist Area” everything is conveniently located within one another so there is no need to worry about a long commute. I will however warn you that depending on the time of day your commute will and can be delayed due to heavy traffic but that’s normal for me living in Atlanta. Dollywood is stretched for about six miles down U.S. 441. I can only imagine that the park constantly sees a massive amount of visitors all year.
Upon our arrival into Dollywood literally from the moment that I paid for parking the staff was amazing. Once we were settled in and hopped on the Trolley you could feel the love that the staff had for their jobs and the Dollywood experience. The kids and I have had our fair share of visiting theme parks all over the states and we’ve never had such an amazing experience. I stated in my Instagram post that “Customer Service was unified throughout the park from the trolley pick 🚃 to the trolley at the start of our 🚃 drop off at the end of our day”. I meant that’s how our experience was from start to finish.
When we entered the park my 15-year-old insisted that we start with the trail leading to Timber Canyon. When you enter this part of the park you stroll down a 800-foot Timber Pass. You have to have an appreciation for nature like I do to understand how excited I was on this new adventure. This woodland wonderland showcases an authentic Smoky Mountain experience thanks to its woody landscape and rustic appearance. Checkout this unique tree:
My youngest is a bit afraid of high roller coasters so the first ride that we took him on was the Blazing Fury which he just couldn’t get enough of! This ride was amazing by the way! My son said “Mom it’s a little drop” so I was like ok! Listen is was a real drop but yet fun!
There are so many rides to cover that this post would never end. The kids and the youth group that we were with from Savannah all raved about the Rampage ride. Seriously? Who doesn’t love a great water ride? The kids enjoyed this ride countless times while I was on book bag duty. No worries I had a blast because I had about $10 worth of quarters and I had a hoot wetting everyone up as they passed. If you look closely you’ll see Mr. M but I soaked him countless times. This is a great family ride and the memories that we created will last a lifetime.
As we walked around the park by then my 15-year-old was gone with the youth group we followed the trail until we stumbled upon The Country Fair. This area put me in the mind of an old school carnival and y’all know that I’m a sucker for all things vintage. This cute area is neatly tucked away yet perfect for the entire family. There was a ride there for everyone no matter their age.
If I had to pick my favorite area of Dollywood it would definitely be JukeBox Junction. Hey what can I say? I’m a sucker for poodle skirts, a vintage jukebox and classic cars.I felt like a kid in a candy store the moment that I entered JukeBox Junction. The vintage building, fueling station, old school box televisions and drive in diners. You name it Dollywood had it in this area. You literally walked into another era. I promise on our next visit that I will be wearing my poodle skirt.
When my son finally rejoined us he insisted that we dine in at Red Drive-In Diner. I’m glad that he made the suggestion because the food was amazing!
Before you start to think that this is fake trust me that it’s not! This is a 25 pound apple pie! YES! You heard me correctly! 25 pounds like I seriously wonder how many apples it takes to make this pie. I should have asked but I was so intrigued with the size that I forgot. Can you say YUM?
I loved that the park is equipped with plenty of trees so even in the scorching hot sun there was plenty of shade and seating. Dollywood definitely isn’t lacking in their live shows unlike other parks everywhere you walked there was an ongoing show which meant there was really no long wait in between which is a plus for me as a mom. I especially can appreciate the brainstorming that went into seating space for the show. I seriously think that they could seat 400-500 easily per show. Although this was my first visit I can see why Dollywood is preferred over other theme parks. I hope to visit their Splash Country on our next trip.
Dollywood may be all fun and excitement but as a mom I love how they implement educational moments throughout the park. When I passed by the Harvey Clock it immediately grasped my attention. The Harvey Water Clock regulates the amount of water to turn the water-wheel which turns the gears to register the hour, day, month and year. It’s the only one of its kind ever built and patented in 1798. I was astonished!
The Robert F. Thomas Chapel is a one-room country church designed with simple old fashion wooden pews and hardwood floors that symbolize where families and neighbors gathered on Sunday Mornings to worship. The chapel was named in honor of the doctor who delivered little Dolly Rebecca Parton. You may think that it’s just a historical building to visit while at Dollywood, however they actually host service there on Sundays at 11:30 a.m. during regular season and at 5:30 p.m. during Smoky Mountain Christmas.
Would we visit again? HECK YES! In fact I’m already planning our next visit.
If you’ve visited Dollywood before what was your favorite attraction?
Special thanks to the amazing staff at Dollywood for hosting our visit. All opinions shared in this post are all my own.