There’s no doubt about it—Dollywood is a fantastic place for families. The Pigeon Forge theme park is host to entertaining shows, unique festivals, and plenty of attractions that are just right for kids. There’s even whole sections of Dollywood devoted to kids, so parents can be certain their little one won’t miss out on the family fun. Curious about which are the best Dollywood rides for kids? Read on.

Best Dollywood Rides for Kids


Best Dollywood Rides for Kids


1) The Country Fair
This is a special area of the park designed with kids in mind. Some of the best Dollywood rides for kids are found here. Families can hop aboard the Amazing Flying Elephants, fly atop the Busy Bees, go for a leisurely spin on Lucky Ducks and then join the Piggy Parade. With the theme County Fair strongly in place, rides like the Scrambler, Ferris Wonder Wheel and a Shooting Star drop tower ride seem right at home. The mild thrills are ideal for kids and promise familiar fun parents can trust.

2) FireChaser Express
Relatively new to the Dollywood attraction line-up, FireChaser Express promises roller coaster thrills but at slower pace. This, along with a height requirement of only 39 inches, ensures every member of the family can participate. Even though speeds reach only 34mph, the coaster adds unique touches like blasting riders forwards and backwards, as well as “trick track” section where the passenger trains twist from side to side.

Best Dollywood Rides for Kids

Lucky Ducks at the Country Fair

3) Rockin’ Roadway
At Rockin’ Roadway you don’t have to be 16 to drive. Kids can climb behind the wheel of a classic Corvette, Thunderbird or even a Cadillac and take parents for a spin. Don’t worry parents—the speeds is kept at a minimum! The track is themed as a scenic route down a country road from the 1950s with pop culture Shave billboards dotting the roadside.

4) River Battle
Kids love this ride! Climb aboard one of eight themed water rafts, equipped with powerful soaker guns, and prepare for a river battle! Riders can shoot water at other passengers as well as over 100 targets along the way. Beware, though, some of the targets shoot back! You can also shoot at observers along the banks of the ride. They can shoot back, too, adding to the squirt-gun fun.

Best Dollywood Rides for Kids

River Battle at Wilderness Pass

5) Village Carousel
The Village Carousel offers nostalgic family fun. Those of all ages can ride this beautifully painted carousel, featuring more than 60 distinct animals including a lead horse named “Dolly.” Whether you share a ride with your little one, or let them gallop out on their own, the memories made are priceless.

These are some of the best Dollywood rides for kids. Add them to your day at Dollywood and you’re sure to see smiles all around!

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Pigeon Forge to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Pigeon Forge, Tennessee has a reputation as the perfect place for family-friendly vacations. Between the entertaining shows and the endless attractions, there is something for every family member in the Smokies. However, there is one attraction that every person in your family can agree on: Dollywood.

As one of the top amusement parks in the country, Dollywood brings joy to visitors of all ages. Although, as a parent, you can’t help but wonder how visiting Dollywood with kids will go. Fortunately, Dolly Parton had the same concerns and made sure your family trip to Dollywood is a memorable one.

Before you go, read up on these 10 essential tips for visiting Dollywood with kids. You’ll be glad you did!

Dollywood with Kids

Image via Dollywood / Facebook

1) Visit Dollywood’s Centralized Measuring Station First

For the safety of guests, all Dollywood rides have strict height requirements. Parents know that the most frustrating thing is waiting in line for a ride, only to find out your child is not tall enough to ride. Instead, skip the frustration and visit Dollywood’s Centralized Measuring Station right when you arrive.

You can find the measuring station across from the Southern Gospel Museum and Hall of Fame on Showstreet. At the station, your child will be measured and given a color-coded wristband. The color of the wristband will help you easily determine which rides your child can go on.

2) Ride the Dollywood Express

The Dollywood Express is an authentic 110-ton coal-fired steam engine that brings guests on a 20-minute ride around the park. Throughout the ride, you and your children will love the scenic foothills of the Smoky Mountains and listening to the engineer. This ride is fantastic for families visiting Dollywood with kids.

When I visited Dollywood with my family, my cousin’s son loved this train ride. We rode it at least 3 times! Whether you need a break to relax or are looking for to accommodate the whole family, the Dollywood Express does not disappoint.

3) Attend the Country Fair

Inside Dollywood, the Country Fair area is designed specifically for kids. You’ll find some of the best Dollywood rides for kids here, from Lucky Ducks to Piggy Parade. Ideal for much younger children, this area of the park caters to the little ones who might not be ready (or tall enough) for roller coasters and thrill rides.

Of course, there are more rides for young children throughout the park. Check out Rockin’ Roadway and the Village Carousel for more kid-friendly thrills.

Don’t miss one of Dollywood’s jaw-dropping shows.

4) Enjoy the Entertainment

If your kids aren’t into the rides or have exhausted them, take the time to watch one of Dollywood’s many shows. From classic performances to seasonal festivals, there is always a show (or five) happening somewhere in Dollywood. Your family will love the exceptional entertainment and talented performers. No matter if you use the show as a break from rides or your main source of fun for the day, you can’t go wrong with a Dollywood show!

5) Bring a Stroller

As with any amusement park, exploring Dollywood requires a substantial amount of walking. While kids do have a lot of energy, their little legs might not be able to make it all day! Plus, the last thing you want to do when visiting Dollywood with kids is have to carry them everywhere.

Dollywood allows families to bring their own strollers or rent one for the day. Rental prices are $13 for a single and $16 for a double stroller. Ideally, it’s best if you bring your own stroller. Your kids are used to it and you can save a few bucks!

6) Changing and Nursing Stations in Dollywood

Since Dollywood is a family-friendly park, the staff understands the needs of younger children. With this in mind, Dollywood offers changing and nursing stations throughout the theme park. Dollywood’s Baby Care Center, located in Showstreet, offers families a private feeding and diapering area. Nursing stations can also be found in the restrooms in Country Fair, Jukebox Junction, Market Square, the Village and Craftsman’s Valley.

7) Take Advantage of Park Lockers

Just as you might not want to carry your kids all over Dollywood, you don’t want to carry your heavy bags and belongings everywhere. When exploring Dollywood with kids, renting a locker can come in handy. The park offers two types of lockers:

Front Gate Lockers are available at rental services on a first come, first served basis. Front Gate Lockers are $9 for a regular size locker or $12 for a family size locker.

Floating Ride Lockers are available at specific rides. These lockers are a one-time $7 fee and allow you to float from locker to locker without having to pay for a new locker each time. How convenient!

Fuel up with free water, kid’s meals, and more at Dollywood!

8) Stay Hydrated and Fuel Up for the Day

When I visit a theme park, I somehow always end up dehydrated and hungry within a few hours! If I get like that easily, I can’t imagine how fast it happens for a child. Dollywood offers free water all throughout the park, so make sure your kids stay hydrated, especially during the summer months.

Also, although Dollywood offers a wide range of restaurants, try to eat a large breakfast beforehand. This Dollywood tip comes in handy considering coolers, outside food, and beverages are not permitted in the park.

9) Purchase a Kid’s Meal

The last thing you want when visiting Dollywood with kids is to purchase a full meal, only for them to eat only a portion of it. Several Dollywood restaurants offer kid’s meals with the right amount of food for smaller stomachs. Be sure to visit the following restaurants for these child-sized meals:

  • Aunt Granny’s
  • Miss Lillian’s Smokehouse and Fried Chicken
  • Hickory House BBQ
  • Grandstand Cafe
  • Red’s Diner
  • Victoria’s Pizza


10) Visit Dollywood Twice

Did you know that if you visit Dollywood after 3:00 pm, you can visit the next day for free? This is an ideal opportunity for families who like to take their time inside the park. Instead of rushing through each ride, show, and restaurant, enjoy every moment of discovering Dollywood together.

Plan Your Trip to Dollywood with Kids

Traveling to Dolly Parton’s iconic theme park with your children is easy when you follow this advice. And since I’m feeling generous, here’s another tip for you: use Reserve Pigeon Forge to book your Dollywood vacation. Trust me!


Anyone with kids knows it can be hard to agree on entertainment that pleases the whole family, especially kids. Luckily, in Pigeon Forge there are a wealth of Pigeon Forge shows for kids that will keep them captivated. Use this list of the five best Pigeon Forge shows for kids to get a head start on your travel plans.


1) Dixie Stampede

As the first dinner show to open in the Smokies, the Dixie Stampede is a tradition for many. Kids love the shows for its interactive nature. Audiences are divided between the north and the south, with each side cheering on its team as they compete in everything from trick-riding to pig-racing. Throw in singing, dancing, and a four-course feast and you’ve got the most fun place to eat in Pigeon Forge. Dolly Parton guarantees it!


2) The Comedy Barn

A kid’s laughter is infectious. Just go to The Comedy Barn and try not to bust a gut while watching your kid giggle at the zany antics on stage. The Comedy Barn is rated one of the best Pigeon Forge shows for kids because it has clean comedy that’s ideal for any age. Guests can enjoy the talents of featured musicians, jugglers, ventriloquists, comedians, country and gospel singers, and live animals performing tricks—including house cats, parrots, dogs, pigs and miniature donkeys—for one grand show.


3) Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Show

Trust me—this is one feud you’ll want your family to join! The experience begins outside, where an open-air pen of farm animals like goats and chickens. Inside, there is a rollicking feud happening between the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s. Guests are divided between families and encouraged to yell and holler for their side. Watch as the families sing, dance and fight their way to a happy ending. A family-style feast is served too, with kid-pleasing foods like fried chicken and biscuits served.


4) Wonders of Magic

Prepare to be amazed as magician Terry Evanswood performs at the WonderWorks Theatre. Kids will be asking “How’d he do that?” as the Merlin Award winner dazzles with sleights of hand, grand illusions, and a few audience participation segments. Wonders of Magic includes a dinner of pizza, rounding out the kid-friendly night of entertainment.


5) Amazing Animals

If there’s one thing that’s a sure fire hit with kids, its animals. This all-new afternoon show is ideal for families. Featuring music, comedy and a talented group of dogs, birds, cats, monkeys and even a donkey and pig, Amazing Animals shows just how entertaining these lovable animals can really be.

Take your family to any one of these Pigeon Forge shows for kids for a fun-filled night that’s sure to please.

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Pigeon Forge to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Families come from far and wide to visit Dollywood, Tennessee’s renowned theme park. Visitors of all ages love the park for the wide range of entertainment, from rides to shows to the delectable food. However, there’s far more to Dollywood than meets the eye. From secret apartments to bald eagles, you’ll be surprised by many of these intriguing facts about Dollywood.

facts about Dollywood1. Dollywood Wasn’t Always Dollywood

Before the iconic theme park gained popularity, it had quite the past. Originally a small tourist attraction named Rebel Railroad, the first iteration of the park had a coal-fired steam engine, a general store, a blacksmith shop, and a saloon. The train drew visitors from all over and is still an integral part of Dollywood today.

In 1970, Art Modell (previous NFL Cleveland Browns owner) purchased the attraction and relaunched it as Goldrush Junction. Not long after, Herschend Enterprises bought the amusement park in 1976, renaming it Silver Dollar City. Yes, just like the theme park in Branson, Missouri.

Once Dolly Parton expressed interest in the park, Herschend Enterprises rebranded the park as Dollywood for the 1986 season. More than 30 years later, Dollywood continues to entertain guests daily.

2. Dolly Opened Dollywood to Give Back

Dolly Parton is known for her incredible generosity and love for all. You’ll find that many facts about Dollywood and Dolly Parton’s career are linked to her giving spirit.

Her interest in the theme park stemmed from her desire to give back to the Sevier County community. As she stated in a 2010 interview celebrating the 25th anniversary of Dollywood, “I always thought that if I made it big or got successful at what I had started out to do, that I wanted to come back to my part of the country and do something great, something that would bring a lot of jobs into this area.

In fact, Dolly has mentioned that her financial advisors thought purchasing the park was too risky. However, Dolly stuck with her gut feeling, bought the park, and turned it into the magnificent success we know today.

3. You Can Visit a Dolly Parton Museum

If you’ve ever had a desire to learn everything about Dolly Parton and discover more facts about Dollywood, visit the Chasing Rainbows museum inside Dollywood. Guests can browse through artifacts, pictures, and more, all detailing Dolly’s life and accomplishments.


4. Dolly Parton Won’t Ride the Dollywood Rides!

Did you know that Dolly Parton cannot ride the attractions in her own theme park?? She admits to suffering from incredible motion sickness, which means the last thing she wants to do is go on a roller coaster. I don’t blame her!

5. Dollywood is the #1 Employer in Sevier County

With more than 3,000 employees (and counting) on the payroll, Dollywood is consistently ranked as the top employer throughout Sevier County. It looks like Dolly’s dream of helping her community has come true and far exceeded expectations.

6. Dollywood Stopped Traffic for 6 Miles on Opening Day

When Dollywood first opened in 1986, the theme park was already so popular that it halted Pigeon Forge traffic to a complete stop for six entire miles on US-441. And you thought driving on the Pigeon Forge Parkway was bad!

7. Dolly’s Secret Apartment

Everyone needs a place where they can destress and relax. My happy place is a coffee shop, while Dolly Parton’s place happens to be a secret apartment in Dollywood. Above Apple Jack’s sandwich restaurant, you’ll find her hidden apartment. That is, if you can find the entrance.


8. Several Eagles Call Dollywood Home

Inside Dollywood, you can check out the Eagle Mountain Sanctuary, which is the country’s largest presentation of bald eagles. These majestic birds live in a 30,000 square foot aviary house, as they are deemed non-releasable to the wild for their safety. Members of the American Eagle Foundation are onsite to teach visitors about the birds, their habitat, and show just how magnificent these creatures truly are. Talk about one of the more wild facts about Dollywood, right?

9. You Can Visit Dolly Parton’s Childhood Home… Almost

While the authentic Parton family cabin is still standing in Sevier County, you can visit a replica of the home during your Dollywood vacation. Both Dolly’s mother and brother helped to construct the exact copy of the family cabin. See what life was like for a young Dolly Parton as you tour the home.

10. Now You Can Stay at Dollywood

In 2015, Dollywood opened the DreamMore Resort with the intent of providing guests a fully immersive Dollywood experience from the moment they arrive. The resort is situated just a few minutes away from the theme park and water park and offers several different room types to accommodate all types of families.

Did You Know these 10 Facts about Dollywood?

I told you a few of the facts about Dollywood were surprising. Of course, there is always more to learn about Dollywood. And the best way to do so is by experiencing it first hand. Purchase your Dollywood tickets from Reserve Pigeon Forge and start planning your vacation in the Smoky Mountains today.


The Smoky Mountain Opry is one of Pigeon Forge’s most entertaining shows.  It is the area’s largest musical variety show and features music from Big Band Swing to Country to Pop.   A talented cast of dancers, singers, comedians and musicians make the Smoky Mountain Opry one of the hottest tickets in town! 

With tickets to the Smoky Mountain Opry you’ll be taken on a musical journey through the decades.  Starting with Big Band Swing from the 1940s to new country radio hits from today, the music showcased at the Smoky Mountain Opry appeals to a wide selection of musical tastes.  Hear tributes to some of your favorite artists including Elvis, Simon and Garfunkel, George Jones, Garth Brooks, Stevie Wonder, Etta James and so many more during this two-hour stage production.  Whether you like classic rock and roll, new country, old country, disco, oldies, or gospel, there is something for everybody at the show. The Smoky Mountain Opry will leave a lasting impression on any age, and you will surely want to come back for more.

A state-of-the-art theater adds to the production quality of the Smoky Mountain Opry Pigeon Forge.  A completely renovated stage features over 10,000 LED lights that move and change color, as well as two new step-out sections where performers actually rise above the audience.  Dazzling costumes, special effects, pyrotechnics and high-flying musicians (yes, they fly!) are true show-stoppers. Plus, a new surround sound and digital projection system, laser lights and flying rigs make the show one of the best in the area. 

Purchase Smoky Mountain Opry tickets to see this popular variety show in Pigeon Forge!

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Pigeon Forge to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

If you’re travelling to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee you probably have plans to see the Dixie Stampede. The interactive dinner attraction is a mainstay of the Pigeon Forge show scene. It features a full-scale arena spectacular with a talented cast of performers, costumed servers, singing and dancing, trick riding with an impressive stable of 32 horses. To make your experience the best, here are few things you should know before you go to the show.



Dixie Stampede Tips

Dixie_FamilyTip #1 Arrive early for the pre-show. It starts 50 minutes before showtime.

Tip #2 The best seats for the pre-show are found upstairs. Seating is limited, but the best vantage point for viewing the performers is located here. Plus, you have easy access to the main arena upstairs.

Tip #3 Save your stomach for the dinner meal. Snacks can be bought during the pre-show, but I don’t recommend buying any. The main meal is plenty – believe me!

Tip #4 Don’t bother bringing your camera. Taking photos during the show is strictly forbidden.

Dolly_Parton_s_Dixie_Stampede_Dinner_Attraction_(012)Tip #5 Purchase Dixie Stampede tickets in advance to get the best possible seats. Many times, you can also get a better deal by booking online.

Tip #6 Bring cash. Gratuity isn’t included in the ticket price, and Dixie Stampede servers work hard to take care of you. Plus, you may want to buy the souvenir photo which is typically cash only.

Tip #7 Be prepared to eat with your hands as Dixie Stampede does not provide utensils. Wet wipes are provided, but bringing extras is always recommended.

Dixie Stampede_PFTip #8 Don’t plan on having an alcoholic drink. The Dixie Stampede Pigeon Forge location does not serve alcohol of any kind, so plan on having a strictly Pepsi night.

Tip #9 The best souvenir to buy in the gift shop is the creamy vegetable soup mix. For $7.99, you can make this delicious soup in your very own home. And trust me, it’s worth every penny.

Tip #10 Leave the fancy duds at home. Dixie Stampede is an interactive show. You’ll be cheering and stomping on your side, and may even participate is an arena competition. Wear something casual so you’re comfortable for the festivities.

Dixie Stampede Horses_001Tip #11 Buy a Dixie Stampede flag if you brought kids. It’s only $2 and kids get a kick out of waving them in the air as they cheer on their side.

Tip #12 If you’re not in a rush to leave, stay after the show to meet the riders and horse and get your Dixie Stampede flag autographed. You’ll also avoid the parking lot chaos.

Tip #13 Strollers are not allowed in the Main Arena, so plan accordingly.

Tip #14 Tickets aren’t required for children 3 and under, but they will have to sit on your lap. I highly recommend purchasing a ticket for them to make your experience more enjoyable.

Dolly_Parton_s_Dixie_Stampede_Dinner_Attraction_(010)Tip #15 Can’t finish the entire meal? The servers provide doggie bags at the end of the show so you can take your leftovers with you. This is especially helpful when dining with kids, as the portions are entirely too large for them to finish.

Put these Dixie Stampede tips to the test on your next Pigeon Forge vacation. Do you have any tips to share?  Let me know in the comments!

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Pigeon Forge to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Searching for ways to save on your next family vacation to the Smokies? Plenty of Pigeon Forge shows offer free tickets for kids, creating a great value.  Shows with free tickets make entertainment budget-friendly for everyone.

Family  at theater

Here is a helpful list of shows with FREE admission:


Reserve your Pigeon Forge vacation today to take advantage of these great savings.

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Pigeon Forge to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Normally I wouldn’t recommend fighting, but at the Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Show it’s actually fun! The feud-based dinner show, which engages the famous Hatfield and McCoy families, turns the traditional feud on its head as the two mountain clans battle it out with singing and dancing. Oh yeah, there’s a few fights and gun shots along the way but its all good-natured fun. Sound crazy? It kind of is, but that’s what makes it great.

You know you’re for a unique experience when you arrive at the Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Show Theater and see chickens, goats and pigs outside. The farm-like scene instantly sets the tone for the night ahead. Once you’re inside, a moonshine still-style aquarium and shooting range keeps the kids preoccupied as you wait for the seating to begin. I do recommend you arrive early to the Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Show as the meal is served prior to the show. Plan to arrive at least 30-45 minutes prior to show time so you have plenty of time to chow down on this seriously delicious southern feast.

IMG_2832The dinner is served family-style, portions are huge and it’s all-you-can-eat.  The menu, if you can believe it, includes all of the following:

  • Fried Chicken
  • Barbeque Pork
  • Creamy Vegetable Soup
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Corn on the Cob
  • Coleslaw
  • Biscuits
  • Cookie Crumble Chocolate or Banana Wafer Pudding


IMG_2882Sometimes dinner show food can be rather bland—not at this show! I was pleasantly surprised by how good the meal at Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Show, and ended eating more of the juicy fried chicken, smoky barbeque and creamy coleslaw than I’d like to admit. (Seconds were had, y’all!) In addition to the food, you’re meal includes choice of Pepsi products and tea. However, you are in Appalachia so moonshine is also on the menu. Pick your poison either at the Moonshine booth near the seating entrance, or go light an order a beer. Do remember, though, the wait staff works on tips and $3.50 per person is the recommended tip amount.

IMG_3057After dinner is served, the main event begins. Now, if you’re familiar with the historical version of the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s leave those notions at the door. This show turns the feud into a singing and dancing competition with just enough mountain gusto to make it funny. There’s certainly a few guns fired, and someone’s pants may or may not catch on fire, but all-in-all the show handles the feud with clean-family comedy. Even the fights are comical; I kind of loved how the girls were super tough and beat the boys—a lot! For added measure, there’s a love story and chance of redemption added to the show. And, of course, by the end of the Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Show
the families are have kissed and made up, and promise to
be friends ‘til the end.

IMG_2992Good to Know: Souvenir photos are taken before the show, so be sure to bring cash if you’d like to purchase one. Also, if you plan on seeing another show from the same prediction company, such as Smoky Mountain Opry and The Comedy Barn, Reserve Pigeon Forge has multi-show discounts available.

Final Take: I’ve attended a lot of dinner shows and this is hands-down one of the best. From the deliciously filling food to the not-so-serious antics at the show, families will walk away wishing their feuds
could be this fun!

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Pigeon Forge to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Who doesn’t like to save money? Sometimes it might not be easy to do so, but at Dollywood you can have a day of family-fun without breaking the bank. To help you make the most of your trip to the theme park, I’ve compiled a list of Dollywood tips that will guarantee you an affordable yet awesome day.

DollywoodIMG_1559_RSZ TEXT

1) Arrive Late

Throw punctuality out the door and plan on arriving at Dollywood after 3pm. At Dollywood, if you arrive after 3pm, the next day is free. With this deal, you can squeeze in at least another half-day of fun at Dollywood without spending any extra money. Simply save your ticket for re-admission the next day. (Note: During Smoky Mountain Christmas this offer is valid after 6pm).

2) Go with H2O

We call get thirsty trekking through theme parks. Luckily at Dollywood they realize this and offer water—for free! Skip the sodas and the high-sugar drinks for a free glass of water, available at any good or beverage stand throughout the theme park. If you really need a jolt of caffeine, the refillable soda mugs are worth money.

3) Don’t Pay to Park

I think we can all agree parking fees are kind of a bummer. Don’t start your day out by shelling out $12 to park at Dollywood. Instead, take the Pigeon Forge Trolley to the amusement park. You can hop aboard at one of the trolley stops along the Parkway or park your car (for free) at Patriot Park, adjacent to trolley headquarters. Best yet, cost is only $1 per person.

4) Come Prepared

Carrying around a giant backpack loaded with supplies isn’t fun, but neither is coming unprepared and have to purchase basics at theme park prices. I recommend packing sunscreen, a poncho if there’s rain in the forecast, a water bottle, hand sanitizer and camera.

5) Skip the Lines

Dollywood can get busy. And lines can get long. On those crowd-surging days, it’s a good idea to get a TimeSaver Pass. With this pass, you can schedule time for rides, get alerts for when you can arrive and then skip to the front of the line. TimeSaver devices are available on a first-come, first-served basis and are limited daily. Cost is $30 per person.

6) Eat a Hearty Breakfast

Dollywood opens at 10am, which means there’s plenty of time to eat before you go. It’s important to have a filling meal before spending the day at the park because food isn’t cheap and you’re going to work up an appetite. I find it best to snack throughout the day of items like cinnamon bread, homemade at the old Grist Mill, pork rinds and giant-sized turkey legs.  If you do need a meal, the best place for a quick bite is Hickory House BBQ.

7) Take an Entertainment Break

The rush of the rides and running after kids can equal at much-needed rest break. Why not make it an entertainment break by taking in a Dollywood show while you catch your breath. Free shows are performed throughout the park all day long. Two of my favorites are Heartsong, a musical journey through the Smokies, and My People!, the story of Dolly Parton. Another option is Wings of America, a captivating preserve of bald eagles.

8) Bring Cash Over Cards

I seem to have a wallet of plastic, but never any cash. Remember to bring cash with you when you visit Dollywood so you’re not always swiping away. Studies show we spend less when we use cash. Plus, it’s faster to get through lines with cash and nice to have on hand for those carnival games you know you want to play.

9) Bring Your Own Stroller

If you’re travelling with kids, I advise brining your own stroller. Renting one at Dollywood is $11+ tax for a single stroller, and $14+ tax for a double stroller. You and your child will be more comfortable using their own anyway, so why spend the extra money?

10) Visit during Dollywood Festivals

A day at Dollywood is made even better if you’re visiting during a festival. Barbeque & Bluegrass (May 13-22) serves up tasty food and toe-tapping bluegrass; Great American Summer (June 11-Aug. 7) highlights kid-friendly summer fun; National Southern Gospel and Harvest Celebration (Sept. 30-Oct. 29) rejoices with stirring gospel concerts and harvest-themed events; and the Smoky Mountain Christmas (Nov. 5- Jan. 1) shares the traditions, talent and crafts of a true Christmas in the Smokies.

With these Dollywood tips, your time at the Pigeon Forge theme park will be the best yet. Do you have any Dollywood tips to share? Tell me about them in the comments.

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Have you ever looked at a Smoky Mountain slope and thought “It would be a blast to slide down that hillside?”  Well, the folks at The Coaster at Goats on the Roof did and now they’ve brought that idea to life with an all-new thrilling mountain coaster in Pigeon Forge.

The winding hills and valleys of the Smoky Mountains are ideal for building a rail system featuring high speeds and soaring drops. The Coaster at Goats on the Roof was constructed to work with, not against, the local terrain. Located just a few minutes from the Pigeon Forge Parkway, the mountain coaster is easy to access yet provides a decent dose of the great outdoors. Just look at the goats on the roof! Yes, the name isn’t simply decorative; there really are goats on a grass-laden roof. You can see them from the parking lot, and gain an even better view as you make your initial ascent on the coaster track. After riding on the coaster, you can get your hands dirty and even feed the goats.

On to the main attraction, though: the coaster! At The Coaster at Goats on the Roof you zip around a metal track, reaching speeds up to 30 mph on a mile long track. You’re always in control, so if you want to slow down some simply hit the brake.

The carts hold 1-2 people, so parents can ride tandem with their kids, and couples can too. After being strapped in with a safety belt, the coaster is pulled up hill to the official starting point. If you’re anything like me, your heart will start to race as you get higher and higher (and higher). Once at the top, there’s not much of “Ready! Set! Go! So hold on! The first banked turn made me yelp with glee, and as I continued on the twisty, steep track I couldn’t help but laugh and scream (with joy, of course!). I was surprised by how the curves of the track were more terrifying than the actual high-speeds reached going downhill. As much as I hate to admit it, I did brake a few times. What can I say, riding the rails will do that to gal!

It’s quite the rush to careen around the track in the open car, with little to nothing (or so it feels) separating you from the track. It’s a totally different experience than a theme park-style roller coaster. And one you’ve gotta try for yourself while on vacation in the Smoky Mountains.

After riding The Coaster at Goats on the Roof, you can try your luck with gem mining and taste the sweetness of homemade ice-cream and fudge. There’s also a general store on-site worth browsing.

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Pigeon Forge to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.