On our recent Pigeon Forge family vacation, seeing a show was at the top of our itinerary. As a result, we decided to spend an evening at Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Adventures. Although we initially weren’t sure what to expect, we had a wonderful time. Here is some insider insight into a memorable Pigeon Forge dinner show experience.
Entering the Venue is a Breeze
Even though we were in Pigeon Forge during the fourth of July, one of the busiest weeks of the year, we had no trouble getting into Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Adventures. That being said, I would definitely recommend planning ahead for this show, as they do book up quickly. We got our tickets ahead of time through Reserve Direct. This way, we were able to walk right up to will call and were inside within minutes.
As we walked through the main doors, they snapped our photos in front of a green screen. They took a few pictures of us together as a family and then some more of just the kids. They come around during the show to let you see the photos and order them if you would like. While we typically refrain from spending money on pictures, the ones they took of the kids turned out beautifully. We couldn’t resist! We ordered one of the books they offered for $25.
Arrive Early Enough to Explore Bass Mercantile
Grab a drink at the bar or find the perfect souvenir before the show starts at the Bass Mercantile, which has the feel of an old general store. There are also games to play while you wait, which kind of makes it feel like you’re not waiting at all. Kids can join the family by being transformed into a mountaineer or mountain princess. Although we didn’t participate in that this time around, I think signing up for this in advance is probably a smart move. Packages start at $15.99.
Not a Bad Seat in the House
While you are able to choose your seats from a map of the theater, I would be willing to bet there isn’t a bad one available. It’s set up with the stage in the middle, surrounded by raised seating. It’s not a huge venue, so every seat appears to be close to all the action. We happened to sit right up front, on the Owens side of the family. The Partons were on the other half of the theater. You can request which side to sit on, but we had no preference. Both are kin to Dolly, after all! As an Owens family member, we cheered our team on during games and challenges. My ultra competitive 9-year-old son was particularly into this part of the night, but for the life of me, I cannot remember if our family “won” or not. It was fun to participate and interact, though.
The Food. Oh, The Delicious Food
Right when the show starts, the ultra friendly and accommodating wait staff comes around to take your drink order. After that is taken care of, they start bringing out Avie Lee’s Sunday dinner, one item at a time, as you are entertained by the show. It is seriously my perfect dining situation. And the selection is impressive.
You start out with a cup of creamy vegetable soup in a mug. No utensils are offered, so you just start sipping. Then, they come around with biscuits, followed by quite possibly the best fried chicken I’ve ever tasted. Next up are buttery corn on the cob and roasted potatoes. Then they cap that off with pulled pork. I mean, you can’t beat a feast like that, can you? Dessert is coffee and a fried peach pie. (I may have eaten my daughter’s dessert, as well.) Make sure you come to this show starving. We were stuffed by the end of it but in that good, hearty, comfort food kind of way.
You Won’t Be Able to Take Your Eyes Off the Show
Singing, dancing, and acrobatics combine to keep you captivated during Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Adventures. In addition, the show includes a heartfelt story line of how Dolly’s parents fell in love despite the competition between their families. Trust me, you won’t be able to tear your eyes away from everything going on in front of you. You’ll find yourself joining right in for all the hootenanny fun!
I enjoyed all the exciting acts, but hearing Dolly herself narrates her parents’ love story in that iconic voice really made everything much more special. The kids especially loved seeing the dogs compete in several games. There was certainly no shortage of engaging material to hold our attention from the beginning of the show to the very end.
Tips to Keep in Mind for Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Adventures Dinner Show
Don’t Forget Your Camera
You can take as many photos and as much video as you wish, as long as you refrain from using the flash, so be sure to bring your phone or camera. After the show, the cast hangs around for meet-and-greets. Our daughter was thrilled to get to meet the actors who played Lee and Avie Lee (Dolly’s parents) and I ended up snapping the cutest photo of her with them.
Schedule at Least Two Hours for the Show
The show itself is only around an hour and a half, although it feels much shorter with everything going on at once. If you want to spend some time at the Bass Mercantile beforehand, though, I would arrive about 30 minutes early. We went to the 6:00 p.m. show and were back at our cabin just before 8:00 that evening. It was the perfect amount of time for a family show, especially as our three-year-old doesn’t have a very long attention span.
One of the Best Shows in the Smokies
We had a great time at Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Adventures dinner show. I wouldn’t hesitate to go back the next time we visit Pigeon Forge. We loved the family friendly atmosphere, the entertaining show, and the delicious food. It was a perfect night out for the four of us during our vacation. You really can’t go wrong with Dolly — She does it right every time!