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.
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.