Are you trying to plan a Pigeon Forge vacation, but don’t want to break the bank doing so? In the Smoky Mountains, you can have a budget-friendly getaway where you won’t have to worry about spending big bucks in order to have a grand time. Not only is the area affordable, it also boasts several ways to save while you play.

Money coin deposit of save money for prepare in the future.

Image via 401K Calculator, flickr

Follow our money saving Pigeon Forge tips to enjoy the best of the Smokies while keeping your budget in check.

1) Sign up for Reserve Direct Emails
Reserve Pigeon Forge sends a monthly email featuring ways to save in the Smokies. You’ll see the latest deals on shows, attractions, and hotels. Plus, you’ll be the first to know when special discounts and promotional codes are available. Sign up for Getaways Emails here.

2) Take Advantage of Direct Deals
Did you know there are hundreds of dollars worth of savings on Reserve Pigeon Forge? Use our Direct Deals page to keep track of the best prices for everything from zipline attractions to entertaining shows and hotels deals. There are even free offers available! Best of all, no coupons are needed–ever!

3) Visit Dollywood Twice for the Same Price
If you arrive at Dollywood after 3pm (after 6pm during Smoky Mountain Christmas), you can enter the park the next day free of charge. Make the most of your time at the Pigeon Forge theme park with this excellent offer!

4) Ride the Trolley
Save your gas, park the car and ride the Pigeon Forge Trolley. The trolleys are an easy and affordable way to get around the city. Plus, you can connect to Sevierville and Gatlinburg so you can explore all the Smoky Mountains have to offer. All day ride passes are only $2.50, while one-way fares range from 50-75 cents.

5) Book a Vacation Package
Bundle your hotel stay with your attraction passes and Pigeon Forge show tickets and you’re sure to save. Take a look at the Pigeon Forge vacation packages, choose one that fits your vacation needs and start your savings!

6) Follow Reserve Pigeon Forge
Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up-to-date on the latest savings, customer contests, and special social media discounts. You never know when a flash savings special might happen!

Use these six money saving Pigeon Forge tips to ensure you have a great vacation at a value! Because who doesn’t love to save while they play?

Have any of your own money saving Pigeon Forge tips? Be sure to tell us about them 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.

Every other year, my family gets together in Pigeon Forge for a family reunion. With 50 of us and counting, we found that hotels are not ideal for a group of our size. Instead, a Pigeon Forge cabin vacation is the perfect solution.

Pigeon Forge offers many types of cabins, from cozy a cabin for a couple on their honeymoon to massive cabins able to host 50 or more people.

Before you start planning your trip, use this guide for a spectacular Pigeon Forge cabin vacation.

Pigeon Forge Cabin Vacation

Research Your Cabin Options

In life, a little research can go a long way. The last thing you want is to blindly reserve a cabin, only to find it doesn’t meet your expectations.

Hearthside_Cabin_Rentals_(011)Consider the following factors before making your cabin reservation:

The Season
— Pigeon Forge experiences a surge of tourist traffic during the spring, summer, and fall seasons. If you plan to visit the area during these busy months, book your cabin well in advance. Otherwise, you’ll have a limited selection of cabins to choose from.
Necessary Amenities
— Does your cabin need to have specific accommodations? Many Pigeon Forge cabins are wheelchair accessible, pet-friendly, offer Wi-Fi, and include other amenities. If you have questions about cabin amenities, a quick call to the company or owners will provide your answer.

Your Budget — Establishing a budget is the best way to find a cost-effective cabin. Shop around for cabins that fit your budget and offer the necessary amenities you need for a wonderful vacation.

Cabin Location — Some cabins are tucked back into the serene and calm woods of Pigeon Forge with long travel times to attractions. Families looking for quick access to Dollywood and other attractions should consider the location of their cabin before making a reservation.

Bluff_Mountain_Rentals_(021)Your Car — During one Pigeon Forge cabin vacation, our cabin was at the top of a steep hill with a long gravel driveway. The larger, more powerful vehicles made it up the driveway just fine. My little sedan, however, did not. Before booking, consider the type of car you own and the terrain traveled to access the cabin. The cabin company can provide this information if is not online.

Cabin Reviews — Before booking your Pigeon Forge cabin, hear what others have to say about the cleanliness of the cabin, the customer service provided by the company, and any other opinions from previous travelers. Remember to take reviews with a grain of salt. What may have been an awful experience for one traveler, may be completely fine for you. By booking your cabin through Reserve Direct, you can read reviews from travelers who have recently stayed in one of Pigeon Forge’s many cabins.

Once you’ve found a great cabin for you and your family, it’s time to decide if cabin vacations are best for you.

The Advantages of Vacationing in a Pigeon Forge Cabin

Staying in a cabin can provide a wealth of benefits for your family or group.

Pigeon Forge cabin vacation porchCost — Whether you’re traveling with your significant other or a large group of people, you will find that cabin vacations are a cost-effective option. Many travelers prefer cabins to hotels because of the low cost for luxury amenities.

Included Amenities – All Pigeon Forge cabins include incredible amenities. The cabins I’ve stayed in have included full kitchens, hot tubs, stocked game rooms, indoor movie theaters (seriously), complimentary Wi-Fi, Jacuzzi tubs, and more. You won’t find all this in a similarly priced hotel room.

Privacy —By renting a cabin, you now have an entire house to yourself. The only people who can bother you are the people you chose to vacation with. Say goodbye to hearing the TV from the hotel room next door or little children running up and down the hotel hallways.

Downtime — When you have downtime in a hotel, you might watch TV, go for a swim if a pool is onsite, or buy an overpriced drink at the bar. When you reserve a cabin, there’s so much to enjoy inside and outside of the cabin. I’ve found that I enjoy the time inside the cabin just as much as I enjoy exploring Pigeon Forge.   

Quiet Time — Where else can you drink a freshly made cup of coffee while watching the sunrise over the mountains from the comfort of your rocking chair? Some of my favorite Pigeon Forge memories involve a cabin porch, a cup of coffee, and long conversations with family and friends. A hotel continental breakfast or bar doesn’t have the same allure.

The Disadvantages of a Pigeon Forge Cabin Vacation

As with any vacation lodging option, cabins do have their downfalls.

Hearthside_Cabin_Rentals_(020)Cooking Meals — Pigeon Forge cabins offer full kitchens complete with many cooking appliances. While the majority of travelers find this appealing, others find it to be a nuisance. If you would rather have meals prepared for you by professionals, you will be better off in a hotel.

Made a Mess? Clean It Up. — In a hotel, your towels and bed sheets are replaced daily. Cabins provide guests with washers and dryers, but a cleaning service won’t take care of your messes every day. It’s up to you and your guests to ensure the cabin is clean and tidy.

Limited Main Road Access to Attractions — If you prefer in the middle of the action, a hotel would be better suited for your Pigeon Forge vacation. Cabins take advantage of the quiet Smoky Mountain nature and tend to be away from the main roads.

Limited Cell Service — Depending on your cell phone provider, you may or may not have service at your cabin. While cabin companies and owners cannot control this, it’s good to be aware.

A Few Tips for the Road

Once you’ve booked your cabin, it’s time to hit the road and enjoy your vacation. Over the course of my many Pigeon Forge vacations, I’ve picked up a few tips that will make your cabin visit worthwhile.

Hearthside_Cabin_Rentals_(006)Plan Your Meals — Personally, I love to take advantage of the cabin kitchens. By planning your meals ahead of time, you can make a quick grocery shopping trip upon arriving to Pigeon Forge. Trust me, there’s nothing better than a home-cooked meal in a comfy cabin overlooking the Smoky Mountains. Plus, you’ll save money by not relying on a restaurant for every meal and snack.

Stock Up on Cleaning Supplies — While many cabin companies and owners generously provide enough supplies for your stay, it’s in your best interest to be prepared. Supplies can be depleted fast when vacationing with a big group of people.

Bring Games and Activities — If you’re traveling with friends or a large group of people, game nights in the cabin are the best. Bring outdoor activities such as a soccer ball or lawn game to keep the fun going.

Remember Your Cabin Address — In the off chance that you become lost, it’s good to always remember your cabin address.

No matter the cabin size you reserve, you’ll thoroughly enjoy your Pigeon Forge cabin vacation if you follow this guide.

The kids are out of school, and summertime is in full swing. Now is the perfect time for a Smoky Mountain vacation in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. If you’re looking to travel soon, here a few Pigeon Forge vacation tips to keep in mind.

Happy family car trip on summer vacation. Travel concept

dollywood_img_15591) Get an Extra Day at Dollywood

You might be surprised at the savings you’ll find at Dollywood. Save money at the Dolly Parton-helmed theme park by going after 3:00pm on your first day. The next day will be free!

2) Become Friends with Nature

One of the best things about a Smoky Mountain vacation is the built-in, absolutely-free attraction available: the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This is nature’s theme park, offering numerous hiking trails, scenic views, water adventures and more. Pack a picnic and have lunch by a meandering creek or atop a scenic peak. It will be one of your best days, and the least expensive too!

3) Shop Smart

Postcard ThinkstockPhotos-78650174 RSZYou know you’re going to want a souvenir of your vacation. From kitschy mom and pop shops, to large outlet malls, Pigeon Forge shopping opportunities are affordable and filled with unique items. Some of the best places for inexpensive yet totally memorable souvenirs: The Old Mill, Three Bears General Store, and Aunt Debby’s Country Store. One souvenir I love that is super cheap? Postcards. You can find them everywhere too, with scenic ones sold at places like the Sugarlands Visitor Center.

4) Pay Less for Pigeon Forge Entertainment

It’s easy to score discount Pigeon Forge show tickets with Reserve Pigeon Forge. Scan the Direct Deals page to find free offers, discounts and buy one get one free offers. A few products with exclusive discounts include Smoky Mountain Opry, Hatfield & McCoy Dinner ShowThe Track, Legacy Mountain Premier Ziplines and Rafting in the Smokies.

200117115-0015) Dine on a Dime

Even though it’s not really possible to truly “dine on a dime,” you can find a good meal for decent price in Pigeon Forge. Restaurants like the Parkway, but a few standouts that are not only delicious yet economical are:

Pigeon Forge Deli & Coffee Shop: This hidden gem is where to go for lunch. Reviews like “best sandwich ever” are touted for this small café serving subs on fresh baked bread. Price range: $4-9

Smoky Mountain Brewery: Who doesn’t love pizza? At Smoky Mountain Brewery a large Baker’s Choice calzone for $21.95 will easily feed four people, if not more. Plus, it’s kind of the best ever. So, there’s that.

Family Dining ThinkstockPhotos-466240663J.T. Hannah’s Kitchen: With nothing on the menu higher than $19.99, and most priced around $9.99, this is a prime choice for dinner. Plus, the menu covers everything from steaks to seafood to burgers and pasta so everyone will walk away with a happy, full belly.

Put these Pigeon Forge vacation tips to use to make the most of your hard-earned money. Just because it’s vacation doesn’t mean it has to be expensive.

For even more budget-friendly and free things to do, follow our Reserve Pigeon Forge Travel Guide.

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.

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.

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.

Dollywood FB1


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.

DW Kids Ride

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.


River Battle

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.