Dollywood Theme Park: From '9 to 5' to Timeless Thrills & Memories

If you're a fan of Dolly Parton or just love amazing theme parks, you've got to visit Dollywood theme park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

This incredible place takes you from the hustle and bustle of Dolly's famous "9 to 5" working life and drops you into a world of endless thrills, awesome rides, and wonderful family entertainment.

How Large Is Dollywood Resort Theme Park?

Don't let the name fool you - the Tennessee Dollywood theme park is huge! It covers 165 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds in the Great Smoky Mountains.

With over 50 rides and attractions, you could easily spend a few days here and still not see and do everything.

Types of Rides and Attractions

Dollywood theme park has something for everyone, from wild coasters to gentle family rides. You'll find classic coasters like the Tennessee Tornado and Thunderhead, a wooden coaster sure to rattle your bones.

Thrill seekers get an adrenaline rush on Dollywood theme park rides like Drop Line, which drops you 230 feet at an 85-degree angle!

For a tamer family experience, you can hop on Dolly's Choo-Choo, a kid-friendly coaster, or take a spin on the Amazing Flying Elephants ride. There are also tons of live shows, crafts demonstrations, and the hilarious Dollywood's Bachelorette Parton Party show that pokes fun at reality TV.

When Dollywood first opened in 1986, it had just the Rebel Railroad ride and 12 other attractions - talk about humble beginnings! Now it's one of the biggest themed destinations in the country.

Inspiration Behind Dollywood

You might think Dollywood is all about the larger-than-life persona of Dolly Parton herself - but the real inspiration is celebrating the spirit and mountain heritage of the East Tennessee area where Dolly grew up.

From Southern-style food to arts and crafts showcases, Dollywood captures the charm and hospitality of the Smoky Mountain region. Dolly wanted to create a place that honored her humble roots while also providing big-time family entertainment.

How Long Does It Take to Go Through All of Dollywood?

With over 40 rides and attractions spread across multiple themed areas, you could easily spend 2-3 full days at Dollywood to see and do it all at a leisurely pace. Of course, if you're a thrill-ride fanatic focused just on coasters, you could probably knock it all out in a long day.

But why rush? Part of the Dollywood theme park experience is soaking up the atmosphere, checking out the live shows and demonstrations, and eating all the amazing food. Take your time and savor every smile-inducing moment.

Restaurants and Food

Speaking of food, Dollywood does not disappoint when it comes to dining! You'll find all sorts of down-home country cooking, like chicken and dumplings, smoky barbecue, and buttermilk biscuits that will make your taste buds sing.

For a real treat visit the Grist Mill and watch stone-ground grain being milled into flour and cornmeal the old-fashioned way. Then you can take some home and bake something delicious.

When Is Dollywood Open?

Dollywood's operating schedule varies by season. It's generally open nine months out of the year, from mid-March through early January, with extended hours in summer.

Typically, the park stays open from 10am to 8pm, except for in the summer from June through August, when it closes at 9:30pm. Always check Dollywood’s website first to make sure the Dollywood theme park hours are the same or do not change due to special circumstances.

In 2023, Dollywood temporarily closed for several weeks due to severe flooding in the area. But have no fear - the park is back open and better than ever!

The theme park portion closes in winter, but Dollywood's Smoky Mountain Christmas festival runs from mid-November through early January if you want a taste of an Appalachian-style Christmas.

shutterstock_2292199645.jpg

Where to Stay When Visiting Dollywood

With so much to see and do at Dollywood, you'll likely want to extend your stay and make it a multi-day adventure. Luckily, the Pigeon Forge area offers plenty of great lodging options to fit any budget and preference.

You can rent a cabin in Pigeon Forge through Bear Camp Rentals. They offer one, two, three, four, and five-bedroom cabins, large cabins, treehouses, and even hotel efficiency suites nestled in the gorgeous Smoky Mountains.

Dollywood also offers a resort, called Dollywood’s Dream More Resort and Spa, but can be more costly than the price of renting a cabin. Bear Camp Cabin Rentals often have last-minute deals that can help you save up to 35 percent on your stay.

Dollywood FAQs:

Why was Dollywood temporarily closed in 2023?

In August 2023, heavy rains and flash flooding caused some damage and safety issues at Dollywood, forcing it to close for repairs. But thankfully the hardworking crew got it reopened with minimal long-term impacts.

How much does Dollywood typically cost?

A single-day admission Dollywood theme park ticket currently runs $92 for adults, with a senior discount applied for those over age 61 and for kids ages 4-11 when purchased online. Children 3 and under get in free which is a nice perk for families! Multi-day passes offer even better value. People who stay with Bear Camp Cabins receive 1 free dollywood ticket each day of their stay.

Is parking free at Dollywood theme park?

Unfortunately, parking is an extra $20 per vehicle, per day. But at least the lots are supervised and fairly close to the entrance.

When does Dollywood have fireworks?

Dollywood features an amazing fireworks show each night during its Summer Celebration event from mid-June through mid-August. It's the perfect cap for a fun-filled day!

Final Thoughts

From humble beginnings as a small local park to becoming one of the biggest destinations in Tennessee, Dollywood theme park has captured hearts with its quintessential mountain charm and world-class thrills.

Whether you grew up watching Dolly on TV or are just discovering her magic, a visit to Dollywood is sure to create timeless family memories full of smiles, laughter, and maybe a few butterflies from those wild coasters! Just don't forget to eat all the biscuits.

Experience the Magic of Dollywood - Get Your Free Tickets Now!

Explore More Articles


Image for 13 Best Restaurants in Gatlinburg
13 Best Restaurants in Gatlinburg

Explore Gatlinburg's top eateries! Dive into its culinary gems, from hearty pancakes to succulent trout, and experience the essence of the Smokies.

Featured Cabins