Dollywood Trip Reports 10/22-10/24; 11/13/2023 (comment 81); 5/15/2023 (comment 112)

Hey! Heading to Dollywood! Amount of planning I have done on a scale of 1-10, 1 being the lowest, 10 being the highest.
Tickets: 8
I found that it was cheapest to buy 1 gold season pass which allows for 4 BAF (bring a friend) tickets. These mean I can “bring a friend” for free with me and my season pass. These have black out dates, which is great for me because they blackout dates are for Dollywood’s busiest days anyway. So no Fridays or Saturdays, no fall break (Oct 3-16), and nothing from Thanksgiving to end of the season (Nov 26-Jan 1). Dollywood closes for the winter and reopens in March. So the season passes will allow for my friend and i to go for this two day trip, and then my family and I to go for a two day trip next month (pending how this trip goes) and we won’t actually spend anymore in ticket media than the one season pass. My husband will get in with my BAF tickets, my 2 year old gets in for free, and all 4 and 5 year olds can register for a free season pass (how many people do you think don’t realize this?!?) so my oldest son also has a season pass, which was free. Pretty fantastic. The gold pass includes standard parking and also 15% off merchandise and food sales. All good things.

Hotel: 10
Hours searching for date-based pricing, amenities, reviews, driving distance to Dollywood. Dollywood has an on-site resort called the DreamMore which includes the Dollywood Fastpass, but I knew it was out of my budget so I didn’t even look at it. My focus was on nice, clean, off-site, reasonably priced hotels. My friend and I are landing at Inn on the River which has a beautiful fire pit, beautiful walking path along the river, free popcorn in the evenings, free apples in the lobby, and an included hot breakfast. Yes please!

Touring Plan: 1
I mean, is 0 an option? (It isn’t: I made the scale. It’s 1-10) I am pregnant. Dollywood rides are a big thing for many people. They won’t be for me. I told my friend I’m happy to wait in line with her for any rides, and I really am, but idk if she’ll take me up on it. I dedicated a couple minutes to looking at the different attraction options, but as far as a touring plan goes, we’ll start at one end of the park and make our way to the other, taking it all in. That’s the plan.

Food: 6

I’m on a tight budget so wanted to know approx what to spend for food. There is a Harvest Festival Tasting Pass available for $35 (less with the gold pass discount) which allows you 5 different menu choices from, like 30-40 options, including drinks, desserts, and entrees. I’ll get 5 entrees to get the most bang for my buck. I’ll pay cash for drinks and desserts. I cross-checked a blog which explores the menu options and decided exactly what I want to get. We’ll see how closely I stick to that.

Attractions: 4
We’ll see about rides, but I definitely want to hit up the bird show and the steam train. And I hear the fall/Halloween lights and decorations are stunning!

I know there’s so much to do in the Pigeon Forge area, but I’m really trying to maximize time catching up with my friend and minimize money spent, so we’ll likely spend 100% of our time at the hotel and Dollywood.

My sweet husband will be holding down the fort with DS(4) and DS(2). And i’ll be taking care of DCU (dear child unknown) and spending sweet sweet time with my friend.

Ooo, can I take a minute to brag on these sweet sleepers I made for this baby?! Pics:



I’m so excited for you!


I’m so excited too :heart_eyes::heart_eyes: we won’t actually be at Dollywood until tomorrow, but we’ll arrive at the inn around 4:00 today.


Your getting great weather for the trip…


Such perfect weather!!! Yes!! Beautiful, sunny, warm highs, and sweater weather lows!!


We’ve arrived! The hotel had a $5 off coupon for quite a few restaurants, so we walked from our hotel to Bullfish Grill and enjoyed a lovely dinner. On the way back to our hotel we hit up a 365 day/year Christmas Shoppe which was a delight. I grew up with Bronner’s in Frankenmuth MI, so it was a treat to compare (I liked this one better)

Now we’re lying about planning our day tomorrow. Mainly debating what time to arrive and whether to do preferred parking or not.


Sounds yum.

Bullfish Grill

At Bullfish Grill, we specialize in our namesake. Bullfish proudly serves aged Grand Champion Angus Beef. Seafood is delivered daily, offering you the freshest selections available. We carry only the finest wines, lagers and ales to compliment our fresh seafood and hand-cut steaks. No bull, just great food. Voted Pigeon Forge’s Best Restaurant!

Parking woes. Is it a lot further without preferred?


I’m so excited to follow along!! I live in Memphis. However, I’ve never been across the state to Dollywood. It’s 425+ miles away! People forget that TN is a thin, but long rectangle!

Dollywood is definitely on my Bucket List!!


The parking for preferred is worth it imo-

They just redid the lots this season and it’s been a nightmare

It’s also one of my pet peeves -

They have no accessible spots in preferred…I wouldn’t mind paying a little extra to avoid the tram nonsense but need the wider spot


It is further, I just can’t figure out how much. I looked the parking lot on the map and it off a horrible design- but that’s what you get in the mountains. It’s long and skinny and curvy, instead of square/rectangular and huge.

But we’re two solo adults and not allergic to walking, so I think we’ll give regular a try. This is a test visit after all.

There are also off site shuttles that you can take to get dropped off at the park from off-site parking for $2 a person (preferred parking cost $45, or $40 with a season pass). I’m not sure where the shuttles drop you off, so we’ll scout that out too. That’s our plan if we end up wanting to take a mid-day break at the hotel for whatever reason


Yes, MI is similar! I moved 10.5 hours from home out of state, but I love to remind the folks at home that I could’ve stayed in MI and still have been that far away

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No accessible spots in preferred?! That’s so bad! Man. What a mess. Yeah, last night we were looking at the official Dollywood parking page on the website and I told my friend “if you have to devote this much space to explain parking, then it’s too complicated”

Meanwhile back at home:

And I am praying frequently for my spouse. He an amazing daddy, and i still worry, of course. Our precious littles are hard work and we are forever thankful for the gift of one another when it comes to raising them, and it’s extra hard when one of us is gone. I know he’s happy to do it though, and I am so grateful

(Disclaimer: the car photo was taken while stationary. We don’t drive with DS4 unbuckled)


You know you’re in the south when…

There’s church on the TV on Sunday mornings (maybe every morning?! Stay tuned tomorrow to find out!)

Buffet was decent. Probably hot if you go when it opens at 7:00 AM. We didn’t go until 8:00. Gravy was cold. Whatever it was free (*included)


Views from the inn this morning.


*because football hasn’t started yet.


Would love to hear your thoughts on the room- we normally use our pass holders discount for dreammore- but ever time we have tried to book this year it’s a minimum 3 night say. 2 nights I can justify the cost 3 puts us in the market for another place to stay!

******keep us posted on crowd level please…

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We’ve taken the shuttle that picks up at Patriot Park a couple of times. It drops you right at the entrance of Dollywood, so if the schedule works for you, it’s a great deal.


Good info, thank you!!


coming soon on room info!

10:45 and crowd levels are LOW. So low. It’s amazing. Ride wait times as of 10:20

We went left when we entered the park, and we’re making our way around that-a-way