An Insider’s Guide to Dollywood

June 22, 2021

Dollywood is scenically set on 150 acres near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the town of Pigeon Forge. This family-friendly park is themed around the famous country singer, Dolly Parton and the history and culture of the Smoky Mountains and Southern Appalachian region.

Dollywood is continually ranked one of the best parks in the world by TripAdvisor with 40 thrill rides and attractions, rodeos, award-winning restaurants, medieval dinner shows, and one of the best outdoor water parks in the US. The most popular ticketed attraction and Instagrammed location in the state of Tennessee, Dollywood attracts over 2.5 million visitors a year for exhilarating adventures in the Smoky Mountains.

Dollywood boasts 11 unique themed areas with rides and attractions for all ages and levels of excitement. Our Insider’s Guide to Dollywood outlines the areas of the park with tips and tricks on how to make the best of your visit to Pigeon Forge’s #1 Attraction!



Showstreet is located at the entrance of Dollywood and is all about bright lights, street performers, and classic country shows. Immerse yourself in Dollywood’s music heritage with award-winning gospel music, eat meatloaf stacker at Front Porch Café, watch the art of homemade candy and grab a scoop of ice cream. There were 10,788 gallons of ice cream scooped at Dollywood last year!

Attractions: Showstreet Palace Theater, Showstreet Gazebo, Celebrity Theater, Southern Gospel Museum and Hall of Fame

Dining: Front Porch Café, Showstreet Ice Cream, Showstreet Snacks, Spotlight Baker, Sweet Shoppe Candy Kitchen


Rivertown Junction

Step back in time in the scenic Rivertown Junction. Cruise the rapids of Dollywood on a classic river raft, indulge in an all you can eat Southern country buffet at one of the top 10 theme park restaurants in the US, sing country at the Back Porch Theater and visit Dolly’s Tennessee Mountain Home, a replica of her childhood home.

Rides: Smoky Mountain River Rampage

Attractions: Dolly’s Tennessee Mountain Home, Back Porch Theater

Dining: Aunt Granny’s Restaurant, Country Cookers Kettle Korn, Crossroads Funnel Cakes, Dog N Taters, Market Square Big Skillets

Tennessee Tornado

Craftsman’s Valley

Craftsman’s Valley features Dollywood’s top attractions, famous rides, and a diverse selection of restaurants with outdoor seating. Visit the iconic Dollywood Chapel, view the majestic bald eagles, and escape the fire on Dollywood’s top roller coast, Blazing Fury! Do not leave Craftsman’s Valley without sampling the famous cinnamon bread at Grist Mill.

Rides: Blazing Fury, Tennessee Tornado, Daredevil Falls

Attractions: Eagle Mountain Sanctuary, Robert F. Thomas Chapel, Wings of America Show Birds, Dollywood Grist Mill, Dollywood’s Blacksmith & Foundary Shop

Dining: Cinnamon Bread at The Grist Mill, Granny Ogle’s Ham ‘n’ Beans, Hickory House BBQ, Miss Lillian’s BBQ Corner, Miss Lillian’s Smokehouse, Mr. Jerry’s Sit-N-Sip Refreshments, Pork Rinds


Country Fair

There’s nothing like an old-fashioned fun fair! Country Fair is Dollywood’s top spot for young families with classic games, family-friendly rides, and a fun carnival-like atmosphere that makes it hard to drag the kids away!

Rides: Busy Bees, Demolition Derby, Dizzy Disk, Granny’s Garden, Lemon Twist, Lucky Ducky, Piggy Parade, Shooting Star, Sky Rider, The Amazing Flying Elephants, The Scrambler, The Waltzing Swinger

Dining: Blue Ribbon Cones, Grandstand Café, Midway Market


The Village

Across from Country Fair is The Village, one of the most charming and iconic Dollywood areas. Ride the Dollywood Express Train through the foothills of the Smoky Mountains and take a nostalgic merry-go-round ride on the whimsical Village Carousel.

Rides: Dollywood Express Steam Train, Village Carousel

Attractions: Heartsong Theater, Dollywood Express Train Depot, Costner and Sons Magic Shop

Dining: Victoria’s Pizza

Top Tips & Tricks for Visiting Dollywood

Dollywood Tickets: Skip the long lines and buy your Dollywood tickets in advance. You can purchase season passes, multi-day and multi-park passes, and the Dollywood TimeSaver or TimeSaver Unlimited Pass for expedited access at TimeSaver attractions plus unlimited show reservations.

Where to Eat & Drink at Dollywood: From Fruity Pebbles Funnel Cake and Red Drive-In’s French fries to southern-style BBQ, Dollywood boasts award-winning culinary delights with socially distanced outdoor dining and snacks, sweets, and refreshments conveniently located throughout the park.

Take advantage of the free water at Dollywood! There are water fountains near all restrooms, complimentary water at all restaurants, and affordable refillable drink (and snack) options with souvenir mugs and popcorn buckets. The perfect option for families visiting Dollywood on a budget.

Upcoming Dollywood Events: Dollywood’s Summer Celebration (June 25-July 31) is bigger and better for 2021 with Dollywood’s Summer Nights 3D Drone & Fireworks Show. This sensational show lights up the sky each night with stunning animations, storytelling, and a symphony of light in Dollywood’s skies.

Getting Around Dollywood: Dollywood insiders suggest arriving early (before the 10 am rush), starting at the back of the park, and playing your way to the front to avoid the crowds and maximize your ride time. Remember, you’ll be doing plenty of walking so wear comfy worn-in shoes and bring strollers for younger kids. Wheelchair, stroller, and electric convenience vehicle rentals are available at Dollywood, reservations are required.

Height Restrictions at Dollywood: Save valuable time and frustration by measuring your kids on arrival at the measuring station across from the Hall of Fame Showstreet. A color-coded wristband corresponds with the rides, so you know before waiting in line if your child meets the height requirement.

Parking & Traffic at Dollywood: Parking booths open two hours before the park if you’re looking to arrive early and secure a spot. You’ll need to arrive an hour early or late afternoon when young families are heading home to get a close parking or purchase preferred parking in advance or valet parking at the booths. If you have to park a distance away, you can drop your family, park, and hop on the tram back to the park. Dollywood runs 12 free trams a day and offers courtesy vehicle assistance too! General parking is free with the purchase of a Dollywood Gold Season Pass.


Storing Valuables at Dollywood: Dollywood offers lockers to rent at the park entrance for your valuables and free ride cubbies to store your stuff at each ride. These cubbies are not secure but perfect for quick storage while you enjoy the ride!

Catching a glimpse of Dolly at Dollywood: The best chance of seeing Dolly is at the passholder celebration at the kick-off of each season. Apart from this, it’s the luck of the draw. You won’t find Dolly riding the attractions due to motion sickness but if you manage to find her hidden apartment above Apple jack’s sandwich restaurant, you may stand a chance of a Dolly Parton sighting.

Pets at Dollywood: Unfortunately, no pets are allowed in the park, but you can drop your four-legged friends at Doggywood at the front entrance for a day of fun while you explore the park.

Stay Updated with the Dollywood App: Planning and preparing your Smoky Mountain adventure at Dollywood is easy with the Dollywood app. Create a list of favorite rides, attractions, and Dollywood shows, find your friends and family around the park and navigate the park with ease.

Stay with Xplorie and enjoy free activities for every day of your stay in the Smoky Mountains. Free local activities include endless outdoor adventures and free admission to Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner Attraction. Summer is filling up fast so book your Smoky Mountain vacation package with Xplorie today!

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