Dollywood, worth a visit?Dollywood: It seems to have gotten decent ratings here on the site, but looking for further opinions.
From Jason MooreIt has recently come up that I may be making a trip to the Tennessee area. I was thinking I might check out Dollywood while I'm up there. It seems to have gotten decent ratings here on the site, but I was looking for further opinions. If you've been there, can you tell me if it's a worth a visit? If so, what are the can't misses and/or the avoid at all costs?
Posted March 6, 2005 at 11:56 PM
Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.
From Anthony MurphyI think it is at least worth it to go there. It isn't a Disney or a Universal Park, but it is better than Six Flags. Also very "country" so hopefully that doesn't bother you!
Posted March 7, 2005 at 12:18 AM
From Derek PotterYep, count on a lot of down home country atmosphere, country music, and country cookin. The rides selection is lacking a bit, but they have been doing a lot to change that lately. They built Thunderhead, one of the highest rated wooden coasters in the country last year. I haven't had the chance to ride it yet myself, but I haven't heard one bad review, in fact I've heard nothing but high praise. This year they are adding 10 new rides...some kiddie, and some flat rides.
Posted March 7, 2005 at 10:25 PM
From Jayson MyersI've only been to Disney, Universal and Kings Island and I had a ton of fun at Dollywood. I enjoyed the country atmosphere.
Posted March 8, 2005 at 8:24 AM
From jr mayhemDollywood is a hoot to visit! Especially if you have kids, but my husband and I found it very amusing as well. It's "Everything Dolly." You can visit her museum, and even her brother is an entertainer there. It's very country, and they play Christian songs in the toddler playground.
Posted March 13, 2005 at 12:42 AM
We stayed in a cabin at the Great Smoky Mtn National Park and it was a 15 minute drive for us. That is a great place to go as well. Very beautiful and lush.
From Carey Lynn Holtsclaw--"The rides selection is lacking a bit, but they have been doing a lot to change that lately."--
Posted March 14, 2005 at 5:46 PM
You see, the thing people fail to realize is that Dollywood is not about rides. The park offers a full, well rounded experience. This is something that most parks (Like Six Flags) could only dream of. For the thrill seekers, the park has Thunderhead, Tennessee Tornado, The Slidewinder, and Daredevil Falls. For the people that prefer entertainment, there are roughly nine musical shows taking place every day at the park. For the kids, there is the interactive treehouse and all the new kiddie rides. Then there is stuff everyone can enjoy, like the Dollywood Express steam train ride up into the mountains. All of that, plus the Craft Showcases and the themed-over-the-top atmosphere.
Dollywood is one of my favorite parks. It is heavily themed and has some of the best employees I've ever encountered at a theme park. It is most certainly worth a visit.
The one thing you need to remember though is that Dollywood is an "entertainment" park. Not a thrill park. If you go to Dollywood expecting rides that will turn you upside down 200 times, you will be disappointed. You should expect to have a lot of fun on rides and attractions everyone can enjoy!
I also recommend visiting the Splash Country Waterpark next door to Dollywood. It is adding a giant new kids water play area this season.
From Robert NilesI've not been to Dollywood, as the last time I visited Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg, the park was still Silver Dollar City, and my family didn't bother with that.
Posted March 14, 2005 at 7:12 PM
But... having contact with many musicians I know that Parton is both widely and deeply respected within the industry. The whole, um, endowment thing gets her pop culture notice, but her music -- both writing and performing -- establishes her high artistic standards.
If she's the type of person who takes pride in anything bearing her name, and I strongly suspect she does, then I would have high expectations for Dollywood. Not as a thrill park, but as themed entertainment, as Carey Lynn illustrates in her post.
I need to get back out to the eastern part of the country for a theme park swing. Tops on my list to visit are Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Paramount's Kings Island and... Dollywood.
From Jason MooreThanks for all the advice guys. Sounds like a must see when i finally make it up there. I'm all about the overall experience (not just rides), and I enjoy the country theming just fine.
Posted March 15, 2005 at 10:19 AM
Plans have actually changed now and I won't be going up this month, but we are still looking into doing our wedding there, and we could probably hit Dollywood during the honeymoon.
I think I would agree with your assessment of Dolly Robert. I think she's a talented and respected force to be reckoned with. I would say that the person she is if much bigger than the "endowments". She deffinitely seems like someone who takes a great deal of pride in anything that bears her name.
From Andy WilsonJason, if you haven't made plans yet on where the wedding may be, check into getting married at Dollywood. They have a beautiful mountain chapel. You can contact guest services about it. I know several people who have had their wedding at DW.
Posted March 20, 2005 at 6:37 PM
I think everyone has summed up the park very well. It is an awesome theme park that is finally getting the recognition it deserves. A great atmosphere and ride selection.
From S GrizzardDollywood is our families most favorite vacation spot. We try to go once or twice a year. Favorite rides- Blazing Fury and Daredevil Falls
Posted April 20, 2005 at 11:39 AM
Favorite places to eat- Aunt Granny's!!!!This place is awesome and very well priced for the family.
Don't forget to go by and buy you some of that good ole fashion lye soap and stone grits from the Grist Mill. We're heading back for the July 4th activities.
From Bruce MorganDollywood is definitely worth a visit!!! Yes, a few of rides are dated, but as someone has already pointed out, this is not a thrill ride park...not yet at least. I thought the Tenn. Tornado was an excellent effort....it doesn't compare to the Montu or Kraken only because of the length of the ride.
Posted July 22, 2005 at 12:00 PM
But if you're like me and don't want to go to a theme park merely to ride fast roller coasters, Dollywood is probably right for you (and I happen to love coasters!). Escapism is very important to me in my theme park experience and Dollywood has it.
People from other parts of the country may not understand some aspects of southern culture like the bluegrass and southern gospel music. But I found it very enjoyable since this music was a part of my upbringing.
I'm a Disney fanatic.....but that doesn't keep me from enjoying other theme parks, and I found Dollywood to be a park that I want to revisit a few more times.
By the way, a good bit of Dollywood can be compared to Frontierland at Disney's Magic Kingdom, only a bit more authentic.
If you get the chance, GO!! And be sure to do Dixie Stampede while you're there also. The meal was awesome and the actual show rivals any other show I've ever seen before. We weren't able to go to Splash Country, but we'll be doing that next.
While you're up at Dollywood, be sure to go through the Smokey Mountain Park. Visit Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge...you may find some interesting attractions and nice restaurants. Eat a pancake while you're there...this is the pancake capital of the world.
From Rip HenryDollywood is definitely worth the visit. It's is a one of a kind FAMILY theme park that has plenty of rides for every one from the little ones to the older ones. Example in 2005 Dollywood renovated their Country Fair section of the park and added 10 New Family rides. For the older kids or parents or the kids that like coasters and are tall enough to ride The Thunderhead is a great wooden coaster.
Posted September 27, 2005 at 4:51 PM
Dollywood recieved the following Golden Tickets in 2005:
#1 Wooden Coaster - The Thunderhead
2nd Friendleist Park Staff
2nd Best Shows
4th Best Food
5th Best Water Ride at a Theme Park - Mountain Slidewinder
From JR WalkerI think it's worth a trip. I've been there 4 times and it was a pretty decent park. Its very neat, clean, and safe. Much better than Six Flags Parks have ever been. If you go, make sure you ride Blazing Fury...this was one of the most unique rides i've ever been on.
Posted April 5, 2006 at 2:51 PM
From Michael KerinsDollywood is a fabulous Park, We are from Newport, RI and really love the real country feel and ambience of this park. If Disney were to design a country theme park it would be Dollywood. Not to mention the fact that the four of us got a three day pass good for Dollywood and Splash Country for $250 total.
Posted July 21, 2006 at 12:16 PM
Don't miss Deep Fried Twinkies and Snickers
From Linda ZambardinoDollywood was the worst park I've been to. I must say I was looking for thrill rides and had not read reviews before going. The Pigeon Forge area has so many other things to do I would never waste my time on Dollywood again. Six Flags Parks are way better. Splash Town was ok and worth the money, but Dollywood was not. They have more craft vendors and food outlets than anything else so if you want to ride their so/so rides (which most will get you wet)be prepared to do some major walking (in wet shoes). They lack signs as well so you better pick up a map on the way in. I was very very very disapointed!
Posted July 23, 2006 at 9:00 AM
From steve lammertthere are some really cool thrill rides there. T. tornado is really cool. it has three loops and an almost-90 degree angle-drop.
Posted July 23, 2006 at 12:16 PM
From Zachary LeeI think Dollywood is a awesome park. It is the best park that I have every been to. And yes I have been to Disney World, Holiday World, and Six Flags and still thinks its better. Dollywood has the charm and laid back feal that no other park with a #1 rated wooden coaster will ever have. Plus they have something for everyone in the entire family Coasters, games, shows, crafts, and more.
Posted December 21, 2006 at 11:01 PM
Dollywood has tons of rides for the kids which is great because kids that are not entertained is a very bad thing.
Dollywood has Two major coaster Tennessee Tornado - 128 foot drop, three loops. Thunderhead - 100ft. drop and voted best wooden coaster in the world for both 2005 and 2006 by Amusement Today. Plus in 2007 they are getting the Mystery Mine coaster the first and only ride of its kind in America.
Dollywood does have a bunch of shops and crafts but it does help keep lines down at the rides.
As for not having many signs thats alright you can always ask one of there friendly host. Who are the frienlist I have ever met (and once again I have been to the over rated Holiday World). They always seem willing and able to help.
Shows are big at Dollywood to. Duh! Don't come to a country super stars park with out expectaing to be entertained.
Food: Dollywood has some of the best food you will ever eat and yes there is alot of places to get food but imagine if they didn't have all those options how crowded the places would be. Plus who doesn't love some down home cookin'.
Games: Dollywood has plenty of games for kids of all ages several being "winner ever time games." Which is perfect for those looking to show off there skill or those who can't quite ride that ride yet.
Overall Dollywood in my opinion is the best "theme park" I have ever been to 15/10.
From steve leeWhile I disagree with the above poster about Dollywood being better than the Florida parks, I do have to say I was pleasantly surprised with how much I liked it (and I'll agree that it was most enjoyable than Holiday World, though I hesitate to call HW overrated).
Posted December 22, 2006 at 11:27 AM
We didn't get a chance to see any of the shows (dissention in the ranks of our parking group), but all the rides we went on were great (with the exception of the Smoky Mountain Adventure simulator ride. Painful, noisy, and horrific presentation quality). Thunderhead is just that damn good. I'd rank it neck and neck with Voyage for the best wooden coaster I've ever been on. Mystery Mine was coming along nicely when I was there, and I have to tell ya - that thing looks like a whole lotta fun.
And the food. Holy crap, there's a reason their swing ride has the widest seats I've ever seen. This is a park that, like Epcot, should be treated as a giant tapas bar (but not in the alcoholic way, since Pigeon Forge is a dry county).
So yeah. And I don't really care much for Dolly Parton either.
From Adrienne McDonaldThe closest I got to going was high school age (I was 16 if I remember correctly), we got up to the front gates to get tix & my Mother's husband (cheap Bas***d) said $15-$17 a piece was "too high" & we left, having to hear him rant on the rest of the day about how "rediculous" they were to charge that much. But from what I could tell from the parking lot & from the highway, it really looked like a clean, fun, place to visit. I'm planning to go back some time, hopefully before I get too old & rickety to enjoy myself riding rides.
Posted December 23, 2006 at 12:29 PM
From Amanda VincentI live in the Smoky Mtns. so I guess I take this place for granted. It sounds kinda funny to me when I think of people traveling from all over to come to Dollywood (but that being said I am planning a trip to Orlando I am sure some people that live there think the same)& Dollywood has done ALOT in the last couple of years to bring more "thrill rides" along with the "theme" park. I think it is worth going, but it is not a place i would think holds the same magic as a "Disneyworld".
Posted December 27, 2006 at 5:47 PM
For the person who said he stepfather complained about the $17 admission, well he would flip now because it is about $45.00 a day.
All in all The Smoky Mtns are beautiful & there is alot to do in Sevierville, Pigeon Forge & Gatlinburg.
From Adrienne McDonaldYeah, no kidding! I'd like to see his face now at the front gates reading the admission signs! I understand about being on a vacation budget but when you get dragged to EVERY antique car museum in the country & EVERY civil war museum & battle field on the map & EVERY kind of historical site possible, we kids would've liked a little fun some time ya know so it was very disappointing.
Posted December 27, 2006 at 9:52 PM
This discussion has been archived, and is not accepting additional responses.
Theme Park Insider Guidebooks
Top U.S. Theme Parks
Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
Other Top International Parks
Readers' Top Themed Rides
Top Roller Coasters
Top Theme Park Shows
Features, News and Advice
2013 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2012 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2011 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2010 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2009 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2008 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2007 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2006 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2005 Blog PostsDec.
2004-2005Staff column archive