Editor’s note: This guest post is written by Madi Mayfield, who joined the PR team in January.
I’ve lived in East Tennessee for four years, and until recently I had never been to Dollywood. (I know, right? Crazy.) I love theme parks and was excited to bring family along to check out the mountain magic at Dollywood with me. From the food to the entertainment to the friendly hosts on park, the entire experience was incredible. As a first-time Dollywood guest, here’s my advice for all I would recommend when planning a visit to the park.
See the Shows
This year is being heralded as the Season of Showstoppers, and they aren’t kidding! The entertainment at Dollywood is incredible, which should come as no surprise seeing as the park has won Amusement Today’s Golden Ticket Award for “Best Shows” for nine years running. I visited during Festival of Nations. JigJam, an Irish bluegrass band, was my favorite show, followed closely by the National Dance Company of Siberia. If you missed Festival of Nations, don’t fret! Dollywood’s new Spring Mix concert series kicks off April 11.
Try the Food
I am a snack enthusiast, and Dollywood is a paradise for food-lovers. Try a sit-down meal at Aunt Granny’s Restaurant presented by Lodge for a home-style, Southern comfort meal. You absolutely can’t leave the park, however, without trying some of Dollywood’s famous cinnamon bread. Gooey, warm, and highly addictive, the sweet treat was easily my favorite snack of the day.
Experience some Rides
I get it, roller coasters aren’t for everyone. My twin brother, who has been on many a theme park trip with me, is the official drink-holder and bag-watcher, while I attempt to ride every ride in the park. For those of you like me, your first coaster stop should be Lightning Rod. The world’s fastest wooden roller coaster, Lightning Rod is 90 seconds of pure adrenaline and fun. If themed rides are more your style, Mystery Mine (there’s nothing like plummeting through the dark) was another of my favorites throughout the day. If you’re coming with small children, there are plenty of family friendly-rides on the park as well. Try Whistle Punk Chaser, Lucky Ducky, or a ride on the Dollywood Express.
Skip Craftsman’s Valley
It’s easy to get caught up in the rides, shows, and food at the park, but a visit to Dollywood wouldn’t be complete without a stroll through Craftsman’s Valley. Even if you aren’t in the market for a handmade leather hat, a personalized forged sign, or a hand-blown glass ornament, as you walk through Craftsman Valley you can watch Dollywood’s artisans as they work bringing beautiful objects to life.
Leave without a family picture
If you’re anything like me, you have the best intentions when it comes to taking pictures capturing the memories of your trip, and the worst execution. Case-in-point: after spending the ENTIRE day at the park, I had exactly three photos to show for it. With so many great locations for a group photo, and friendly hosts who will gladly take one for you, there’s no reason not to grab your crew and snap a photo in front of Showstreet Palace Theater, Wild Eagle or the Festival of Nations globe.