Not too long ago on our Facebook page, we put the question out there—what are your favorite Dollywood hacks? Some people were skeptical of why we would ask that. No, we’re not trying to take away your money-saving opportunities. While Dollywood offers great value, we know the experience is made even better with tips from the pros (i.e., Passholders who visit again and again). We truly want to share ideas because it’s helpful.
Hence, I compiled this list of our Top 17 Dollywood Hacks to give you a digestible format—in no particular order. I’m attributing the ideas to the people who shared with us on Facebook, though the words may be mine. Thanks for all the great ideas!
1. All About the Cinnamon Bread– We have to start with what may very well be our most famous food item: the Grist Mill Cinnamon Bread. A lot of people submitted ideas on this one. I’m going to list my favorite tips.
-To avoid long lines at the Grist Mill, go early in the day to buy your bread. – Christina Zabriskie
2. Utilize All Outside Discounts
-Don’t forget the upper entrance you can use in Owens Farm. –Stephanie McCurry Boggs
– Buy ALL the cinnamon bread you can, bring it home and freeze it! It freezes well and will hold you over until your next visit. –Shelby Hisey
-Take your cinnamon bread home and use it to make French toast! –Jean Wasson
– Sure, your Dollywood Season Pass gets you into Dollywood all year long, but did you know it does a LOT more than that? Discounts include offers to Biltmore, Dolly’s Stampede, Ripley’s Aquarium, Zoo Knoxville, and more. –Shelby Hisey
This list of benefits is updated every year. Look for 2019’s list by the end of January.
3. Go For the Gold
– One person in your party needs a Gold Pass
so you can receive free parking and discounts within the park on food and merchandise. –Crysal Akers
(Remember, the person with the Gold Pass must be present to receive the discount.)
4. First Things First-
When you first arrive, visit Centralized Measuring
beside Stroller Rentals to measure your child for a color-coded wristband. It will be easy to recognize which attractions you can do. Skip the heartache and headache! If you have any reservations about limitations, visit our Ride Accessibility Center beside Centralized Measuring where you can find out more about our Calming Room, adult changing tables, and other accessibility accommodations. –Rebecca Kouvas
5. Go Against the Flow-
Start at the left and work your way around the park. You’ll be walking downhill most of the day and it’s usually less crowded this direction (at least early in the day) because most people go right. Plus, if you like coasters, you get to them first! –Jennifer Lynn Harris
6. Plan Ahead for Water Rides-
Wear your water shoes for the first part of the day. Bring socks and tennis shoes and put them in a locker. Ride all the water rides you want and then change your shoes for the rest of the day. No soggy feet! –Kelli Carson Rainey
(A couple more people vouched for wearing ponchos on Smoky Mountain River Rampage!)
7. Say Cheese Often-
Mom, we know that you’re always the one taking the pictures. At Dollywood, we want you in the photos with your family! Buy the photo pass to get your photos from all day or all season.–Shellie Nechita Clark
Watch this quick video on how the 2018 photo pass worked!
8. There’s an App for That-
Download the free Dollywood app
for wait times and show times. You can also use it as an interactive map to get you places and to make a list of things you want to do. So it’s a day planner, GPS device, and information desk all in one. Pretty much it’s a must-have for your next Dollywood trip. –Megan Ziemann
9. Fill Up and Fuel Up-
It’s been called the best deal inside Dollywood and I’m here to tell you that refillable souvenir cups and popcorn buckets will save you a lot of money if you plan to purchase drinks and snacks. –Crystal Farmer
Here’s a quick video we made to explain it a couple years ago.
10. Borrow our Strollers-
Don’t worry about bringing a stroller from home and having to get it on and off the tram or trolley—purchase a Stroller Season Pass! Single and Double sizes are available. In addition to carrying young kids, they make great pack mules for diaper bags. Ask about the Season Pass at Stroller Rentals. –Adam Smelcer
11. There’s No Bad Day To Visit-
Visit Dollywood when it’s raining! There’s lots to do indoors and the crowds are always smaller. –Casandra Dean
(Megan Roman says Tuesdays and Wednesdays seem to have smaller crowds)
For more tips on avoiding crowds, see this blog.
12. You’re a Very Important Person-
So, get the VIP experience and take a VIP Tour
! This is a great idea on busy days to ensure you get into all the shows without sweating it and you’ll get to ride all the attractions you want without having to wait. Plus, there’s a meal and a gift. You’re sure to feel very important. –Shellie Nechita Clark
13. Pack Light-
To expedite your entry into the park, don’t take a purse or bag unless you really need it. Without a bag, you can skip the bag check. After all, they say time is money. -Jo Ann Archer
14. Save the Goldfish-
Buy a kids meal at Red’s Drive-In and save the snack. It comes with a burger, fries and a snack (often it’s Goldfish or something similar). Save the snack for standing in line later. –Ashley Nicole Dingus
15. Package Pick-Up-
If you want to buy anything, but don’t want to carry it all day, use FREE Package Pick-Up
and it will be waiting for you at the Dollywood Emporium at the end of the day. –Aimee Gaschott Blazer
16. Stay with Us-
It’s worth it to stay at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa
. You not only get to extend the Dollywood experience with nice accommodations, but you even get free transportation to the park, and on Saturdays you get into the park an hour early. The resort itself is fantastic. – Susan Marbut Sheffield
17. USE the Pass-
This one is obvious, but it’s too important not to miss. Once you have a Dollywood Season Pass, USE IT! It pays for itself in two visits and there are so many great attractions, festivals, and experiences throughout the whole year, you’ll see why it’s an incredible value. –Malea Schukman