WARNING: This blog has been known to cause sudden hunger and a strong desire to plan a trip to Dollywood for the 2021 Harvest Festival (Sept. 24 – Oct. 30!)
One thing to know about me as you read this is that I am a planner, especially when it comes to my trips. Whether I am going on a week-long vacation or just a day visit to Dollywood, I like to know everything that I have in-store during that trip. From the approach I take to rides to the food I want to eat, I plan it out. While my fiancée may describe this as an “annoying” trait, I find it makes my days easier. So, when I got a sneak preview of the new food offerings for the 2021 Harvest Festival, I jumped into planning mode for my annual family visit.
Dollywood always packs a big punch when it comes to the food at its parks. The theme park has been a premier leader in the industry for some time, and each season brings its own new wave of flavors to the foothills of the Smokies. Don’t worry, I’ve already pulled out my recommendations for the can’t-miss eats and treats throughout Dollywood during this year’s Harvest Festival.
Must-Do Restaurant Items
Dollywood has some rather famous sit-down restaurants at the park. While I am a huge fan of the classic Aunt Granny’s Restaurant, we’re going to stop in at Front Porch Café for some Harvest Festival eats. A full autumn-inspired meal can be enjoyed here from start to finish. Start the meal with a bowl of Roasted Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Corn Chowder, dive into the main course with a serving of Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo with Grits then finish the meal with a warm Apple Dumpling topped with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and doused with some Caramel. I mean, how good does that line-up sound, right? Now, I know what you’re thinking: all that food is going to put me to sleep! Don’t stress. Have a pumpkin spiced salted caramel mocha iced coffee before you head out to get that theme park energy back up.
Quick Service Eats
I am a fairly high-energy person, or at least, that is what I’ve always been told. Because of that, I am more often a quick service eater than I am a sit-down eater at Dollywood. Thankfully for me, the culinary team made sure the quick-service spots were covered on the harvest food front. A few must-stop spots: Market Square BIG SKILLETS and Victoria’s Pizza. BIG SKILLETS has some festive drink options like the Autumn Apple Palmer (swap out the traditional lemonade for apple juice) and some delicious sweet and savory items like the Sweet Potato Poutine or Sweet Corn Hushpuppies. Victoria’s will offer some limited-time Harvest Flatbreads, topped with sweet potatoes, caramelized onions, Applewood smoked bacon and a blend of mozzarella and gouda cheeses.
The culinary team knows the importance of a good dessert when visiting the park. I mean, they have been serving up cinnamon bread for 35+ years. The Spotlight Bakery is home base for anyone looking for those Instagram-able fall treats. Across from the bakery, Showstreet Ice Cream will be joining in on the fun serving up a Belgian Waffle and Maple Pecan Ice Cream Sandwich among other treats. Sweets ‘n’ Treats in Wildwood Grove has a Pumpkin Spice Churro with Pumpkin Fluff, and Victoria’s is offering a Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip served with apple slices.
My Dream Layout
Like I said, I’m a planner. With the benefits of my sneak peek into the Harvest food offerings, I believe I have laid out my ideal food journey through the park when I visit with my family.
10 a.m. (Arrival) – Head over to the Grist Mill and grab some Cinnamon Bread. (I know this isn’t a fall treat, but it’s just a good decision.)
Noon (Lunch) – Victoria’s Pizza is on the docket for a quick service meal: Harvest Flatbread and Apple Wedges with Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip.
3 p.m. (Snack) – The snack time hour will take me to Rivertown Junction for a stop at Market Square BIG SKILLETS to try out the Sweet Potato Poutine and maybe wash it down with some Pumpkin Pie Punch.
6 p.m. (Dinner) – I always enjoy to eat my dinners at a table surrounded by family. So, I’ll lead my party to Front Porch Café to enjoy some family-time in the parks. While here, I’ll dive into share some starters and enjoy a main course of the Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo with Grits.
7 p.m. (Dessert) – After a delicious dinner, dessert is always in order. I’ll leave the Café and walk a short distance to Showstreet Ice Cream. Here, I’ll pick up a refreshing Apple Pie Milkshake and begin exploring the park as the sun sets, revealing the glowing lights.
9 p.m. (Departure) – Assuming at this point that I am thoroughly fed, I’ll run by the Spotlight Bakery and pick up a to-go bag full of my favorite culinary souvenirs.
We may have talked about a lot of items, but I am only scratching the surface of what our park adds during the Harvest Festival. So, get out a pen and paper and start planning your visit today! Trust me, it pays off in the end.