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What is Dollywood?

Mary McMahon
Updated Feb 06, 2024
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Dollywood is an amusement park located in the state of Tennessee in the United States. It is named for Dolly Parton, a popular musician who became a co-owner of the park in 1986 and developed it into a major attraction. Dollywood is the most heavily visited tourist site in Tennessee and it features a wide range of attractions. Like many amusement parks, it offers both day passes and season passes to attendees, along with a variety of inclusive packages with housing and meals for people who want to plan their vacations around a Dollywood visit.

The park is located in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, in very close proximity to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It covers 130 acres (approximately half a square kilometer), including mountainous and wooded territory. On the park's grounds there are 10 themed areas that people can visit. In addition to amusement park rides, Dollywood also features a variety of restaurants, which offer Southern-style food. Lodging is available in cabins offsite and people can also purchase tickets for the adjacent Dollywood Splash Country, a water-themed park designed for visitors of all ages.

Dollywood also hosts a number of festivals and performances, including several major music festivals that can feature well-known musicians including Dolly Parton herself. The park houses the Southern Gospel Museum and Hall of Fame, as well as other attractions related to musical artists from the South and their work. The park also features craftspeople from the Smoky Mountains, offering guests opportunities to interact with people who make traditional arts and crafts and to buy their products.

This amusement park is open from March until January. Events are ongoing throughout the year and the park publishes information about upcoming festivals, performances, and other special events that may be of interest to visitors so they can plan ahead. Certain rides may not be open year round for safety or weather reasons. People interested in all-inclusive packages may want to book ahead to get the most favorable rates as these packages tend to sell out very quickly.

Travel agents can assist people with making arrangements to visit Dollywood and other attractions in and around Pigeon Forge. A rental car is usually recommended, as transportation options are limited, but it is also possible to book a tour that includes busing or other private transport. People can also book trips directly through Dollywood, and same day tickets are usually available for travelers who prefer not to plan ahead.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By animegal — On Sep 05, 2011

Dollywood has been a curiosity of mine ever since my mom introduced me to Dolly Parton's music. I am actually really interested in seeing the Eagle Mountain Sanctuary because they have so many bald eagles there available for viewing.

I have always been a bit of a science geek, and I really like the idea of working with wild animals that are non-releasable due to health issues. I wonder how hard it would be to get a volunteering spot at a place like Dollywood?

If I can't do my volunteering somewhere exciting perhaps I can always work with animals locally.

By Sara007 — On Sep 04, 2011

If you have kids and are passing through Tennessee you absolutely have to take them to Dollywood. Some of the rides there are simply fantastic and there is nothing like a heart stopping roller coaster ride to get your kids excited.

My kids and I absolutely love Mystery Mine as it takes a really unique spin on roller coasters. I think the idea of looping through an abandoned mine is a really novel one. Plus being in the dark makes it all the more exciting. If you are a sucker for special effects, Mystery Mine is definitely the way to go.

By SarahSon — On Sep 04, 2011

Several years ago when we were in Tennessee, we went to the Smoky Mountain Jubilee. It was a down home evening of good, clean entertainment.

I don't know if this is still open as I remember reading that the owner passed away a few years ago. They had put on shows there for many years and had quite a following of people who enjoyed their style of entertainment.

You won't lack finding places to go or be entertained in this area. There are many places that are family friendly and well worth the time and money to go see.

By golf07 — On Sep 04, 2011

If you are planning on being in the Pigeon Forge area of Tennessee, I would recommend a stop at Dollywood. It is a great place for the whole family, and even if you don't have kids, there are a lot of attractions that people of all ages would be interested in.

When we were there, I was looking for some discount Dixie Stampede tickets, but never found any. Since this was something I always wanted to see, we went ahead and bought the tickets anyway.

It was a very enjoyable and entertaining evening. All of the food was served without any utensils so you used your fingers for everything from an appetizer to dessert.

They gave you plenty of napkins and the food and the entertainment was worth the price we paid.

By sunshined — On Sep 03, 2011

My husband had some business meetings in Tennessee, so the whole family decided to go along. There were several Smoky Mountain attractions we wanted to see, but Dollywood was first on our list.

We spent two days there and really had a great time. It was the middle of summer when we visited and I think my kids enjoyed Splash Country even more than they did the main park.

I was impressed with the southern hospitality that was shown by most everyone we encountered at the park. This is a place that I would definitely visit again if I was in the area.

By burcinc — On Sep 02, 2011

@fify-- Yea, I've done that before. I purchased the Dollywood vacation package which includes the cost of lodging and the cost of the rides, so you just pay for your food.

I think it's definitely worth it because most people who go to Dollywood like to lodge in the cabins anyway because it's much more comfortable than the hotels and the price is not much different. With the package, you guarantee a cabin (they get rented out fast) and you already have your tickets to all the rides, so no waiting in line for rides.

I stayed at the Gatlinburg cabins when I went, which was really nice. They also have extra deals for people who get the packages. If you stay for six days for example, you get the 7th day free at the cabin. You can also get a season pass which gives a discount for the cabins. If you've been to Dollywood before or if you're in the military, you get extra discounts.

I think the packages are a great deal, you'll probably spend more if you rent everything yourself. You should definitely get a package!

By fify — On Sep 02, 2011

Has anyone purchased the all inclusive Dollywood package before? Is it a good deal, did you enjoy it?

I really want to plan a trip there but honestly I don't have the time to look up hotels and rental cars. I just want a to purchase a package and have everything taken care of but I don't want to be ripped off either.

Is the Dollywood package good considering the cost of hotels and rentals outside of the deal?

By turquoise — On Sep 01, 2011

I've been to Dollywood twice. The first time was in 2007, there was only the main Dollywood park, Splash Country water park wasn't open then. We spent one day at Dollywood and several more days in the Pigeon Forge area. We stayed at a hotel, it was really nice, the Park was a lot of fun and there was plenty to see outside of the Park too.

My second time to Dollywood was even better. We spent two days this time, one day for Dollywood main park and another day at Splash Country. We went as two families, my family and my cousin, his wife and kids. We rented a mountain cabin, which was great and rented a car to drive around to Dollywood and back.

The parks were great fun and the mountain cabin was beautiful, had a great view and was very relaxing. The next time there is a long weekend, I'm definitely going there again.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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