If you’ve never been to Dollywood – or if it has been a while, you should start making plans to go soon. The 2016 is already off to a great start and there is so much more to come.
Dollywood has received numerous awards and it’s easy to see why – the folks that work there love their jobs and treat the guests just like they would like to be treated. The park was the winner of the 2010 Applause Award, an award that is bestowed upon the park whose management, operations and creative accomplishments have inspired he theme park and attractions industry with its foresight, originality and sound business development. Dollywood’s awards also include Amusement Today‘s Golden Ticket Award for Best Shows (2009-2015), was twice named the world’s number 1 wooden coaster (Thunderhead), winner of Amusement Today‘s Friendliest Park (2012 – 2015), and so many more.
One of my favorite things about the park is the food. Dollywood’s delicious food was named the winner of Best Food by Amusement Today in 2012, 2013, and 2014.
25 Pound Homemade Apple Pie – yes, it’s real!
I could go on and on about the awards, but let’s take a look around the park. Dollywood began operating on May 3, 1986 and is located near the Great Smoky Mountains. It’s nestled among the trees on 150 beautiful acres.
Want to learn more about Dolly? Be sure to make your way to Chasing Rainbows, the state-of-the-art museum that houses memorabilia from Dolly’s life and behind-the-scenes collections. Just outside of Chasing Rainbows is Dolly’s former tour bus.
New for this year is a food truck which you can find in Jukebox Junction.
You just might hear Frannies famous fried chicken sandwich and legendary crinkle cut fries calling your name.
Rather have a burger? You can step back in time and enjoy one at Red’s Drive In. In addition to old fashioned hamburgers, they also serve thick, creamy milk shakes. (Fact: Red’s was named after the restaurant where Dolly had her first hamburger.)
If you find that your phone or mobile device has a low battery, you can recharge it at one of these Coke bottle replica charging stations, located at Red’s Drive-In.
When Lightning Rod opens later this year, it will be the world’s first launched and fastest wood coaster. Lightning Rod races down a 165-foot drop and propels guests along its 3,800-ft. track to a top speed of 73 mph, the fastest speed for a wood coaster in the world.
Want to see what it will be like to ride it? Watch the virtual video below – it looks like this is going to be a really fun ride, especially for those who like “air time.”
For those who are seeking a milder attraction, the Rockin’ Roadway is located next door to Lightning Rod. (Fact: The cute used car lot is actually extra storage for cars for the ride.)
Throughout the park you may notice special “guests.” There is even a spot by the bridge where you can purchase a handful of feed to feed the fish.
Walking through the park you will encounter the aroma of fresh baked cinnamon bread.
The park is beautifully landscaped with little touches throughout.
Below is a two-bedroom replica of the home in which Dolly grew up. Can you imagine being one of 12 children living in this small house?
Guests of all ages enjoy riding the authentic coal-fired steam engine on a 20 minute journey through the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. (If you have sunglasses, put them on. Remember, this is a real steam engine and you don’t want to get soot in your eyes.) There are 2 engines that operate at the park. In their former life, they both were in service in Alaska during World War II.
A great place to rest your feet and learn about fascinating raptors is at the Wings of America Show. Adjacent to the show’s venue is Eagle Mountain Sanctuary, a 30,000 square foot home for birds of prey that are cared for by the American Eagle Foundation.
If you are at the park on a Sunday, you can attend a non-denominational service at the chapel that was named in honor of the doctor who delivered Dolly. Services are held at 11:30 during the regular season.
Walking through the park you will see artisans and master craftsmen hard at work. Below is an example of hand thrown pottery made at Dollywood.
The sundaes below may look good enough to eat, but they are actually candles.
There are numerous gift shops to find gifts for your friends and family who weren’t able to make it to the park with you.
The cute firetruck below was for sale in Craftsman’s Valley.
As you wander further into the park, you will see rides tucked into the trees. Below is Daredevil Falls, an attraction that takes passengers over a waterfall down a 60-foot drop at a heart-racing 50 mph.
One of my favorite rides is the Wild Eagle, America’s first wing coaster that takes riders on a smooth and thrilling ride 21 stories above Dollywood.
If you are a thrill seeker, then Barnstormer will be up your alley. It may look like a giant swing, but it is so much more. Barnstormer reaches 45 miles per hour and rotates 230 degrees. (My oldest child really loved it and rode it several times. I rode it. Once.)
Further exploring the park there are even more rides to thrill and excite. All told, there are over 40 rides and attractions.
It’s easy to work up an appetite at the park and just as easy to satisfy your hunger. There are over 2 dozen locations to grab a bite to eat, serving everything from home made cinnamon bread to fresh pork rinds to a 12 pound pizza pie and everything in between.
Dollywood is a great place to take the entire family to get away from it all and enjoy time together.
You can connect with Dollywood on Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | and Instagram. Click here for the Dollywood website.
Looking for a sweet place to lay your head after a fun day at the park? Click here to read my post about Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort.
I was a guest at Dollywood and was able to check it out for myself. All thoughts, opinions, and grammatical errors are my own.