Posted on 5/9/2024


Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains draw visitors from all over the world, and for good reason: between the natural beauty of the region and the wide variety of attractions available in the area, guests never lack for exciting things to do. From hiking, white water rafting, and snow skiing to Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies and Anakeesta, fun is available for all. But no single attraction is more beloved and more visited in the Smoky Mountain area than Dollywood.

Dolly Parton is a central figure in Sevier County, and Dollywood is her original and most iconic contribution to the area. It rivals Disney World in its cleanliness and operational prowess, and its rides (specifically the roller coasters) are some of the best in the country. With an emphasis on patriotism and the American spirit, it’s an uplifting place to spend a day having fun with loved ones. We highly recommend putting this on your list for your next visit to Gatlinburg or the Smoky Mountain region!

We’ve put together this handy guide to the perfect day at Dollywood, and it’s chock full of useful information. That said, there’s no wrong way to “do Dollywood,” and you should feel free to change things up, move at your own pace, and enjoy the park in a way that best suits your crew. No matter what it looks like for you, it’s time to put on your comfy shoes and your sunscreen and head to Dollywood!

first things first

There’s no better way to start your day than with a quick pit stop at The Grist Mill for a loaf of cinnamon bread. If you haven’t enjoyed this delectable sweet treat before, prepare to be amazed by the ooey-gooey goodness that awaits you. Plenty of other pastries and breakfast items are also available if cinnamon bread isn’t your thing.

next stop: roller coasters

Hop on iconic rides like Lightning Rod and Wild Eagle and get your thrills by soaring high over the rest of the park’s visitors. Be sure to also take a spin on Big Bear Mountain, the park's newest record-setting coaster. With almost 10 epic roller coasters to choose from, along with a host of other rides and attractions, you’ll not quickly tire of adventure. 

slow things down

After conquering some thrilling rides, it's time to take a break from the fast pace and explore Craftsman’s Valley, a section of the park that features and pays homage to some long-standing Smoky Mountain tradesmen that are an important part of the fabric of our society. From blacksmiths and glass blowers to leather workers and knife makers, these artisans practice their crafts as you look on. Some even invite crowd participation! Most goods are available for purchase, making for great souvenirs to take home with you.

lunchtime is the best time

Treat yourself to a delicious lunch at one of the many eateries in Dollywood. Whether you’ve got a hankering for barbecue or a loaded burrito, you’ll find something to satisfy your appetite. After lunch, treat yourself to a funnel cake, kettle corn, homemade ice cream, or fudge. Go on—you’ve earned it!

prepare to be entertained

After lunch, plan to hit a few of the live shows Dollywood offers. Here are a few favorites:

  • Heartsong is a musical production that celebrates the power of love, family, and faith. Featuring talented performers and stunning choreography, this show will wow you and touch your heart at the very same time. 
  • Forever Country covers the changing landscape of country music in the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s. The audience will hear a wide range of popular hits from the likes of Garth Brooks, Shania Twain, Tim McGraw, Brooks and Dunn, and, of course, Dolly!
  • Join Dolly Parton's relatives as they share stories and songs from the Parton family's heritage in From the Heart, an intimate and heartfelt musical production. Get a glimpse into Dolly's upbringing and the rich musical traditions of the Smoky Mountains. 
  • Marvel at the breathtaking spectacle of Wings of America, a high-flying birds of prey show that showcases the majestic beauty and natural talents of these magnificent creatures. It's a thrilling and educational experience for nature lovers of all ages.

A sunset perspective

As night falls, Dollywood is set aglow with an incredible display of lights and colors. Stroll through illuminated pathways and soak in the beauty of the park’s many gardens. And don’t miss the chance to re-ride some of your favorite coasters under the stars—it’s a whole new experience after dark!

Any day spent at Dollywood is a good day. Memories are made, smiles are shared, and thrills are had. Whether you’re a coaster junkie, a foodie, a music lover, or a fan of all things Dolly (in which case you should definitely make a quick stop to check out her tour bus, which is on display in the park), this beloved theme park truly has something for everyone. 

Mountain Laurel Chalets makes it even easier for our guests to visit Dollywood by providing you with a free entry ticket for every single day of your stay at one of our properties. Take advantage of the savings each time you stay with us.

We are continuing to add to our portfolio of Smoky Mountain cabin rentals all the time. All of our homes are relatively close to Dollywood (less than a 30 minute drive), but one home in particular, Valley View, is a convenient 4.3 mile drive to the Dollywood gates. Check out Valley View and all of our properties today, and consider a trip to Dollywood in the coming months!