Best Tips for a Dollywood Trip with a Preschooler

I started visiting Dollywood when I was a child. Now, I’m a dad and I bring my son. My wife and I first introduced him to our favorite theme park when he was four months old. Now, he’s four years old. Time flies when you’re having fun—especially at Dollywood!

Over the years, I’ve gained some wisdom when it comes to planning a Dollywood trip with a preschooler. I put together a list of my Top 7 Tips that I’d love to share with you to help you plan your own amazing visit.

1. The Preschool Pass

The first tip I would give you is to make sure your have registered your child for Dollywood’s Pre-K Imagination Season Pass for FREE! It’s designed for children born in 2016 or 2017. This allows your PreK’er to get into Dollywood AND Dollywood Splash Country for FREE throughout the entire 2021 season. At Dollywood, children younger than 4 do not need a ticket for admission, so having this pass allows your child a little extra time to enjoy all the fun without pulling out your wallet. To register your child, click HERE. The deadline to register is Feb. 7, 2021.

Insider Tip

The deadline to register your child for the FREE Pre-K Imagination Season Pass is Feb. 7, 2021. Don’t wait!! If your child had this pass last year and is still eligible, you will need to register for it again this year.

2. You’ll Want a Stroller

During my many visits with my four-year-old, I have learned he loves to run all over the park, but I’ve also learned those little legs get tired. So, it’s always handy to have a stroller for him to ride around in when fatigue hits. Some people like to bring their own strollers, but, to me, it is always much more convenient to rent one of Dollywood’s strollers. It’s one less thing to haul from the car to the tram and through the park. Strollers are first-come, first-served and you can rent either a single or double.

Insider Tip

Right now, strollers aren’t available online during the off-season, but watch the Add-Ons page as we get closer to park opening and you will be able to reserve a stroller in advance of your visit if you’d rather not wait until you arrive!

3. Where to Eat

My Prek’er is a picky eater (can I get an amen?). My son, Aiden, currently prefers his diet consists of French fries, hot dogs, French fries, pizza, hamburgers, more French fries and pizza, chicken tenders and anything with sugar. So, it’s great to know all of Dollywood’s kid-friendly dining places. My recommendations include Lumber Jack’s Pizza or Victoria’s Pizza, Dogs N Taters, Red’s Drive-In and Till & Harvest Food Hall (they’ve added burgers!). This isn’t the full list. Just my top choices. You can browse all your options on THIS PAGE.

Insider Tip

Dollywood has paper maps when you enter the park. However, the Dollywood App is the way to go! It has the park map, show times, ride wait times, dining options and so much more!

4. Where to Find Restrooms

In addition to knowing kid-friendly dining options, it’s also great to know where all of the pit stops are. We’ve gone through the potty-training stage and constant bathroom breaks that come with it. Dollywood has 15 restroom locations throughout the park—including a couple options before you get inside. With a preschooler, this is important info! There’s at least one in every area of the park. Use the free app to filter the map for easy discovery.

Insider Tip

We have a PreK’er and are expecting our second child this month. I’m sure many families are like us with multiple small children. Dollywood offers Family Restrooms and four Baby Care Centers throughout the park for mothers who are nursing or pumping.

5. Best Way to Hydrate

On a hot summer day, my preschooler is always asking for a drink to stay hydrated. Dollywood’s refillable mugs are a great way to save on refills, and Dollywood offers free cups of water! To learn more about Dollywood’s refillable mugs, check out THIS BLOG!

6. Don’t Miss

To help you map out your day, Wildwood Grove and Country Fair are two themed areas where my son loves to spend most of his time at Dollywood. He also loves Rockin’ Roadway in Jukebox Junction and The Village Carousel and Dollywood Express in The Village. These areas offer many rides and attractions that are perfect for his height (some don’t even have a minimum height requirement—as long as your child can sit up!). These are my preschool recs that are a MUST!

Insider Tip

Wildwood Grove is the newest addition to Dollywood and can often be a busy area. I would recommend visiting Wildwood Grove earlier in the day before the park gets crowded so you can enjoy all of the rides.

7. For the Whole Family

Although I already covered food, this is a suggestion when the whole family wants to take a break. After a long day at the park, one of our favorite places to eat and take a breather is Aunt Granny’s Restaurant. As I said before, my son is a picky eater, and this location offers a variety of food that the whole family can enjoy! He loves their cupcakes to finish off the day!

I hope these tips help you as you plan your visit to Dollywood with a PreK’er. Opening day for the 2021 season is Saturday, March 13, 2021. If you’re there with a preschooler when I’m there, come say hello. I’d love to meet you and share Dollywood memories with you!

By | 2022-02-16T09:58:07+00:00 January 27th, 2021|Family Visits, Trip Planning|0 Comments

About the Author:

A Tennessee native, Andrew Courtner (Dollywood Insider 2019-2021) has lived in all three parts of Tennessee twice during his life. He was born in Knoxville and grew up coming to Dollywood as a child with his family. He now resides in Cookeville, Tennessee, with his wife and son. Andrew has his dream job of being a college professor teaching educational research and quantitative statistics. Andrew frequently visits Dollywood throughout the year making new Dollywood memories with his family while reminiscing about the memories he made as a kid. Andrew is excited to share his experiences and tips (especially about roller coasters and thrill rides) at Dollywood, Dollywood's Splash Country and Dollywood's DreamMore Resort and Spa.
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