There are several ways to get to the gates at Dollywood and Dollywood’s Splash Country. I have observed some guests trying to figure out which trolley to board when leaving the park, so I thought I would get some answers from the ones who know best!
I spoke with Lance Ridley, Operations Manager and Cammi McClurg, Operations Supervisor, to see if they could clear up some things.
Lance explained the different ways to get a lift to Dollywood’s turnstiles: the tram service from the parking lots, the resort trolley for Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa guests, the Pigeon Forge Trolley and the Gatlinburg Trolley.
The two last trolleys I mentioned are not owned by Dollywood, but let’s start there. These city trolleys drop passengers off at both the theme park and water park. Both Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg have pick up locations around their towns, and they make a loop that includes Dollywood and Dollywood’s Splash Country. This year in particular, Lance noted that interruptions to regular service could occur not only because of the need to social distance, but due to ongoing construction in Pigeon Forge. He suggested potential passengers watch these cities’ websites and take note of changes. These trolleys have a similar look to each other – both are painted beige on the top and have a strip of light blue and green with a mountain scene on the bottom. The Pigeon Forge Trolley, however has a dark green background on the bottom and the Gatlinburg Trolley has a red background on the bottom.
If you have been to Dollywood, the Dollywood Tram Service should be familiar to you. These trams travel back and forth between the parking lots and Dollywood’s entrance. They have pickup spots from Lot A all the way to the furthest open lot (usually F and sometimes beyond into overflow parking. This is not something you need to worry about while park capacity is limited!). Lance told me the trams begin running 30 minutes prior to park opening and run constantly all day until park closing.
For now, due to social distancing guidelines, Dollywood is advising guests who bring strollers to fold and carry them to their seats rather than storing them in the space behind the tram driver. That space will be reserved for wheelchairs and electronic convenience vehicles right now.
Dollywood’s Splash Country
I also should mention here that there isn’t a need at Dollywood’s Splash Country for trams to take guests from the parking lot to the entrance. It is a smaller lot and a quick walk from almost anywhere you park!
Resort trolleys are for the exclusive use of those who stay at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa. They make a continuous loop between the resort, Dollywood’s Splash Country (when open) and Dollywood. These are the white trolleys you see, and like the Dollywood trams, they begin their routes 30 minutes before the park opens.
The average ride time from the resort to Dollywood is 10-12 minutes and only about a five- minute to ride to Splash Country, according to Lance.
Let me add a quick note here for visitors who stay in one of Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Cabins: All Dollywood Cabins guests receive complimentary parking in the Preferred Lot. So, no need for a tram or trolley!
If you have ridden any of these Dollywood transportation vehicles in the last year, you have noticed there are quite a few changes due to COVID-19. There is a required health screening before you enter the vehicle (temperature taken and questions asked). The guests sitting in rows are socially distanced, which Lance noted does reduce capacity, but the park also has increased the number of conveyances to help with this. Face coverings are required on the tram and guests should use hand sanitizer before boarding (either Dollywood’s provided sanitizer or their own). Lance said for those who can’t use hand sanitizer, gloves are offered. He emphasized that health and safety are a top priority and the vehicles are constantly being cleaned like the rest of the park.
Lance reminded me of one other change with the 2020 season that will continue for now is the reservation system. Dated tickets are highly recommended because park capacity is still limited each day. He said it’s likely that on many days only guests with reservations and/or dated tickets will be allowed into the park.
I’m going to wrap this up by leaving you with some interesting general information about the transportation system at Dollywood:
- Between all Dollywood trams and trolleys, these vehicles will travel more than 230,000 miles in a typical season, which is 96 percent of the way to the moon!
- In 2019 the number of guests riding Dollywood conveyance was equivalent to half of the population of the entire state of Tennessee!
- During peak season, there are 140 hosts working in transportation – which includes all of the trams, trolleys, toll booth workers and valet parking.
- If you total it up, the team has more than 400 years of driving experience!