How to Do Dollywood with a Big Family

I get it. Going anywhere with a big family can be a challenge. If your family is like mine, it seems like everybody wants to do something different and no one can agree on any one thing. Well, at Dollywood there is something for everyone and if you know a few little tips and tricks, everyone will have the best day ever!

Plan Before You Go

No one knows your family better than you, so a little pre-planning can save a lot of time.

Visit Dollywood.com to add things like strollers, electronic convenience vehicles (ECVs), TimeSaver passes and other things you and your family might need while at the park.

Also, before you go to the park, download the Dollywood app on your phone because it will be your best friend when it comes to all the things that Dollywood has to offer: show times, ride wait times, dinning, crafts, shops and even the park map.

Insider Tip

While reservations are not required, I strongly suggest Dollywood Season Passholders make them for each member of the family. This will ensure your entry in the event the park capacity is getting close to being full. For non-passholders, your purchased ticket is your reservation. I recommend purchasing in advance.

Starting Your Day at Dollywood

Once you get into the park, be sure to get a family photo in front of the Dollywood sign. It will be a keepsake that you will always enjoy.

If your family is like mine, you’ll have kids of different ages and heights with you. So, after you have your family photo taken, head over to the Ride Height Measuring Center—between the Ride Accessibility Center and Rental Services. This is where children will be measured and given a color-coded wrist band indicating what rides he/she can do. That way you know up front and can avoid tears at the ride entrance.

Insider Tip

If your child is 50 inches or taller, he/she will not need to be measured. The tallest ride height requirement is for Wild Eagle at 50 inches. All ride height requirements can be found on the Dollywood app.

Right next door to the Ride Height Measuring Center is where you can rent ECVs, wheelchairs and strollers, if needed. (Yes, you may use your own if you prefer.)

Time to Have Fun!

Now that everyone in your family has what they need, it is time to explore the park. If you have adrenaline junkies like we do, you may want to head up through Timber Canyon (that is, go left after you enter through the turnstiles) and hit some coasters first. Or, you may decide you want to catch a few shows and craft demonstrations first before working your way around Dollywood. There is no wrong way to go. That’s for sure. We usually wait until midafternoon to catch a show. That way the kids can rest and everybody can enjoy some AC. Another breaktime option is to catch a ride on the Dollywood Express.

Insider Tip

A lot of attractions have playgrounds and splash pads near them, so if the little ones can't ride, there’s still options to have fun (and burn off energy) while they wait on the bigger kids.

Let’s Eat

When it’s time to eat, there are a lot of great options to choose from, but I highly recommend going to Aunt Granny’s Restaurant. This is a sit-down eatery that’s served family-style and is sure to have something that everyone will like including some amazing desserts.

If you’d like a quicker mealtime stop, I’d recommend you pick up some fresh-made Kettle Corn, a funnel cake or some tasty treats from the Spotlight Bakery. These are shareable items, too! Whatever you do, do not forget the cinnamon bread. The cinnamon bread could be shared, but you’re not going to want to. Look for it at the Grist Mill or the Spotlight Bakery.

While there’s no wrong way to enjoy a day at Dollywood, I hope these tips helped you plan. Pace yourselves and have a great time. Be sure to take a lot of photos because there are tons of photo ops throughout the park.

Insider Tip

Before you leave the park, you can upgrade your day ticket to a Season Pass and enjoy Dollywood throughout the year and in every season. You will always have guaranteed entertainment for your family!

By | 2021-09-13T21:55:49+00:00 September 13th, 2021|Trip Planning|0 Comments

About the Author:

Butch Bennett (Dollywood Insider 2021-Now) is married and a father of three (two girls and a boy) and a grandfather of five (four boys and one girl). He was born and raised in Florida, and that’s where his love of theme parks began. He documents his theme park adventures (as well as his cooking escapades) on his YouTube Channel The Crazy Pop. Butch now lives in South Carolina where he is not far from his favorite park, Dollywood. He stays very busy with the grandkids and loves bringing them to Dollywood.
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