I recently had the chance to chat with Lance Ridley, Dollywood Parking Supervisor. He was full of great information and graciously answered all my parking strategy questions.
Everything you need to know to park well
When you arrive at Dollywood, the first thing you’ll see is the parking booths. These open two hours before the park and if you have your pass and payment ready your parking host can have you through the parking booth in just 30 seconds or less.
Then, it is off to find your spot. Parking Lot A (Apple Jack) is exclusively disability parking. According to Lance, if you want to get a spot in Parking Lot B (Butterfly)—the closest to the park for regular parking passes—then you need to arrive about an hour before Dollywood opens.
If you’re coming in the afternoon and don’t get here until 4 p.m. or so, Lance says to give Lot B a try. All the guests who arrived early to get their spot are usually starting to leave. Don’t worry if closer lots are full and you need to park in F (Funnel Cakes), just catch a tram. Dollywood runs up to 12 trams to make your trip from the car to the park easy.
Speaking of trams, Lance had a few tips for those, too. You can take strollers on the tram. If possible, have it collapsed and ready when the tram arrives. Lines are longest for the tram the first two and last two hours the park is open, so consider that when planning your day. (The first two hours, it’s busy getting into the park and the last two hours, it’s busy trying to return to the parking lot). This fact is even more important in the fall and winter months when Dollywood hours are shorter. I asked Lance—if I don’t want to wrangle my family onto the tram, can I drop them off at the front gate and then park? I assumed he would say no, but to my surprise he said, “Sure!”
For guests splitting time between Dollywood and Dollywood’s Splash Country there is no need to park twice. You can hop on the Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort Trolley and it will transport you between the two.
My absolute favorite thing I learned about parking at Dollywood? Courtesy Vehicle Assistance. If you arrive back at your car and find you have a flat tire, or a dead battery, or have locked your keys in the car, don’t worry! This does not need to put a damper on your Dollywood visit. Just call (865) 428-9463 or walk to the nearest tram stop and tell a driver your problem. The driver can contact Vehicle Assistance for you. As a mom who often has her five kids there by herself I love this thoughtful bit of help and security.
Because this is everything you need to know about parking at Dollywood we should cover costs. Parking for all standard length vehicles is $15; oversize length vehicles such as RVs and trailers are $18. You can catch a ride to the Front Gate on one of the trams. However, parking is FREE if you purchase a Dollywood Gold Season Pass. Retroactive benefits such as FREE parking do not apply if you upgrade to GOLD after the purchase of a Season Pass.
Dollywood also has Preferred Parking that is $25 (just $13 for Gold Passholders). Parking in Preferred means you get a close parking spot, a separate ticket window to purchase tickets and season passes, and an exclusive entrance to the park. I have several friends that adore this option, and according to Lance, the convenience is totally worth it. After parking there on our last visit, I am inclined to agree.
You can also upgrade to Valet Parking for $38 (Gold Passholders receive a $12 discount). Purchase Valet Parking at the parking booths upon arrival. Valets will help you unload your crew and gear when you get there, and with a 15-minute notice, they can assist with expedited departure for guests by having vehicles back at the valet parking drop-off.
Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa guests should take advantage of the convenient, free shuttle service which transports visitors from the resort to both Dollywood and Dollywood’s Splash Country.
Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Cabins guests receive free parking in a reserved lot at Dollywood and free parking at Dollywood’s Splash Country.
Here’s a video of some rapid-fire parking questions I threw at Lance. Find out what he says when I asked whether my 15 -passenger van is considered “oversized” at Dollywood.