Dollywood is so much fun for families with children of all ages. Don’t be intimidated to take young children to this theme park. I know there are always so many things to think about (and bring!) when planning a day out with tots. My little guy came home from China just after turning 2 years old. We immediately introduced him to Dollywood because it was so fun for all of us—and, of course, we enjoyed that his admission was FREE! Dollywood is so thoughtful to provide the perfect spaces, rides and play areas to accommodate even the smallest of fans. I’m here for you with some tips for an amazing day!
Strollers for little legs are a must! Dollywood is large and hilly. You and your children will be glad to have a stroller, I promise. Strollers provide your kids the chance to rest their legs and even take a quick nap! Another bonus: you can store a lot in a stroller without having to carry it. There is plenty of stroller parking around all the attractions geared toward the younger crowd.
You can bring your stroller on the tram! And as they will tell you, please take your child out of the stroller before you store it!
If you don’t want to lug your own stroller on vacation, Dollywood has single and double strollers available for rent. These are best-suited for toddlers and up.
Start the day at Centralized Measuring, which is located between the Ride Accessibility Center and Rental Services, to have your child measured. They will receive a color-coded wristband that makes it easy to identify which rides your child is tall enough to ride.
Find out where the family bathrooms are located before starting your day. You will want to know where they are in case of a sudden full diaper or a child that needs to go potty very quickly!
Plan Your Meals Before You Arrive
Plan meals ahead of time to avoid hangry meltdowns. Have a list of a few places you want to eat—I say few to give yourself flexibility. At the full-service restaurants (which is nice to take a break with littles), you can put your name in and they will text you when your table is ready. On busy days, start thinking about eating about an hour before you’d like to sit down.
You can even order ahead of time at Red’s Drive-In!
Also, be prepared with Puffs or other snackable food when your wee one needs distraction throughout the day.
Refillable Food Options
Utilize the refillable mugs, popcorn buckets or Dippin’ Dots bowls. The refills are a very affordable snack, and they can easily be stored in your strollers!
Plan for the day to be slow and set small goals. Example: We’re going to ride the train and enjoy the attractions in Country Fair. Don’t rush and it will be a much better day!
Where to Spend Your Time
There are attractions for even the smallest of riders! Plan to check out our favorites for the 5 and under crowd:
Busy Bees (Country Fair)
Lucky Ducky (Country Fair)
Piggy Parade (Country Fair)
The Amazing Flying Elephants (Country Fair)
Shooting Star (Country Fair- 36-inch height requirement)
The Dollywood Express (The Village)
The Village Carousel (The Village)
Rockin’ Roadway (Jukebox Junction)
Black Bear Trail (Wildwood Grove- 36-inch height requirement)
Frogs & Fireflies (Wildwood Grove)
*This is not a full list! Just a look at some of my family’s favorites!
Find the Playgrounds
Hidden Hollow (indoor playground with AC!!) has specific areas for toddlers and older children. You can find Hidden Hollow in Wildwood Grove.
Look for small play areas tucked throughout the park. We really love the playgrounds in Owens Farm and FireHouse Fun Yard next to FireChaser Express. These are typically shaded and a quiet(er) respite from the crowds. Some also involve water—perfect for hot days!
There are many different shows that are good for small visitors. Always check the schedule. One show that is year-round is the Birds of Prey bird show.
And don’t forget to meet and take pictures with some of the characters around Wildwood Grove such as Benjamin Bear and Flit and Flutter! (During Flower & Food Festival, Flit and Flutter are greeting guests on Showstreet and in Rivertown Junction.)
Are you traveling to Dollywood as a single parent? This post has some great additional tips!
I hope these tips make planning your Dollywood trip so much easier! Don’t forget to add have fun and add memories to your list of things to do!