FOMO at Dollywood: What Not to Miss

I recently discovered that I suffer from FOMO; the effects are especially heightened when people I know are at Dollywood when I am not. What is FOMO, you ask? For those of us of a certain generation, this is probably a new term, but the younger ones get it and even struggle with the pain on a more personal level.

FOMO, as Google puts it, is “anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on social media.” It’s an acronym for Fear of Missing Out.

That’s it. Simple. I admit it. I have great anxiety when I see others post portrait-mode pictures of food with Dollywood’s Grist Mill in the background.

Or, I might experience it when I see a group right after an excursion on the Wild Eagle, hair all disheveled.

But what may be the worst of the worst, those blasted selfies posed as a chicken with Miss Lillian—which only happens after receiving what she calls a chickie-blessin’!

With the new season approaching, I have committed to taking better care of myself and to treating my FOMO with a steady and frequent dose of Dollywood. Here are the top prescriptions that I have self-prescribed for conquering this very real fear of missing out.

Portrait-worthy food – I never plan a trip to Dollywood without first considering what I will eat while at the park. There are so many tasty options, especially during festivals. Picture this: a table full of southern home-cooked food. I’m holding a fork in one hand and a biscuit in the other. I have a huge smile, and the caption reads, “Nobody fills your plate like Aunt Granny!”

Insider Tip

My family typically plans one large mid-day meal. We like Miss Lillian’s Smoke House and Aunt Granny’s Restaurant because they are all you can eat, but we never cross Front Porch Café off of the list because we love that menu as well. Throughout the day, we love to share food from all over the park: cinnamon bread, Spotlight Bakery cookies and the festival foods around Market Square are a “must-eat!” While we’re talking food, may I recommend the lobster roll during Food & Flower Festival?!

Showcasing the shows – While I love the rides, my favorite thing about Dollywood is the live entertainment. Top-notch and off-the-charts is the only way to describe the shows. My Instagram stories fill up quickly with music and bright lights from the stages throughout the park. And it is so much fun to sing along and groove to the music with family and friends by your side!

Insider Tip

With each festival comes new shows and live concerts; check out THIS BLOG to plan your trip around your favorite artist or musical stylings. When the park opens, there are three brand new shows!

Craftsmen creations – Because we live in a fast-paced, order-online society, it’s great to spend some time in Craftsmen’s Valley watching and learning from master artisans. The area is like a step back in time to a simpler life—with tons of hands-on experiences. Share a video of a craftsman creating a glass pitcher or show off your own creativity as you dip your own candles for your social networks. Impress your friends with your cool photo angles at the Blacksmith & Foundry and Smoky Mountain Leather shop!

All the thrills, especially after sundown – While you can’t take pictures while speeding around the track on Lightning Rod or rolling with the mine car on Mystery Mine, I would strongly suggest capturing the memory in front of one of the iconic roller coasters at the park. And when the park is open after dark, those rides become brand new experiences. In my opinion, the best time to ride Wild Eagle is at sundown.

Insider Tip

Coasters have a designated storage area for guests to keep their belongings (such as cinch bags, phones and souvenir mugs). Look for them before you board.

Character encounters – Finally, no TikTok or Snapchat would be complete without a selfie featuring you and your favorite Dollywood character. For me, I love a good ole wing flappin’ picture with the First Lady of Poultry, Miss Lillian. And I may or may not hunt down Benjamin Bear for a quick pic after riding his Black Bear Trail in Wildwood Grove. There are several roving characters to be on the lookout for, like Apple Jack or Flit and Flutter (Dollywood’s own butterfly ambassadors) who love to be featured in your social stories.

Insider Tip

Get the Dollywood Photo Card! Trust me. You will be glad you did. With the purchase of a Dollywood Photo Card, you get access to all of the photos taken on rides and by Dollywood Hosts throughout your visit. They even have cool logos and graphics that you can add to your pictures. Go to THIS PAGE and look for the Photo Season Pass.

I’m not saying that I’m going to try to make others jealous of my awesome adventures at Dollywood this season, but I am going to do whatever it takes to cure my own FOMO issues—even if that requires me to overload my friends’ phones with selfies of my every move while at the park!

In all seriousness, though, Dollywood is one of the most beautiful parks in the world. Planted right in the middle of the Great Smoky Mountains, lit by the colors of nature and garnished by uniquely-themed buildings and structures, Dollywood offers a natural setting for capturing your moments and sharing your memories. That’s definitely something you don’t want to miss!

By | 2021-03-10T17:34:00+00:00 March 10th, 2021|Trip Planning|0 Comments

About the Author:

Jeremy Chandler (Dollywood Insider 2019-2021) was born in the "bluegrass state," but has lived most of his life in the Piedmont Triad of North Carolina. As the creative director for a church and academy, he enjoys writing, graphic and web design and creating stories that inspire and encourage others. His frequent trips to the Great Smoky Mountains, Dollywood specifically, recharge his creative energy and inspires his writing. Jeremy leads a singles ministry at his church (tbcnow.org) and enjoys time spent with his small group. He loves to read and believes in the value of investing in others. His greatest passions, however, are his amazing family, deep-rooted faith and best friends.
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