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What is Dollywood’s Parent Swap Program?

I visit Dollywood as often as I can with my entire family. Knowing I typically have two (or more!) young children with me in the park, people ask me “How do you plan a trip with little kids? What makes the day easier?” I have a lot of suggestions for making trips run more smoothly with littles in tow, but something I suggest that people don’t often know about is Dollywood’s Parent Swap program!

A Secret Superpower!

If you have any children in your party, let alone multiple children of varying heights or interests, you may find yourself with your entire party unable to enjoy the same ride. Of course, you can split up with adults conquering different parts of the park at the same time, but it’s more fun to stay together and make memories as an entire family!

This is where Dollywood’s Parent Swap program saves the day! If not all members of your party can board a ride, but both parents wish to ride with the eligible children, the entire family will still enter the attraction’s queue all together. One parent will ride with all qualifying children while the other waits with those not riding. When the ride returns, the parents will swap positions and the eligible children get to ride again!

So how does this work?

The logistics are a little different for every ride, but the general idea is the same; simply tell the first host you see in the ride queue that you’d like to take advantage of the Parent Swap program. For smaller attractions like The Great Tree Swing, this will be the host helping you board. For larger rides like Wild Eagle, this is the host halfway up to the top. Regardless of the size of the attraction, the next step is the same—one parent will board with all party members enjoying the ride, and the second parent will wait with the non-riders.

A parent’s view while waiting to swap by the exit of The Great Tree Swing (standing safely outside of the exit gate). The riding children don’t even have to move!

For the smaller attractions, there is typically a designated area set aside near the ride exit where you’ll wait for your party. When the first adult to ride returns and exits, they will swap places with the adult who was waiting. For larger attractions, there may be more extensive directions. For example, Wild Eagle and Lightning Rod both have separate, larger areas that are not near the exit where you wait with non-riders before rejoining the rest of your party. At each ride, the host will clearly explain the process for each attraction- no need to worry about the process ahead of time!

Wild Eagle has its own waiting area for Parent Swap! The hosts of this ride will give detailed directions how to swap with the other adult in your party.

Insider Tip

We spend much of our time with kids in Wildwood Grove. Each ride has a very accessible Parent Swap area where the littlest ones can still wave to siblings and parents! Better yet, there are restrooms visible from every single Parent Swap area. You can go do a quick diaper change or water run, while big brother or sister takes their first ride!

And it’s as simple as that! Families enter the ride together, parents take turns riding with their children, and reunite after both parents have a chance to ride! Whether it’s mom and dad, grandparents, or aunts and uncles, the adults and children in your party will cherish staying together while making thrilling memories at Dollywood!

By | 2022-04-04T17:02:09+00:00 April 4th, 2022|Attractions|0 Comments

About the Author:

Lindsay Bell (Dollywood Insider 2021-Now) was born in Illinois but moved to East Tennessee in 1986 just months before Dollywood opened for the first time. Lindsay finished her K-12 education in Knoxville and then enrolled at the University of Tennessee. After finishing her Bachelor's and Master's degrees, Lindsay started her dream job of teaching high school chemistry. Lindsay's husband and two young daughters are always up for a Dollywood adventure, and Lindsay is happy to plan the trip! When Lindsay isn't at school or in Wildwood Grove, she enjoys serving her community as a sustainer with the Junior League of Knoxville, cheering on the Vols or on the lake with her family.
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