Are you Dolly’s number one fan? Aren’t we all?! Like me, you may visit Dollywood in hopes to see or hear something of Dolly’s. While there are little touches of Dolly Parton all over the park (butterflies, her music playing in the background, theming based on her beloved Smoky Mountains, etc.), I am here to tell you how you can spend an entire day dedicated to Dolly if that’s your desire.
Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa
First, make sure to stay at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa. When you enter the lobby, grab a cup of her complimentary pink lemonade. Enjoy that beverage beside the beautiful portrait of Dolly just inside the front door.
Then, spend some time exploring the resort. There are nods to Dolly Parton everywhere! At the bottom of the stairs, you will find Dolly’s Dream Box. Inside the Dream Box is a chestnut box containing an original song she wrote and recorded that will not be released until her 100th birthday. So exciting!
Downstairs you can see most of Dolly’s albums covering the walls. Did you know she had that many? Only a true fan would!
Grab a meal at Song & Hearth: A Southern Eatery and enjoy Stone Soup, Dolly’s family recipe. You also can find Dolly’s “recipe for life” hanging on a wall in the restaurant. And, as you are leaving the resort, sneak a peak of the gated RV parking spot on your right. That is where Dolly keeps her bus when she is visiting!
Once at the park there is A LOT to do and see! While Dolly’s warmth and personality can be found throughout the park, take a right after you enter the front gate to find most of the Dolly Parton- specific attractions. Head to Adventures in Imagination where you can find the Chasing Rainbow’s Museum, a museum dedicated to her life. You can breeze through in about 20 minutes, or you can spend hours studying all the exhibits!
Her former tour bus is out front, too! (Due to the pandemic, the bus may be closed.)
In Rivertown Junction, check out Dolly’s Tennessee Mountain Home. You can walk through this two-room replica of her Locust Ridge childhood home. This cabin replica was built by her brother ad decorated by Dolly’s mother with actual memorabilia belonging to the family.
In Craftsman’s Valley, visit the Robert F. Thomas Chapel. This simple country church was named in honor of the doctor who delivered little Dolly Rebecca Parton.
Make sure you take in a show or two while in the park! You know that entertainment at Dolly Parton’s theme park is going to be second to none. Heartsong is a multi-sensory film experience narrated by Dolly herself! She takes you on a journey through the Great Smoky Mountains and shares about the place that is near and dear to her heart. You can find this production at Heartsong Theater in The Village area of the park.
Harmonies of the Heart is another amazing show. The show features two of Dolly’s nieces, a cousin and a family friend. The cast sings original songs and tell stories doting on their “Aunt Granny,” better known to the rest of us as Dolly. You can find this show at Dreamsong Theater in the Adventures in Imagination area of the park.
You must eat during your Dolly day at Dollywood. If you try to hit all the restaurants with a Dolly tie, you will have to eat A LOT! Lisa, an area manager in Dollywood’s Culinary Department, shared with me, “Most people don’t know that Aunt Granny is the name Dolly is called by all of her nieces and nephews. Granny Ogle’s Ham n Beans is named after her childhood best friend Judy’s grandmother. Red’s Drive-In is named after the restaurant in Sevier County where Dolly had her first hamburger. We have studied over all of Dolly’s recipe books and things she puts out to develop the foods in each food location. Most of our inspiration for food has come from finding out things Dolly likes.”
Don’t forget to ride some rides while at Dollywood! Wildwood Grove (the newest themed-area in the park) is designed to embellish what Dolly remembers of her childhood growing up in the mountains. She even narrates the show at The Wildwood Tree each night.
And, of course, while you are at Dollywood, you must pick up a souvenir! Head to Dolly’s Closet across from the Chasing Rainbows Museum. Here, you can buy Dolly-inspired clothing, Dolly memorabilia and more!
Mountain Laurel HOME is another great shop that carries my personal favorite souvenir: coffee mugs with Dolly quotes.
Before you leave town with a new Dollywood Season Pass in hand—because you will for sure want to come again—stop in downtown Sevierville to see the Dolly Parton statue. Not only is Dolly beloved by adoring fans all over the world, but she’s a pretty big deal to her hometown community as well.
I hope you enjoy your Dolly-day itinerary! I can’t wait to hear what you enjoyed the most! Would you add anything?