Being a Dollywood Season Passholder comes with many perks, but my favorite is being able to visit the park anytime that I want. Flexibility in my availability to visit the park takes the pressure off of trying to fit everything into one long day. One of my favorite ways to visit Dollywood is a quick evening trip where I stay less than two hours. Some benefits to doing this include: the weather is cooler, the crowds are smaller, the lines for rides and food are very short, and it almost feels like the park is open just for you.
Recently, I was in Pigeon Forge and decided to make a quick stop at Dollywood while I was in the area. From the time I drove through the parking booth until the time I left, I was on the Dollywood property for an hour and a half. During that time, I was able to ride Wild Eagle, Blazing Fury and Barnstormer. In addition to hitting up three rides, I also ate some BBQ fries, drank a frozen lemonade from my souvenir mug and caught a show. How did I do all of this? Let me tell you how to make the most of a short amount of time at Dollywood.
Arrive After 6 p.m.
This note is specifically for Season Passholders, because if you have a day ticket, you’ll get the most value out of a full day at the park. Also, check the operating calendar, because the park closes earlier in some seasons. But if it’s an option, I have found that arriving after 6 p.m. is an ideal time, because this is when a lot of people are either leaving the park or have already left. You can find a parking spot close to a tram stop, the turnstiles have no lines and you have what feels like an empty park to yourself.
Download the Dollywood App to Check Ride Wait Times
Typically, the coasters have the longest wait times, but every now and then you can find a coaster that has minimal wait. Based upon predicted wait times, try to choose two to three attractions to ride while in the park. On my last trip, the app showed that Wild Eagle and Blazing Fury had a five-minute wait time, so I decided to ride those two coasters. Turns out, there was no line at all for these rides, and I was able to walk right on—saving lots of time.
Choose an Outdoor Show
Shows are a huge reason to visit Dollywood. When you’re short on time, you may be tempted to skip the entertainment, but don’t! I recommend stopping by one of the outdoor venues, and there are several. I really like whatever is playing at Back Porch Theatre and the Birds of Prey show at Wings of America Theater. Outdoor theaters allow you to enjoy incredible entertainment without commitment to an entire show.
Don’t Focus on Food
Dollywood has some of the best dining options around, but if you are in a hurry, you are going to want to grab something quick. I suggest grabbing something you can eat/drink while walking, such as kettle corn or frozen lemonade. This helps save time as you are not committed to sitting down and eating a meal.
While it may seem like somewhat of a whirlwind trip, you can absolutely have a wonderful experience at Dollywood in a short amount of time if you follow these tips.