Dollywood is known for its array of food choices—options to satisfy just about any craving—whether it’s savory or sweet. And, as the seasons change so do the menus at Dollywood. My favorite food time of year at the park is during Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival. My family went to Dollywood the first weekend of the festival because we couldn’t wait to enjoy all of the holiday treats that come with the season. Knowing it would be an eating excursion, I saved up lots of room to try lots of items. It was all in the name of research, so I could help you make informed purchases… Here are my highlights from this gluttonous visit.
We arrived at the park hungry. It was lunchtime. This was a hard choice: do we choose a sit-down restaurant, or do we pick one of the great food on-the-go options Dollywood offers? Just about anywhere you go will have special menu items for the Christmas season. With a hungry (and picky) family of four, we knew we couldn’t go wrong with selecting Aunt Granny’s All-You-Care-To-Eat Holiday Buffet. It was a hit for the whole family, and I especially enjoyed the Cades Cove Pit Ham. My wife went back for seconds on the turkey and dressing. The kids enjoyed all of the sides and of course the desserts.
After filling our bellies at the buffet we went to see a show. After it ended, the air was getting crisp so we made a mad dash toward the Grist Mill for some of Dollywood’s world-famous cinnamon bread and some hot chocolate. There’s just something about hot chocolate on a cold evening that takes me back to when I was a kid. I recommend both the bread and hot chocolate.
Later that evening the kids were in the mood for something sweet (again). They had been on their best behavior and so we were inclined to indulge them a bit, even if it was getting late. As we searched the cases inside the Spotlight Bakery, we had another dilemma: the racks were full of gingerbread men, Christmas cupcakes, and even a 25 lb. apple pie! Our younger daughter decided she must have a gingerbread man, of which she ate every bite. So thumbs up for the gingerbread.
Our older daughter wanted to keep searching so we headed across the street to the Sweet Shoppe. There, she was able to find exactly what she was looking for, some Christmas candy made by the talented hosts who work there.
For many park goers, the lights and shows are the main attractions of Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas festival; but for seasoned visitors, the food is high on the list as well.