Three Generations at Dollywood

I have this memory. It’s actually a couple of snapshots of a memory. I can play them fast enough in my mind that they move like a movie. Or I can focus on the individual moments and let them linger for a while.

One memory in particular pops up often. I was about four or five, I’m on what seems to be a train, there is fire everywhere, and there is a guy peering down at me and everyone else on the train. Can you guess where I was in Dollywood? Blazing Fury.

Sitting next to me? My dad.

It’s a moment I’ve thought of many times. Now, as I visit Dollywood with my son and my dad, those memories worth repeating are being passed on to a third generation. To me, there is no generation gap at Dollywood.

As Dollywood continues to expand, having just added Wildwood Grove earlier this year, the memory-making opportunities expand as well. My two-year-old son loves riding on Frogs & Fireflies. Sometimes he even gets his papaw or me to join in the fun.

Dollywood keeps things “family first.” Just look at Country Fair and the exciting opportunities for all families. In that section of the park my son can ride the Busy Bees while we watch or we may jump on Dizzy Disk which is nearby.

Over in Wildwood Grove, my son loves to explore in Hidden Hollow with his cousins while my dad and I whisk away on Dragonflier. Sometimes we get lost in the imagination of the area and the inner child comes out to play.

Dollywood has that kind of effect.

Insider Tip

Take advantage of Parent Swap. If a member of your party doesn’t meet the height requirement, don’t let that stop you from riding! Have your group get in line and one adult will wait in a secure area while the rest of the party rides. Once the ride is complete, adults will “swap” places.

If you look closely, each area of Dollywood has something for everyone. You and your party can “split” but stay together. It’s what helps keep those memory-making moments happening.

The design is brilliant. It gives our three generations more bonding time. We stay together throughout the day exploring the park and around every turn, we are given many opportunities to do something together.

I tell everyone that the best family attraction in all of Dollywood is the Dollywood Express. Your entire party can ride together. There is something truly special about getting to the top of the mountain and hearing Cinderella or Klondike Katie echo through the trees. I have quite a few memories of the Dollywood Express stored up as well.

Who is usually sitting next to me on the Dollywood Express? My son and dad.

The Dollywood Express leaves a lasting impression and my son never fails to call out, “Train choo-choo,” when he hears the whistle anywhere in the park.

Just like that snapshot memory of riding Blazing Fury with my dad, I’ll soon be riding Blazing Fury with my son and experience the ride from a different perspective.

In years to come he will be able to look back at the memories at Dollywood and say, “Sitting next to me? My dad.”

Insider Tip

Get the Dollywood Photo Card. Dollywood Hosts take excellent pictures of your favorite memories that last generations.

By | 2019-11-14T17:44:40+00:00 November 13th, 2019|Family Visits|0 Comments

About the Author:

Justin Hornback (Dollywood Insider 2019-Now) is the father of an adventurous two-year-old and the husband of a fellow Dollywood enthusiast. Born and raised in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, Justin loves all things hospitality, theatre, film, hotels, travel and history. Most importantly, his daily focus is getting to spend time with family. He shares his adventures on his blog and social media channels at Snapshots Made Yesterday. Justin loves visiting Dollywood (the four-hour drive is worth it!) with his wife and son. They are often found exploring Dollywood with his parents, who have passed on the love for the park. When not at Dollywood, Justin works behind the scenes managing the box office and social media for a performing arts theatre in his hometown.
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