If your kids are anything like mine, their moods dictate how my day goes. It’s imperative to have happy kids with full bellies so you can make the most of your day at Dollywood. A hangry kid (or dad) can sour a good day quickly (or end it early). With the help of my fellow Dollywood Insiders, I put together some tips and advice on eating with kids at Dollywood.
The best way to set yourself up for a great day at a theme park or water park is to get a hearty breakfast. That’s one of the many reasons I prefer to stay at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa. They have many great food options including DM Pantry for a quick snack. Before heading to the trolley, we get a great breakfast from Song & Hearth: A Southern Eatery. There’s a big spread that will fuel your family all the way until lunch. During the pandemic, it’s family-style dining rather than buffet—but it’s still all you can eat!
When it comes time for lunch or dinner, it’s important to choose a place for meals that has a lot of options where everyone can be satisfied—even the picky eaters. At Dollywood, here are my thoughts for eating with children:
Red’s Drive-In– This burger spot is always a hit with its crinkle-cut fries and milkshakes. Get the child’s meal and it even comes with a pack of Goldfish, which is great to take as a snack for later. I should definitely alert you to the new opportunity to order your food before you visit, so it’s waiting on you and you don’t wait in line. This new option is available at Red’s!
Front Porch Café gives you the opportunity to sit down and order off a menu. This is the kind of break you just need sometimes—plus, there’s lots of variety. If you are concerned about any food allergies, I recommend eating here. They can accommodate just about any diet.
Aunt Granny’s Restaurant is typically buffet. Due to the pandemic, it’s family-style. The menu here includes Southern classics like fried chicken and mac n cheese. This is where you eat when you’re raising your children right. Just kidding. Sorta.
Dogs N Taters– This location is a great option for quick service. Choose either a footlong corndog or 1/3 lb. hot dog with seasoned curly fries.
Hickory House– I like this venue for the options it offers. Most come for the barbeque sandwich, but if you (or your children) aren’t a fan, they offer chicken tenders, loaded fries and smoked turkey legs.
Victoria’s Pizza– I know pizza is usually a winner for little ones. Victoria’s also offers salads and Italian sandwiches. This restaurant is located across from the Dollywood Express, which is a lot of fun for the kids. If your party has a hankering for pizza and you’re not near The Village area of the park, you can also grab a personal pan at Lumber Jack’s Pizza in Timber Canyon.
Till & Harvest Food Hall– With kids in tow, you’ll likely spend a lot of time in Wildwood Grove. Till & Harvest offers burrito bowls for you and tacos for the children. If you’d rather, you can even grab a burger here.
This isn’t a full list of your options when dining with your family; it’s just my top picks!
Perhaps not-so-secretly, Dollywood likes to go big on their menu items. Treat your children to an over-the-top dessert that’s shareable. By getting a large portion, you can save money and sample more of what Dollywood has to offer.
It’s important to stay hydrated while you’re at Dollywood and not to fill up on lots of soda. Did you know you can get FREE water? Just stop by any concession stand with a Coke fountain and ask for a complimentary cup of water.
To close out a special day I enjoy roasting marshmallows and making s’mores with my daughter back at DreamMore Resort. For Dollywood’s resort guests, this complimentary activity provides some great memory-making opportunities with your kids.
At the end of the day, remember you’re at a theme park. There’s always time to eat healthy when you get home. Part of the experience is indulging, snacking and sharing those special treats. I mean, what would a trip to Dollywood be without sharing some cinnamon bread?! But, keep in mind, it’s better to order two loaves because you may not want to share.