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Tips for Taking Children to Great Pumpkin LumiNights

Harvest Festival is a gorgeous time to enjoy Dollywood, and one of the Harvest Festival highlights each year is Great Pumpkin LumiNights. As the sun sets, the park glows with thousands of intricately carved pumpkins and large pumpkin sculptures. This cute-not-scary evening event is a perfect way to experience the season with your family, but because the pumpkins can’t glow until the sun sets, the later hours may pose a challenge for some children. If you are planning a fall visit to Dollywood with your family, the following tips will help you make the most of your Great Pumpkin LumiNights visit.

Consider Your Arrival Time and Logistics

 Because Great Pumpkin LumiNights doesn’t begin glowing until the sun goes down, you may want to arrive at the park a little later than usual. Our family typically arrives at Dollywood before the park opens, but when we plan to stay for Great Pumpkin LumiNights, we arrive in the late afternoon. Arriving later allows us to enjoy a few attractions before exploring Great Pumpkin LumiNights while keeping us from being too exhausted to enjoy the evening.

Insider Tip

Staying at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa is the perfect way to make your visit to Great Pumpkin LumiNights even more fun! You can visit the park in the morning, ride the trolley back to the resort for a midday break, return to the park for Great Pumpkin LumiNights and then head back to the resort with no need to drive home after a full day of fun.

If you have a young child who has recently stopped using a stroller at Dollywood, you may want to revisit the stroller for your Great Pumpkin LumiNights visit. Because you’re likely to stay past your child’s bedtime, he or she may need a little more sitting time than usual.

Another practical consideration is Tennessee weather. Fall days can be quite hot, but the temperature is likely to drop as the sun goes down. Packing a sweatshirt for each child is always a good idea. 

Familiarize Yourself with the Route

 Great Pumpkin LumiNights does not encompass the entire park, and you can save time by familiarizing yourself with the route before your visit. Great Pumpkin LumiNights includes the areas of upper Craftsman’s Valley, Wilderness Pass, Wildwood Grove and Timber Canyon. Hoot Owl Hollow in Craftsman’s Valley is a new addition to Harvest Festival this year, and it extended the Great Pumpkin LumiNights footprint. Seeing this large owl made of white pumpkins and all its smaller pumpkin friends should definitely be on your agenda.

Insider Tip

Be sure to pick up a This Week at Dollywood because it includes the park map and guide containing all the information you need about the Great Pumpkin LumiNights route as well as other fun Harvest Festival details.

Look for Photo Opportunities

 You’ll find no shortage of perfect photo ops at Great Pumpkin LumiNights! Be sure to snap a picture in front of the massive pumpkin tree in the Wilderness Pass area, and don’t miss the reclining pumpkin near Wild Eagle. Children should also be on the lookout for characters throughout Great Pumpkin LumiNights. Harvey the Pumpkin greets guests at The Plaza at Wilderness Pass, and you might meet Pumpkin Polly, Pumpkin Master, Pumpkin Penny and others roaming throughout the area.

Insider Tip

For fun pictures and a happy child, check out the glow face paint available near Blazing Fury!

Find Festival Treats and Goodies Along the Way

 The only thing more fun than thousands of pumpkins is thousands of pumpkins plus delicious fall treats. You can find exclusive festival food options along the Great Pumpkin LumiNights route, such as Pumpkin Spice Churros with Pumpkin Fluff at Sweets ‘n’ Treats in Wildwood Grove or Maple Bacon & Walnut Funnel Cake from Splinter’s Trailside Snacks. Be on the lookout for fall-themed souvenirs at Volunteer Supply Company near FireChaser Express (the pumpkin bubble wands are always a huge hit). And be sure to stop at the carnival games near Tennessee Tornado—many of the prizes have been substituted for fun seasonal options.

Insider Tip

Grab a loaf of cinnamon bread before you leave the park and heat it up the next morning for breakfast. After a late night at Great Pumpkin LumiNights, you’ll be glad to have a delicious breakfast already planned.
By | 2022-09-28T17:01:06+00:00 September 28th, 2022|Festivals|0 Comments

About the Author:

Jessica is a West Tennessee native who fell in love with East Tennessee while attending college and law school. She now lives in Knoxville with her husband, their five children and their two tiny dogs. Jessica loves encouraging families to try new things and make memories, which she does on her Instagram account. After visiting Dollywood for the first time in 2016, her family knew they had found a new favorite place. They now visit most every month, and you can find them hitting the coasters as soon as the park opens. As an Insider, Jessica is excited to share the things she loves about Dollywood with you!
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