Dollywood is home to more than 50 rides and attractions (not counting the shops, shows and restaurants!), so you may wonder when you walk into the park for the first time…”where do I begin?”
Fortunately, there’s no wrong way to start your first day at Dollywood. But if you’re feeling overwhelmed by all of the options, keep reading for some suggestions tailored for every member of the group:
For the Sightseer:
If you’re someone who likes to get a lay of the land before diving in, the Dollywood Express train ride is perfect for you.
The authentic coal-fired steam engine will take you on a 5-mile, 20-minute journey through the park and the foothills of the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains.
For the Thrill Seekers: Lightning Rod
If you’re an adrenaline junkie like I am, you’ll want to kick-start your day with an exhilarating ride on Lightning Rod. Reaching a blistering top speed of 73 mph, it’s the world’s fastest and only launched wood coaster.
Lightning Rod is a must-ride for any roller coaster lover, and it’s a terrific way to begin your day at Dollywood.
For the Foodies: Front Porch Cafe
There is so much good food at Dollywood. It can be daunting at first when looking at all the options. But don’t worry, you have an entire day ahead of you. One of my favorite places to eat is Front Porch Cafe.
It’s a sit-down, table-service restaurant with a variety of appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches and entrees — all sourced from and inspired by the East Tennessee region. It’s a great place for an early lunch or a mid-day break.
For the Shoppers:
If you like to shop, get ready to shop ’til you drop at Dollywood’s 20+ shops and boutiques. You’ll exit the park through the massive Dollywood Emporium, so I recommend saving that for the end of the day. One of my favorite shops to visit early in the day is Mountain Laurel Home in Rivertown Junction.
It’s not too far from the park entrance and features items inspired by the Great Smoky Mountains. It’s where I like to do a majority of my birthday—and Christmas—gift shopping.
For the Kids:
The County Fair area is the perfect place to start for kids, both big and small. The area is home to more than 10 mild-to-wild rides for kids of all ages.
And adults can ride many of them too!
For the Music Connoisseurs:
While Dollywood’s entertainment lineup is always changing, one show you can’t miss is Dreamland Drive-In at the Pines Theater.
The production features hit songs from the 50s and 60s brought to life by a talented cast of performers and musicians. Check the show schedule to see if it is playing during your visit!
So regardless of where you start you first Dollywood adventure, rest assured that you’ve got a great day ahead.