If you’re a huge planner like me, you probably think ahead about what you need to take when going to a theme park all day. While my organization techniques may be seen as a bit extreme, and I have a Girl Scout mentality of, “be prepared!” I think it’s always helpful to plan a few essentials to bring in case the need arises. In the past, I will admit that I have been considered what is affectionately (or, not-so-affectionately) an “over-packer,” and I have tried different packing methods from bringing backpacks, to purses, to over-the-shoulder bags.
Even though I don’t have children yet, friends and family members have joked that I am ready for them based on how I pack my bag. Over the years, I have found that any small-to-medium-sized bag works just fine because I really don’t need to bring a whole lot to the park.
The good thing about Dollywood is that there are all day lockers, as well as floating ride lockers throughout the park available for rent, so you don’t have to feel obligated to drag your bag around the entire day or onto a ride.
Below is a list of my Dollywood Day essentials for pretty much any trip, no matter the season:
- Ziploc bags- To help keep electronics and cash dry in case of rain or while on a water ride
- Small first aid kit- There are safety/first aid stations throughout the park, but I like to have a little first aid kit with a few bandages, pain relievers, allergy medicines and other quick items just for convenience and non-serious injuries.
- Tide-to-go or some type of travel-sized stain remover- I am somehow always making a mess, so I need this for the inevitable moment when my ice cream cone drips on my shirt, or I get funnel cake chocolate on everything. It happens!
- Extra socks- If I’m wearing tennis shoes, I ALWAYS bring extra socks in case the ones I’m wearing get wet.
- Small portable charger- I’m usually taking pictures and video, so my battery runs out pretty quickly. This isn’t an absolute need because there are places around the park to charge things, but it is nice to have in case those areas are crowded and I want to keep moving.
- Disposable rain ponchos-Tennessee mountain weather is unpredictable in all seasons, so I keep ponchos in case of an unexpected rainstorm. They are way less bulky than a regular rain jacket, but still get the job done.
- Towel- I always try to have a least a hand towel in case of big spills, getting extremely wet on a water ride, or even to put over a seat if there’s a little wet spot, or if the seat is really hot.
- Small wallet/card holder- To hold tickets or season passes, of course!
- Sunscreen and lotion
- Hand/body wipes
- Lip Balm
- Hand sanitizer
- Cheap sunglasses
The things in this list are pretty standard and basic but can really come in handy and are often easily forgotten. Even if it seems like a small item, when I forget something, it is usually what I end up needing. Thankfully, if I do forget something I really need, most of the things I use can be found in the park at the Dollywood Emporium.
It may seem cumbersome to even bring a bag into a park at all, but it really can be helpful. And don’t worry: if you think you’ll get tired of carrying it or may not want to travel back and forth to a locker, just bring along a friend who is not a fan of roller coasters. They can be the group’s designated bag holder!