Editor’s Note: This blog was originally posted April 19, 2019.
When your Dollywood trip is getting close enough for you to check the forecast and you see a high chance of rain, your first reaction may be disappointment. But for me, rain in the forecast is a blessing. Rainy days at Dollywood are my favorite. Why? You ask. I’ll tell you.
During the spring, we have the whole April showers bring May flowers thing going on, and it’s more often a drizzle than a downpour. It’s a minor inconvenience, and you can bring an umbrella or wear a plastic poncho to keep your clothes dry. As the day goes on, the rain becomes a part of the backdrop, and smaller crowds mean shorter wait times.
In the summer, the rain breaks up the humidity and gives the Smoky Mountains that extra smoky look! A heavy shower practically clears the park—making lines shorter and allowing you to do more. Plus, you’re not as hot! The remaining crowd is going to be in a ‘we’re all in this together because we’re too die-hard Dollywood to leave,’ mindset so there’s a sense of camaraderie. You’re also more willing to hop on the water rides because you’re already wet! The rain also encourages spontaneity, which can make for a romantic dash through a downpour with a sweetheart or a hilarious family romp with toddlers jumping in puddles and parents laughing along and joining in.
Speaking of lightning, as long as there isn’t any nearby, the rides will still run. There’s nothing like adding to the excitement of FireChaser Express than a bit of rain flying in your face! It’s just as exhilarating with some additional built in suspense during the climbs. If you’re not in the mood to get even wetter, Blazing Fury is a fun indoor coaster that will help dry your clothes while you get your thrills in.
Dollywood has a Safety Team who monitors radar at all times when the park is open. When there is lighting within a certain geographical radius of the park, rides will shut down. Twenty minutes after the last lightning strike, the operating team will initiate another test ride cycle before re-opening the ride.
A bit of rain is also a great excuse to pop into a few of Dollywood’s amazing shops, grab a show or two more than you planned and just take a moment to step under an awning and enjoy the beautiful view of the Smoky Mountains and all the natural beauty at Dollywood.
When the rain is finished, the park literally sparkles with rain drops. Everything feels refreshed. You can practically see the flowers growing, and the things that make Dollywood, Dollywood (like the fabulous rides, amazing food, wonderful shows and gorgeous setting) are all unaffected.
We can’t live without rain, so we may as well embrace it and let it make our Dollywood days even more memorable.