Do you have to make reservations at Dollywood? What you should know

Dollywood's Harvest Festival will run through Oct. 31. Guests are encouraged to make reservations to secure an entry to the park (photo courtesy of Dollywood)
Dollywood's Harvest Festival will run through Oct. 31. Guests are encouraged to make reservations to secure an entry to the park (photo courtesy of Dollywood)

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Dollywood temporarily suspended entrance to new guests entering the park on Wednesday and Friday afternoon this week after reaching their capacity limits for the first time this season.

On Wednesday, gates were closed to new visitors for about three hours from 1-4 pm while the park waited for crowds to thin. 

Dollywood is operating at a reduced capacity in alignment with the Tennessee Pledge, which encourages larger venues to limit crowd sizes.

The park is currently celebrating one of their most popular seasonal events – The Harvest Festival. This means crowds may be larger than normal, ride wait times may be increased and availability may be limited.

Read More: What’s new at Dollywood’s Harvest Festival, LumiNights in 2020

“Fall is always a busy time of year for our park, with nice weather and several school systems enjoying fall break, we expect to see larger crowds,” said Amber Davis, publicist for Dollywood.

But there is still a way for would-be guests to guarantee entry to the park during this busy time of year – and that’s with a reservation.

Are reservations required at Dollywood?

The short answer is no, they are not required. However, they are highly recommended. 

Dollywood decided to remove the reservation requirement in mid-July to make trip-planning simpler for guests based on reviews and satisfaction scores.

“While reservations are not required, it is still the best way to guarantee entry,” says Davis. 

Season passholders are advised to make reservations online using Dollywood’s Reservation Portal. One-day and multi-day pre-purchased dated tickets also essentially serve as a reservation. By purchasing a ticket online ahead of time, you are securing yourself a place in line with no further action required.

Dated tickets may be purchased online at Dollywood.com.

Can you still purchase a ticket at the gate?

Yes, you can still purchase your ticket at the gate, however, if crowd sizes are large you will risk being turned away. 

Are masks still required at Dollywood?

Yes, masks are still required at Dollywood. Masks can be in the form of neck gaitors or any other fabric that covers the mouth and nose. Masks must be worn by guests ages 3 and up. And yes, this policy is strictly enforced at the park.

Editor’s Note: We recommend this 3-pack from Amazon for $12.96 (approx. $4.32 each)

Specific exceptions apply, these exemptions include:

  • When taking photos
  • In designated relaxation areas
  • While riding “high thrill” attractions
  • While eating or drinking, either inside restaurants or walking throughout the park

Read More: Where do you have to wear a mask at Dollywood: Your questions answered

Harvest Festival at Dollywood
The Harvest Festival at Dollywood is an award-winning event (photo by Daniel Munson/TheSmokies.com)

About the Dollywood Harvest Festival and LumiNights celebration 

Dollywood officially kicked of their Harvest Festival earlier this month with live entertainment, larger-than-life displays and the return of LumiNights.

This marks the fourth consecutive year for the award winning LumiNights event, and last year, the event was named Best Theme Park Halloween Event by USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice, beating out Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando.

LumiNights features thousands of intricately-carved glowing pumpkins and illuminated displays. 

This year, LumiNights expanded its footprint with two new displays in the Wildwood Grove section of the park.

The first features a glowing pumpkin patch at the Wildwood Grove entrance. The second features a “sunflower field” pumpkin patch with dozens of hand-carved pumpkins stacked sequentially to resemble beautiful stalks of sunflowers reaching heights of up to 9 1/2 feet tall. Both displays light up at night with a soft yellow glow to create a delightfully haunting, but never scary, aesthetic. 

Also new this year is a colossal pumpkin display, with real home-grown pumpkins ranging from 300-1500 pounds each. 

The massive pumpkins were shipped in from a variety of expert, competitive pumpkin growers across the East Coast who were eager to share their prize pumpkins with Dollywood park patrons.

Dollywood’s Harvest Festival is presented by Humana, and Great Pumpkin LumiNights is presented by Covenant Health. Dollywood is open 10 am – 9 pm each day of operation (Sept. 25- Oct. 31, 2020) during the Harvest Festival. The park is closed on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the festival. For more information and a park operating calendar, please visit www.dollywood.com or call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD.

Read More: This is how to get into Dollywood after dark without paying full price

Disclaimer: While we do our best to bring you the most up-to-date information, attractions or prices mentioned in this article may vary by season and are subject to change. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any mentioned business, and have not been reviewed or endorsed these entities. Contact us at [email protected] for questions or comments.

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