9 Things Not to Do While Visiting Dollywood, From a Local

woman poses with dollywood photo op wearing tn t-shirt

If you follow these tips on going to Dollywood, you'll be a Dollywood pro in no time (photos by TheSmokies.com staff)

Dollywood fan offers tips on what not to do when visiting the Pigeon Forge theme park

I love going to Dollywood. As a kid, I was lucky enough to grow up within an hour of the theme park. Nostalgia and bias aside, even as a now-adult I must admit – Dollywood still holds its own even when compared to some of the other highly regarded American theme parks. This is why I feel a sense of pride when I find out a friend has never been, and I want to swiftly whisk them away to the happiest place on earth. I often have a list of recommendations for them, but if you want some real Dollywood tips, here are a few things you want to avoid at the Dollywood theme park in Pigeon Forge TN:

There are a few things you don’t want to do when you visit the Dollywood theme park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. For example, don’t make fun of the iconic ride Blazing Fury. Don’t skip the complimentary water – you will need it for the hilly terrain. Also, don’t skip over the cinnamon bread, which is Dollywood’s classic treat.

Dollywood Cubbies
Ride cubbies at Blazing Fury hold loose items for guests while they ride (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

1. Don’t spend a bunch of money on lockers

Dollywood is a park that really pays attention to the little details and values the guest experience. So on a vast majority of rides in the theme park, you’ll find little cubby areas where you can stash your stuff while you ride. There are lockers, too, but I can honestly say I’ve never used one. While Dollywood (or this website) is not liable for property left in the cubby, I’ve never had an issue with lost items (knock on wood). But here’s a bonus tip: If you decide to skip the lockers, bring a waterproof pouch for your cell phone and keys because on some rides, like River Rampage, you may have to take your stuff with you. And you will get wet.

stuffed animals at a carnival game inside the dollywood theme park
It’s safe to say that many of these prizes won’t fit in the previously mentioned cubbies. Save the games, and the shopping, for the end of the day (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

2. Don’t carry souvenirs around the park all day

If your kids want to play some games in Country Fair or someone in your party wants to do some shopping around the park, try to steer them in that direction toward the end of the day. That way, you won’t be stuck carrying extra cargo around the hilly theme park.

Dollywood Time Saver Pass
The prices for TimeSaver Passes fluctuate throughout the year but generally range from $60-$100 (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

3. Don’t buy a TimeSaver pass (right away)

I can’t speak for everyone. If you have the budget and are absolutely set on seeing everything in the park in one day, then a TimeSaver pass might be right for you. What is a TimeSaver pass, you ask? You may be familiar with the concept, but each theme park is a little different. Dollywood’s terms and conditions may also vary from year to year. Generally, the TimeSaver pass (starting at $60 plus tax, per person, at the time of this writing) gets you expedited entrances five times throughout the day on your choice of participating rides. The TimeSaver Unlimited pass (starting at $80 plus tax at the time of this writing) gets you unlimited access to expedited entry at all participating rides and attractions.

But is a TimeSaver pass worth it? And the answer is, it depends. Dollywood makes it easy to view wait times for its rides both in-park and with the Dollywood app. And I’ve rarely seen any wait time go much above one hour. It’s also not uncommon, in my experience, to ride a ride over and over again because there is virtually no wait. Even though the TimeSaver passes could sell out on a busy day, I’d consider scoping out the crowds before shelling out the cash.

Dollywood Emporium
There is so much to see and do at Dollywood between the rides, shows, attractions, dining and shops that you may very likely need two days to experience it all (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

4. Don’t try to experience the park in one day on your first visit

Dollywood has a lot to offer. I would argue that some of its coasters rival the best in the world. Genuinely, I would rank Wild Eagle and Lightning Rod among my top three coasters of all time, including major theme parks like Universal, Six Flags and Disney. But Dollywood is more than just rides and coasters. They also offer shows (some of which feature Dolly Parton’s family members), exceptionally good theme park food and immersive experiences that are worth checking out. If you try to do the theme park in one single day, you might be missing out.

The Dollywood App
There is no better tool for your arsenal than the Dollywood app while in the park (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

5. Don’t forget to download the Dollywood app

The Dollywood app helps you find rides, shops and restaurants based on your location. It even has a “Friend Finder” feature in case anyone in your group splits off during the day. It’s one of the most helpful theme park apps I’ve ever downloaded.

a water cup
Free cups of water are available at most dining locations (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

6. Don’t miss out on the complimentary water

Tennessee is humid, y’all. But luckily, the folks at Dollywood don’t want you to get dehydrated, so just about any kiosk that is able will give you free iced tap water on request. Here’s a pro tip: Carry around a refillable screw-top bottle into which to dump the complimentary water. Dollywood crew members won’t be able to handle your water bottle directly as they would be seen as less than sanitary, but I often request a couple of water cups at a time just to pour them into the more bag-friendly, screw-top bottle.

cinnamon bread at dollywood
Dollywood is known for its authentic grist mill cinnamon bread (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

7. Don’t miss the cinnamon bread

I think there’s probably no greater joy in life than grabbing some warm cinnamon bread. Just as Disney has Dole Whip, Dollywood has cinnamon bread. It’s the iconic food item of the park. You’ll be able to find it in the Grist Mill, but I recommend going a little earlier in the day. The lines are typically longer when people are on their way out of the park toward the end of the day, in my experience.

a sign that reads "dollywood is closed"
Don’t let this happen to you – always check Dollywood’s operating calendar before you go (photo by Daniel Munson/TheSmokies.com)

8. Don’t forget to check the calendar

I remember once when we were little, my sister and I got in the car with our parents and headed up to Dollywood. After about a 40-minute drive, we realized the park was closed that day. It was a great disappointment and a mistake that I’ve never made again. Dollywood can sometimes have a limited schedule depending on the season, so it’s always a good idea to confirm the park hours before making plans.

The Blazing Fury
The Blazing Fury is Dollywood’s second oldest attraction (behind the train). If you make fun of it, them’s fightin’ words (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

9. Don’t make fun of the Blazing Fury

Blazing Fury is an iconic ride that should basically be required (for able-bodied people) upon admission to the park. Yes, it’s a bit older. Yes, your kids might ask “Is that it?” or complain that they “don’t get it”. But as one of the park’s first rides, it holds a special place in the hearts of frequent park-goers for its easter eggs, hand-painted decorations and lines that we all love to quote. The world may be a crazy place. But we Dollywood fans know some truths are constant: Molly’s about to jump, Luther has a weak back and the stables are on fire. So please don’t say mean things about Blazing Fury. Them’s fightin’ words.

RELATED VIDEO: What Not To Do at Dollywood

Do you agree with our list? Let me know in the comments.

Have a question or comment about something in this article? Contact our staff here. You may also contact our editorial team at info@thesmokies.com.

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38 thoughts on “9 Things Not to Do While Visiting Dollywood, From a Local”

  1. Omg! Fellow local here! I grew up in Cherokee and then we moved to Sevierville; so, I too have ALWAYS had a season pass! After we moved to Sevier county, I even got to go on “field trips” to Dollywood! The Blazing Fury(though when I ride it now it seems SO lame in comparison)it was one of only a couple roller coasters there and truly was the WHOLE point of a trip to Dollywood for me for quite some time!!! When we went there on “field trips” it was always The Blazing Fury that you got to ride alone with the guy you were “going” with🤣😂🤣or wished you were🤣🤣

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  2. I’m going to Dollywood on Saturday, for the first time since the early 90’s. The first time I ever went I went just my mom and I. She doesn’t ride rides so I rode Blazing Fury alone. I LOVED it and got back in line several times. Came home to find out I was expecting my daughter! So I always say that was sorta her first coaster. I’d never make fun of it. So unique!!

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  3. Does anyone know if I need to buy a time-saver for each ticket holder? It’s a family of 4 with one child under 4

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  4. Hello I’m going to Dollywood next week. I’ve read that with Covid they weren’t allowing you to put your stuff into the cubby while you ride the roller coasters. Is that true or are you still able to leave your bags? Thanks

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  5. Do you recommend buying Dollywood tickets on line hours before it opens in the morning or is it OK to get them at the gate , just arrive way early ?

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    • Hi Vacation Traveler! It’s likely a matter of personal preference, but I like to buy online in advance since it tends to help speed things along when you get there. 🙂

      Reply
  6. Did they do away with on ride photo passes? I thought there was one good for a full year, but can’t even find the daily one.

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    • Hey Patches! On-Ride Photos (Photo Passes) have been temporarily suspended due to staffing issues at Dollywood.

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  7. If I buy a ticket online can anyone use it or is only for the name it was purchased in? I only see a portion of the last name on the ticket. Also if it is a two day pass does the same person have to use it the 2nd day? Thanks!

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    • Hi Cindy! I believe for two-day passes, the same person is supposed to use it both days. You can buy more than one pass under the same name if you’re purchasing for your family, but be careful of purchasing passes from other individuals who are reselling. When in doubt, contact Dollywood customer service. Hope that helps!

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    • Hi Patty, if you have a Bring A Friend ticket, it is one per passholder. From Dollywood: “Remember, Bring-A-Friend tickets provide free admission (a value of $84). The 2022 flexible Bring-A-Friend Free tickets can only be used during the 2022 season. They have blackout dates of Fridays and Saturdays as well as select weeks throughout the year. These tickets can be used one per passholder and the passholder must be present…”

      Hope that helps!

      Reply
  8. Hi Alaina,

    We plan on going to Dollywood the week of Christmas. Do you recommend buying tickets in advance? Are they likely to sell out? I would like to hold off until I can view the weather forecast.

    Reply
    • Hi Lisa! I can’t give you a 100% guarantee – but you should be able to wait until you’re able to see a weather forecast. If you wait until the day of, try to arrive on the early side. If you’re concerned, you could keep an eye on the tickets (go online as if you’re buying a ticket) and make sure it still shows availability. Dollywood says that “your ticket is valid for one visit within 5 operating days of the date selected” [when your purchase]. They’re closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Hope that helps! 🙂

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    • Hi Paloma, you can pre-purchase standard parking online for $22.80 (which comes out to $25 after tax, currently). If you have a Gold or Diamond pass, parking is free. If you opt for preferred parking, it is on a first-come, first-served basis – so buying online has an advantage. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  9. We went to Dollywood a few weeks back but it rained us out so they gave us a rain check ticket each. Now, we’re planning to go back but 2 of us in our original group isn’t going. Can we let 2 other people use the tickets instead?

    Reply
    • Hi Tipper, I think technically the Dollywood tickets are non-transferable according to the Dollywood terms and conditions but I’m not 100% sure on the rainchecks. I’d check with customer service to be sure. Hope that helps. Remember if you’re going this season to make a reservation. 🙂

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  10. I am going to Dollywood in April with a family of four! My question is if I purchase a two day pass for each of us can I do one day park and one day water park?!

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  11. I am going to Dollywood in August. I bought gold season pass. I might bring someone along for friend pass can I use on my first visit. I won’t have to pass card. Is there anyway to get one before I arrive. I’m coming from Oklahoma.

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  12. We spent 3 days at Dollywood last September. It was wonderful first rate entertainment. We just finished a week at Disney World and Universal Studios. We enjoyed it but it was crowded and 5 times more money. Dollywood is my choice next time.

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  13. We went to Dolly Wood in 2021 and it was part of our Vaction, we paid a lot of money for our tickets and literally saw Nothing!! Two restaurants were open with 2 hour wait they said, And A couple of rides were open, No ,No shops were open at all A lady that works there says had no help! Well what I’m getting at WHY didn’t they tell us,at the ticket booth and informed us Nothing was Open, Or running, OR Afterwards Give our money Back! IT was literally Terrible!! Never go again

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  14. I love quirky coasters like Blazing Fury. There are still some around and are a joy to ride. While I think Wild Eagle is a bore, Lightning Rod is by far the best in the park.

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  15. #8) Don’t come to the park … wearing a bikini top or sports bra, or with your
    pants sagging. … This is America’s #1 Family Park for a reason. Keep it family-friendly.

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  16. I told my oldest son who was 9 at the time and wanted to have a baby brother since he was 4 years old that he was finally getting a sibling using the sign of Blazing Fury. When we went to get on, I told him I could not ride and he ask me why and I pointed to the no pregnancy part of the sign. He was so excited! So, this ride means a lot to a lot of people

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  17. “COME back here! I wanna kiss on you some!”
    “Kiss?! You look like you’ve been kissin’ on that steam train!”
    I was born, raised and still living in Maryville! I still have souvenirs from Silver Dollar City, Ogle’s Water Park and my Dollywood Season Passes from almost every single year since it changed over. The old paper ones, lol!!!
    I agree with you The Blazing Fury will always hold a special place in my heart. I still ride it around least once (most recently, last week) every time I go. I must tell you that I do get misty eyed just a little, even still because they took the water out. That was my favorite part and it kills me at the end each time I ride it. Yes, the bins at the Fury are still there.

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  18. Great article. After wearing wet clothes from the rampage and watergun fights, all the way out of the park.. Which takes a bit, then the ride to the car, and all the way back to the motel room. The next year I rented a locker, two bucks I think in the late ninetys, and put dry clothes in a backpack for me and my son. We tried to keep our feet dry but didn’t work on the rampage and certainly not the watergun fights. So the next year, I put Xtra shoes in the lockers, it took two for all of it but worth it to me to be dry for the time to get out and back to the room, and I don’t like to carry around anything at all while there, it’s a lot of walking. That watergun town is gone now but still plenty to get soaked on. Wet or dry, always awesome. Does anyone remember getting a roller dog there? It was a burger shaped like a hot dog on a hot dog bun. It was great ɓut hadn’t seen it in years, decades really. Possibly could have been Silver Dollar City, before it was Dollywood. In my fifties and yes, Blazing Fury is still awesome, you get a show and a coaster, and it’s got A/C in the summer. Awesome!! Feeding quarters into those water squirting machines at the rampage is the best. I’ve dropped a roll of quarters in one sitting and be rolling the entire time. It may be bad but a blast and I’ve been squirted plenty. It’s hysterical..

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  19. My family and I are visiting Dollywood this year, the week before Christmas. This will be our third time to Dollywood. I’ve always bought the time saver plus passes, but this trip was kind of last minute and I’m wondering if we will really need them. Does anyone think they’ll be necessary? Want to make the right decision

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    • Hi Rachael! I personally usually don’t get them, but everyone is different. I find that wait times usually aren’t as bad as a place like Disney, but it will be a little crowded close to Christmas

      Reply

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