Humble Beginnings of Dollywood
If you’re looking for unique things to do in Gatlinburg, then you can visit Dollywood. It is the biggest ticketed attraction in Tennessee, and that is with good reason. Now on its 34th season, this 150-acre theme park will give you a whole lot of experiences and a whole lot of fun.
But, you have to graciously know that Dollywood didn’t really start out as big and as grand as it is now. As a matter of fact, Dollywood wasn’t always Dollywood. In the year 1961, ingenious brothers wanted to share the magic of the Great Smoky Mountains to the rest of the world. So, they opened a small attraction to the public. Initially, all the civil war-themed park offered was a coal-fired steam train, general store, blacksmith shop, and a saloon. The people loved it. A lot of kind souls have been interested in the Great Smoky Mountain area and were curious as to how it looked there and how people lived their lives there. Little did the Robbins brothers know that they started laying the groundwork for a historical theme park in the making.
By 1970, the attraction was bought by Art Modell, giving way to the name Goldrush Junction. Basically, it was still the same theme park but with more and better entertainment. The coal-fired train called “Klondike Katie” would give tourists a tour just the same. However, this time it wasn’t just a tour of scenic views, but it was complete with Cherokee and Confederate soldiers re-enactment of their battles in the mountains. A few more attractions were also added like a wood shop, theater and camping ground.
Herschend Enterprises then bought it in 1977, and the family changed to the name to simply Goldrush and then it was later known as Silver Dollar City Tennessee becoming the sister park of Silver Dollar City in Missouri. The park continued in its expansion spending a million dollars for more local entertainment, rides, and attractions.
As destiny would have it, Dolly Parton became a partner for the theme park with the desire to make a difference and help the local community. She wanted to help more and more people to be employed. Little did she know, she would soon be employing people by the thousands through the park. Dolly did not only become a partner and open doors for employment, but she would soon be lending her name to the park as it evolved and transformed into the now much-loved Dollywood in 1986. The park continued to grow and even opened its new water park adjacent to Dollywood called Dollywood Splash in the year 2001. Up until today, millions and millions of dollars are being spent on improving and surpassing the wholistic Dollywood experience.
Dollywood is complete with all the rides you can imagine. That is what makes it so convenient. People of all ages can have fun at the same time. If you want adventurous and thrill-seeking rides, as you enter the park, all you have to do is turn left. However, if you want more kid-friendly and family-oriented rides, you can just turn right, and everything will be easily located. There are rides & attractions, shows & entertainment, festivals & events, dining, shops, and crafts in the park which you can get busy with. The rides alone reach more than forty in number so you’ll be sure to lose track of time in this ginormous theme park. Mind you, a lot of these rides are nerve-wracking. In fact, Dollywood has been winning best new rides of the year multiple times. Dolly herself does not go on these rides though; she claims she tends to have motion sickness, so she is involved only with the shows and festivals. Moreover, Dollywood has won multiple Golden Ticket awards for the best food, shows, and best Christmas Event.
After all the action you’ll be getting, you’ll surely feel some rumbling in your tummies. You don’t have to go anywhere. Dollywood is also known for delicious food. Some of the more popular finds there are the steaks, renowned cinnamon bread at the Grist Mill, pizza, barbecue, and funnel cakes.
Additional Dollywood Hours
During peak season, Dollywood opens for a total of 12 hours. They start at 10:00 AM up until 10:00 PM. The park management wanted their visitors to be able to get as much as they can from their experience, so more hours are were added up. Before you wrap up your visit, cap your evening with fireworks available every night at 9:30 PM. The best place to watch is the fireworks display is at the Lodge complete with benches and grass you can get cozy on.
Better than Dollywood Tickets
What’s better than Dollywood tickets? Well, nothing less than DISCOUNTED Dollywood tickets of course! The park offers a lot of promotions where you can save your hard-earned cash. They have options to get seasons passes (which is excellent if you plan on going there multiple times), get combo tickets to include your entrance to the water park too and other promotions.
Aside from the tickets, you can save more bucks by visiting Dollywood later than 3:00 PM to get free admission for the next day. You also have to remember to bring your necessities like ponchos, sunscreen, sunglasses, extra clothes or umbrellas. If you don’t make a list and forget these things, you’ll surely have no choice but to buy from the shops in the park, and they are of course more expensive.
Other Dollywood Tips
Buy a reusable cup. The park desires to help lessen our plastic waste and so they offer one dollar refills for drinks. You’ll also be happy to know that they provide free water. So, don’t worry about getting all thirsty because Dollywood got this covered. All you have to do is ask.
You might also want to consider mining for gems. This assures you to take home gems with you which will end up being cheaper than gems you buy in children’s museums and get the experience that goes along with it. It can be something you can share with your kids, and they will have memorabilia to keep with them.
With regards to parking, on the other hand, you don’t have to pay for special parking. You can simply take the free trolley ride which your kids will enjoy because they will think it is another part of the theme park kiddie rides.
Great and Amazing Things to Come for Dollywood
As if all these things are not enough, you can expect great new expansions from Dollywood. It will be the most massive expansion ever. There are additional five acres of land being transformed within the park which will be home to the Wildwood Grove new coaster, eight new rides, more restrooms, more benches, and more restaurants.
There is also a premier series on Netflix which will be all about Dolly and her music come fall season. Some of the episodes will be shot on no other than the Dollywood theme park itself. So, come and visit us for more exciting times! Bring your friends and your family to the Great Smoky Mountains. Everyone is more than welcome to have a splendid good time.
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