Recently our family took a trip to Gatlinburg and had the privilege of visiting Dollywood again. Last year we went and our visit was fun but not as much as this year because Chase (2) could do a lot more. If you’re considering visiting the theme park, I’d highly recommend it and have included some tips on how to do Dollywood with Toddlers for ya!
1) Dress yourselves and your kids in bright clothes and talk about it on the drive.
Remind them of what Mummy and Daddy are wearing just in case anything happens. If your kids are anything like….well….kids…then they wander and it’s good to be safe.
2) Grab a map before entering. My kids each wanted one to hold which was perfect in case we lost one.
3) Consider purchasing the Season Pass. Sure it’s more up front but only by a little bit and if you’re going more than once it pays for itself.
4) Bring a Stroller or rent one.
We lugged a ton of things to Gatlinburg and didn’t bring a stroller. For just $11 we rented one all day that included lots of pockets and places for drinks. Sure, he doesn’t look thrilled but it’s better than Hubs breaking his back carrying him.
5) Note the Ride Limitations.
I like how Dollywood has clear signs for each ride not only in front of the rides but also in their map so you can choose which way to go before heading off.
6) One of our favorite things to do is let our kids “drive us” around in the Rockin’ Roadway at Jukebox Junction. It’s closer after you enter the park and the kids enjoy that. Don’t have them hike all the way to the other side to start. Our kids love trying out something as soon as possible!
7) Listen to the singing at Jukebox Junction.
The performers perform in regular intervals and it’s fun to stand for a moment and enjoy. Of course we don’t get to stand long……!
8) Head to the Country Fair.
The best place in the park for toddlers is the County Fair as they have lots of rides for them. We love the fact that many of the operators are older people who LOVE kids! One lady operating the pig ride told the kids the cutest story of pigs as the ride was going. Later we learned she was a retired school teacher!
There aren’t just small rides there and Isaac (5) loves the fact that he can ride a rollercoaster on his own!
9) Share a drink.
It was really hot when we went and you can’t take food and drinks in the park so I went to buy some. Instead of buying several small ones it was wayyyy cheaper for me to get a Large Juice and split it between the kids.
10) Split the day
The great thing about Dollywood is you can go in and out without cost. This is ideal for our little monkeys so we left around naptime and came back. Another reason we did this was to grab lunch out of the park and save ourselves money. Chase is still so young that if he skips a nap it all goes downhill fast and we wanted to enjoy the day. We stayed so close to the park in a cabin that we left, ate, napped a little and returned 2.5 hours later. Just get stamped to come back. Bonus? A parking spot closer!
11) Wear water clothes/ bathing suits.
There’s quite a few rides where kids can get wet and on a hot day Isaac wanted to wear his bathing suit. One great place for water fun is Owens Farm where they have a splash pad for kids. My kids also loved the River Battle at Wilderness Pass where they can shoot boats with giant super soakers!
We’ve enjoyed Dollywood the couple of times we’ve been and look forward to being able to go on even more rides as the kids get older!