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“Spent Most of the Time Waiting In Lines”
Review of Dollywood

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USD 175.00*
and up
Smoky Mountain Theme Park & Museum Attraction Pass
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Owner description: The 2010 Applause Award winner, Dollywood is recognized as one of the world’s best theme parks. Spanning 150 acres and located in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, Dollywood offers more than 40 rides and attractions, including the Thunderhead wooden coaster, the steel thriller Mystery Mine and Wild Eagle, the first wing coaster in the U.S. Dollywood’s entertainment is recognized worldwide, having received more trophies, 20, than any other theme park for its live entertainment which showcases country, bluegrass, Southern gospel, classic rock ‘n’ roll and Appalachian music. Daily demonstrations by more than a dozen master craftsmen offer a glimpse into the authentic artistry of the area’s rich heritage. Guests visiting the Great Smoky Mountains can stay just a stone’s throw away from Dollywood and Dollywood’s Splash Country at Dollywood Cabins. Accommodations range from quaint spaces just for two to sprawling floor plans that sleep up to 30 people. Guests are treated to sweeping mountain views while some cabins actually overlook Dolllywood’s popular Craftsman’s Valley area. Cabin guests receive exclusives such as free reserved parking at Dollywood and Dollywood’s Splash Country and complimentary admission to Dollywood’s Splash Country.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Activities for older children
Reviewed 6 April 2018

If I had this trip to do over again, I would have sprung for the line-bypassing lanyards and I would have paid extra for valet or preferred parking. We were here during spring break and waited more than two hours each for each of the main rides. Still, it is a small enough park that even if you have to wait in long lines for food and long lines for rides, you can still get to ride each of the really big rides once. There was only one big coaster we wanted to ride that we did not have time to ride because of the long lines.

1  Thank Mannie_Bothans
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 5 April 2018

Rides were fun. Food was very expensive cold and nasty. Cheeseburger was ice cold and nasty. And for 2 adults and two children the cost was over 50.00

Thank griff29654
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
DollywoodPete, Guest Relations Manager at Dollywood, responded to this reviewResponded 13 April 2018

Thank you for taking the time to write your review. We appreciate you taking the time to share your comments with us. I am sorry to read that you were unhappy with the quality of food that you purchased. Your comments have been shared with our Foods team for review. If you would please email guestservices@dollywood.com and reference this Trip Advisor review, we would be happy to discuss further with you a solution to your experience.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 April 2018

I have waited a couple of days to voice my opinion of our recent visit, but my initial feelings really have not changed all that much. Our first experience with Dollywood was not the best and from what we could overhear in the park, it was a common theme for the day. I am truly torn between poor and average on this visit.

I feel the need to qualify my comments. Our family has traveled quite a bit visiting amusement parks across the country...Disney, Crowinds, Bush Gardens, etc. I really struggled with giving this visit an ‘average’ rating as I’m still not convinced it is deserving of that score. Additionally, we did visit during spring/Easter break. However, that should not be an excuse for the park.

We stayed in neighboring Gaitlinburg a mere 8 miles from the park. Traffic was horrendous. We left our resort around 11 AM and did not make it into the park until after 1 PM. Over 2 hours in traffic (we made no stops along the way). Once in the parking lot, we were directed to park in ‘the first lot on the left’ which ended up being a free-for-all. Absolutely zero parking attendants or organization to parking whatsoever. Disappointing for a facility this size. Then, the lines for the tram to the park entrance were ridiculous as well. We opted to walk nearly a mile, but it payed off...we were in the park before others we saw waiting in line.

Since we did not purchase tickets online, we had to make our way to the ticket kiosk. I was extremely disappointed to learn that they did not honor the AAA member discount on site (tickets had to be purchased in advance at our local AAA office). So much for that ‘Show Your Card And Save’ option. Additionally, our daughter and her family were traveling with us. They are active duty military and the only way they could receive the military discount (which is significant) was to wait in yet another ridiculously long line. We were given the option of a line with automated kiosk for debit/credit card only. Actually, no wait, but we paid the price and our tickets ending up costing over $75 more than if we had been able to capitalize on our AAA and military affiliation (with ease). Having already missed out on hours of park time, we opted for the short line at this point.

Once inside the park, wait times for everything were unacceptable. By mid afternoon, we had reached the conclusion that we were probably only going to be able to check out one or two rides, maybe a ride or two for the little ones, and eat if we were lucky. Simply not worth the price of admission (no matter the cost) if you are not able to do very much. In a park this size, you should be able to comfortably see and do everything in a day with maybe a handful of exceptions. Not the other way around. For our family of four adults, an 11 year-old, and two 17 month olds, our admission was over $375.00.

From a business perspective, it appeared as if they were caught off guard by the size of the crowds. However, this is not their first spring break! Several of the concession stands were not even open during the day (would have reduced wait times at others) and we experienced a couple of locations running out of supplies and drinks even). It was very apparent that the park was generally understaffed as well.

Now, for a few positives. The park itself is pretty neat. Very clean and we did like the organization, variety, and shows (adult rides mostly in one area, kids area, etc.). The food selections were also impressive and the couple of things we were able to get for snack were very good. Pricing is typical for an amusement park as well. It is worth noting (to be completely fair) that the park did extend their operating hours by one additional hour. Our guess is that the complaint department had to try to do some damage control and for us, the damage was done.

In summary, we really wanted to like Dollywood, but it was quite the challenge and a true test of our patience as it was ‘hurry up and wait’ all day long. If we returning to the area, I’m not sure if we would give it a second chance. Thankfully, our week long trip to the Great Smoky Mountains was not specifically to visit Dollywood and it was only one day of an otherwise great, relaxing trip to the area.

3  Thank Darren T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 April 2018 via mobile

First off, get your tickets in advance to miss long line wait. We were here for a week and wanted to go every day so the season pass is the way to go. Also need to upgrade to a gold pass to get free, preferred parking. Also get 20% off your purchases so you get your money back if you plan to shop. Prices are very reasonable for merchandise but food is a little pricey. You can’t take food in park but lots of offerings in park. We found an all you can eat buffet about $20 head so we were able to fill up our teenagers with several wonderful dishes they liked. We love shopping in Dolly’s Attic as it is cute and reasonably priced. They even send your packages to front to pick up when you leave. We love, love Dolly wood and highly recommend it. Also can go back anytime during year on this pass.

Thank Kathy P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 5 April 2018

We are a family of 5 with kids aged 11, 10, 7. The roller coasters are awesome and the kiddie rides are great for elementary school aged kids. We were there during the international festival--the music was a nice break from the rides. The timesaver pass is expensive, but we found it very useful. Many of the rides that had 30+ min wait times we could walk right on. We arrived right at 10AM when it opened and were there until close at 7PM and never did anyone say they wanted to leave. If anything, the kids kept wishing it would stay open later! All this said, tickets plus the timesaver for 4 was $500 for the day! Disney World is less expensive and wins hands down on overall experience! If you stay at Dollywood it looks like it is more affordable. Also multi-day tickets help make the cost more reasonable. We only had one day to go, but had we more time, 2-days would have been perfect. All in all everyone had a great time!

Thank Jesspt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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