I Dream of Dollywood

This cold winter has me dreaming of warmer temperatures and the places that open with them. This Friday, March 16, Dollywood reopens for the season! This season of showstoppers is sure to delight, with festivals, musical performances, new food items, and revisiting all my old favorite rides. Here are the five things I’m most excited for this season at Dollywood!

1. New Rides (and old favorites!)

Well, new to me. Since our kids are two and half years apart, there’s a big height difference. We usually hit the 42″ height requirement rides with our oldest while our youngest naps in the stroller and take advantage of rider swap. (Have you heard of this? It’s magical. You wait in line once, and then each parent can ride with the kid while the other parent waits with the kid who doesn’t want to ride/isn’t tall enough). I’m crossing my fingers that in the two and half months Dollywood has been closed for the season, my two year old has grown the half-inch he needed to be 36″ and able to ride more rides! He’s so disappointed when we go up to a ride and he isn’t tall enough (he’s also too squirmy for central measuring, so praying we’re over that too!)
Do you use central measuring? It’s a lifesaver with our older son, who actually holds still long enough to be measured. If you go to central measuring, an Dollywood host will measure your child and give them a color coded wrist band. You can use the park map or the Dollywood app to see which rides your child meets the height requirements before, long before you make the trek to the ride and discover they’re a hair shy of being allowed to ride.
I also can’t wait to hop on some old favorites. The Carousel and Rockin’ Rodeway are two of our family favorites, and I am just hopping with excitement to get back on board!

2. Festival of Nations

New entertainment, delicious food, and demonstrations await with the Festival of Nations. I’ve never experienced it before, but I love learning about other cultures, and especially love all the new food! If you’re as excited as I am, you’ll want to check out the menu. It tells you what items are available and where you can get them, so you can totally plan your trip around the menu and no one will know but you (well, and now my family will know my park planning strategy!). 
New food is sure to inspire new favorites, and I’m looking forward to indulging in my old favorites, too. Hello, there, Cinnamon Bread! Bring on the funnel cakes! My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

3. Splash Country

Especially when it’s cold but sunny, I flash back to the hot summer days we spent at Splash Country. Feeling the sun warm your skin, with kid’s laughter as your soundtrack and leaving wet footprints as you walk from the wave pool to your lounge chair… its like medicine on these cold days. I can’t wait for Splash Country to open May 19, and I’m counting down the days. Both our boys will (hopefully) be taller this year, which is like unlocking new levels in a video game. We love experiencing these rides with them, and each new ride available to them is a precious memory in the making.

4. Holiday Festivals

I loved both Great Pumpkin LumiNights and Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas so much last year that I went to each one at least twice! Halloween and Christmas are two of my favorite holidays (oh, who am I kidding? I love all the holidays!), and especially when the weather doesn’t match the holiday I like experiencing something that reminds me how it’s supposed to feel. So even though the hottest day I’ve experienced at Dollywood was last October, during LumiNights, I loved seeing the pumpkins, hay bales, scarecrows, and Halloween decor. It helped remind me that it was, in fact, fall, and Halloween was just around the corner.
When it was cold but not snowy, the pretend snow at Dollywood and holiday shows helped get me in the Christmas spirit. I fell head over heels in love with Dollywood’s shows last year, which brings us to…

5. Dollywood Entertainment

I adore Dollywood’s shows. The caliber of talent is incredible, and I can’t wait to see what all they’re going to do this year. I’m already thrilled with the idea of the Dreamland Drive-In, as I’m all about that retro vibe and my kiddos love singing and dancing on stage. Plus, huge acts are coming during the festivals! Whether you want to see Amy Grant or Ladysmith Black Mambazo, there’s something for everyone. 
We loved the Gazillion Bubbles Show last year!
I can’t wait to see and experience all that Dollywood has to offer this year! What are you most excited about?
If you want to save $5 off, use coupon code DWInsiders5 and purchase your tickets online!

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