A Fun Fall Day At Dollywood


A Fun Fall Day At DollywoodIf you have not planned a trip to Dollywood, I’m here to tell you that it is a MUST! And what better time than in the fall when the colors are magnificent and weather is mild. Of course, there is the fall break crowd to contend with, but it’s worth it!

We like to take a week off every fall season in search of brilliant fall colors and perfect weather to take the kids camping. This year was no different, but we decided to stay local and head to the Great Smokey Mountains. I actually booked the campground way back in the spring on the day booking became available for the predicted peak of fall colors in October. It’s nearly impossible to get a spot within the National Park without some advanced planning, which is not my usual style, but I am glad I did this time! We lucked out and caught peak colors from Clingmans Dome and were awe inspired by the multitude and vibrancy of color all along the drive and even at the lower elevation from the campground.

The view from top Clingmans Dome at Smokey Mountain National Park.

Our kids are three and a half and 14-months-old, so hiking long distances can be a bit challenging. We did do the ever popular Laurel Falls hike, but I have to be honest and say that I enjoy the waterfall hikes we have here in Chattanooga so much more. Because we were going to be so close to Dollywood (40 minutes), we decided to take a day and enjoy the amusement park as well.

I don’t feel at all qualified to share any Dollywood tips and tricks since it was our very first visit, but there were a few things that really made the day go smoothly for us and our family:

The entire park was decked out in impressive fall displays.

We arrived at the park at 10am and sprung for the preferred parking. We had been camping for two days at this point in our vacation and I really wasn’t sure how long the kids were going to last and wanted to be able to get back to the car quickly if they started loosing it, so for us this was the way to go! Instead of having to take a tram from the parking lot to the entrance, it was just a short walk and the line to get in was a lot shorter as well. I found this article beforehand and found that it had a lot of great ideas for having a successful day at Dollywood with toddlers.

I also splurged and got the TimeSaver Pass. That probably wasn’t worth it for this trip, however, my husband did get to ride Wingspan very quickly and we could have used it on a ride or two with our daughter had she been up for it. She is 43 inches tall, but is still a bit nervous about some of the rides. She did enjoy the bumper cars, elephant ride, tea cups, and a smaller coaster though among several other attractions. Her very favorite was the Birds of Prey show put on by the American Eagle Foundation. A vulture flew right over her head and she absolutely loved it! I really enjoyed all of the Halloween themed decorations and how clean the entire park was.

I cannot say enough wonderful things about the food. Like seriously. Amazing. We got BBQ pulled pork sandwiches for lunch and were able to find an open and clean picnic table with ease. If you have ever been to Disney’s Magic Kingdom you know how challenging that can be there! But then there was dessert. We demolished a full loaf of cinnamon bread from Grist Mill and had absolutely no regrets about it.

We ended our day around 3pm, just as the kids were really getting tired and hot, but everyone had the most amazing time! I know we will be back!