According to the urban dictionary, mom hacks are defined as a tool or technique that makes some aspect of a mom’s life easier or more efficient. As a mom of four under the age of ten years old, I will take all of the #momhacks I can get. Who’s with me? There are SO many things I wish I had known when we started taking trips to Dollywood with the kids. I have compiled a list of money and time-saving mom hacks that I have learned over the years.
Mom Hacks for Services and Facilities
Download the Dollywood App
Did you know that Dollywood has an app? Go to the app store on your mobile device and download the free Dollywood app before your next trip. From the app, you can view park hours, information on tickets and passes, wait times for rides, show schedules, list of eateries, list of crafts and list of shops. Each section also shows the location in the park. There is also an interactive park map. Another neat feature is a section to make a list of all the things you want to see and do at the park.
Insider Tip: You must have location services enabled on your mobile device in order to view wait times for the rides and also to help you find your way to your next destination on the interactive map.
Centralized Measuring Station
If your child is under 48 inches in height, take them to the Centralized Measuring Station as soon as you enter the park. The measuring station is located next to the Dollywood Emporium across from the Southern Gospel Hall of fame as you enter the park. Your child’s height will be measured and they will receive a color-coded wristband. The color-coded wristbands correspond to the color-coded information on the signs for each ride. This saves time because the ride attendants will not have to check your child’s height each time they enter a ride.
There is a lot of walking involved at Dollywood. Strollers are permitted at the park. Please note that if you bring your own stroller and ride the tram into Dollywood, the strollers must be folded up and placed in the front of the tram near the driver. There are signs throughout the park for designated stroller parking for each ride or show. Did you forget the stroller at home or at the hotel/cabin? You can rent a single or double stroller if you forgot to bring one. Strollers are available at the Rental Services building next to the Centralized Measuring Station. The strollers are offered on a first-come, first-served basis so be sure to check availability on them as soon as you enter the park. The rental fee is $13 for a single stroller or $16 for a double.
Insider Tip: If you have a Gold Pass, you can use it for your stroller rental. It will save you a few dollars!
Don’t want to carry your items around with you all day? Lockers are available for rent at the Rental Services building as well. Locker rentals are also on a first-come, first-served basis. The rental fees for front gate lockers are $9 for regular-sized lockers or $12 for family-sized lockers. There are also floating ride lockers available. Ride to ride locker rentals are available at the following rides: Wild Eagle, Mystery Mine, FireChaser Express, Daredevil Falls, Barnstormer, River Rampage, Tennessee Tornado, Country Fair, & Lightning Rod. Ride lockers are a one time fee of $7 (only available in regular size) for a floating locker. This allows you to rent and float from locker to locker without having to pay for each new locker. One of the best mom hacks if you don’t want to carry your items around the park all day!
Did you forget to pack something? Items such as OTC medications, band-aids, sunscreen, etc can be purchased in a few locations throughout the park. The Dollywood Emporium, Gazebo Gifts, Mine Shaft, Ranger Supplies, Temple’s Mercantile and Hillside General Store have these items available for purchase.
It’s always good to familiarize yourself with the locations of the First Aid Offices inside Dollywood, especially when visiting the park with kids. There are three offices located throughout the park. One is located in Jukebox Junction near the Pines Theater, one is located in Wilderness Pass near River Battle and one is located in The Village near the train crossing. Medical personnel is on duty during park hours.
Lost & Found
Did you lose an item in the park? You can visit the Lost & Found window located inside Dollywood adjacent to Guest Services at the front gate ticket plaza to see if someone turned it in. If you realize that you left an item behind after you leave the park, you can call 865-428-9838 or fill out the form here.
I remember losing a hot pink fanny pack (don’t laugh, it was a school field trip many moons ago). Thankfully, someone turned it in to Lost & Found and I was able to get it back!
Did you know that Dollywood has a calming room for those with special needs who may have a sensory overload during their trip to Dollywood? The room has sensory items such as a weighted blanket, fiber optic strands and a teepee. To learn more about this room, you can call 1-800-Dollywood (1-800-365-5996) before your trip or you can visit the Ride Accessibility Center upon your arrival to the park. The Ride Accessibility Center is located adjacent to the Dollywood Emporium.
Family restrooms featuring their own private entrance are located in the following sections: Country Fair, Owens Farm, Wilderness Pass, and Showstreet. These restrooms are super helpful when you have several kids. I highly recommend taking advantage of them if you can!
Nursing and Changing Facilities
Restrooms with vending facilities are located in Rivertown Junction, Craftsman’s Valley, Country Fair, and Jukebox Junction. Restrooms with nursing stations are found in Country Fair, Jukebox Junction, Market Square, The Village, and Craftsman’s Valley.
Baby Care Center
The baby care center is located in Showstreet. It offers a private nursing area with six gliders and footstools. It is also climate-controlled. Two baby changing statins and a restroom are located inside the baby center as well.
All park restaurants can assist you with warming a bottle. This does not include any snack or vendor stands. Simply ask a host or server to assist you.
Did you know Dollywood offers a complimentary Package Pickup service? All items purchased inside merchandise shops throughout the park will be located at the Dollywood Emporium for convenient pickup as you exit the park. How does this work? When purchasing your items, let the cashier know that you want to use the Package Pickup service. You will receive a card with the time(s) your pickup will be available. When you arrive at the emporium on your way out of the park, head to the Package Pickup counter where your items will be waiting for you. Note that package pickup is available on purchases made prior to two hours before the park closes. Package Pickup will remain open for your pickup until park closing.
Was your trip cut short because of rain? You can visit the Ticket Annex, Guest Services and any of the one-day ticket windows and ask for a rain check. Rain checks are valid until the end of the season and are NOT available for season pass holders.
Mom Hacks for the Best Park Experience
Put It In Reverse
We love to explore the park ‘backward’. Generally speaking, those who enter the park head to their right after entering the gates. We love to head left and begin at Timber Canyon. Our journey usually goes a little something like this: Timber Canyon, Wildwood Grove, Wilderness Pass, Craftsman’s Valley, Owen’s Farm, The Village, Country Fair, Rivertown Junction, Jukebox Junction, Adventures in Imagination and Showstreet. This is the path we usually take unless we have a specific thing in mind that has to be completed at a certain time, such as watching a show or eating at a certain restaurant.
Wildwood Grove & Country Fair
Both Country Fair and Wildwood Grove are designed for kids. These two sections are where we spend most of our days. There are also several eateries located inside both sections.
Attractions inside Country Fair include Busy Bees, Demolition Derby, Dizzy Disk, Games, Lemon Twist, Lucky Ducky, Piggy Parade, Shooting Star, Sky Rider, The Amazing Flying Elephants, The Scrambler and Waltzing Swinger.
Attractions inside Wildwood Grove include Black Bear Trail, Dragonflier, Frogs & Fireflies, Great Tree Swing, Hidden Hollow, The Mad Mockingbird, The Wildwood Tree, Treetop Tower, and Wildwood Creek.
Oh my goodness, y’all….I wish I had known about this magical thing the first time my husband and I rode Lightning Rod. The wait time was roughly 30 minutes. He rode first while I entertained the kids with dipping dots at the base of the ride. I’m not sure what he did to entertain them while I waited 30 minutes for my turn to ride. I wish I’d have known about the parent swap so we could have saved a TON of time. What exactly is the parent swap? The entire group enters the ride through the regular line. Once you arrive at the front of the line, you will let the ride attendant know that you wish to do a parent swap. One adult waits with the children in a secure area (the ride attendant will direct you to this location) while the rest of the group rides the attraction. Once the group returns, the adults will swap places with each other. After the parent swap concludes, guests will exit with other riders. This is one of the mom hacks I wish I’d known about when we first started planning trips with the kids.
The following eateries offer meals for kids: Aunt Granny’s, Miss Lillian’s Smokehouse and Fried Chicken, Hickory House BBQ, Grandstand Café, Red’s Diner and Victoria’s Pizza. (We are partial to Red’s Diner and Victoria’s Pizza).
The portions of the adult meals are usually large enough to share between two people. This is very useful for our kids because they typically don’t eat a lot when we are in the park. They’re too excited for their next adventure. Splitting meals between them helps us to not waste food as well. We usually buy two meals to split between them. This is probably my favorite of the Dollywood mom hacks. It saves so much money!
Insider Tip: If you eat a place that does not offer kids’ meals, split orders.
Purchase Refillable Mugs and Popcorn Buckets
If you plan on making more than one trip to Dollywood in the calendar year, I highly recommend purchasing refillable mugs and/or popcorn buckets. Use these mugs to save on unlimited beverage purchases of $.99 fountain drink refills and $1.99 refills on all hot or frozen beverages throughout the entire 2019 season. Popcorn refills are also $.99.
Attire for Water Rides
Plan ahead for water rides (and the splash pad located inside Wildwood Grove) by wearing clothes that dry quickly. My boys and hubby usually wear their swimming trunks with an athletic or thin cotton shirt. My daughter and I wear swimsuits with an athletic shirt and shorts over the swimsuits. I recommend wearing comfortable waterproof sandals. Our favorite place to purchase waterproof sandals is in a quaint little shop inside The Village in downtown Gatlinburg.
Insider Tip: Renting a locker is a great way to store dry clothing if you prefer to change clothes at some point during the day.
Did you know that there are playgrounds and play areas located throughout the park? Granny’s Garden and Lil’ Pilots Playground are located in Owen’s Farm. Firehouse Fun Yard is located in Wilderness Pass and has water features. Lumberjack Jam Band, located in Timber Canyon, is an area with large musical features in which you can make sounds. There is also an area with large musical features next to the Wildwood Creek Splash Pad inside Wildwood Grove. Hidden Hollow is an indoor play area that is located in Wildwood Grove as well. We love to use these play areas because there are times when not all of us will be riding a ride. These keep the kids entertained while waiting.
Insider Tip: Utilize the play areas while other members of your group are on rides.
I sincerely hope that you have found this list to be helpful and will be able to use this information while planning your next visit to Dollywood.
Do you have any mom hacks for Dollywood that you would love to share? I’d love to hear them. Comment below with your favorites.