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Dollywood: The ‘Don’t Miss’ List

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When most people think about amusement parks, they automatically think thrill rides. However, Dollywood is so much more than just roller coasters and water rides. The theme park is also packed with attractions, crafts, entertainment, restaurants, shops, and snacks!

You’re in luck! We’ve compiled a list of things we can’t miss (this list doesn’t include rides). We can’t visit ALL of these each time we visit, especially when it comes to the food, but we try to get to as many as possible.

The following are our go-to’s . . .

Attractions

CHASING RAINBOWS MUSEUM – Dolly created Chasing Rainbows, a state-of-the-art museum featuring interactive and behind-the-scenes collections, stories, and memorabilia from her life and career.  Through special notes, pictures, and keepsakes, you can follow Dolly’s path from the mountains of East Tennessee to the grandest stages around the world.

DOLLY’S HOME ON WHEELS – Dolly’s bus is parked in front of the Chasing Rainbows museum in Adventures in Imagination. You can take a tour of the actual bus that she used to travel in while performing at various venues across the country.

DOLLYWOOD EXPRESS – Take a 20-minute mountain excursion in an authentic 110-ton coal-fired steam engine that takes you on a breathtaking five-mile journey through the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. Be sure to check the show schedule for more information about the train run times.

HIDDEN HOLLOW –  Hidden Hollow has kid-friendly activities for hours of play. Surrounded by a forest scene, kids of all ages get in touch with nature, climbing up tree trunk net towers, exploring tree crawls, traversing a series of blocks, and sliding down hollow logs. A separate toddler area provides the littlest adventurers with their own space to safely explore.

TENNESSEE MOUNTAIN HOME See what Dolly’s home looked like in this two-room replica of Dolly’s Locust Ridge childhood home.

To see a full list of attractions, click here.

Crafts

BLACKSMITH & FOUNDRY –  You can watch Dollywood craftsmen as they hand-forge steel items including collector knives, customized metal gifts, horseshoe gifts, and garden and home decor.

HANDS IN WAX – At Handsville Wax Company, you can dip your hands into the wax to create a mold. The molds capture the detail of your hands and jewelry.

MOUNTAIN BLOWN GLASS – Watch the glassblower breathe life into unique pieces. The craftsman can also help you to blow your own glass ornament as a keepsake. You can also visit the shop to purchase the blown glass.

SWEET SHOPPE – Enjoy Mayfield’s® hand-dipped ice cream, fresh-baked waffle cones and bowls, old-fashioned milkshakes, and tasty floats. The Sweet Shoppe is also filled with candy cases devoted solely to chocolate treats. There’s also a wide variety of no sugar added candies. Kids enjoy treats from Kid’s Corner, where a wide variety of novelty candies await them.

To see a full list of crafts, click here.

Entertainment

DREAMLAND DRIVE-IN – The show takes you on a musical trip down memory lane with hits from the 50s and 60s with a storyline that tugs at your heartstrings. The local drive-in is in jeopardy of closing. The patrons rally around the owner to save it. This show is our favorite!

GEM TONES The Gem Tones take 50s and 60s a capella music to a new level as they perform hits while singing and dancing in Jukebox Junction.

KINGDOM HEIRS – Dollywood’s award-winning Southern gospel quartet dazzles audiences with their greatest hits and classic hymns.

MY PEOPLE, MY MUSIC – The show features Dolly Parton’s brother Randy along with several other family members as they share about their faith and their deep love for the Smoky Mountains and Dolly Parton. FYI, Dolly has been known to enjoy the show from the audience from time to time! Too bad we haven’t been lucky enough to see her there yet.

To see a full list of entertainment, click here.

Restaurants

FRONT PORCH CAFE – The restaurant features many of Dolly’s favorite meals, along with seasonal specials. Appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches, and entrées which utilize several products made in East TN. Also food allergy-friendly, simply ask for one of the chefs!  Our favorite at the Front Porch Cafe is the meatloaf!

TILL AND HARVEST – You can dine on the open-air patio with burritos or bowls filled with fire-grilled meats, fresh vegetables, and more, all while enjoying the mountain breeze. Our favorite at Till and Harvest are the Smoky Mountain Nachos.

RED’S DRIVE-IN – Enjoy classics from the 50s at Red’s Drive-In! The Jukebox Special is 1/3 lb. bacon cheeseburger served with crispy, golden fries. Red’s also serves the thickest milkshakes in town. A kid’s menu is also available. Insider Tip: The only thing that saddens us about Red’s is the fact that they did away with their chicken sandwiches. The restaurant only serves burgers.

VICTORIA’S PIZZA – Choose from Victoria’s own cheese, pepperoni, or side salad at this charming restaurant in the Village. We always choose a few personal pan pizzas to share amongst our family of six.

To see a full list of restaurants, click here.

Shops

DOLLY’S CLOSET – A fashion boutique full of Dolly’s style. What’s not to love? You will find a unique blend of clothing, accessories, and jewelry showcasing Dolly’s most popular looks. There’s also Dolly apparel, gifts, books, and music available to purchase.

GRIST MILL – The Grist Mill is home of the world’s best cinnamon bread. You can watch as bread and cookies are being made. Also available to purchase are cast iron cookware, Dollywood canned jelly and jams, and other assorted goods. Insider Tip: This is THE place to get the Dollywood Cinnamon Bread, as it is the freshest you’ll find. You’ll thank us later.

HILLSIDE GENERAL STORE – You’ll find old-fashioned goods and treasures that remind you of your favorite five and dime store.

MOUNTAIN LAUREL HOME – Mountain Laurel HOME has unique home furnishings, candles, linens, soaps, and many other gifts. It’s one of our favorite shops in the park!

THE DOLLYWOOD EMPORIUM – Shop for apparel, hats, accessories, gifts, and souvenirs for the entire family as you exit the park through the Dollywood Emporium. Tasty fudge, savory treats, and Dollywood’s specialty jams, jellies, and butter are available as well. There’s also a special toy selection that kids love.

To view a full list of shops, click here.

Snacks

BUTTERFLY PRETZELS – Grab a butterfly pretzel at Sit ‘N Sip in Craftsman’s Valley. A soft pretzel-shaped butterfly (honoring the iconic butterfly symbol that is special to Dolly and Dollywood). You won’t be disappointed!

CINNAMON BREAD  – You can’t take a trip to Dollywood without trying their world-famous cinnamon bread. As mentioned above, the best place to get the bread is at the Grist Mill. Why The Grist Mill? This is where they make the bread, so it’s the freshest you’ll find in the park.

CINNAMON GLAZED ALMONDS, PECANS OR CASHEWS – The delicious (and addicting) cinnamon-glazed nuts are not something you want to pass by. Trust us! Grab these sweet treats at Showstreet Snacks. They also have salted cashews if you don’t have a sweet tooth.

DIPPIN’ DOTS – The original and unbeatable flash-frozen ice cream sensation can be found at Dollywood! There are several stations throughout the park to satisfy your sweet tooth.

FUNNEL CAKES  – There are many options for funnel cake toppings at Dollywood. Our favorite is the Fruity Pebbles Funnel Cake. It is topped with Fruity Pebbles, whipped cream, and powdered sugar. Oh so good!

PORK RINDS – Do you hear that sizzle and pop? It must be the pork rinds being made on location. A trip to Dollywood is not complete without purchasing pork rinds to bring home with you! Don’t miss these fresh pork rinds, deep-fried to golden perfection for a sizzlin’ hot one-of-a-kind southern snack. For a little extra sizzle, try the BBQ variety.

To see a full list of snacks, click here.

If you plan to visit Dollywood with kids, you’ll definitely want to check out Mom Hacks for Your Next Trip to Dollywood.

The owner and founder of The Smoky Mountain Life, Kim Hunt, is a lifelong resident of southeast Tennessee and lover of all things Smoky Mountains. 

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