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As a mom of four energetic boys and a frequent visitor to Dollywood, I’ve learned a thing or two about navigating Dollywood parking. With the hustle and bustle of getting everyone ready for a day of fun at the theme park, knowing the ins and outs of Dollywood parking has been a lifesaver for our family trips.
Nestled in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains in Pigeon Forge, Dollywood, co-owned by the legendary Dolly Parton, is more than just roller coasters and live entertainment. It’s a place where my entire family can have a great time, from the youngest to the oldest. But as any parent knows, the success of a family outing often hinges on the logistics, and that’s where understanding the parking situation comes in.
In this blog post, I’ll share my family’s experiences and tips to help you navigate Dollywood parking like a pro, whether it’s your first visit or your fiftieth. We’ll cover everything from free parking options to the benefits of preferred parking, the best times to visit to avoid long lines, and how to make the most of the Dollywood app. So buckle up, and let’s dive into the world of Dollywood parking!
Understanding Dollywood Parking
Navigating Dollywood parking can seem daunting, especially when you’re trying to keep track of excited kids eager to start their adventure. But don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with all the details you need to know.
Standard parking at Dollywood is priced at $22.80 for all standard length vehicles, and $27.35 for oversize length vehicles such as RVs and trailers. But here’s a tip: if you’re a Dollywood Gold or Diamond Season Pass holder, standard parking is absolutely free! The initial parking fee is non-refundable, but once you’ve got your pass, you can enjoy free parking for all your subsequent visits. Plus, there’s complimentary transportation to the front gate via parking lot trams from designated tram stops.
If you’re bringing an RV, parking is $27.35. This allows you to park your RV in the “Permit Parking” lot. Just like standard parking, RV parking is free if you’re a Dollywood Gold or Diamond Season Pass holder. Keep in mind, though, that the RV parking lot is not available for overnight parking or camping.
For a little extra convenience, you might consider opting for preferred parking. It’s priced at $41, but Gold Passholders receive a $5 discount and Diamond Passholders receive a $10 discount. With preferred parking, you can avoid tram rides, enjoy a separate ticket window to purchase tickets and Season Passes, and an exclusive entrance. But remember, capacity is limited and it’s available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Resort Guest Parking
If you’re staying at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort, daily self-parking is complimentary. Valet parking is also available for an added fee. As a resort guest, you can take advantage of the convenient, free shuttle service which transports visitors from the resort to both Dollywood and Dollywood’s Splash Country Water Park.
Cabin Guest Parking
For those staying in one of Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Cabins, parking is free at any cabin property. Additionally, cabin guests receive free parking in a reserved lot at Dollywood and free parking at Dollywood’s Splash Country Water Park.
Remember, the key to a smooth visit is planning ahead. Knowing your parking options and costs can help you budget your trip and ensure a great time for the whole family.
Benefits of Preferred Parking
When it comes to making our family trips to Dollywood as smooth as possible, I’ve found that investing in preferred parking can be a game-changer.
What is Preferred Parking?
Preferred parking is a special parking option at Dollywood that offers a host of benefits to make your visit even more convenient. It’s a bit pricier at $41, but trust me, the perks can be worth every penny, especially when you’re managing a group of excited kids.
Discounts for Passholders
If you’re a Gold or Diamond Passholder, you’re in for a treat. Gold Passholders receive a $5 discount on preferred parking, while Diamond Passholders receive a $10 discount. These discounts can make preferred parking a more affordable option for regular visitors.
The Perks of Preferred Parking
One of the best parts of preferred parking is that it eliminates the need for tram rides. This can be a huge time-saver, especially when you’re eager to start your day at the park. Plus, preferred parking comes with a separate ticket window to purchase tickets and Season Passes, which can help you avoid long lines at the main ticket booths.
But perhaps the best part is the exclusive entrance. This can be a lifesaver when you’re trying to manage young children and just want to get them into the park as quickly as possible.
Availability and Capacity
It’s important to note that preferred parking is available on a first-come, first-served basis. So, if you’re planning to take advantage of this option, it’s a good idea to arrive early, especially during peak times like the Christmas season or the Harvest Festival.
In conclusion, preferred parking can be a great way to streamline your Dollywood visit and make the day more enjoyable for the whole family. It’s just one of the many ways Dollywood goes above and beyond to create a great experience for its guests.
Tips for a Smooth Parking Experience
Over the years, I’ve picked up a few tricks that have made our Dollywood parking experiences much smoother. Here are some tips that I hope will help you too.
One of the best ways to ensure a smooth parking experience is to arrive early. Dollywood can get quite busy, especially during special events like the Harvest Festival or the Christmas season. By arriving early, you can beat the rush, find a good parking spot, and even have some time to relax before the park opens. You can actually enter the park to a certain point before official opening time, so we always try to arrive early. For us the best time is about 30 minutes before the park opens, which is also before the parking booths get too busy.
Understand the Parking Process
Knowing what to expect can make the parking process much less stressful. When you arrive, you’ll first encounter the parking booths where you’ll pay your parking fee. From there, you’ll be directed to a parking spot. If you’re in the standard parking lot, you’ll likely need to take a tram to the front gate. Tram stops are clearly marked and trams run regularly, so you won’t have to wait long.
Use the Dollywood App
The Dollywood app is a fantastic tool that I highly recommend. It provides up-to-date information on ride wait times, show schedules, dining options, and more. It can also help you navigate the park once you’re inside. I’ve found it to be an invaluable resource for planning our day and making the most of our visit.
Consider Your Family’s Needs
When choosing your parking option, consider your family’s needs. If you have young children or members of your party who can’t walk long distances, preferred parking might be a good option. It’s closer to the front gate and eliminates the need for a tram ride. On the other hand, if you’re trying to save money and don’t mind a bit of a walk, standard parking will serve you just fine.
Remember, a little planning goes a long way in ensuring a smooth parking experience. With these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to a fun and stress-free day at Dollywood.
Additional Perks for Resort Guests
Staying at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort or one of Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Cabins comes with a host of benefits that can make your visit even more enjoyable. Here’s what you can look forward to as a resort guest.
As a resort guest with valid admission to Dollywood and/or Dollywood’s Splash Country, you’ll be granted priority access to the parks based on your ticket type and reservation stay dates. This means less time waiting and more time enjoying the fun!
Complimentary Dollywood TimeSaver Pass
Each resort guest with a valid Dollywood ticket receives a complimentary Dollywood TimeSaver. This pass, valued at $60 per person, per day, can be used to access select rides and make unlimited daily show reservations when applicable. It’s a fantastic way to make the most of your time at the park.
Complimentary Door-To-Door Transportation
Forget about the hassle of parking! The Exclusive Resort Trolley provides door-to-door transportation, dropping you off just steps away from the fun. This service not only adds convenience to your visit but also saves you the standard parking fee of $25 per day, per vehicle.
Complimentary Package Delivery
If you make purchases of $25 or more from the merchandise shops during your visit, or if you buy fragile or oversized items, they’ll be delivered to the resort for free! You can simply pick up your items from the front desk when you return from the park.
Saturday Early Entry
If you’re visiting on a Saturday, you’re in for a treat. Resort guests with tickets can enter Dollywood or Dollywood’s Splash Country one hour prior to opening to enjoy a select ride. This early entry is only available during the water park operating season for Dollywood’s Splash Country.
Please note that these benefits are for those who have tickets to the theme park, which are not included in the stay unless specified. As a mom who’s always looking for ways to make our family outings more enjoyable, I can tell you that these resort guest benefits have added so much value to our Dollywood visits (plus the boys really love the rooms with the bunk beds!).
Special Events and Seasonal Considerations
Dollywood is a place of constant excitement and ever-changing experiences. From the vibrant Harvest Festival to the magical Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas, there’s always something special happening. But these events can also bring larger crowds, so here are some tips to navigate parking during these peak times.
Visiting During Special Events
When Dollywood hosts special events like the Harvest Festival, the park can become quite busy. This is when your Dollywood app becomes your best friend. It can provide real-time updates on parking availability, ride wait times, and show schedules. Remember, preferred parking can be a lifesaver during these times, offering a separate ticket window and an exclusive entrance.
There’s nothing quite like Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas. The park is beautifully decorated, and the festive atmosphere is truly magical. But it’s also one of the busiest times of the year. Arriving early is your best bet to secure a good parking spot. And don’t forget, resort guests have priority access to the parks and complimentary transportation.
Best Days and Times to Visit
In my experience, weekdays are usually less crowded than weekends. If your schedule allows, try to plan your visit on a weekday. As for the best time of day, I’ve found that arriving early not only helps with parking but also gives us plenty of time to enjoy the park before the biggest crowds arrive.
Consider a Dollywood Season Pass
If you’re planning multiple visits to Dollywood, consider getting a Dollywood Season Pass. Not only does it offer unlimited visits, but Gold and Diamond passholders also enjoy free standard parking. It’s a great way to enjoy Dollywood to the fullest while also saving on parking fees.
Remember, a little planning goes a long way. By keeping these tips in mind, you can ensure a smooth parking experience even during the busiest times at Dollywood.
The Patriot Park Parking and Trolley Option
If you’re looking for an alternative to parking at Dollywood, consider parking at Patriot Park and taking the trolley to Dollywood. This option can be a convenient and cost-effective way to get to the park.
Parking at Patriot Park
Patriot Park offers free parking, making it a budget-friendly option for those visiting Dollywood. The park is located in Pigeon Forge, close to many local attractions, and is easy to find.
Taking the Trolley to Dollywood
Once you’ve parked at Patriot Park, you can catch the Dollywood trolley, which travels to and from Dollywood continuously. The trolley service begins thirty minutes before Dollywood opens and continues in the evening until everyone is returned to Patriot Park. The trolley arrives approximately every 15 minutes, though this can vary due to traffic flow during peak tourism days, car shows, and holiday weekends.
The Benefits of Taking the Trolley
Taking the trolley from Patriot Park to Dollywood not only saves you the parking fee at Dollywood but also eliminates the need to navigate the Dollywood parking lot. Plus, it adds a fun and unique element to your Dollywood adventure.
The trolley to Dollywood is a convenient and cost-effective option that can enhance your Dollywood experience. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned Dollywood veteran, it’s an option worth considering.
Comparing Dollywood Parking to Other Theme Parks
Having visited several theme parks with my family, I can confidently say that Dollywood parking stands out for its convenience and guest-friendly features. Here’s how it compares to other major theme parks like Walt Disney World.
Dollywood vs. Walt Disney World
While both Dollywood and Walt Disney World offer a variety of parking options, there are some differences to note. Walt Disney World’s standard parking fee is $25 per day for cars or motorcycles, similar to Dollywood. However, their preferred parking costs $45 per day during non-peak seasons and $50 per day during peak seasons, which is slightly higher than Dollywood’s preferred parking fee.
At Walt Disney World, parking lots are located outside the main entrance to the theme parks, except for the Magic Kingdom. For the Magic Kingdom, you’ll park at the Ticket and Transportation Center and then take either the Monorail or the Ferry to the park. Currently, tram service is not offered from the parking lots to the park entrances at EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, so be prepared for a bit of a walk.
Like Dollywood, Walt Disney World offers free parking for resort guests and Annual Passholders. They also offer valet parking at all of their Deluxe Resorts for a daily fee of $35, but this service is not free for Disney Vacation Club (DVC) members.
While both parks strive to make parking as convenient as possible for guests, each has its own unique system and features. Knowing what to expect can help ensure a smooth start to your day, whether you’re visiting Dollywood or Walt Disney World.
The Dollywood Difference
What truly sets Dollywood apart, though, is the attention to guest experience. The complimentary transportation for resort guests, the separate ticket window for preferred parking users, and the priority access for resort guests are all examples of how Dollywood goes the extra mile to ensure a smooth and enjoyable visit for everyone.
In conclusion, while each theme park has its own unique parking system, Dollywood’s focus on convenience and guest experience makes it stand out. Whether it’s your first visit or your fiftieth, knowing what to expect from Dollywood parking can help ensure a great time for the whole family.
Final Thoughts on Dollywood Parking
As a mom who’s navigated Dollywood parking more times than I can count, I can confidently say that a little planning goes a long way. Understanding your parking options, knowing the costs, and being aware of the benefits available to you can make your visit to Dollywood much smoother and more enjoyable.
Whether you opt for standard parking, splurge on preferred parking, or enjoy the perks of being a resort guest, Dollywood offers a range of options to suit every family’s needs and budget. And with tools like the Dollywood app and services like the complimentary transportation for resort guests, Dollywood goes above and beyond to ensure a great experience for its guests.
But remember, the Dollywood theme park is more than just an amusement park. Nestled in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, it’s a place where memories are made. From the thrill of the roller coasters to the magic of the Christmas season, Dollywood is a place where the entire family can have a great time.
So whether it’s your first visit or your fiftieth, I hope these tips help you navigate Dollywood parking like a pro. After all, the less time you spend worrying about parking, the more time you can spend enjoying the best part of Dollywood – the fun and excitement of the park itself.
Here’s to a great visit to Dollywood!