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We head out to Pigeon Forge several times a year, and with four boys in 8 years you know I visited the Dollywood theme park a few times while expecting! Today in this article I’ll share with you everything you need to know to visit Dollywood pregnant.
Don’t worry, you can still have a lot of fun even though you won’t be able to ride all the rides!
Why Visit Dollywood When You’re Expecting?
For us it was when I was pregnant with my third child and we really wanted to take the older two, who were 5 and 2, so we planned the trip even though we knew I would be seven months pregnant when we went. We did most everything we would normally have done, except that I had to sit out on some of the rides the boys went on and their Dad rode with them.
We even hiked Laurel Falls on this trip, so yes, you can do lots in the Great Smoky Mountains while expecting!
Things to Keep in Mind When Planning Your Trip
- You probably will need to take more breaks while expecting. We usually cover the entire park in a half day, but when I was pregnant we had to slow down. Not that I walked slow, but at seven months pregnant in June I got hot and tired fast! So we rested several times or I rested while the boys rode a ride.
- If you are unsure of anything, please ask. There are no clear regulations on the Dollywood website for pregnant visitors, so if you are unsure if a specific ride is suitable, just ask Dollywood employees, who are super helpful.
- Make sure you stay hydrated. Especially if you go during the warmer months, you will need to stay hydrated. You can ask for cups of ice water at any of the park’s dining options, and picking up a refillable mug is advisable if you want something other than water. We get the season-long refillable mugs because we visit several times a year, but they also have mugs for a single visit or weekend.
- Know where you can get a decent bite to eat. If you’re like me, I tended to swell up at the end of my pregnancies when I had too much sodium, so you will want to avoid this when you are on your feet all day. Typical theme park food is loaded with sodium, but there are lighter options and even vegetarian and vegan options. (Check out our guide to the best food in Dollywood here)
- Make sure you wear comfortable shoes. There’s nothing worse than having to walk around the park with your feet hurting! Ensure that you have comfy shoes that can get you through the day. If you’re unsure, practice wearing a pair around town and walking around to ensure they won’t bother your feet once you get to the park. If you do find that your feet are killing you, Dollywood does offer wheelchair rentals, but they go fast so plan on heading straight to the rental area when you enter the park.
What Can a Pregnant Woman Ride at Dollywood?
Just know up front that the thrill rides really should be off-limits, just for your safety and the baby’s. This includes the coasters such as the Wild Eagle, Tennessee Tornado, Mystery Mine, Lightning Rod and other roller coasters. Just out of an abundance of caution I wouldn’t ride these even in the early stages.
I also wouldn’t ride the Scrambler, Drop Line or any rides that jerk you around, and if you are visibly expecting you probably won’t be allowed to ride anyway.
Some of the easier water park rides I’ve done while early on in my pregnancy, but that is something that is not suitable for everyone, so if you are visiting Dollywood’s Splash Country you might try a gentle water ride or hang out at the wave pool.
Some of the other rides I personally rode while expecting when I was at Dollywood are the Dollywood Express (the 20-minute train ride is great for all ages and abilities), the Smoky Mountain River Rampage (a raft ride where you get wet but not jerked), and several of the toddler rides with the younger boys, such as the Lucky Ducks and the Piggy Parade.
Other good rides I did include the carousel and the Rockin’ Roadway, both of these rides I was able to safely enjoy with our kids.
So, while most rides will be off-limits, there are a few you can enjoy safely, but use your own discretion.
What Else Can I Do at Dollywood While Pregnant?
Dollywood isn’t just rides! Here are some other activities you might enjoy:
- Take in a good show. Dollywood is also known for its world-famous shows and live entertainment, which vary by season but are always amazing. This will give you a chance to sit down and rest as well, but keep in mind that most of the theaters are open air and will not be climate controlled. If you want a kid’s theater that is air conditioned and heated, check out the Imagination Playhouse, where favorite children’s books come to life in 20-minute performances. We have been and always have a great time enjoying the performances.
- Go for the food. Dollywood has amazing food, unlike most other theme parks. Aunt Granny’s is an award-winning restaurant, and you can’t forget Dollywood’s famous cinnamon bread. Sometimes the line for the bread can be over an hour! There are lots of other great options, too, but these are our favorites.
Insider’s Tips for Navigating Dollywood Pregnant
If you have littles, you’ll want to spend time in the Country Fair area and the Wildwood Grove section of the park. These two areas have the most kid-friendly rides. The Country Fair has several that even infants as young as one can ride.
Take the tram from the parking lot. Even if you think you’re pretty close, this will save you energy for walking around the park later, especially if you are staying the entire day.
For ease of getting into Dollywood, consider staying at Dollywood’s Dreammore Resort (or the Heartsong Lodge when it opens). You get free parking at the resort and they will shuttle you to the park in their trolleys for free, right up near the gate.
Any time is a good time to visit Dollywood, but I would especially recommend the Harvest Festival with the Great Pumpkin Luminights and the Smoky Mountain Christmas, which starts in early November and runs through the New Year. If you come earlier in the year, usually April through early June, you can catch the Flower and Food Festival, which can be fun, especially if you get the tasting pass. The best time to visit is when the park is least busy, but it stays pretty packed most of the time, so come when your schedule allows.
It helps to take extended family when you have littles if possible, but if you can’t at least have two adults so that one can ride while you wait. If you have older kids they can wait in line and ride while you wait, but littles will need someone to ride with them.
Final Thoughts About Visiting Dollywood While Pregnant
I hope you will consider Dollywood for your next family vacation, even if you will be expecting when you go. It’s full of fun and excitement for everyone.
So don’t feel like you can’t enjoy the park just because you are expecting – you still can!
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Guide to Big Bear Mountain (the brand-new roller coaster debuting Spring 2023)