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Dollywood in the Fall


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Me and my girlfriend are looking to take our first trip to Dollywood on either October 10th or the 11th. So my questions are, during the Fall which day is better to go on, Friday or Saturday? Also, any recommendations on hotels around the park that are better than others?

 

Thanks in advance guys!

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In my opinion, weekdays are always better than weekends. As for hotels, I've stayed in the Pigeon River Inn and the Comfort Inn that is closest to the park. Both of my stays were very enjoyable and the rooms were nice. Enjoy the trip and don't forget the cinnamon bread!!

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Fridays will ALWAYS be better than Saturdays. Kids are still in school for most of the day.

 

As for hotels, I'm no expert as I've only been to Pigeon Forge once, but we stayed at the Timbers Lodge Hotel (http://www.timberslodgepigeonforge.com/) and were treated like royalty. Free upgrade from a standard room to a suite. 30-foot ceiling, vaulted, two huuuuuge beds, super comfy, giant TVs, the works! We got the upgrade because they messed up our initial reservation (our original room got double booked accidentally). It's like 2 miles from Dollywood's entrance, directly on the Pigeon Forge strip. Go karts everywhere, an excellent diner right across the street (Mel's), and it's like staying in a log cabin. Highly recommended!

 

Finally, for tips in the park, start with Wild Eagle and Mystery Mine as they get the largest lines (Wild Eagle for popularity, Mystery Mine for capacity). Also make sure to ride Thunderhead like 500 times. It will blow your mind. Seriously. It's probably my favorite wooden coaster. It doesn't lose speed at all and it has more airtime than you'd ever believe.

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I took my first trip to Dollywood the Sunday before Labor Day. Not too crowded and had a great time! The most crowded coaster was Firechaser by a large margin (45min - 1hr vs. 15min top for anything else). Wild Eagle and Thunderhead had fantastic operations and was walk-on the entire time. Thunderhead was by far my favorite ride there, followed by Tennessee Tornado, then Gate Keeper, Firechaser, and last was Mystery Mine. I really loved the park in general. Great location, great theming, great food. Just all around great time.

 

As for lodging, we stayed at the Dollywood Cabins with a large group and it was great. I believe they have smaller cabins too if that is the kind of thing you are looking for. Stay away from Gatlinburg as much as possible, especially on the weekends. That place is the biggest tourist trap I have ever ever seen. The national park is stunningly beautiful though, so check that out if you have time!

 

Enjoy yourself!

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Tips:

 

-Super Cheap shuttles from the Pigeon Forge Transportation hub, 50 cents a ride. Cheaper than Parking in the lot, May not run before park opening though.

-Other Park things not to miss: Mountain Slidewinder unless it is waaay too cold, The Barnstormer, "Skillet Food", Cinnamon Bread on the upper level of the Grist Mill. The Bald Eagle sanctuary near Blazing Fury, the Veggie Coaster credit, and the kiddie Car ride. And the dolly museum if you're interested.

-The Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster is also very fun, worth a stop if you have time. I also highly recommend the Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant (Apple Barn) just outside of Pigeon Forge. Also, Nature>any of the mini golfs or Go Karts.

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You will have a great time! There will be a few things you need to watch out for on your trip though. Mountain Slidewinder has already closed for the season as well as be sure and hit Wild Eagle and Thunderhead first thing in the morning. Both have been going down due to swarms of paper wasps at the top of the lift hill. Wild Eagle more than Thunderhead. Wild Eagle will generally go down between 12pm-1pm and usually will reopen in the final hour before closing. This is their mating season and they migrate down the Appalachian Mountains and love tall, warm structures like Wild Eagle as well as they are an endangered species and cannot be disturbed. Have a great trip!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks to everyone for your suggestions! We ended up going to the park on Friday and despite a little bit of rain, which only stopped the rides at one point through the day, it was a perfect day in the park. The rain actually caused us to ride Blazing Fury which we weren't planning to do originally.

 

Bought the Q2Q q-bot, and it was well worth the $20/person. Ended up waiting no longer than 2-5 minutes for all rides, though everything turned into a walk-on the last hour of the day as more rain moved in. Wild Eagle, Thunderhead, and Firechaser are even better in the rain!

 

Also, thanks for the multiple suggestions about the cinnamon bread and other food. Ended up getting one in the park, then buying two more "loaves" to take with us, and grabbed some fried green tomatoes for the walk out to our car.

 

We loved the park, and it was definitely worth the 10-hour drive from NW Pennsylvania. The area was great and full of good attractions, great views/nature, and southern hospitality, even with some of the cheesy "touristy" areas.

 

Thanks everyone!!

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