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Dollywood Discussion Thread

P. 771: Onsite employee housing under construction at Dollywood

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We just got back from spending 2 days at Dollywood and a couple more days in the area for Christmas and honestly it was one of the best park trips we've had in a long time, we really had a great time. Here are few notes from our trip.

 

First off Lightning Rod. I know there's been a ton of talk about that thing here over the past couple of years but for the 2 days we were there it was running consistently with 2 trains both days. On the 22nd it closed at 7:30 along with everything else in the park because it was just under the 34 degree mark (VERY cold night). On the 23rd the park opened at 11 and an operator came out and said there was still frost on the track so it would be opening a bit late. We grabbed some cinnamon bread and headed up toward Firechaser/Wild Eagle  and by the time we got halfway up the mountain it was cycling trains and probably opened around 11:45 or so. So anyways 2 days of consistent operations and man that thing is still an absolute beast of a ride. I got a few rides in 3 years ago before the refurb and honestly I don't know if it's slower now or whatever, but it's still a top 5 ride for me. I got 2 rides the 22nd and ended up getting 5 on the 23 in about 1.5 hours, two in standby with my kids and three through the single rider line. Such an awesome ride, so hopefully these operations carry over into next season.

 

Shoutout to Dollywood for running Wild Eagle with a 50 In height requirement instead of 54 like every other B&M in the country. My youngest was able to ride this year and loved it. 

 

Thunderhead as running pretty well for it being in the 40s in December. It's wasn't the smoothest GCI I've ever been on but was good enough to knock out 4 rides in a row with no wait. 

 

Mystery Mine seemed more temperamental than Lightning Rod while we were there but that's still a really fun ride, and I love the view you get of it from the path to Wildwood Grove (which was new to me). 

 

Speaking of Wildwood Grove, I get the complaint about ripping out the trees up there as it does look a little out of place, but it looked great at night with the Christmas lights and the kids had a blast. Can't wait to see what the new coaster for 2023 will be.

 

Is Dropline the best drop tower in the world? No it's not, I know it's not, but man the views on that thing are amazing and there was NEVER a line for it over 2 days which was weird. Thunderhead and Mystery Mine would both have 45 minutes to an hour long que at times and Dropline was still a complete walk on? When all the coasters closed at 7:30 the 22nd, you guessed it, Drop Line still an absolute walk on. So again it's not the best drop tower in the world but that view makes it one of my favorites. 

 

All of the Christmas decorations looked great and the fireworks show at the end of the night was a nice close to the day. We also watched the "Twas the Night Before Christmas Show" which was really cute and well done for a 45 minutes theme park stage musical. 

 

Wait times and crowd flow at this park are kind of weird. Lightning Rod would have a 2 hour line in the mornings then be down under 30 minutes at mid day. Thunderhead was all over the place all day, from 45 minutes to a complete walk on. Mystery Mine and Firechaser stayed pretty consistent around 45 minutes- 1 hour both days. One thing I really appreciate about Dollywood is that Tennessee Tornado and Wild Eagle were pretty much walk ons all the time. Maybe we got lucky but it's nice to always have a decent coaster available with a short wait.

 

The park was closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas day but we headed over to Dreammore for breakfast  at Song and Hearth and had a great meal. That resort is really nice and I'd love to stay there next trip. The breakfast was just a buffet, but a pretty decent one, and for $18.00 I'd go back in a heartbeat. We also grabbed a couple loaves of cinnamon bread at Dreammore with NO WAIT to take back to our cabin, which made for a nice treat on Christmas day.

 

So again overall we had a great trip, the park is as beautiful as it ever was and I found the operations to be pretty good for the 2 days were were there. My only complaint is I wish they could find a way to have the cinnamon bread line move faster. If this park was like 3 hours closer I'd probably go twice a year, but we'll be back in 2023 for the new coaster.

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On 12/23/2021 at 10:09 AM, boldikus said:

Have you considered calling that number they listed right there to I dunno... ask them?

No, because I don't have all day to wait on hold for a clueless rep to answer and give me bad information.

 

This is what is shows on the Dollywood website for my Diamond Pass:

Diamond Season Pass

Receive access to all-new Golden Hours & Events, unlimited visits to both Dollywood theme park and Dollywood's Splash Country water park, FREE parking, and the largest discounts on food and merchandise.

 

It say UNLIMITED visits, which is what I paid for. There's nothing on it about how often you can go. Unlimited should be unlimited.

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I think you're misreading it, though it is a weird message. The operative word is probably "or" and reaching the maximum number of reservations is just listed as one of the two reasons that the message could be appearing. It's probably not actually the reason and not actually a thing. The first reason listed "There are not any available dates at this time" is probably the reason.

Boldy is right though, all we can do is guess. The best option is to call them to be sure.

As for complaints about the reservation system existing at all when you have a season pass that promises unlimited visits, that's a separate issue and I'm not commenting on that.

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Glad you had a great visit Hilltopper39! Kudos for going at this time of year. IDK how people do rides, big ones too, when its like 40s and 30s lol 

It really is a great experience. I wont lie in my mind I figured it was at least a bit overhyped but I was totally wrong, the park was as fantastic as everyone says. Already plotting next year's trip. Glad LRod was running well. Maybe the kinks got ironed out over the season? I know early on it was a little spotty and when I went it wasn't open with the park and they wouldnt guarantee it may, but did open around 3 PM. That was May though, still early on. And now that its been crossed off this list I can skip some rides and do more of others like Thunderhead and Wild Eagle. I really liked both but only got 1 ride each.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Dollywood is claiming a new section called Hoot Owl Hollow will be new for 2022 for Great Pumpkin Luminights, but I remember seeing these owls the last two years, so not sure how "new" it will be.

I'd like to see a section that is a little more Halloweenie, or maybe a scare zone for the adults. Even a walk-through haunted house would be great. The harvest theme is TIRED.

Movavi ScreenShot 051 - Dollywood Festivals & Events - www.dollywood.com.jpg

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On 12/29/2021 at 12:01 AM, JJLehto said:

Kudos for going at this time of year. IDK how people do rides, big ones too, when its like 40s and 30s lol

You're in NJ, have you not once been to HITP?

Riding rides in the winter is just like any other winter outdoor activity (skiiing/sledding/snowboarding/barhopping/etc), you just bundle up to stay warm. And drink alcohol... also to "stay warm".

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14 hours ago, boldikus said:

You're in NJ, have you not once been to HITP?

Riding rides in the winter is just like any other winter outdoor activity (skiiing/sledding/snowboarding/barhopping/etc), you just bundle up to stay warm. And drink alcohol... also to "stay warm".

Nah man, I can say I never had any want to do that lol I like cold, but doing rides? I'm good fam. Barhopping though, different story!

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Living in Asia with 365 day open parks, I've definitely learnt to appreciate winter rides over summer any day. I did a bunch of parks in Europe in summer with no problems but here when it's 35C and 100% humidity... no thank you. Works out for me though since parks seem to empty out in the Winter. A snowstorm blew through Tokyo Disney around 10am and everyone just bailed on the park. They'll camp out hours before a parade in rain and heat but on that day I could stroll right into the shows and parades at showtime and be front row:

 

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You don't have to go down to 19 degrees. Here in VA we have lots of over 40 in Dec., so that the parks cut coasters at 40 is only annoying. On New Year's Day eve it was in the 60s, 2 days later I shoveled snow and began 3 days without power.

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Season Pass Holders. You can make online reservations for opening day, March 12 through May 11th, 2022. They still haven't opened up reservations for a season pass holder day for March 11th yet, but hopefully will soon. They are tearing down the cave walkway, adding more booths to pay for parking and widening several walkways throughout the park. No word on retracking Lighting Rod that was supposed to be completed during the off season.

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I think Dollywood actually will happen this year for me. . .  from Winterfest, was given a free day admission (and the folks I was with gave me theirs. . so I have 4 passes (ie: 2 days for Spouse and I)).

So absolutely NO excuse *not* to try to get a visit in. . maybe fly on Friday, stay in Gatlinberg (that's close, right?), and go to the park Sat/Sun. . fly back Mon.

certainly looking into this seriously now.

Nick can't ride much, but with so many shows/non-ride things at Dollywood, and free admission?  yeah, think it's finally time to attempt a visit perhaps over the late summer.

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3 hours ago, bert425 said:

I think Dollywood actually will happen this year for me. . .  from Winterfest, was given a free day admission (and the folks I was with gave me theirs. . so I have 4 passes (ie: 2 days for Spouse and I)).

So absolutely NO excuse *not* to try to get a visit in. . maybe fly on Friday, stay in Gatlinberg (that's close, right?), and go to the park Sat/Sun. . fly back Mon.

certainly looking into this seriously now.

Nick can't ride much, but with so many shows/non-ride things at Dollywood, and free admission?  yeah, think it's finally time to attempt a visit perhaps over the late summer.

Gatlinburg is only about 15 minutes  from the park and is the older more sophisticated cousin of Pigeon Forge, much better place to stay in my opinion. Text or email me when you are planning and I will give you a heads up on some places to eat and/or other things to do. IF you have the time you might want to schedule an extra day or two for non park things. Just keep in mind that you will have to fly into Knoxville, it will be a good 45-60 min drive down to the PF/Gatlinburg area, and not all the airlines fly into that airport. 

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2 hours ago, tndank said:

Allegiant from Houston and Austin can often be very cheap with coupon. I've flown RT from Knoxville to Houston for under $20 in the last year. 

Good to know. I never look into Allegiant because it doesn't operate out of the main STL airport and I would first have to drive an hour to get to the one in IL that it goes out of.

Edit: I just checked for s**ts and grins. Allegiant doesn't even give you the option of going STL (really Belleville, IL) to Knoxville. Can only go American, United or Delta and have to change planes.....which is why we usually end up driving 😒 So if you can get a cheap, direct flight to Knoxville, jump on it.

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