Best Value Posts
Katie Van Dyke | The Value of Season Passes
Date: February 1, 2017
While considering options this year I did a little quick math:
Full Family Day Option #1
1. Movie (provided we can find one everyone wants to see)
$12 x 2 adults = $24
$9 x 6 kids = $54
$20 for treats
2. Trampoline Park
$17 x 4 adults= $68
$12 x 2 kids = $24
3. Local Hands-On Science Center
$7 x 7 people= $49
$2 x 7 for planetarium show= $14
Total=$253 for one full day of fun
Full Family Day Option #2
Day at Dollywood (We buy season passes, so add 245 more days of fun!)
$86 x 4 kids = $344 (We only need 4 because kids 3 and under are Free!)
$98 x 2 adults = $196
Train ride- included
Roller coasters- included
Play areas- included
Water rides- included
Craft demonstrations- included
Younger child rides- included
Total= $540 for 10 months of visits
Option #2 is a little more expensive but here is where more value comes in: we get 246 possible days of family fun with our season passes. Note we only bought four of our kids passes, our two year old does not need one as kids 3 and under are Free. Obviously, we won’t make it 246 times, but 10 is a realistic number for our family. That averages out to one visit a month and that makes each trip $54—or just $7 per person!
Now let’s talk about the fact there is something on that list of “included” attractions that each person in my family loves. My 4 year old loves the train and everyone else will have fun riding with him. My older guys love roller coasters, but my toddler will have fun playing in a nearby Fun Yard while they ride. That means no, “I’m bored,” no eye rolling, no asking when we are leaving, no creatively entertaining a toddler because they aren’t big enough for anything. Value with a capital V.
When everyone has something to enjoy it also allows my husband and I to fully enjoy time with our kids.
And I get to do the things I love at Dollywood like listening to my older guys laughing at me for screaming the entire roller coaster ride or riding the Rockin’ Roadway cars with my 4 year old for the fifth time. I love watching all their faces light up as they watch a show or waving to my toddler flying by on the Busy Bees.
A season pass also relieves the pressure I can feel to make everyone cram as much family fun into one day as possible. I know I am not the only mom, who knowing how much money has been spent on a day, has given her kids “the” look and through partially gritted teeth instructed them to start having fun immediately. With a season pass if one or more of my kids is having a meltdown, we can just pack it in and try another day. When we have an unexpected free evening we can surprise the kids with a quick trip to one of their favorite places.
So, if you’re wondering if Dollywood is a good value for you family I’m going to say YES. Dollywood manages to balance big roller coasters, small rides, parks, food, water rides, shows, arts and crafts, music and more. Everyone will find something to smile about. So, pack all your precious people into the car and head to Dollywood for your own family fun.
Teronya Holmes | Welcome Back to Dollywood 2017!
Date: March 20, 2017
Spring is here and it’s time once again to play at Dollywood! With all of your favorite rides, attractions, and culinary treats back within your reach after this long winter, PLUS the addition of new ones added over the off-season, 2017 promises to be full of fun, excitement, and surprises for the whole family.
This season, which Dollywood has dubbed “The Year of the Family,” is hailing all sorts of exciting new things - like two major new attractions (Whistle Punk Chaser and Drop Line), newly remodeled and themed restaurants (Front Porch Cafe and Lumber Jack’s Pizza), and many upgraded services and amenities at the theme park; as well as a splash-tastic new water slide (TailSpin Racer) at Dollywood’s Splash Country. What more, you ask, could they possibly offer to top all that? Well, let me fill you in…
Friday, March 17 Dollywood theme park kicked off its opening weekend with a special “Sneak Preview Day” for Season Passholders before opening to the general public on Saturday, March 18. The folks at Dollywood are especially delighted to be able to thank their loyal customers on this Sneak Preview Day as they open for their 32nd season. It’s going to be a fantastic year!
After a difficult winter in the Smokies with losses due to the wildfires in November of 2016, Dolly Parton and the employees of Dollywood spent many of their own dollars and hours working and raising funds for those who sustained difficult losses as a result. Dollywood’s theme park, water park, and Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa were spared the brunt of the damage, thankfully, and the management and employees have been especially grateful to be able to give back to the community and now to be able to open Dollywood’s doors to the public right on time in 2017.
To celebrate, they turned the Season Passholder “Sneak Preview Day” into a grand event to show their appreciation to their loyal customers with some brand new traditions. Curious? Let me take you on a little tour of some of the surprises offered to Season Passholders on this special day…
Imagine pulling up to the Dollywood parking lot, and being told that you’ve just been upgraded to Preferred Parking (for FREE) for the day! That’s what happened for the first 100 cars who showed up to the park! AND the first 50 who asked for valet parking received a discount!
Keep imagining with me….after parking your car, and taking the very short walk to the park entrance, you take it all in and realize this day is really not going to be your typical day at Dollywood - but then again, is ANY day a typical day at Dollywood??? NO!
Today, Dollywood has literally rolled out the “red carpet treatment” for you with a special V.I.P. entrance! As you stroll the red carpet (Dollywood employees REALLY want you to feel special and welcomed on this day!), amidst greetings from your favorite Dollywood employees and friends, you can stop and have your picture snapped by professional photographers, and, if you’re among some of the first to arrive, you even receive your own gift of Hollywo-... er, uh, I mean “Dollywood swag” - a car magnet and a pair of fabulous sunglasses - fit for the celebrity guest you truly are!
They like me! They really like me!!!
In addition to this one-of-a-kind welcome, Season Passholders were delighted to find many other treats in store for them on this special day: coupons for “buy one, get one free” games for the first 6,000 guests (arcade games not included), discounted Sky Zip tours, special discounts on food, drinks, and treats across the park - BEYOND the normal Gold Pass discount, and more!
Don’t forget, Dollywood Season Passholders don’t just get one day of special treatment at Dollywood. They receive a bounty of amazing benefits all year long:
- Unlimited visits to the Season Pass’ respective Park
- Exclusive ride times on select attractions
- Friends & Family Discount - $5 off regular 1-Day admission for friends to the Season Pass’ respective Park (Passholder must be present and purchase)
- 20% off Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Cabins and overnight accommodations (Passholder only); Subject to availability
- For Dollywood Season Passholders only - Passholder discount to Dollywood’s Splash Country - $5 off Regular 1-Day Admission to Dollywood’s Splash Country (Passholder only)
- For Dollywood’s Splash Country Season Passholders only - Passholder Discount - $5 off Regular 1-Day admission to Dollywood (Passholder only)
- Gold Passholders - Save up to 10%, based on seasonality and availability at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort, limited to Sunday - Thursday (plus, Gold Passholders receive free parking every operational day, and 20% off food, merchandise, and select rentals at the respective park.)
- Super Passholders - Save up to 20%, based on seasonality and availability at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort
- Fabulous discounts to other regional attractions - just show your pass and save! Attractions such as Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede (Pigeon Forge), Chimney Rock (NC), Biltmore (Asheville, NC), Tennessee Aquarium (Chattanooga), Stone Mountain Park (Atlanta, GA), Silver Dollar City (Branson, MO), Silver Dollar City’s White Water (Branson), Ripley’s Attractions (Sevierville & Gatlinburg), Great Smoky Mountains Railroad (Bryson City, NC), Cumberland Caverns, and Zoo Knoxville (Knoxville, TN).
All of this and more - just to say thank you, and welcome back to your Dollywood home in the Smokies! It’s not too late to purchase your Dollywood Season Pass for 2017. Just go to Dollywood.com for more information and to make your purchase. So, what are you waiting for? Dollywood and the Smokies are calling!
Sami Cone | How to Get the Best Value at Dollywood's DreamMore Resort
Date: April 24, 2017
In my family’s opinion, there’s only one thing that can make a trip to Dollywood better: staying at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa.
After staying at the resort for the first time last year, we became aware of a way to make our stays at the resort even more rewarding: Dollywood's DreamMore Resort Founders Club Premier.
Even as frugal as I am, could not deny the value found within a Founders Club Premier membership.
For less than the cost of one night's stay, you receive all the following:
20% Off Dining & Spa Retail/Services – Enjoy a 20% discount at the DM Pantry, the Song & Hearth and the Spa at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort. (Valid on select spa services and retail items; does not apply to packages, special events/offers or the purchase of alcoholic beverages).
Free Night Certificate – Use this certificate with any paid night at our Smoky Mountain resort and enjoy your second night on us (subject to availability). Please contact 1-800-DOLLYWOOD for available dates.
Free Ticket –Select a free one-day, one-park admission to Dollywood or Dollywood’s Splash Country. (This alone was worth it for me!)
Automatic Room Upgrades – Premier members receive an automatic room upgrade with every stay at our Smoky Mountain resort (subject to availability).
Exclusive Spa & Dining Offers – Receive exclusive member-only specials at our Smoky Mountain resort.
Founder’s Club Premier guests will also receive a free TimeSaver Pass to Dollywood, early Saturday entry to Dollywood, free parking at the resort and complimentary shuttle service to Dollywood’s front gate.
All of that comes with the $149 membership fee.
Why would you wait? The free room night alone covers the cost, not to mention the free Dollywood ticket AND all the discounts.
It only took one stay at Dollywood's DreamMore Resort for me to know I didn't want to stay anywhere else when I came back with my family to Dollywood and Dollywood’s Splash Country.
The resort has all the southern charm you'd expect with just the right touch of attainable luxury. And the amenities can't be beat: from the spa to the pools and even roasting S'mores on the outdoor fire pit, it seems like Dolly and her team have thought of everything!
And did I mention the food? Song & Hearth, the resort’s farmhouse-inspired restaurant, provides delectable home-style dishes served up with a side of Southern hospitality for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I wouldn't normally say I'm a fan of southern cuisine, but the restaurant alone would be worth making a trip back (Make sure to sample their breakfast buffet!).
But this is what I need you to pay attention to...
What truly makes DreamMore a value you can't overlook are the unique Dollywood park privileges extended to every guest of the Resort. These include:
- Free door-to-door transportation to both Dollywood and Dollywood’s Splash Country.
- Exclusive Dollywood Park Entry - Use the special Dollywood DreamMore Resort guests-only entrance at Dollywood Theme Park.
- Front-of-the-line access at Dollywood with a free TimeSaver pass for each guest (up to a $30 per guest/per day value).
- Early Saturday entrance for guests at Dollywood and Dollywood’s Splash Country.
- Complimentary Package Delivery - Take advantage of in-room delivery at our resort for Dollywood parks’ shopping purchases.
- Best Price Guarantee - Guaranteed lowest online price for Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort's Pigeon Forge hotel rooms as well as Dollywood park tickets.
- Dollywood Resort perks - Enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi, exclusive resort entertainment and dining experiences, and complimentary parking.
For reservations at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa, or to find more information about all of the family-friendly resort amenities, visit dollywood.com or call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD.
Katie Van Dyke | Best Deal Inside Dollywood
Date: May 03, 2017
People know me as Coupon Katie, so that should tell you I’m always looking for ways to save money. At Dollywood, there are opportunities beyond buying a Season Pass (see my post about that here). Once you’re inside the park, be sure to check out the deal on souvenir mugs and popcorn containers. You can use them all season long and even take them to Dollywood’s Splash Country! Here’s the conversation I had with a couple Dollywood hosts about getting the best deal on drinks and popcorn while you’re enjoying the park.
Teronya Holmes | Sweet Summer Savings
Date: June 21, 2017
Summer is finally here! This is sweet music to my family’s ears because it means we have more time for fun - at Dollywood!
You know that Dollywood is the sweetest summer vacation destination for your family and friends, right? Well, just to sweeten things a little more the good folks of Dollywood have provided all kinds of amazing opportunities to make sure that your visit is the greatest value ever this summer! Be sure to check out the Dollywood website to find out all about the “Special Offers” this summer.
As great as all these deals are, I still want to make sure that I’m leaving no stone unturned when it comes to sweetening the deal on our vacations. The good news is, there are even MORE ways that you can save when you visit Dollywood!
Here are a few of our favorite tried and true Dollywood Deals and Savings Sweeteners:
Arrive After 3 p.m., Next Day is Free!
Normally one of the main tips you get when you visit a theme park is to ‘get there early so you can get all the main attractions done before the lines get too long.’ Well, here is an exception! If you can work it out to spend more than one day at Dollywood, then arrive after 3 p.m. your first day - and your next day will be FREE! This is truly one of the best kept secrets out there, especially since Dollywood is open for extended hours this summer - until 10 p.m. now until Aug. 6. After that, check the operating calendar for how late the park is open. The good thing is, though, you can still arrive after 3 and get the next day free through October!
Arrive Early - Avoid the Lines
For the early bird who loves to get the worm, or if your vacation only allows for one day at Dollywood, then arriving at the park early is a great way to get the most bang for your buck. You will definitely be able to get in a lot of the major attractions before the lines begin to get longer. This leaves more time for shows and CINNAMON BREAD!
Avoid the Busiest Days
Let’s face it, we always want to “get our money’s worth,” and the smaller the crowd, the more you get to do at Dollywood. It is difficult to always predict which days are the busiest at Dollywood. However, in the summer it is usually best to visit on a Wednesday or Thursday to avoid the biggest crowds. Also, a festival or special event will usually be cause for a larger crowd and longer lines. Check the calendar on Dollywood’s website to see if there’s anything going on the day(s) you plan to visit.
Get a Timesaver to Get the Biggest Bang for Your Buck
If there is simply no way you can avoid visiting Dollywood on a crowded day and you still want to make the MOST of your time there, Dollywood offers the “TimeSaver Line Management Pass.” If it is important that you make the most of your limited time at Dollywood, this is a superb deal. For the cost of $35 plus tax per person, you will be able to maximize your visit by spending less time in line. The TimeSaver will allow you to visit ten eligible attractions or rides, or to ride your favorite ride(s) up to ten times. Gold, Super Gold Passholders, and Smoky Mountain Cabin guests receive a $5 discount on a TimeSaver. And best of all, the TimeSaver is FREE for Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort guests who have purchased exclusive resort theme park tickets or Season Passes! Check the Dollywood website for more information or to purchase.
One of my most treasured surprises of all time at Dollywood was when we visited the park on a beautiful day and had a glorious time up until 3 p.m. when a huge thunderstorm hit. At most other theme parks we’ve visited, this simply means that you buy a poncho and go for it on the attractions that can stay operational, or, you leave disappointed. At Dollywood, most of our favorite attractions were closing due to the fact that they are the outdoor rides which cannot be operated when lightning is within a 10-mile radius of the park. As we were leaving the park, we couldn’t help but feel a little dejected that we weren’t getting a full day’s worth of fun. Imagine our joy when a cheerful Dollywood Hostess smiled and said, “Good-bye folks! Be sure you pick up your rainchecks on the way out!” Wait. WHAT? Could there really be such a thing? YES, Virginia, there is! Here’s how Dollywood’s “No Worry Rain Guarantee” works: “If the park experiences rain for more than 1 hour on the day of your visit, [Dollywood] will gladly give you a raincheck to return another day. We understand that rain can sometimes lessen your park experience and we are happy to have you visit us again! Please stop by Guest Services to pick up your raincheck before you leave the park.” I call that customer service, folks!
Upgrade to a Season Pass
Let’s say you have an unforgettable day in Dollywood, and you decide that one day is just not enough. STOP. Before you go buy another one-day admission ticket you need to understand that if you are going to visit Dollywood more than one time during the season, a Season Pass is your BEST VALUE. This happens to folks a lot, and Dollywood loves and cares for their guests so much that the good folks there have made it possible for you to upgrade to a Season Pass by applying your paid one-day admission toward the price of a season pass! This transaction must be made on the day of your visit before leaving the park. So head to Guest Services and just get it done as soon as possible - you won’t regret it!
Refillable Mugs for Drinks and Popcorn
Dollywood and Splash Country offer a great deal with their Refillable Fill and Chill Day/Season Pass Mugs. These cute mugs can be used to save on unlimited FREE refills on all fountain drink beverages and $1.99 refills on all hot or frozen beverages either for the day or for the entire 2017 season, according to your purchase. There is also a refillable popcorn container you can purchase, which is great if you have teenage boys with a hollow leg, like I do!
Free Water Anywhere Fountain Drinks are Sold
You can ask for and receive a free cup of ice water at any food or beverage stand in either Dollywood or Splash Country that has a beverage fountain. It is so important to stay hydrated when you are playing hard and walking through the parks this summer. If you can forego the sodas and sweet tea, this one little tweak to your meal plan for the day can save you a LOT of money!
Dollywood offers several more special discounts of which you’ll want to be aware, in case any should apply to you or your family. For instance, deals are available for groups of fifteen or more, as long as arrangements are made at least two weeks in advance. Dollywood has also always been proud to assist military families with a 30% discount on one-day admission tickets. And of course, Season Passholders, Gold Passholders, and Super Passholders have several discount opportunities from which to benefit at Dollywood and Splash Country, as well as discounts at other regional attractions, such as Biltmore, Chimney Rock, Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede, Great Smoky Mountains’ Railroad, Cumberland Caverns, Ripley’s Attractions, Silver Dollar City, Stone Mountain Park, Tennessee Aquarium, Silver Dollar City’s Whitewater, and Zoo Knoxville.
So, there you go! I’m sure there are many other great ideas for enjoying a memorable time at Dollywood while getting the best value possible, but these are my tried-and-true favorites. I hope you enjoy your time at Dollywood and Splash Country!