Best Value Posts

Katie Van Dyke | Life With a Big Family is a Balancing Act
Date: February 1, 2017

When planning family adventures we try to balance budget against how possible it is that our entire family will have fun. With a wide age range, this can be a lot harder than it sounds.  It becomes even harder when you want a day that offers memories, laughs and fun at a reasonable price. When you want value. 

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
Shows- included
Play areas- included
Water rides- included 
Craft demonstrations- included
Younger child rides- included
Festivals- included 
Museums- 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 for more information and to make your purchase. So, what are you waiting for? Dollywood and the Smokies are calling!