Water Park Posts
Morgan Crutchfield | My Favorite Dollywood's Splash Country Tip
Date: March 27, 2017
Water parks can be a vacation’s Great Family Divider: kids love them, parents can see them as an endless stretch of sunburns, snack whining, and missed naps. I understand how some families don’t see the value in paying a full day’s water park admission, especially with smaller kids or older family members. Stay with me when I say that the value at Dollywood’s Splash Country is maximized by spending a little extra – I think you’ll see what I mean.
Dollywood’s Splash Country is a big water park. With more than 25 water attractions spread over 35 acres, it can absolutely be a full day of family fun. Splash Country’s variety doesn’t disappoint, either; the park has everything from a fantastic multi-level interactive attraction for the littles, to wild slides for the adventurers, and a lazy river for those looking to relax.
With all this fun to be had, guests who want to get the most out of their tickets need to be wise about finding places to hydrate, rest, recharge, and reapply sunscreen. And while finding a lounge chair and claiming it for the day is a good stopgap solution for all of these needs, the real secret to being a Splash Country pro is renting a retreat.
Tip: Rent a Retreat
First things first: What is it? A retreat is 200 square feet of shaded space and 100 square feet of private sunny patio that has a ceiling fan, a dining table with 6 chairs, four lounge chairs, a television with select satellite channels, and the option to have food and beverages delivered right to you. I recommend sharing the space and splitting the cost with family or friends. For around $200 for the entire day ($170 if you’re passholders!), your entire family can rest, relax, and recharge in a Splash Country retreat. From experience, I can tell you, it’s money well-invested.
Not sold yet? If you have kids of any age, a retreat is a lifesaver. You can pull the curtains around your building and take a little nap or use the patio as a lookout while the kids splash nearby. You can sit down together for lunch without waiting for a table somewhere and have your food delivered, knowing that you’ll all be able to sit together. You can visit your favorite rides all the way across the park and know that your valuables will be safe in secure storage and your chairs will be waiting for you when you return. You can cool down in your shaded retreat with a ceiling fan when temperatures soar, or watch a quick rain shower pass while you catch some cartoons. In short, you can use every minute the park is open to focus on having fun with your family instead of worrying about the logistics. How does that break down? Dollywood’s Splash Country is open for 8 hours a day during the season. That’s 480 minutes of fun with 0 minutes of worry.
It’s recommended (but not mandatory) that guests wishing to use retreats make reservations. Retreats serve up to 10 people, with extra guests adding $10 to the reservation price per guest. ADA-accessible retreats are available within ¾ of a mile of the entrance. Guests may not bring their own food and beverages into the retreats, but a phone is available in each building to make it easy to order snacks, meals, and drinks. You can even decide what you want for lunch when you first arrive and schedule when you want lunch to be delivered.
To make a retreat reservation, call 1-800-365-5996 or visit this link. My favorite retreats are those by the Cascades, marked with letters I through T on the map below. All the retreat locations are on the map below, with blue being ADA-accessible retreats and pink being standard layouts.
Traveling with just a couple of people? You can book a retreat, or go with a smaller Canopy option, which offers 65 square feet of shaded space, two lounge chairs, and personal secure storage space for $45 a day ($40 for passholders!). Either way, for a little extra money you can take your Dollywood Splash Country visit to the next level of fun for the whole family and be a total Splash Country Pro.
Book your Dollywood's Splash Country Water Adventure Park vacation by calling (800) 365-5996 or visiting their website. Dollywood Annual passholders receive special offers and discounts throughout the year, so consider becoming a park passholder for this and other benefits.
Sami Cone | Dollywood's Splash Country:
Date: May 15, 2017
I wouldn’t be a Dollywood Insider if I didn’t give you the scoop on the newest attraction at Splash Country: TailSpin Racer. The 360 degree looping water speedway is a six-lane racing slide that’s five stories tall and longer than a football field. Best of all, you only have to be 42” tall to ride TailSpin Racer, so families can race head-to-head with the fun of a traditional mat racer-style slide, but with the tight turns and daring drops of an enclosed slide. You’ll find this new adventure just after you enter the park on your left.
But you won’t want to stop there! There is so much to experience at Dollywood’s Splash Country. One reason we love it so much is because we can bring everyone in the family, from babies to grandparents. In fact, last summer we had a mini family reunion where over 20 of us gathered for a weekend at Splash Country because there is literally a water attraction for everyone of any age to enjoy. (Dollywood’s Splash Country Retreat: A Multi-Generational Birthday Celebration).
Although we rented a retreat for our full day at the water park, we took advantage of the “After 3, Next Day Free” deal the day before and set up camp at Little Creek Falls; it’s conveniently located in the center of the park and features a children’s pool, fun slides and a water activity center. But what appealed to our group most (which included four babies under the age of two and three grandmas) were the large butterfly wings that provided shade. The grandmas loved playing with the little ones in the zero-entry pool when they weren’t napping and while the big kids (and some of us adults) ventured out to some of the more daring water slides.
Speaking of daredevils, there are plenty of slides to satisfy the thrill-seekers in your group (those riders over 48” tall). While I’ve taken my turn on Fire Tower Falls and Mountain Scream, my hands down favorite is RiverRush. It’s Tennessee’s first and only water coaster and you only need to be 42” to ride. Yes, I’ve been known to get off and get right back in line for this one! My tweens would tell you this is their favorite water park attraction as well.
Of course, no trip to Splash Country would be complete without a turn (or two or three…) around the Downbound Float Trip. Again, this is a great choice for every member of the family, as life-vests are available for those that aren’t the strongest swimmers (did you know that life vests are available to borrow for free and can be picked up from various locations in the water park?).
And if you’re looking for more family fun while floating, make sure to try Big Bear Plunge and Raging River Rapids; riders only need to be 36” tall and you all get to sit in one big raft together and, if you’re like our family, have a screaming contest on the way down.
Now if you’ve read any of my other Insider posts, you know that no trip to Dollywood is complete without some delicious eats... and you’re sure to find them at Splash Country as well. I’ll admit, I’m a little partial to the desserts over the main dishes. Two that you can’t miss are a berry sundae from Berries & Cream and the Canadian fried dough phenomenon, BEAVERTAILS.
Can you now understand why we needed more than just one day to take advantage of all Dollywood’s Splash Country has to offer? So suit up the family and make sure you add an extra day (or two) onto your Dollywood vacation this summer to experience IAAPA’s “Must-See Waterpark”!