You’re off to Dollywood, but what should you take? If your children are young enough to need a stroller, you may need to pack a bit heavier than the average theme park guest. With proper planning, you can be sure to have everything you need without weighing your stroller down with unnecessary baggage.
Should I Bring a Stroller to Dollywood?
Before considering what to pack in your stroller, you must first determine whether you need a stroller at the park. While your child may have aged out of strollers at most places, a stroller can be a lifesaver when spending the day at Dollywood. On an average day at Dollywood, my family walks between two and five miles. This distance can be a lot for little legs, and a stroller may help your child avoid exhaustion (and all the fun parenting that comes with exhaustion). Plus, bringing a stroller will give you a place to stash the extra gear you need when traveling with a young child.
If you don’t have a stroller but feel that your child would benefit from using one, you can rent a single or double stroller for the day inside the park. The stroller rental location is located near the Dollywood Emporium at the front of the park and operates on a first-come, first-served basis.
What Should I pack?
While your park needs will vary based on the season and the age of your children, there are some items that you’ll almost always need for a successful day.
- Bathroom necessities. This might include diapers, wipes or a spare pair of underwear and pants.
- Feeding needs. Be sure to pack any bottles, formula and special spoons or purees that your child needs.
- Water bottles or sippy cups. While you are not allowed to bring in your own food and beverages, you can bring a water bottle or cup that your child will be comfortable using to refill during the day. Staying hydrated at the park is important, and having a drink container that your child uses well will help.
- A change of clothes. Kids make messes, and sometimes a wardrobe change is needed. To protect our clothes from the elements and minimize the space required to store them, we roll an extra outfit for each child into a large Ziploc bag and keep the bag under the stroller. These also come in handy if your child wants to enjoy a water ride or a play area with a water feature but doesn’t want to be wet all day.
- Your family will get lots of sun exposure while exploring Dollywood, so reapplying sunscreen throughout the day is a must. If your child is willing to wear sunglasses or a sun hat, those are also great to store in your stroller.
- Raincoats or ponchos. Check the forecast before you go and pack rain protection accordingly. My children prefer their raincoats over ponchos, so we store them in the bottom basket of the stroller or roll them into the pockets on the back of the stroller seats. If your stroller offers enough storage, packing a small umbrella can also be helpful.
- Water-friendly shoes. Bringing extra shoes is not necessary, but it absolutely can make your day more fun. Between water play and water rides, Dollywood has several opportunities to get wet. Most kids don’t enjoy walking through the park with soggy shoes, so packing a pair of flip flops can be a big parenting win.
- A light blanket or sweatshirt. If your child will nap in the stroller, having a blanket can help them feel cozy and comfortable. Bringing a blanket or sweatshirt can also help with any lower temperatures you may experience in the mornings and evenings.
- A belt bag or small crossbody purse. While most of your gear will stay in your diaper bag or stroller, you’ll need to utilize stroller parking while enjoying rides. Bring a belt bag, fanny pack or small purse to keep your wallet, keys and phone nearby.
- A stroller hook. If you use a refillable mug or popcorn bucket, consider bringing a stroller hook. These large carabiner clips hook to your stroller handlebar, and you can easily attach your refillable mugs and buckets to your stroller this way.
Strollers are very helpful during firework shows! During last year’s Summer Celebration Sweet Summer Nights fireworks and drone show, my youngest children were grateful to use their stroller as their own personal seating area.
Taking young kids to Dollywood may require a bit more gear than an adult trip, but with planning you can be sure to have everything you need for a successful day. Utilize all those stroller pockets, pack a great attitude and get ready to make wonderful memories with your children!