Experiencing Dollywood for your first time during the Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival is sure to leave a lasting impression. I still cannot believe I’m *ahem* 30 years old and just experienced Dollywood for the first time. Thankfully, there’s always firsts in our lives. It was also my awesome hubby’s, as well as our sweet girl’s first time. Joining us was my mom that loves to travel (they call it family travel for a reason) and is a seasoned Dollywood go-er, but a first for her to experience #SmokyMountainChristmas. It was so very special to have my family there together to experience everything that Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas has to offer. My cup runneth over.
Unfortunately we did not make it out to the park at opening as planned, but we did make it there shortly after. From the moment we entered the parking lot until the time we left leaving the parking lot, the staff was AMAZING. I’m a huge critic of customer service since I worked in retail/management for so long, and Dollywood met some of my highest standards. Truly, if you’re looking for a friendly establishment where you feel at home, I highly recommend Dollywood.
Upon entering the gates, we went to the left. Typically because that’s the best strategy for any type of amusement park. Unless you’re without kids, I suggest going right. All of the larger rides are to the left and the kids rides are to the right. I felt pretty bad that the adults were getting to ride things before our Sweet Girl. The rides at Dollywood are amazing! I love that there’s plenty of detail upon entering each ride. It keeps me engaged and preps me for my ride. The first thing we rode was Thunderhead. WOW!! Best wooden roller coaster yet! Hubs and I went on it together and when I got off, I was left with a crazy hair-do. If you love thrill, I have yet to see a wooden coaster that intense. There’s so much to do for the entire family though. With plenty of children’s rides, from the Lumberjack lifts, the Waltzing Swinger, and the Flying Elephants your children will not miss out on any of the fun. In case you take your older but still young enough to have fun mother, we highly suggest the FireChaser Express. My mom may have had a mini heart-attack, but she still loved it.
I have to admit…it was c-o-l-d…like…COLD! <What was I thinking not bringing a stroller for our 4-year-old? There is plenty of walking to be done and Dollywood has amazing detail so you don’t want to rush right through. They have convenient stroller parking, so I highly recommend taking one. We could have used it for our extra junk if nothing else. We had on plenty of layers and I picked up quite a few packs of Hot Hands to put in our gloves. I learned while at Dollywood from another park guest that Hot Hands makes ones for your shoes! Learn something new everyday! I pretty much over-pack every place I go, and I think this time my entire family was thankful.
In case you’re wondering, they offer plenty of places to warm up including going inside to watch the do-not-miss Dollywood’s A Christmas Carol. Using holographic technology to bring Dolly Parton to the stage as the Ghost of Christmas Past, the cast did an amazing job bringing the Charles Dickens classic to life. I will not lie, a little part of me hoped that Dolly would show up in person. Oh to dream. It’s on the bucket list, and I’m sure it’s DEFINITELY on my mom’s. *Hint, Hint Dolly Parton, just in case you’re reading this.* We were given the next best thing to a personal appearance from Dolly herself and the musical was awesome! If you have small kids and you worry about them not being into it, no worries, it’s a good place for them to relax or take a nap also.
Don’t be deterred from going to enjoy Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival though when it’s cold. The lights, sounds, down-home-feel-good feelings are just amazing. I have a hard time picturing Dollywood without all of those lights, but I cannot wait to try. One of my favorite parts was riding the Dollywood Express. The train was lit up and they played so many awesome Dolly Parton Christmas songs. Riding along huddled up next to my family watching all of the Christmas decorations go by was simply amazing!
I cannot express how my heart felt, strolling along with my family, being flooded with memories to last a lifetime. My biggest wish is that we had time to go back for a second day. The crowd was few and far between that day, so we were able to walk straight onto some rides and a bare minimum wait on others, but there was just so much to see. Between it being our first visit and adding in plenty of extras that come along with the Smoky Mountain Christmas event, we definitely needed a second day to get it all done. We unfortunately missed Rudolph and friends, getting our picture taken in the snow globe, and some of the other shows, but we will certainly be back next year. If you’re scared this will happen to you; from now until January 2nd, if you arrive after 6pm you get the next day free!
If you’re looking for a one of a kind experience for your family, I recommend checking out theChristmas Memories Cabin Package! This unique package is available 11/8-/14 – 1/3/15. Create Christmas memories that will last a lifetime! Celebrate Christmas in a luxurious cabin and take advantage of our exclusive Christmas Memories Pass which includes: Unlimited Dollywood admission for the duration of the Guest’s cabin stay. FREE reserved parking at Dollywood A holiday buffet meal at Backstage Restaurant (includes dessert, drink & gratuity) The Q2Q line access pass to a reserved seat for Dollywood’s A Christmas Carol! and our other award-winning holiday entertainment.
So Dolly, because I know you’re Mommy’s Got It All’s biggest fan and you’re listening, I know you will have everything we missed next year, right? Because we will certainly be back!
**Disclosure: This trip was sponsored by Dollywood and US Family Guide. I was given tickets to Dollywood in exchange. This in no way impacts my views located within this review. Mommy’s Got It All is dedicated to bringing you honest/unbiased reviews. All information above directly reflects how myself and my crazy family feel. **