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On 9/24/2016 at 9:59 AM, BuckeyeFortMama said:

We plan to go next Friday and possibly Saturday for our first trip. We're staying at the Pigeon Forge KOA. We have kids ranging from 6-13 and we love family rides, smaller coasters (for example the kids love BTMRR but hate Everest), shows, and good food. I'll gladly take any last minute tips.

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Here are DIT's 10 Keys To a Good Dollywood Vacation:

1. As others have said, the cinnamon bread from the Grist Mill is unbelievable.  Pay the small extra charge for a cup of icing.  

2. The Lumberjack Pizza is pretty good and is HUGE.  I mean, seriously huge.  One slice is more than many kids can finish.  

3. Outside the park, we really enjoy the Old Mill Creamery for ice cream.  And you can walk there from the KOA.  Walk out the back pathway of the campground toward where the trolley depot is....and the Old Mill district is right there.  

4. Definitely utilize the trolley to come and go from Dollywood.  It drops you right at the gate, is cheap and convenient.  

5. If you have time, check out the Dreammore resort.  They did a very nice job building Dolly's first hotel.  The bar downstairs has good fried pickles and pimento cheese dip.  

6. If you are driving into and out of Pigeon Forge from the Sevierville exit of I-40, but over to Veterans Blvd to get to the KOA and to Dollywood.  Avoid the Parkway at all costs!!  Especially this time of year.  

7. Get to one of the pancake houses along the parkway some morning.  Delicious.  I particularly like the Log Cabin Pancake House but there are many good ones.  

8. The Island is a zoo.  If you are not interested in any of the shops or restaurants there stay away.  However, if you enjoy outlets, the Tanger Outlets are worth some time.  

9. DEFINITELY ride the Wild Eagle at Dollywood.  Easily my favorite ride of all time, anywhere.  My oldest daughter went a month ago and says the Lightening Rod is incredible, but don't eat before.  You spend half the ride off your seat airborne.  

10. Eat a second and third loaf of cinnamon bread.  Then buy more for the ride home.  

Have a good time.  

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Oh....and because I'm in a giving mood today, I'm going to give you an 11th tip for free.  

If your kids love BTMRR, they will love the Firechaser Express.  It's a ton of fun!  And if they don't mind dark thrills, like Space Mountain....check out the Mystery Mine.  

There, that's practically 12 tips.  An even dozen.  

Oh, one more.  Get more cinnamon bread.  

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Adding to or confirming other suggestions:

I love BTMRR and hate Everest, and the fastest ride I go on in Dollywood is Firechaser Express. 

Ride the train. It's great to get off your feet, relax and enjoy the scenery.

I've never tried the cinnamon bread but it smells wonderful. All my snack $ goes to the Kettle Corn which I highly recommend if you like kettle corn. I love to take a bag of kettle corn on the train.

Make sure your kids meet Miss Lillian. 

Check out the Dreammore resort.

I'm not really into any particular type of music, but shows I like are My People (Dolly's family), Kingdom Heirs and Dreamland Drive In.

Taking Veterans Blvd instead of the Parkway can't be emphasized enough. 

 

And I swore we wouldn't go back to Dollywood this year because we went 3 times last year with annual passes, but now that I'm writing this, I really want to go back.

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The trolley I found to be hot, crowded,  slow, and the choice of public transportation for all of the meth users in the area. As Dave said the bread is damn good. 

I recommend skipping all of the touristy stuff and head straight to the roaring fork motor trail, and clingmans dome in the national park .

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This is great information which of course I share with the entire BuckeyeFortFamily. I now have an excited 9 year old boy who is determined to finish 2 slices of lumberjack pizza, 3 loaves of cinnamon bread and ride the Firechaser Express. Thank you fellow fiends, making vacations better for years now!

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23 hours ago, BuckeyeFortMama said:

 

This is great information which of course I share with the entire BuckeyeFortFamily. I now have an excited 9 year old boy who is determined to finish 2 slices of lumberjack pizza, 3 loaves of cinnamon bread and ride the Firechaser Express. Thank you fellow fiends, making vacations better for years now!

 

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I'd do the Firechaser first :lol:

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My sister and her kids live in Knoxville and we camp in the Smokies a few times a year.  So far our favorite campground is Anchor Down RV park.  The sites are amazing, lots of good family friendly stuff to do at the park.  Not the cheapest park around but well worth the cost.  

http://www.anchordownrvresort.com/

It's also far enough away from Pigeon forge and Gatlinburg to not be in that mess, but close enough to get to it with limited driving. 

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3 hours ago, bdm said:

My sister and her kids live in Knoxville and we camp in the Smokies a few times a year.  So far our favorite campground is Anchor Down RV park.  The sites are amazing, lots of good family friendly stuff to do at the park.  Not the cheapest park around but well worth the cost.  

http://www.anchordownrvresort.com/

It's also far enough away from Pigeon forge and Gatlinburg to not be in that mess, but close enough to get to it with limited driving. 

I agree with everything said above as we also like Anchor Down, with one exception. It is HOT, almost unbearably hot during the summer months. There are only about 12 sites with limited shade and the rest is in an open parking lot surrounded by black asphalt. We have agreed to return for spring or late fall camping as the facilities are very nice and the staff is first class, but we just can't take the heat from May-August.

Not bashing the place in any way, just wanted folks to know our experience.

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Revival of this post is making me crave the smokies and Dollywood. We did a lot of traveling this year (3 fort visits, a week in upstate NY, a few quick weekends at a resort in Orlando and a week trip to Jamaica) we had to skip Tennessee this year.  DIT's tips are right on.  The only thing I would add is one of the 3 smokey mountain coasters I mentioned in my post last time.  I will add IMHO when we go to the smokies, we camp far away from the tourist crap and drive into town to do the attractions. The smokies in itself is a great vacation for me. We are going to try and hit Dollywood next year.  I would love to see a TCD trip report from there. It would be a cool ride. 

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On ‎5‎/‎19‎/‎2015 at 0:05 AM, mouseketab.....Carol said:

I've only been to Dollywood once, and we did it very wrong... didn't get there till 11, large group, and pretty much just wandered. Only got in a few attractions, but we enjoyed our day with Fiends :)

 

When we were there, we stayed in Townsend at the KOA.

 

We also spent part of a day in Gatlinburg visiting the brewery's.

 

Another highlight of our trip was Cades Cove.

I agree about doing it wrong LOL, I don't think we did enough research and felt like we were lost.
We are so used to Disney and knowing our way around. I think a big attraction is their shows and we did see one, but planning is the key at Dollywood (I think)

we are going back to Townsend KOA in June, we might give Dollywood another shot, anyone going to be in the area last week of June?

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1 hour ago, TN22.....Brady said:

Hey DIT, someone posted this copycat recipe online and thought of you...

 

http://chindeep.com/2017/05/11/dollywood-cinnamon-bread-copycat/

I watched them make the cinnamon bread at the gristmill many times.  That recipe calls for 2 sticks of butter for 2 loaves....I think that's low.  :lol:

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Just finished a brief stay at the KOA just down vets blvd from Dollywood, great place to camp.

 

The have the most extreme swing / coaster ever.

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