Our family recently happened to arrive at Dollywood. I was visiting a Tennessee family. The morning after the child arrived after bedtime, we woke up enchantedly and searched for coffee. An attentive young cousin immediately offered me this necessary beer, so I turned to his mom and said, “Well, what do you want to do this week?” She shouted, “Let’s go to Dollywood!”

I didn’t expect it, but we were here to have a happy time with them, and if that was what they wanted, that was what we wanted too is. So my cousin called a friend for advice on the best way to do Dollywood and then spent about an hour putting together our day trip package.

I didn’t know what to expect. My husband and I don’t call ourselves theme park people. In fact, I’m scared of roller coasters.Classic country fair Egg scrambler Make the most of my riding ability.

My husband isn’t so emotionally impaired, but he’s modest and easy-please mate. We mainly hike in the woods and ride our bikes for family fun. My idea of ​​having a great night is to go to a place where 15 million (ie 6) children will not interrupt the conversation 70 billion times. Adding ice cream and coffee, that’s my best life right now.

So I was a little skeptical, but to avoid becoming a big fat stick in the mud, I decided to be as comfortable and open-minded as possible and help everyone else have a good time. bottom. These low expectations were always exceeded during our day’s visit. We came back hoping to go again.

Do Dollywood, not Disney

In contrast, Walt Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in California have long been on our “Beyond the Corpse” list, and with Dollywood as an option, they definitely stay there.Not just recent visibility Facts of many years Disney’s post-Walt corporate leadership not only undermines sexual integrity, but also works for the greedy commercialization of the Disney brand.

Even if you put them aside Recently revealed Disney’s products, which support the destruction of human well-being through sexual turmoil, promote a lifestyle that does not reflect my family life goals. I don’t want my children to be a whimsical kid, the greatest lesson to learn that all authorities are stupid and evil. This is the main message of almost every major Disney property and is very bad for kids.

Other destructive and prevalent Disney messages are that men (especially dads) are stupid and bad, women can’t make mistakes, and women verify themselves by beating people harder than boys. You need to, celebrities (good people), and “do it if you feel good”. These are terrifying values ​​that can and actually destroy people as much as cutting the genitals. I am not interested in supporting these messages with my own money or the attention of children. So we’ve never been a Disney family and will never be.

Meanwhile, Dollywood I can enter. The only message Dollywood has pushed is that people should love each other. Oh, and “love every moment.” Who can make it uncomfortable? Here’s a brief explanation of what I liked most about Dollywood, what I didn’t like, and what worked for my family from a logistics perspective.

The perfect combination of fun for different ages and abilities

Perhaps the best thing about going as a large family group was that Dollywood had something for everyone. As I said, I don’t do roller coasters, but teens and other adults with us did, and they had a great time. My eldest son, 11 years old, tried his first roller coaster and shouted out the time of his life with his aunt and cousin. They spent the whole day going from roller coaster to the next roller coaster.

People in our group who recently visited other big theme parks, including Disney World, said the roller coaster and general park experience was much better at Dollywood. It was less busy, organized, less expensive and healthier. We visited on a gorgeous April spring Friday, and the park was humming but not full. It was really perfect.

The 5 and 8 year olds rode several roller coasters. They were scared, but they liked it.

For roller coaster riders, we’ve spent extra on a “time saver” add-on that allows you to jump to the forefront of the line. Getting an unlimited pass almost doubles the price of your ticket, but it’s worth it. I think things will get even busier for the summer. That way, the Time Saver Pass will be even more valuable. (If you want to jump the line but don’t want to spend too much, another time saver only applies to 8 rides.)

Even though we didn’t enjoy terrorizing ourselves, we had a lot to do to perfectly accommodate different age groups. The youngest kid we brought was my 22 month old kid who loved baby rides. I had to fold myself into some ridiculous pint-sized seats to discover that my little guy could go some on his own, and then I cheered from the bystanders ..

I was worried he might be surprised because he is a mommy boy who clings very much, but he didn’t yell at me or for me, a big win for both of us. I brought a baby pack instead of a stroller and carried it around, and it worked. If it was the heat of the heat, I would have done a stroller instead.

For spectators of 6 or less, our two favorite theme park locations were Wildwood Grove and Country Fair. Both have had vehicles all the time. The latter needs to do more in one place for multiple age groups, and I think Wildwood Gloves are being marketed to younger kids. The latter has a sprinkler like a splash pad for the summer heat, and if I lived in the area, I would often take my toddlers and preschoolers with the Season Pass.

Dollywood also has a water park, but I didn’t visit it this time. For future summer visits, I’m definitely interested in it.

Clean, not overbranded and well maintained

One of the things I hate to be a mom in the United States in the 21st century is knowing that this is a First World problem. It’s an insane level of marketing imposed on me and my kids. That’s one of the reasons I don’t like Disney. It’s like a dollar-obsessed cult trying to monetize all the flashes in your eyeball.

For me, this armed my family’s life and handed over parental privileges to strangers. With a Minnie Mouse face, it openly urges children to whine about cheap and unfilled trash made in Chinese factories. I strive to reduce children’s exposure to the brand. Because 1) worrying about meaningless junk is expensive, 2) adding unnecessary friction to relationships, 3) deliberately taking advantage of children’s immaturity to make more money, and Because I believe it is morally wrong.

Dollywood didn’t use any of the high pressure Disney manipulative tactics that upset me so much. Branded product backstory and gob-bearing characters, unforgettable jarring pop tunes auto-tuned by embarrassingly sexual tweens, morally bankrupt but eyes trying to steal my daughter’s soul There was no rough heroine. Just right, clean fun.

Speaking of cleanliness, some 4-year-olds have very limited ability to retain water, so I probably sampled most of Dollywood’s bathrooms. I found a slightly outdated style. In some cases it was a concrete block building, but with a baby changing station, it was clean, abundant and easy to find.

I couldn’t get on this vehicle. I was too scared. But my 5-year-old cousin loved it.

Probably one in hundreds of masks while we were there, as it’s a ruling class mark that loves to crush Americans for those who don’t like Covid Theater like me. I will disclose my estimate that it was. It was refreshing to see that everything in America wasn’t destroyed by a wall-wide public health lie.

Go only for music

Another big boost to the Dollywood experience was, of course, folk and country music piped throughout the park, and multiple live music venues. The music was trampling, country folk, healthy, high quality, upscale, vibrant and very enjoyable. It enhances the healthy Americana atmosphere throughout the park, emphasizing the roots of Dolly Parton’s rural mountains.

Some artists and venues were overtly Christian and refreshing no We apologize for that. There is also a chapel in the park. I’m a high church gal who clings to most of what’s sold as Christian music, but it happened to be top-notch Christian music, not embarrassing because I argued over my boyfriend Jesus.

I have never been to a public place with better background music, such as a mall. I would have gone to Dollywood just to listen to music. It was great to expose my kids to that uplifting atmosphere. It constantly raised my spirit and eased the little pain of carrying a noisy toddler in a public place full of people and walking around in the sun with my feet all day long.

Thank you, Dolly Parton. That was the top cherry blossom, obviously you were the only one.

Various side observations

Once you get to Dollywood, you don’t have to keep buying tickets or tokens to get on. If you pay the entrance fee, you will get all the vehicles you can manage. Rather than constantly shuffling and bombarding for this vehicle, I would like to pay one big admission fee and then use the park at a family pace. My children whine.

As is clear so far, overall Dollywood was a great experience, and I highly recommend it to people who already have hundreds or thousands of dollars budgeted for family vacations. To do. If you haven’t done so already, add it to the list.

I have two small criticisms. The food sold in the park was delicious and varied. But that was what I call sneakyly expensive. This is probably Dollywood’s uncontrollable inflation, labor shortages (closed with signs that restaurants in one or two parks are due to staff shortages), and regular fair food markup. It depends on the combination. Also, I generally don’t take my kids out — I don’t think the value gained from that experience is usually the same as the cost.Anyway, we brought most of our food and had a big meal at Pirates Voyage It was noon, so it worked.

Second, for some reason, I had never seen a water bottle water supply station. They must have been somewhere, but I didn’t see them, and I was looking. Reusable water bottles can be carried anywhere, especially in these all-day outdoor environments. Speaking of the outdoors, hats and sunscreen are recommended for people who get burned.

If you want to visit Dollywood on a budget, a family of four can do it for about $ 500 without a ticket add-on, bring their own picnic lunch and can’t stay overnight, but certainly a lot. There are ways to spend more and therefore do more. Obviously, different families have different budgets and preferences, and navigating them is part of family life.

If you want to spend more of the typical American family travel budget of $ 1,000 to $ 2,000 (or $ 5-10 compared to ridiculous Disney), a two-day pass (or one day at a theme park) (One at the water park), spending extra on Time Saver Pass and Premier Parking, dining at the park and staying overnight or on a nearby weekend. By the way, I also liked the gift shop! One of the better ones I’ve seen.

I had a lot of things to do and see, so even if I spent a few more days there, I should have been able to do something new every day. This only applies to Dollywood theme parks. You can spend months throughout the area. Especially for me, it’s the Great Smoky Mountains. Next time.