Should I Buy a Souvenir Mug at Dollywood?

Heading to Dollywood this year? One of the most hotly-debated topics among vacationers revolves around the humble souvenir mug. Worth it? Not worth it? Here’s what you need to know to figure out whether the mug makes sense for your family!

What’s the Deal with the Dollywood Mug?

Like many parks, Dollywood offers a somewhat pricey drink mug ($8.08 at the time of this writing) that comes with steeply discounted refills. Once you buy the mug, you can refill it with any fountain drink for 0.99, or with a hot or frozen drink for 1.99. And here’s the clincher: they’re not just good for a single day. You can bring your souvenir mug back again and again for the rest of the season to enjoy those rates.

When is the Dollywood Souvenir Mug Worth It?

The souvenir mug is a great choice for families who are big on coffee, frozen drinks, or soft drinks. A small fountain drink costs about $4 at Dollywood; go on a hot day, and the cost of drinks can add up in a heartbeat, particularly if you have multiple family members along for the ride. Frozen drinks and hot drinks (coffee!) are priced even higher, so if you know you’re going to be reaching for a drink other than water more than a couple of times during the day, a mug is a solid choice for your wallet.

Mostly Just Drink Water? You Might Want to Skip the Mug

Dollywood is a step above many parks in this aspect: water is freely available at practically every refreshment stop. Just ask for a water cup, and you’ll be good to go! If you normally default to water or don’t mind drinking water most of the day during your time at Dollywood, the souvenir mug probably won’t be worth it to you. Keep in mind that you can’t carry drinks into the park, including water, but you can refill an empty water bottle or avail yourself of the free water from refreshment counters.

Consider the Realities of Mug Wrangling

As mentioned above, sometimes mugs are particularly worth it when you have many mouths to hydrate. BUT along with the perks of the mugs come the not-so-fabulous parts: namely, the part where you have to keep up with everyone’s mugs, particularly if you’re traveling with a younger set who aren’t too keen on keeping up with mugs through all the attractions, rides, and events of the day. If you’re the go-to person to whom everyone defaults with items they don’t want to carry, you might want to skip the mugs and opt for one or two soft drinks + water the rest of the time.

Other Things to Consider

  • Mugs make a fun souvenir (obviously). Kids, in particular, love them. Even if you’re mostly a water drinker, the mugs might be worth it for souvenir value alone–and you can refill them with water all day for free.
  • The limited-time $8 price tag comes with the stipulation that you purchase a mug for everyone in your group. If you opt for just one or two mugs for your group, the price goes up.
  • Older souvenir mugs from previous years still enjoy reduced rates, but they won’t save you as much as a mug from this season.

Souvenir Mugs in a Nutshell

Whether the souvenir mugs are a good deal for you depends entirely on your situation and your family! You’ll get the best bang for your buck if you’re going to drink tons of fontain drings, or if you plan to spend more than one day at Dollywood this season.

If you don’t really drink soda or hot drinks, you’ll be able to enjoy free water at refreshment centers without making a mug investment. Our advice? Don’t agonize over the choice too much–just enjoy your time at Dollywood! And if you’re in doubt, just bring along an empty water bottle to refill throughout the day.