A day at Dollywood can be a dream come true — but it also holds the potential to become a logistical nightmare. Before you can enjoy the theme park’s rides and shows, you’ll need to arrange for transportation. For most guests, this means driving and parking onsite.
Unfortunately, the simple act of parking can prove nightmarish if you visit on a crowded day. The sooner you develop a detailed strategy, the easier your life will be — and the less likely you are to start your Dollywood adventure on a sour note.
How Parking Works at Dollywood
When you arrive at Dollywood’s vast parking area, you’ll spot multiple booths. These open a full two hours before the park, giving you plenty of time to find your spot and get ready for an exciting day. Getting past the booths is typically the quickest and easiest aspect of parking, especially if you arrive with your pass and payment at the ready.
In addition to multiple booths, you’ll spot several lots. Lot A is reserved exclusively for guests with disabilities. Lot B is open to all guests — but it tends to fill up quickly. This is your best bet if you want the closest possible standard-pricing spot to the park, but there’s no guarantee you’ll score a spot. When in doubt, plan to stop by Lot B at least an hour before the park opens. If you’re not willing to show up that early, be prepared to search the other lots.
Don’t worry too much if you’re forced to take one of the seemingly less desirable lots. Yes, your car will be situated further from the park entrance, but several trams are provided to expedite your journey. The bad news? Like virtually any theme park ride, the trams tend to attract long lines on busy days — especially when the park opens.
If you don’t like the idea of waiting for the tram with small children in tow, consider dropping them (and, of course, an accompanying adult) at the gate before you head back to the parking area to find a spot. This perfectly acceptable tactic could make your life a lot easier. You’ll still need to travel together to your parking spot at the end of the day, but you can avoid tram lines if you leave at least an hour before the park closes.
Preferred and Valet Parking: Expedited Approaches Worth Considering
If you’re not willing to put up with the time and hassle of finding a spot and taking a tram to the park entrance, you may be an ideal candidate for Dollywood’s preferred and valet options. Preferred parking costs an extra $10 and brings you considerably closer to the entrance. Additionally, you’ll receive access to a separate and less crowded ticket window, plus an exclusive entrance.
Take another step up with valet parking, which can be purchased at a parking booth or by the valet pickup and dropoff location. This is a wonderful option if you’re looking to speed up not only park entry, but also your exit. If you provide at least fifteen minutes notice, you can expect to find your vehicle in the valet pick-up area as soon as you’re ready to leave.
If you don’t hold a Gold Season Pass, you’ll likely need to pony up $15 for standard parking or $18 to park an RV. Fees increase to $25 for preferred parking or $38 for valet service.
How to Park For Free
If you invest in Dollywood’s Gold Season Pass, you can park for free. This is just one of several benefits imparted by this special pass, which also provides significant discounts on food and merchandise, plus savings on premium park experiences. Keep in mind, however, that the Gold Season Pass does not cover preferred and valet parking. Rather, this upgraded pass can give you a significant discount on these expedited methods.
Depending on where you stay during your trip, you may be able to park for free at your accommodations of choice and take a complimentary shuttle to Dollywood. Select guests even receive free Dollywood parking in a designated lot.
A Great Alternative: The Pigeon Forge FunTime Trolley
If you dread the idea of parking in Dollywood’s crowded lot or are determined to save money, consider taking Pigeon Forge’s trolley. Not only is this option highly affordable, it provides a pleasant alternative for traveling to and from the park. For just a few dollars, you could be dropped off right at Dollywood or Dolly’s Splash Country, allowing you to begin and end a full day of fun without worrying about the usual stress of parking.
A variety of stops are situated throughout Pigeon Forge. Depending on your accommodations, you could easily be within walking distance of a trolley pickup and dropoff site. Otherwise, free parking is available near Patriot Park. During the summer, the trolley operates between 8 am and midnight, so you can spend the entire day at Dollywood without fear of missing your ride.
Whether you ultimately opt for the FunTime Trolley or choose to park in one of Dollywood’s lots, you’ll want to plan your transportation strategy in advance to ensure you can make the most of your time at the theme park. A little planning now can save you a lot of headaches later on, so don’t hesitate to do your homework before you hit up Pigeon Forge’s most beloved attraction.