Ultimate Guide to Enjoying Dollywood in October

Dollywood changes through the seasons, making each trip out to this popular theme park new and exciting — and autumn is no exception. By planning a visit in October, you can delight in everything there is to love about the Fall Harvest Festival event, including excellent food, music, and activities. To make the most of your trip, simply use this guide to get prepared, then head out with confidence you are going to have an awesome time.

Bring the Right Things to Make the Most of Your Trip

In order to see all that Dollywood offers in the fall, you will need to spend about two full days trekking around the park.

To best prepare for all that time adventuring, have everyone bring:

  • Comfortable closed-toe walking shoes
  • Lightweight jacket or sweatshirt
  • Rain poncho
  • Small backpack
  • Camera
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunblock
  • Hand sanitizer
  • First aid kit
  • Quart size storage bags for your electronics

Dollywood no longer allows anyone to bring coolers into the park, so skip it in favor of a sealed bottle of water for each person in your group. Although there are plenty of delicious food and drinks throughout the park, you can leave to go to a nearby restaurant, then come back later. Just make sure to get a hand stamp on your way out to get back in for free.

Get Ready for the Crowds! Fall is a Popular Time to Visit

Although Splash Country draws huge crowds in the summer, the spring and fall are actually the busiest seasons of the year. So, be ready to see people lining up in droves for all the attractions and tables at all the eateries filling up fast. Thankfully, you can speed up your time in line for many of their rides and shows by using the TimeSaver line management pass.

With the basic timesaver pass, you get to sign up for quick entrance to ten attractions of your choice each day. To skip the limit, sign up for the unlimited pass instead for endless rapid access to select rides and shows all day long. They only sell a limited number of these passes each day, so arrive early and buy yours at entry to avoid missing out.

Map Out Your Trek Through the Harvest Festival

Photo provide by @derekcress

The Harvest Festival runs through the month of October, bringing spooky displays, uplifting music, and talented artisans to the park. You will have your choice of over 500 live musical performances to enjoy at every corner of the park. Plus, there will be tons of pumpkin displays covered in colorful LEDS that promise to dazzle all evening long.

You can even see artisans from around the globe showing off their crafts and selling their wares. If you do make a purchase, ask to have your item sent to the front gate for pickup on your way out. That way, you don’t have to drag all your sweet finds around the park with you.

With so much to see and do, you will definitely need to map out your trek to even have a chance at experiencing it all. So, jot down a tentative itinerary for each day, leaving a little bit of time for side adventures along the way.

Bring Your Appetite for All-New Fall Foods

If you love homecooked meals, then October is an especially good time to visit Dollywood. During the Harvest Festival, you can find everything pumpkin spice along with all the other fall flavors you adore.

Through the autumn months, each onsite eatery brings out all their best meals and treats, including:

  • Fried green tomato BLT at Market Square
  • Meatloaf and mashed potatoes at Front Porch Café
  • 25-pound apple pie at Spotlight Bakery
  • Red velvet funnel cake at Crossroads Funnel Cakes
  • Cinnamon bread at Grist Mill
  • Pumpkin ice cream sandwich at Sweet Shoppe

You should probably also have a plan on what foods you want to eat most, or each thing will look better than the next, making it so hard to choose.

Be Sure to Take the Steam Train Up the Mountain

With the fall leaves changing color, you definitely need to take the steam train up the mountain to see the foliage up close. To take this exhilarating five-mile journey, just head over to the Dollywood Express Train Depot at your leisure.

Once your turn arrives, you will climb aboard the truly impressive 110-ton coat-fired stream train and have a moment to find your perfect seat. After it fills up with eager passengers, this train will take you through the Great Smoky Mountain foothills at a pleasant clip. The full ride takes just about 20 minutes, so start to take pictures before you even get on to capture the excitement of the ride from beginning to end.

Stay in the Cabins to Enjoy the Best of Autumn

Although staying at the DreamMore Resort is always a blast, opt for the cabins instead to see all the beauty of autumn at your doorstep. Whether you are resting in a comfy rocking chair on the porch or lounging in the outdoor hot tubs, you are treated to a spectacular view of the mountainside.

When you can finally direct your gaze away from all that beauty, you can head inside to whip up delicious food in the fully equipped kitchen, kick back and relax by the fireplace, or watch your favorite flicks in the home theater room. Just don’t forget to head back out around sunset to watch the sky light up in a fantastic array of colors that pair beautifully with the surrounding fall foliage.

A visit to Dollywood always promises to be a great time. But for those who love the scents, colors, and flavors of fall, October may serve as the very best time of the year to experience the park. If that’s you, then put your trip on the schedule, map out your adventures, and then pack up to make the most of your visit.