It’s an awesome time to visit Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, TN! You can experience two events in the same day. The Harvest Festival featuring Great Pumpkin Lumi Nights began on September 25th and will run through Oct. 31st. We had a great time exploring the theme park, eating delicious food, hearing the joyous sounds of gospel music and shopping with vendors from across the states and so much more! We was invited to the park and these are my own thoughts. In this blog post I’m covering my Top 5 reasons to visit Dollywood right now!
1. Safety Is A Priority
Dollywood has taken many precautions to keep not only their employees safe, but guest as well during the Pandemic of Covid-19. We knew wearing a mask would be required, however Dollywood has gone above and beyond to ensure everyone is ready to play safe! Upon our arrival before we could hop on the tram to ride to the park we were met with hand sanitizer, a heath questionnaire from employees, temperature check and a reminder to practice social distancing of 6ft from other guest. We appreciated the thoughtfulness they took to keep everyone safe.
2. The Harvest Festival
The Harvest Festival at Dollywood has everything you could imagine to highlight the fall. First there are pumpkins galore! Dollywood has over 15,000 pumpkins throughout the theme park! This year they have prize winning colossal pumpkins ranging in size from 800 to over 1500lbs each.
As we walked through the park the sounds of the live gospel music filled my spirit with joy. Our daughter Juliette clapped her claps and smiled as she watched the artist performing. Dollywood has over 800 live concerts throughout the park with Bluegrass and Southern Gospel artist.
Dollywood’s Harvest Festival has artisans from around the country sharing their crafts in their vendor booths. We saw so many talented people sharing the gifts with us from custom clothing, fiddle makers, jewelry artist, wood craftsmen, wreath makers and so much more. There’s truly something for everyone. When my eyes saw Annie’s Monogramming booth from across the walkway I told my husband JP, “We must go over there!” He already knew I was going to find something I couldn’t leave without. Here’s a video below of the boutique clothing for little girls!
3. Family Fun For All
Around every corner at Dollywood there’s something fun for everyone. There’s many types of rides and attractions from family, thrill, water and even rides for the children! We loved the Country Fair, Juliette is 2 years old and was able to participate in the fun. Before you can board a ride you must apply the hand sanitizer. She rode the Piggy Parade and her favorite ride was the Lucky Duck. She loved hearing the attendant make “Quack, Quack” sounds! Nearby in the Village, we took a short break to sit down and listen to the live music and then Juliette and I rode the Village Carousel. I just love creating memories with her. At Dollywood there’s so many special places to do just that.
4. The Delicious Food & Treats
You’ll definitely work up an appetite while walking around the park and if not the smells of the delicious food will surely get you. Johnathan asked me before even arriving at the park if they had turkey legs. Of course, Dollywood does was my response! The turkey leg was so tender and full of flavor. Johnathan was all smiles! Juliette was able to eat it as well since it was tender. My pulled pork meal was delicious and those seasoned fries were a hit too!
We ate our lunch right across from the Eagle Mountain Sanctuary. As we dined we could gaze at the bald eagles. I counted 6 but I bet there’s more every time I looked up I saw another one. The Eagle Mountain Sanctuary is a 30,000 square-foot aviary and houses our country’s largest presentation of non-released bald eagles.
For a sweet and warm treat, we highly recommend trying Cinnamon Bread at The Grist Mill. It’s a favorite among Dollywood guest and everyone told us to get it. The line is a little long but moves swiftly. We noticed some people getting back in line to get more to take home with them. The Cinnamon Bread is baked in house and made with love! We really enjoyed trying it for our first time. It’s something we’d eat again and again on our future Dollywood visits.
5. The Great Pumpkin Lumi Nights
As day starts to become night you could feel the transition beginning to change throughout Dollywood. We saw people starting to walk in one direction. We knew then it was time for The Great Pumpkin Lumi Nights to begin. We journeyed into the glow of the night filled thousands of jack-o-lanterns and larger than life pumpkin displays as we headed to Wildwood Grove.
As we continued our walk the sounds of the thrill rides made the experience a little spooky but so enjoyable. We took many photos along the way as Juliette pointed and smiled at many of the pumpkin displays.
Juliette even said the word bubbles for the first time at Dollywood when she saw a child with a bubble wand. So you know we had to find her one. We were so excited to hear a new word!
After finding the bubble wand it was back on the path to Wildwood Grove. Along the way we saw a 40 foot glowing pumpkin tree that makes you wanna stop and take it all in! That video is on our Instagram highlights. After walking a bit further we arrived at Wildwood Grove. It was a wonderful site to see.
One more thing I wanted to mention is that throughout the park there are many hand washing stations to keep visitors hands clean and safe. We really liked seeings these stations around the park!
Right now at Dollywood you can visit the Harvest Festival after 5PM for $35 plus tax. We had so much fun exploring the Dollywood theme park. We hope you check it out for the Harvest Festival or anytime of the year. Thank you Dollywood for having us and we cannot wait to visit again!