Theme Park Food: Eating My Way Through Dollywood
When you hear someone say Dollywood, a lot of things might come to mind. Dolly Parton (duh), roller coasters, water park, Smoky Mountains, but it’s typically not food. To help change people’s perceptions, Dollywood has been hosting foodies to showcase their array of food offerings and quality of food.
For the number of times I have been to the Smoky Mountains, I haven’t ever been to Dollywood before. Shame on me. I will say that I have been to Dolly Parton’s Stampede before.
It was a whirlwind 2+ days of eating, eating, rollercoasters, and eating. It’s tough I know.
Dolly Parton’s Stampede is the epitome of dinner and a show. Just be ready to get your hands dirty because there is no silverware and you eat everything with your hands. I will say that the choreography of the establishment to get 1,100 people in, served hot food and exited in a few hours is impressive. This is a down-home country show and you leave with a hearty meal and a wholesome time that the whole family can enjoy.
After the show, we retired back to the resort to meet Shane Burns, Director of Food & Beverage Experiences at Dollywood. We tasted some inventive dessert bites and cocktail pairings. The chef has influence over creating the menu not just at the resort, but all the food at Dollywood as well. It was exciting to see the creativity the chef had without constraints of a set menu. Both of the cocktails served were paired perfectly as well.
The next day was long and burned off lots of those calories with a full day at Dollywood. After a hearty, quick buffet breakfast at the resort with biscuits and gravy, fruit, potatoes, waffles, grits, etc., we headed over to the park.
Some insiders tips for staying at the resort:
- At Dollywood when you purchase items, you can have them sent back to your room at DreamMore Resort (although don’t forget them like I did because you will be charged shipping to have them sent to you)
- Stay at the resort and get shuttle service to and from the park with your own private entrance
- Get a time saver pass when staying to skip the lines at the park
- There is alcohol
We started out by walking a circle through the park and saw all the dining option, shops and crafts. After a bit of free time riding some roller coasters, we grabbed some lunch and some of the ever so famous cinnamon bread. What is the perfect thing to do on a full stomach you might ask? Ride a bunch of roller coasters and get flipped around would be your answer. Seriously, it was so much fun though.
It was almost the perfect time to visit the park, they had just transitioned to fall with pumpkin-flavored food and pumpkins everywhere. Fall was everywhere, except with the weather. The temperatures still felt like summer in October.
There is so much versatility at Dollywood in the Smokies. With the changing seasonal focus, you can visit multiple times a year and not feel like you are visiting the same park.
Now all of you foodies can literally have it all. At Dollywood, you don’t have to sacrifice on a family vacation or give up the foodie part of your trip. It is a great family time in a picturesque setting. And the food is equally as memorable. Can’t wait to bring my family back soon, Christmas is right around the corner.
Check out the review of Dollywood's newest expansion of Wildwood Grove here.