If you’ve been following DMC for a while now, you know that we join a bunch of other Sister Sites across the region for a special Mom Collective event each year down in Pigeon Forge, TN at Dollywood! This year, we got some very special behind-the-scenes tours to see what’s new at Dollywood and coming later this year in 2023!
We started off our annual event this year with a quick tour of the DreamMore Resort where they hosted us for our stay. Then, we popped over to do a tour through the Smokies with Pink Jeep Tours! We got so many pictures and videos just from these first two things that there was no way we could fit it all in this one blog post. Make sure to check out our Reels and our Dollywood Highlight over on our DMC Instagram page to see even more of our fun!!
The hospitality all around Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg are second-to-none. You truly get Southern charm and care while you’re down here. With Pink Jeep Tours, we got to see a lot from the road AND got some short walks in to see some of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and really amazing historic sites. Our tour guide obviously had a love (and deep respect) for bears! She was not shy in talking ALL about bears during our tour. 🙂 I was disappointed, I actually did want to see one – just from a distance out a window, of course – but none crossed our path this time.
Next stop after Pink Jeep Tours was Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show where you get “fun, feast & adventure”! We could actually see Pirates Voyage from the parking lot of Pink Jeep Tours and were starving by the time we got back. Our group got an exclusive pre-show visit with the Captain of the show, and he was a lot of fun. We also got a preview of the delicious food they were going to serve everyone.
We started with soup and biscuits. Then, came the main course and sides. I was in love with the fried chicken. It was seasoned and cooked to perfection. The ham was just as good. The corn was so sweet and fresh. And, the potato was seasoned so well it didn’t need a drop of salt or pepper. For dessert, one of my favorites – peach turnovers. As if the food wasn’t enough to convince you to go, the show was the best dinner show I’ve ever been to in my life. I can’t wait to go again.
For day two, we walked and walked and walked… I’ll be 84 this month, but I had so much fun, I enjoyed walking more than I think I have in over 20 years! We started with a construction tour of the new HeartSong Lodge & Resort. Getting to see it during the construction makes me so much more excited to come back once it’s open this Fall and see it all finished. While the DreamMore is a little more classy and Dolly Parton-style, they wanted the HeartSong to feel a little different. At the new resort, they don’t want the “don’t” word. In the design, they didn’t want rooms where families felt like they had to keep telling kids, “Don’t touch that… don’t touch that.” It’s going to be a wonderful family experience and addition to the Dollywood properties.
We also got to see the other newest addition to Dollywood Parks & Resorts, Big Bear Mountain. The final track had already been put in place when we got there, but it was most certainly still a construction zone! We got to watch a video simulation of the ride to see what it will be like when it’s completed, and it looks so fun. I won’t be riding it, you can believe that, but I will enjoy watching my family ride it when we come back after it opens.
When we got to talk to Dollywood staff, they told us that Big Bear Mountain is intended to be a family thrill ride and was designed as a kid’s first big coaster. Dolly and Dollywood are all about bringing families together – just like in the rooms of the DreamMore where the bunkbeds are in the same room as the main bed(s). Being a former special needs teacher in the public school system for my whole career, it touched my heart to learn how far Dollywood goes for families with special needs. They have ride accessibility for those with disabilities and sensory issues, including a secure calming room at the park.
It was so exciting to see all the dazzle of Dollywood for myself for the very first time! I’d never even been to the Smoky Mountains. One of our hosts for our event said, “Music and food are the great unifiers.” And, Dollywood has both! I know I briefly talked about food with what we ate at Pirates Voyage, but I ate more this whole trip than I have in I don’t know how long! I was ready for bed as soon as I went back to the room each night. We all ate and ate and ate…
We had breakfast at the Song & Heart buffet at the resort – omelets are the best part! We got to meet Dollywood’s culinary director and his two executive chefs at the Front Porch Café. They gave us a sampling of the food that will be at the 50th anniversary event soon for Dolly Parton’s song, I Will Always Love You. We ate pizza from the DreamMore and had breakfast (and their famous cinnamon bread!) from the DM Pantry – they serve Starbucks coffee. I really want to go back again and try even more of the food all around Dollywood.
READ PAST POSTS ABOUT DOLLYWOOD & THE SMOKIES
Did you know Dollywood Season Passes get you discounts outside of Dollywood Parks & Resorts?! Around Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, you get discounts at Titanic, Ripley’s Attractions, Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner Attraction, Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show, and Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Feud. About an hour down the road in Greater Cincinnati, you get discounts to the Newport Aquarium!!!
Start planning your own visit today!
STAY TUNED FOR A GIVEAWAY COMING THIS SPRING!
WE’LL BE GIVING AWAY A MULTI-DAY VACATION TO DOLLYWOOD AND DREAMMORE!
A single mom of five and educator in the public school system for her entire career, she lived through segregation and so much more, raising amazing, successful children who have brought her many grandchildren and great-grandchildren over the years. Mary Snow is the mother-in-law of Dayton Mom Collective Owner, Courtney Snow. She is originally from South Carolina and spent many summers in Anderson, Indiana. She currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio. She was featured in a 2020 post on our site, Moms We Are Blessed to Know :: A Single Mom & Segregated Bathrooms. Mary is a constant support and inspiration to Courtney in her work of leading Cin-Day-Lou Moms and her broader work in those communities.