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View Full Version : Pigeon Forge budget ideas


cjnix29
05-26-2010, 03:01 PM
Just made reservations for a long weekend in September. Any good discounts or good recommendations for things to do/places to see?

breagirl
05-26-2010, 03:05 PM
We are going in a few weeks and I would love to see responses to this as well. I've been meaning to search for Dollywood discount tickets, etc. I just forgetting to do it.

DisneyNutMic
05-26-2010, 03:56 PM
I have never had any luck finding discounts there. We did however find a SPOTLESS hotel there that's cheaper than any one I've ever stayed in (and we go often). It's called Mtn. Aire Motor Inn. They don't have a website or anything. It's a christian family owned hotel. If anyone wants their number, just let me know.

ceecee
05-26-2010, 04:25 PM
We went in late September once and enjoyed just looking at the fall decorations. Shopping is fun too, but not so much a budget activity!

Little Bit
05-26-2010, 05:02 PM
I'm going in June. I went to smokeymountainnavigator.com and requested a coupon book. There's coupons in it for Dixie Stampede, most of the Ripley's attractions, and lots of other things. I think you can print coupons from that website, too. I haven't had any luck finding coupons for Dollywood, so am interested if anyone else has found any.

Leleluvsdis
05-27-2010, 12:56 PM
For any military families I found on dollywoods website yesterday tickets for 39.10per adult. We leave tomarrow!!! I am so excited we have been every year for the past 12 years and last year was the first year that we had to miss it b/c of lack of money and DH had just changed jobs. I am SOOO excited to go. As far as budget... not so much, but it is SOOO much fun and so many outlets, so I guess that would be considered budget?!

PrinceCharmingsMom
05-27-2010, 01:35 PM
We are planning a trip for Gatlinburg /Pigeon Forge and I was just searching on her site and she has a combo ticket for dollywood, dixie stampede and lodging. If you book through her site you get your tickets for Dollywood and Dixie Stampeded included as well as your food for the each day, breakfast, lunch and dinner with a snack. Tons of options you can choose a cabin or hotel. We are looking at going the Hotel route.

Sunbeamblue2002
05-27-2010, 03:25 PM
We went last yr and had a very nice time. Stop in at the visitors center I think it was the sugerlands one but don't totaly remember. They had a movie on the history (in the AC was nice) and small musum that was interesting. Also had lots of flyers and coupons etc. Also they sell daily pass's for the trolly there you can park in there lot and ride the trolly throuh Gaitlinburg all day.

In Cade Cove we went on a really nice Hay ride. But they require that you have 10 people out or you can't go. But I'm not sure they'll be running it this yr as they are doing road construction on the Cade Cove road. They also had horse back riding and carriage rides. They weren't too bad price wise. Also if the Cade Cove road is open its a nice trip because they have lots of house's and churchs that you can stop at and look around but it is a one way loop.

With Ripleys you can go to the web site that they have linked and they sell discount txts for several activities at a discount rate. Just take time to sit back and enjoy the views. Also the Chirstmas shop was really neat. Several shops and little place to sit outside that was lots of fun too. Hope you have a great time.

LoriNSC
05-27-2010, 06:43 PM
My inlaws just bought a cabin right near the entrance of Dollywood. So I just subcribed to Dollywood email & they send me discounts often. I know TN residents can get discounts as well (my brother in laws lives in Sevierville). Not sure if my inlaws qualify for a discount or not. Other than that I dont know of any discounts.

ksl5f123
05-27-2010, 08:03 PM
I love Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge! We go at least once every 2 years. My favorite things to do there are all free! I love to go hiking in the park! There are so many trails!! My favorites are the ones that go to waterfalls and the quiet walkways. In the evenings, bring a lawn chair and go sit out and listen to one of the many free concerts in the parking lots all over Pigeon Forge. Lots of bluegrass, but other music too. I also enjoy "shopping" (I almost never buy anything) in Gatlinburg. My kids love to watch the taffy making (free and they often give out samples). If we are staying more than 2 or 3 days, we will also take a day to drive through the park to Cherokee, NC - there is even better shopping there!

dzneelvr
05-27-2010, 08:58 PM
Absolutely make plans to go to Dollywood:worship:It is really unbelievable what she's done with an old out-of-date theme park (Silver Dollar City). I LOVE Dolly (as you can tell by my name):lovestrucThere is usually a combo that you buy a ticket after 3pm and get to go the entire next day...or something like that. Well Worth It:love:Balance out Dollywood with a drive through the Smokey Mountains. Get out of your vehicle. Hike a bit. Breathe in that wonderful clear and crisp air. You'll definitely want to head back for more next year :thumbsup2

girlsx2
05-27-2010, 09:04 PM
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Pigeon Forge!! I try to go every year for someone's birthday (ususally mine!!). I agree with the other posters, not much in the 'budget' area at all. However, do take the loop around Cade's Cove. It's beautiful and free. Last year we saw a momma bear and a cub walking across the road. Always LOTS of wildlife and you can explore the old bulidings that are there as well. They all have a little plaque that tells the story of each structure. Also, some friends of ours tells me that you can go tubing down the river. Not sure where they get into the river at, but it's free as well. Have a great time!!

gymboqueenkaylee
05-27-2010, 11:28 PM
We love that area. We have a little place down there finally because we love it so much. Dollywood is pretty nice. We go every time we are down there. Dollywood does have deal that if you buy your ticket online through the end of June (I think...double check me, it's on their site) you get a free meal for each ticket purchased. The meals aren't bad at all. We actually got ours to go last time and took it back to our house with us and made an excellent quick dinner after a tiring day. We also love to go to the little place near the Christmas Store that has rides and stuff and play around there (not sure of the road name, I always forget). It's one of DD's favorite places. You can find coupons for it nearly everywhere in those little book. We also adore the outlet mall (who doesn't).

mommymeg
05-28-2010, 09:16 AM
Really wanting to visit this area also in the near future... BFF is in AL, I am in PA, so this would be the perfect halfway point to finally have our kids meet!

Any recommendations on lodging??? Cabins are an option, but hotels w/ free breakfast are very appealing too... Between us we will have 4 adults and 7 kids. We also need something relatively budget friendly.

Definitally wanting to do Dollywood...maybe a few other sites, over a 4 day weekend.

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

lovemygoofy
05-28-2010, 09:37 AM
http://gatlinburg.ripleys.com/

You can go to this website and purchase tickets ahead of time for activity. You can just pick a specific number of activities and pay one flat rate per person. The website also list the amount for entrance to anything with the name Ripleys on it. I personally think the combo tickets are worth it because you do end up saving a little money and already prepaid to do a few things.

Be prepared for crazy traffic. Lots of stoplights and only 3 lanes in some places. We always rent a cabin and stop for a grocery stockup. It's nice to have somewhere to relax with plenty of space and snacks and making a simple breakfast in the morning but we also don't do alot of dinner shows.

My favorite place to eat is the Old Mill. Good southern comfort food with HUGE portions. We either share an entree or automatically have half boxed up. I also stock up on the soup mixes and other things from the store. Love the corn chowder and the potato soup!

There is also an Apple Barn there that is good. Lots of people love it there and it was good. More southern comfort food. I just thought it was a bit expensive.

Don't forget you can buy tickets fro Dollywood after 3pm and get in free the next day. I think it's worth it in the summer time because of the late hours and it is alot cooler in the evening as well.

Have a great trip. I love the mountains there.

taylorcpa
05-28-2010, 09:44 AM
You have already gotten good ideas. My suggestion is to make lunch your big meal of the day if possible. Places like the Apple Barn and Old Mill have more reasonable lunch prices and portions. Then, you can pick up something cheaper for dinner.

I second going to Cades Cove and exploring the mountains.

We love going to Pigeon Forge! Where are you staying?

disney ny
05-28-2010, 09:46 AM
If you are going in their off seasons you can find some great deals on hotels. Being from NY we found everything there to be quite affordable. We have stayed at The Inn at Christmas Place and Music Road Inn and got great deals at both. They were beautiful hotels and both had free breaskfast. Dollywood and The Dixie Stampede are both fun and so are some of the dinner shows like The Blackbear Jamboree. There are fantastic places to eat- someone mentioned the Old Mill which is great and we loved The Smoky Mountain Brewery and Calhoun's. Just thinking about it makes me wish I was there. It is a great place to vacation and very relaxing.

cjnix29
05-28-2010, 09:54 AM
You have already gotten good ideas. My suggestion is to make lunch your big meal of the day if possible. Places like the Apple Barn and Old Mill have more reasonable lunch prices and portions. Then, you can pick up something cheaper for dinner.

I second going to Cades Cove and exploring the mountains.

We love going to Pigeon Forge! Where are you staying?

We are staying at Laurel Crest....we have a timeshare. Haven't been there yet. Looking forward to the trip! Getting great ideas! We have been to Branson several times, am I right to think the two are similar? How far is the aquarium in gatlinburg from Pigeon Forge?

taylorcpa
05-28-2010, 09:57 AM
Do you have kids? If so, how old are they?

cjnix29
05-28-2010, 10:38 AM
I have a son, he's 7.

MissBritt
05-28-2010, 01:59 PM
Applewood Farmhouse (Apple Barn) is a great place to eat- portions are large and definitely enough to split. Old Mill was nice, too, but we much prefered AB.

Bete
05-28-2010, 05:35 PM
you can get at Dollywood celebrating her 25th year of the park. Anyway, the very large mug goes for under $15. All refills are then 99 cents thereafter. On the 25th of every month your refills are free.

Many beverages are included with this mug including slushies. We went in the spring when it was still a little cold and we had our fill of hot chocolate. Three regular sized hot chocolates fit into this mug. The cost would be around $7 OOP for these hot chocolates. We got our money back in two refills basically. We were there on the 25th, as well and we tried different beverages; because, it was free. There were many places were you could get refills. Not all the places offered the same refills.


On July 3rd on the Hallmark channel, there will be a 25th anniversary celebration about Dollywood showing the park off. There's not much out there to show you a glimpse of the park; so, I consider it a must see for those who are going there.


We went during the Festival of Nations at Dollywood. I loved all the special entertainment. Kid's Fest is going on, right now and has special entertainment, too. In the fall there's a Harvest Celebration and a Gospel fest. In early November, Dollywood's Christmas season hits. We will be back for the Christmas season. It will be more chilly there than at Disney for this time of year (usually).

If you have a car by all means take a look at Carolina which is about a two hour ride to a Cherokee reservation (casino, too) and Biltmore Estates is close by, too. There's a Carolina side to the Smokies, as well.

There are alot of small theaters with live entertainment and there are museums, too like one for Elvis. Many of these places have coupons. You go to the various tourist offices to get these books with the coupons. Hotels/resorts have these books, too, but there are more of them at the tourist offices. These same coupon books have deals for restaurants. Don't expect 2 for 1, but it ranges from a $1 to $3 off per person.

Dolly has a water park, too if you are going there in the summer.

Mom_Rides
05-28-2010, 09:38 PM
We honeymooned in Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg and loved the area. We went to the Aquarium, which I would highly recommend doing. It's pricey but it was super cool! We also loved Cades Cove. We stopped at the enterance and bought a little guide book (maybe $12) that told the history of each place and had maps. We saw lots of wildlife (wild turkeys, deer, wolves, etc). My mom saw bears on the trail. On the road between Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, in the park, there are some pull off spots that my DH and I really enjoyed stopping at. We got some great pictures in those spots!

We spent an afternoon browsing the outlet malls and another afternoon walking the main strip in Gatlinburg. We also played putt putt one night and went to The Black Bear Jamboree.

I would not recommend doing "Ober Gatlinburg". While it looks very cool, it's very very boring and a good waste of money. We enjoyed the ride up and down but once we got up there we were ready to leave within minutes. We really regretted doing that.

I hope you have a lovely trip. We hope to go back someday.

dapookie09
05-29-2010, 11:02 PM
T Nails
3152 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863-3342 9 (this is the main parkway, it's in a random little shopping center)
(865) 908-2789

Crazy cheap (mani/pedi together was about $25), really clean, people were friendly...

Also if you guys want a crazy fun day out kinda thing...tubing. It's cheap and a lot of fun, and you can make it really tame or a bit more wild. We spent about 1/2 day there, and really only left that early cause we had too much other fun stuff to do

We went here, and it includes all day rafting + a lunch at their sitdown restaurant (BBQ sandwich plus a drink) for $14 total: http://www.riverragetubing.com/
(Lower Rapids= floating like a princess Upper Rapids-=crazy and only for big kids/adults!)

SheenaXena21
05-29-2010, 11:33 PM
I live about an hour and a half away, so I go every few months. You can go to www.mypigeonforge.com and prin off some coupons.

A few weeks ago, my family and I stayed at one of the cleanest hotels I've stayed at, Park Towers Inn (I think), but there's a website... so you could google it.

You can go into just about anywhere in Pigeon Forge (restaurants or hotels) and pick up coupons and coupon books. They do help.

I wouldn't recommend parking in Gatlinburg. It was ridiculous (IMHO) to pay $8 just to park and walk around. I remember a few years ago it being $3. I'd take the trolley. It'll save you some $$$.

Also, like other PP said, Cades Cove is awesome. It seems like it takes forever to get there, and it does :), but so worth it. Beautiful. Also, I recommend goin to the Chimneys picnic area. You take the Gatlinburg Bypass, and it takes about 10 minutes from Gatlinburg to get there. It's a nice place to park and have a picnic or grill out. They have outdoor grills there for you to cook hamburgers/hot dogs (take your own charcoal).

The new Titanic museum is open. I've not personally been there, but it's AWESOME to see. There's the Titanic right off the road, as soon as you enter PF, very neat to see!!!

Dollywood is always great! It's no Disney, but it's fun for the day. Splash Country is also open.

Have fun!!!

minniebeth
05-30-2010, 09:10 AM
I wouldn't recommend parking in Gatlinburg. It was ridiculous (IMHO) to pay $8 just to park and walk around. I remember a few years ago it being $3. I'd take the trolley. It'll save you some $$$.


This is a great tip and one we wish we had known before going this past spring break. Definately use the trolley to save money and major walking when there are no spots to be had! :)

neatokimmo
05-30-2010, 09:24 AM
Many beverages are included with this mug including slushies.


When we were there last month, the slushie mug was different than the coke mug?

powellrj
05-30-2010, 09:47 AM
We were at Dollywood over spring break and I got a Gold season pass. It had free parking and a discount on all purchases so it paid for itself. I got my mug at one of the restaurants and it was cheaper than buying it other places, plus I also got my pass discount. I was able to get both slushies and soft drinks with mine. We also got a refillable popcorn bucket. It was the perfect size for us to share during the shows and we refilled it several times during the day.

I will admit I was wondering just how exciting southern gospel music could be and why would I want to spend my vacation watching it, but I was pleasantly surprised. It wasn't the music per say, I would say it was just a really fun show.

We had gotten gift certificates when resturant.com had an 80% off sale. I wouldn't do it again. I wasn't really impressed with the places offered and wouldn't eat at any of them again.

I don't remember the name of the grocery store on the main road, but if you ask at the register, they will give you a discount card and it saves a good deal on groceries. We had a condo and would eat breakfast in the room most mornings and liked to have snacks in the evening when we got back.

Get the coupon books in every shop and restaurant. We saved a great deal on things like putt put and go carts.

neatokimmo
05-30-2010, 10:15 AM
I was able to get both slushies and soft drinks with mine.



Interesting! The man at the refill station must have told us wrong. I am going to start refilling with slushies :)

The grocery store on the main strip is Food City. Their ads are online if anyone wants to plan out their grocery run.

maleficentmom
05-30-2010, 10:34 AM
hey,neatokimmo! Recently read the mssg. you left me ages ago:rotfl:...lol...guess we are both Gray girls?.....You are right Food City is awesome,always good prices and service......We love to stay at least 1 night at the Inn at Christmas Place,imho no place down there can compare.Pools are nice and breakfast is awesome,Santa is there! We did Titanic recently w/a family pass ticket offered on their site and saved us a bunch.I've heard Miracle is awesome from lots of people, and we like Black Bear Jamboree,although we prefer the Christmas show.We stay a lot a little mom and pop place in Sevierville called River View Inn,but usually in winter as the pool is small(but uncrowded) rooms for $30,and clean....but they have really nice jacuzzi rooms with comfy king beds for like 65 through the week. Bennetts BBQ has awesome breakfast bar and good lunch,15% off w/ coupon.And No Way Jose's is our favorite! Coupon books everywhere,if your hotel doesn't have any stop at another and check

Bell30012
05-30-2010, 11:51 AM
It's only about 3.5 hours to Pigeon Forge for us so we go at least a couple times a year. A couple of years ago we discovered something about hotels in Sevierville, Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. The later the night goes the cheaper the hotel rates.

We've stayed in the Clarion, Hampton Inn, Best Western Greenbriar all for under $40 a night. We've stayed in the National Parks Resort Lodge for $30! I wouldn't try going without a reservation on a popular weekend but we have checked rates at 5:00 PM and found them at $65 or higher then returned at 8:00 PM to get the same room for $40.

Disney_1derland
05-30-2010, 12:40 PM
do a search for half off deals pigeon forge and right now there are deals at 4 of the different shows there, one of which is the magic show at wonderworks. These deals change often and I've seen wonderworks tickets there, as well as several of the amusement type places.

We are wanting to get up there to try the Magiquest place. Kinda Harry Potter-esque type amusement place. Looks like fun!

mom2d&b
05-30-2010, 02:16 PM
Love this thread. We just decided this morning to take a family vac next week to Pigeon Forge. Both DH and I are currently unemployeed and the kids get out of school Thursday. We figured we should make the most of our unemployment as once we get jobs we will not have vacation time for many months. We have deceived on what to do when in Pigeon Forge but now we need to figure out where to stay and book the room

pixieprincessmom
05-30-2010, 04:59 PM
Also check out the info for the synchronized fireflies in the national park. It is starting on June 5 and I think it runs for 2 weeks. We are going to miss it by 2 days.

TinkerbelleAbbysMom
05-30-2010, 05:05 PM
Forgive me if someone has posted these, two things...not enough time to read through it all. But you really should plan a picnic basket and at least half a day to do Cades Cove. It's simply breathtaking. Our ladies group from church goes every fall and two years go we saw over 100 dear, an eagle and a momma bear and her 2 cubs. We also saw a lone bear on the side of the road! My GP lived in Knoxville while I was growing up and we spent so much time there. My DH and I were going to get married there but his BF ended up not being ordained. That's how much it means to me!
Also you ought to eat at The Old Mill or The Mill (not sure what it's called exactly). But the food is great and you get tons, starting with a great corn chowder!
Oh and if you are looking for the Belle Island stuff, don't get your hopes up. When we were there last, it was to have been completed in summer of 09 and my guess is due to the economy, it tanked. It's a shame, b/c there are some beautiful buildings that did get built and they are just sitting there.
Have fun!!

mom2d&b
05-30-2010, 05:07 PM
I am so excited for our upcomming trip to to Pigeon Forge. Today I am just starting my planning. Can anyone tell me how far Lookout Montain is from Pigeon Forge? What about Lynchburg? I am thinking we may try to stop by Lookout Mountain and the Jack Daniels Distillary on our way back home. Just not sure how far of a drive they both are.

Leleluvsdis
05-30-2010, 07:19 PM
We have been coming to Gatlinburg/peigion forge for the past 9 years and we went to cades' cove for the first time today and it was absolutly AMAZING!!! We saw a bunch of deer and turkey and 5 bear CRAZY!!! My cousin took us and he said he comes all the time bike riding b/c they only live about 30 mins away and he might see 1 bear every 5 or 6 times he comes.

Bell30012
05-30-2010, 08:06 PM
My daughter was five the first time we visited Cades Cove. She checked each home for light switches, plugs and air conditioning.

DiRTyBuNNy
05-30-2010, 08:16 PM
I'm a local to the area (live about a half hour away) so if there is anythng y'all need me to look into for you just let me know and I'll try to oblige.

--DB

dispor
06-02-2010, 04:43 PM
I'm a local to the area (live about a half hour away) so if there is anythng y'all need me to look into for you just let me know and I'll try to oblige.

--DB

Thanks for the offer! I've got a question for you...

We'd like to see the fireflies. The Clarion is one of the closest hotels to the Sugarlands Visitor Center. However, the person who answered the phone said that it is still too far to walk to - it would be about two miles from the hotel to the Visitors Center.

Our other option is to stay at another hotel about 2 miles away on the parkway (so about 4 miles total from the visitors center???)

I guess my question is - just how bad IS the traffic on the parkway, say at around 6 - 7 p.m. I keep hearing horror stories.... How long will it take to drive 4 miles???

Thanks!!!

mkaccountant
06-21-2010, 01:30 PM
Hey "ya'll"! I am trying to finish up planning a trip in about 4 weeks to Pigeon Forge/Dollywood. I have my Dollywood tickets (season passes, best way to go IMHO if you are going to do it a couple days). Hotel is booked. I am trying to figure out food. DH and I are taking my parents who think dining out is BK!!:scared1: Not that I oppose fast food, just can only do so much of it.

I have read many people are suggesting the Old Mill. I have checked out its website, but either its not listed or I am just overlooking prices. Can someone help? Also, found a decent deal on the Smith Family Dinner & Show, has anyone ever done this? Is it worth the money? Any other non-fast food yet reasonable dining in the area?

TIA!!

bored
06-21-2010, 03:39 PM
Hey "ya'll"! I am trying to finish up planning a trip in about 4 weeks to Pigeon Forge/Dollywood. I have my Dollywood tickets (season passes, best way to go IMHO if you are going to do it a couple days). Hotel is booked. I am trying to figure out food. DH and I are taking my parents who think dining out is BK!!:scared1: Not that I oppose fast food, just can only do so much of it.

I have read many people are suggesting the Old Mill. I have checked out its website, but either its not listed or I am just overlooking prices. Can someone help? Also, found a decent deal on the Smith Family Dinner & Show, has anyone ever done this? Is it worth the money? Any other non-fast food yet reasonable dining in the area?

TIA!!

Here's an old mill menu.

http://dininginthesmokies.com/_menus/pf/old_mill_restaurant_pigeon_forge_menu.pdf

We also like Calhoun's in Pigeon Forge. It's beside the Waldens Landing shopping thingy.

mkaccountant
06-21-2010, 05:52 PM
Here's an old mill menu.

http://dininginthesmokies.com/_menus/pf/old_mill_restaurant_pigeon_forge_menu.pdf

We also like Calhoun's in Pigeon Forge. It's beside the Waldens Landing shopping thingy.

Thanks for the link! I will definitely be perusing the list of restaurants on it!

uk_wildcat
06-21-2010, 06:43 PM
We went 3 years ago and got a great deal on some of the downtown attractions just because my husband was military. We were going to do the car museum and found that the booth outside was selling tickets for several of the attractions (Ripley's, car museum, can't remember what else) for like $7 each for military. These were well over $30 each without the discount. It was a great surprise and we were able to hit more attractions that way.
I have been thinking about going back, but I think I will just save and do Disney again next year!

DaisiLou
06-22-2010, 09:59 AM
I love Pigeon Forge. I've already told my husband I want to retire there.

Things you should do..

First, I always rent a cabin from this guy:

http://www.magicalmountaincabins.com/

If you will PM me, I'll give you my real name, and you can give it to him. He always cuts me a deal, and is always willing to negotiate.

Second, Cades Cove is a must if you have an entire day to devote to it. If you're only going for a weekend, skip it till the next trip. It's free and beautiful. Make sure you stop at the store for an ice cream come.

Third, Apple Barn Winery....OMG! Free wine tastings, ice cream shop, real working cider mill, photo opps, nice way to spend an afternoon.

Fourth, Old Mill Resturant for Lunch. Don't go at dinner, it gets too crowded. Take an early lunch or a late lunch, but I'd steer clear at dinner.

We always go to Gatlinburg to window shop, free samples, taffy pulling, photo opps.

Also, if you have an extra day, leave Gatlinburg and drive towards Cherokee on the scenic route. I can't remember the name of the highway, but it takes you to the very tip top of the mountain and it's absolutely gorgeous.