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Hobbies on a Budget: How to enjoy your holiday at Pigeon Forge

By Sharon Williams

Contributing columnist

It’s the holiday season and that means one thing.  It’s time for many people to plan a weekend getaway to Pigeon Forge and enjoy the holiday lights, shows and festivities.  Whether you go to Pigeon Forge every year or are planning your first trip this next month, here are a few tips to help make your trip a success!

Plan your lodging: We love being spontaneous on our road trips, but the holiday season in Pigeon Forge is not the time to play it by ear.  You need to actually plan ahead and make reservations for lodging and shows and get your tickets early.

Lodging tip:  When we were planning our weekend trip, we were surprised to find that many of the hotels were already booked.  Even the condos had no vacancies for the time we were planning to be there.  Take some time to call ahead and make your reservations. 

One of the unique features of the Smoky Mountain area is being able to stay in a mountain cabin.  We stayed in a cabin at Riverside RV Resort & Campground in Sevierville, which is only minutes from downtown Pigeon Forge.  This offers you affordable accommodations without sacrificing the experience of the mountains.

Book your shows early:  If you are planning to take in a dinner and show experience like Dixie Stampede, buy your tickets online ahead of time.  The shows fill up fast and you don’t want to get there expecting to get a table and find out that the show is full.

Be first in line: Whether you are planning to go through WonderWorks, Hollywood Wax Museum or the Aquarium, plan to be first in line. If you are first in line, then you will have better access to the exhibits as well as have fewer people in your pictures.  This also allows you to be less stressed as you are working through the museum exhibits with your family.

Plan for traffic:  Pigeon Forge is a popular tourist attraction year round but especially during the holiday season.  If the GPS tells you that you can arrive in 18 minutes, plan for 30-45 minutes.  Give yourself some wiggle room so you don’t run late for your dinner or show times.

Have realistic expectations for each attraction: Call each museum or attraction and ask how long the typical person spends there.  You may not be able to squeeze in as many stops as you are planning.   Places like the Hollywood Wax Museum where you walk through looking at the wax figures and take pictures may not take as long as a place like Wonderworks where you are doing hands on activities and going through the laser lights rope course.

Check for discounts before you go:   There are many ways to save money on a Pigeon Forge holiday giveaway.   Check with each hotel, museum or restaurant to see if they offer AAA, Military, or AARP discounts.  Pick up a coupon book at the welcome center or rest area before you arrive.  Call ahead and ask if there are bundle tickets for the places you plan to visit.  If you have friends that live in the area, check to see if they have discount coupon booklets that have been sold as fundraisers. 

Spending time in the Pigeon Forge area is a great way to make memories and enjoy the holiday season, but it definitely pays to prepare and do some planning before you go.

Do you love spending some of your holidays at Pigeon Forge?  What is your favorite place to stay or visit?  I’d love to hear!

For more ideas on hobbies and life, check out Hobbies on a Budget. (www.hobbiesonabudget.com).