Dollywood 2016

Dwood2

  • November 19, 2016
  • Pigeon Forge TN
  • Dollywood
  • ACE Smokey Mountain Coaster Fest
  • Photo Album

Dollywood 2016

Ah, Dollywood. One of my favorite parks. Not too far away. Very well themed. Great food, great people, great rides. Dollywood is one of the few parks that really gets it and has it all. At this point, any time they announce a new ride or attraction, there’s never any feeling of “If only they’d add…”, but a feeling of “Of course, that’s what they would add”. And I love it. Sadly I hadn’t been there in about 4 years just due to circumstances. I’d wanted to get there early this year for their new roller coaster, but unfortunately, the ride had…issues.

Dollywood is a great park regardless of whether their star attraction is open, but I really, really wanted to ride Lightning Rod. The ride did get some what more reliable towards the end of the season, and since there was an ACE event, even if it weren’t open, if I were to go to said event, at least there would be ERT and friends to make up for it. So I signed Isaac and myself up for it, and on Friday I left work early to meet up with Isaac and park my car along the way.

After passing thru all of the smoke from the wild fires, which we were heading towards before passing, we arrived at Gatlinburg around 8pm. We’d decided to find some food before checking in, so we rode by the resort I’d booked, then back in to Gatlinburg, parked, and found out our first choice for food was closed already (Gatlinburg is not a party town, and stuff closes way too early, in my opinion). So we headed to No Way Jose’, a Mexican restaurant which had good food, but gave me bad indigestion all night long. Then we headed to the resort, only to find out they had three restaurants there we could have chosen from.

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Dollywood 2012

12DWBanner.jpgDollywood | Photos | Videos


March 23, 2012
Pigeon Forge TN

It had been about 3 and a half years since my last trip to one of my favorite theme parks in the Smokeys. In that time the park had changed quite a lot, with Adventure Mountain, Dueling Daredevils, and of course, 2012’s new attraction, Wild Eagle, America’s first wing coaster all being added. The offer of a new major credit was too good to pass up, so I planned a trip for opening day 2012.

I woke up around 5:30 AM on Saturday, got ready, and headed north-west to Pigeon Forge. I’d never driven this way before since this was the first trip to Dollywood since I’d moved to NC. It was actually quicker than going from WV, since you didn’t have to go thru Sevierville & Pigeon Forge. If you could go thru the national forests at a speed faster than the 35 MPH posted limit, I could get there in about 3.5 hours.

I mistakenly thought the park opened at 10 AM when in fact it opened at 9 AM, but that’s okay. I had all day. And I had decided to get a Q-Bot before I even went to help with lines. So, around 10:20 AM that morning, I was pulling into the parking lot. You can clearly see the top of the lift & loop on the new coaster from the parking lot. It looked impressive up on the mountain. I got in line behind the slowest family on this earth trying to get a one day pass. I’m so impatient. I was really looking forward to getting the Q-Bot.

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Dollywood 2008

DW08SpringBanner.jpgDollywood | Photos | Videos


March 29, 2008
Pigeon Forge TN

I decided in early 2008 that I would start my coaster season off at Dollywood since I hadn’t been since 2006 and there was a coaster credit there I hadn’t gotten since I didn’t go in 2007. So, while everyone else went to Spring Fling, I went to Dollywood. I left home at about 7:30 AM and arrived to dismal skies and cool weather, but running rides. I was hoping Mystery Mine wouldn’t be down a second Saturday in a row.

In fact, everything was running except Timberrr Tower, which was testing. Mom and Dad had to be out of town for part of the weekend, so I opted to stay at home Friday nite to take care of the animals and leave early Saturday morning instead. Saturday morning I woke up around 7:30 AM, fed the animals, took a shower, got dressed, and headed southwest to Pigeon Forge.

The drive wasn’t long and I only stopped in Wytheville to get some gas and breakfast.  Once I arrived in Pigeon Forge, though, I couldn’t remember the back road to the park, so I had to wait in traffic. That time of year, however, wasn’t as crowded as summer and Xmas time. I’m so used to going into the old entrance to Dollywood that having to go in the new way was weird, but not completely foreign.  The sky was gloomy and threatened rain all morning, but at this point it was still dry.

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Dollywood 2006

DW06Banner-2.pngDollywood | Photos | Videos


December 16, 2006
Gatlinburg & Pigeon Forge TN

The morning came far too early. We’d been joined by 2 more late comers at the cabin in the middle of the nite. I was waiting on everyone else to get ready and around 10:30 AM we started to roll off the mountain. I had told everyone else to be at Dollywood’s front gate that early so that they would be waiting on us to arrive, as then I could pass out tickets for our buffet. We stopped at a gas station to grab a few things and found our way to the park at about 11:00 AM.

After parking we walked towards the front gate when we heard Barron yell at us. We stopped to wait on Barron and Brandon and continued to the gate. After arriving and making our way inside the number for the buffet fluctuated, and I can’t count, so after paying, counting, miscounting, going back, paying for more, and then handing out tickets, I sent the group on their way with instructions for buffet at 4:00 PM. However, I gave my admission ticket out as a food ticket by accident while losing my food ticket. That would be the cause for more confusion later and I just wanted to ride Thunderhead.

We headed up to the Timber Canyon area of the park. They’d not only added a whole new section with one major flat ride, a small tower ride, and kid’s play area, but Mystery Mine, the next year’s new attraction, was almost complete as well and looked great. I love the lumberjack/beaver theme in this area. We walked up to the Thunderhead station and they were running 2 trains. But the weather was beautiful and I assume they were expecting a large crowd. We hopped on the middle. Thunderhead was still running great as usual. We hopped around for another ride before heading back to look at the new section of the park.

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Dollywood December 2005

05DWoodBanner.jpgDollywood | Photos | Videos


December 17, 2005
Pigeon Forge, TN

I didn’t sleep very much and woke up by the morning sun through the windows around 6 AM, but I laid in bed until about 8 AM as no-one else was awake. Eventually, though, everyone did wake up so I showered and got ready, as did everyone at Beth’s Cabin, and eventually everyone made it into the Element. The park didn’t open until 11 AM according to the website, but I had Ed’s backpack in my car so we went back to Best Western to drop that off so that Ed could pick up Mike B.

We had a lot of time to kill and needed to eat so we decided on breakfast at a sit down restaurant on the Pigeon Forge strip. I don’t remember the name of the place, but it wasn’t as crowded as the parking lot made it seem. We all sat down and ordered. I was in the middle of a conversation when I look around to see the waitress with our food. It wasn’t any longer than about 5 or 6 minutes. That was by far the quickest service I had ever gotten at a sit down restaurant, and the food was good. I ordered the big breakfast  which had 3 ginormous pieces of country ham, three eggs over easy, plus biscuits and gravy. All was good, but even I couldn’t finish my food, nor did anyone else at the table.

Ed called to say that the park had opened and that they were waiting for us so we paid and headed to Dollywood, making our way on the tram to the park gates. We saw Ed, Tina, Mike B., and Nicole standing around waiting. Everyone except Danny had pre-paid their tickets and dinner meal tickets to me. This was the first lesson we learned on the trip, don’t trust me to know what I’m doing. It is actually cheaper for a Season Pass holder to buy tickets, so Nicole got a refund for me to put towards her Season Pass since she wants to come back next year a couple of times. This didn’t take long and she paid for the tickets as I went over to pick up the meal tickets for the group.

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Dollywood Summer 2005

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My plan for 2005 was to visit a park every month from March to December. Well, plans change.  I did a SoCal trip in March, but had to skip Camden Park in April because I was very busy. Then May came and went and I had to skip Carowinds. Twice. But June lead me to Kennywood, one of my favorite parks, and in July I would be in Johnson City TN for 3 days regardless, so I decided it would be easy to go down a couple days early and hit Pigeon Forge & Gatlinburg for some rides and fun. Well, my mother had to be out of town for most of 2 weeks for training on her new job. Couple that with some other obligations early in the week and I had to scale the first part of the trip down to one day of Dollywood. Unfortunately, I had to take 3 days vacation and a holiday, which I could have used later. Oh well…

Since I worked nite shift I usually spent the entire nite awake and slept all day, even on my days off. During the previous weeks I’d had a problem doing this on my days off, which would not have been a problem since I needed to be up during the day Thursday-Sunday. Right, like anything is that easy. So, the Wednesday nite before I was to leave I didn’t sleep because I was up till 3pm the prior day. I kept thinking “I can’t go to Dollywood on no sleep, I need to get to sleep” all nite. But sleep never came. Of course, I got sleepy at 5am, right as I was getting ready to leave.

I got ready regardless and made my way to town for an ATM stop, then in the opposite direction towards Pigeon Forge. The drive was just about 4 hours. It isn’t a hard drive, and certainly not a boring one, but I would have liked to have had company. I arrived at Dollywood at about 11am. It was hot, humid, and extremely crowded. And that was just the parking lot. On top of that I was totally exhausted. I didn’t know how I was going to enjoy anything. I had planned to leave the park around 8 PM when the park closed, but I knew I would leave way before that. I honestly flirted with the idea of sleeping in my car a couple hours before I went in. No deal, Thunderhead was only a short ways away so I paid my money for parking and headed in. Thankfully, they offer tram service.

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Dollywood 2004

December 11, 2004
Dollywood
Pigeon Forge, TN
Dollywood Photos

Who says the season has to end in October? Earlier in the year I thought about how I wished I had had the chance to go to Dollywood for Thunderhead this summer, as it looked amazing. I checked the Dollywood website to see when they opened up for the season the following year so that I could plan a visit, but I noticed that Dollywood is opened thru December for their Christmas festival, and that the coasters are open unless the temperature drops too low. I thought that maybe it would be a great way to end the season and I told a couple people about it, inviting them along.

Little did I know everyone would take my trip and do all the planning for me. When I mentioned it again, Danny told me that it had been discussed and that we were planning on the 10th of December. This just happened to be the day of another even that I wanted to avoid and since Friday was not good for most people we switched it to the 11th. As with most plans that I make far enough in advance, something drastic comes up and I have to cancel. So I didn’t have my hopes for actually making it to Dollywood but when it came down to it, I was able to go and I talked a friend into going and meeting the 8 others that had committed to the trip.

For most of the week prior I had some slight dread that everything would fall thru, but on Saturday morning around 8:15 am Jamaal and I started to head southwest from our homes in southern WV. I was a a day sleeper during this period of my life due to work and as such I was unable to sleep the night before. Well, I guess the caffeinated Iced Tea I had for dinner/breakfast didn’t help much either. But I decided that I would drive down, that way Jamaal could drive back that evening and I could sleep.

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