Dollywood 2016


  • 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 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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Gatlinburg 2006

GPFBanner06-2.pngObër Gatlinburg | Hard Rock Café |Photos | Videos

December 15, 2006
Gatlinburg & Pigeon Forge TN

It was that time of year again. Time to suit up in my warmest winter attire, pack up the Xterra, and head to Tennessee for a weekend of coaster riding. I took Friday off from work so that I could get a head start and meet up with some friends who were visiting the area during the same time period I was, and since I hadn’t seen them since a new addition to the family I was excited to spend the evening with friends.

I waited till Friday morning to pack as I knew I wouldn’t need much and knew what I was going to take with me. But during packing somehow I hurt my back. After a week of headaches and now a back ache I took some Aspirin that never really kicked in. I left the house around 10 AM. As prepared as I was, the warm winter attire was definitely not needed as there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the sun was out in full force. Weather for the weekend was calling for highs of 66° and lows of 50°, but it was at least 70° by this point.

The drive was about 4 hours, with traffic upon arrival to Pigeon Forge not as bad as I’d expected. I had called Daniella and made plans to meet up with her family at an arcade in Gatlinburg but they called and said they were heading somewhere else as the price vs. fun factor wasn’t worth it. After a couple more failed attempts, we decided to hit up Obër Gatlinburg, which I’d never been to. So I told them I’d park by the Hard Rock Café since I had dinner plans there for the evening, and then walk up to meet them.

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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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