Thursday, May 22, 2014

Dollywood Theme Park, Tennessee


I love Dollywood, it is a decent sized park. They have a good amount of shows and rides for people of all ages. Whether you are looking for thrill rides or say, you want your toddler to be able to ride a bumble bee. I've been going there for nearly 5 years now so I've gotten to know the park pretty well.
If you are looking to be able to see a lot of fun free shows you should either go around Christmas or during Festival of Nations. One of the things I like best about Dollywood is that if you don't go opening weekend, the middle of summer or right before Christmas you can get on pretty much any ride in less than 15 minutes and during slow days, like mondays before schools out you can just walk on to a bunch of the rides with no wait.
Christmas photo from Wild Eagle Roller Coaster
 There are a good number of roller coasters: Tennessee Tornado, The Firechaser Express (just opened 2014), Thunderhead, Mystery Mine and Blazing Fury (small). Those are all great. The best coaster in the park though is the Wild Eagle. It is one of only two in the world like it. I could try to explain it more, but I'm sure the video below will give you a better idea of what it's like.

Walking around the park all day is going to make you hungry. There are a lot of different choices at the park, but the best places to eat are: Miss Lillian's Chicken House, Lumber Jack's Pizza or Sausage Works.
Miss Lillian's Chicken House is a buffet. The fried chicken there is amazing. So are the chicken fried steaks and gravy and pretty much everything else. The only thing I'm not too hot on there is the dessert items. They are kind of...meh. The best part of the Chicken House is Miss Lillian. If you cluck like a chicken at her she will toss a biscuit at you. She also sings and dances and is a lot of fun.
I think I like Lumber Jack's Pizza mostly because it is pizza and it is hard to go wrong with that, but the crust is also really good. I think they also put a Normandy blend of veggies on the vegetarian because when I ordered a veggie pizza it came with carrots, broccoli and cauliflower instead of the usual bell peppers, and tomatos.
All I can say about Sausage Works is that the sausage is delicious. The cooking area is open and you can watch them cook and chop up the sausage. It is one of the rare cases where the food you smell tastes as good as you imagine it to.
If you are going to get dessert I would highly suggest going to the bakery in the flour mill. They have the most amazing cinnamon bread I have ever tasted; it's better than my grandma's (sorry gran.) It is made from flour that they grind there in this really old flour mill.

A lot of people like to go to Red's Drive-In, which looks like a 50's diner. It is cute and nostalgic, but the burgers are burgers and the shakes are shakes. They aren't bad or anything, they are just burgers and shakes.

Miss Lillian's Chicken House

The shows change throughout the year, different singers and performers. The performances are scattered throughout the park. When you are tired of walking they are pretty fun to sit down to. One of the shows that is there for most of the year is Wings of America Birds of Prey. I honestly only stopped because I was tired of walking, but it was actually really interesting and they walked the birds in the audience so you could get a good picture of them. They also had a vulture come and land on an audience member they called to stage. 

Eagles at Dollywood.
 My smallish friend asked me to put in her two favorite bits. Her favorite part of Festival of Nations was the Swedish dancers and her favorite part at Christmas time was talking to the elves about Santa before the Christmas Parade. She also likes to walk around in the Sweets Shop and watch them make the salt water taffy if they are making it.

Here are the Swedish dancers on stilts.

Santa's Elves writing with chalk.

If you are planning a trip to the area, you will be amazed at how much there is to do. There is a huge discount shopping mall, a bunch of Ripley's attractions (including the Aquarium), a few water park hotels, arcades, and more multi-level go-kart tracks then I have ever seen anywhere else. There are also multiple places to zip line, hike, kayak, and camp. There are plenty of places to eat and all of this stuff is within a half an hour of each other. There are attractions side by side by side. You could take a dozen trips there and not get to do it all. It is seriously like a family friendly Las Vegas. 
If you stop at a gas station before you decide what you want to do you can get some discount books. Most of the gas stations have coupons sometimes, as nice as buy one get one free on some attractions. 

Mad Dog's Creamery
 One place that isn't too far from Dollywood is Mad Dog's Creamery. They have a lot of normal flavors, strawberry, chocolate, vanilla and what not. I like to go there for the Banana Pudding ice cream. Either in a sundae or in a hot fudge covered banana split. If you bring in a picture of your dog they will put it on the wall.

Banana Pudding Banana Split.
If you have any questions about the area just leave me a comment and I'll get back to you. Also let me know if you would like to see pictures of any particular place in this area. I go to the Pigeon Forge/Sevierville/Gatlinburg area several times a year and I'm always willing to check out one of the attractions if I haven't already. 

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