Friday, July 24, 2015


East Coast Driving Trip 2015 - Day 15

I have to admit it, I love it when theme parks don't open until 10 am. Its awesome. None of this up at 6 am to get in line for rope drop at 8 am nonsense :)

We had a leisurely breakfast in the room. And then got ready for our day in the Smoky Mountains.
Hubby tried to set the tone by playing 9 to 5 on the way to the park. The kids said it was a good song and asked for more Dolly Parton songs... lucky for them Dollywood was just around the corner.

What a unique park. Its is a completely southern experience. The folks are friendly, the food is big and southern, the environment was the most family friendly of all the parks we went to. Being more on the conservative side ourselves all the Christian references and music feels right at home, but then I realize I am in a theme park not at home - hmm, kind of cool.
I think I may be developing an accent.. I am by nature inclined to pick up this kind of thing (don't watch the long BBC Pride and Prejudice with me in a sitting - I will drive you crazy). But I try really hard not to let it slip out, purely because I don't want people to interpret it as mocking or teasing. But when its just me and the family I am "Y'all and Howdy"-ing it up.
So just sit a spell, it ain't gonna take no time, I'll tell y'all bout our day - see, it can't be helped.

This park has themeing down. Its immersive and lush - you feel like you are in the south.. oh, wait, we are! We started in the Country Fair area, with the Scrambler and bumper cars.. to warm up, you see. [Editor's note: While we were there, I kept thinking about how much the park reminded me of Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO, which I visited when I was <10. Turns out that that isn't a coincidence: The park was originally opened by the same people as another Silver Dollar City in Pigeon Forge. Later, Dolly Parton came on as a partner and the park was renamed and rethemed to be Dollywood...]

this water way goes through a whole section of the park 
using the map to find our way
Water tower for the Dollywood Express train
This was at the bottom of another sign... I decided it was wisdom worth sharing
bumper car fun

Then it was on to the larger stuff. Hubby hit the bigger rides along the loop, while the kids and I took in the shops and scenery. Fire Chaser Express was the first big ride we all did. It's a good ride. I enjoyed it a lot, but my charge at the time.. our young man, wasn't sure about it, so I had his adorable commentary in my ear. It was so sweet and honest (these things happen when you're barreling down a track backwards at 35 miles an hour) and I won't share it with you. I am considering it a little treasure just for me (I might tell hubby).  In the end he loved the ride and wanted to return later in the day.

Next up, River Battle... this is the funniest ride... you ride on the barge, going along the track and shoot water at people - they return the favor. Crazy. But the little lady loved it. She went twice and the boys joined her for the second go though. I got a few good shots at them :) But hubby got me back. Ahh Love :)

is her canon aimed right at me?
Look out! They mean business :)
Believe it or not, by this point we were talking about lunch. So the youngin's and I went on ahead to rustle up some food, while hubby went on another big ride. What we found was pizza... and it was HUGE... the board said a full pie was 12lbs, and each individual slice weighed in at 1lb. So, how many does a slice feed?

Doesn't look too big on its own... 
but with him holding it... you see... HUGE!
Lunch filled us up. And on the subject of lunch, hubby and I found it cute that the medium drink was 32 oz... I mean, of course! When your pizza slice weighs a pound, you need 32 oz of something to wash it all down.

The train was next. And it was a real coal eatin' steam engine. We even caught a few pieces of coal dust to prove it.

Gotta get the shot with the engine
We made reservations for the 3 pm bubble show and our reminder had just beeped at us.. so we wandered over that way. With great seats we relaxed until the show started.

Bubble stage before the show starts
Sorry no photos or video allowed... but WOW! Who would have thought the bubble show would be the best thing we did today. It was AMAZING! Hubby and I declared afterwards that we have never seen that many bubbles before in our lives... cumulatively. Seriously folks.... this guy is a Guinness world record holder and he doesn't mess around. It was a bit of sensory overload for our young man. I needed to help him cover his eyes and ears for a few minutes, when the bubbles were everywhere. Hubby said he looked over and it looked like we were in a bubble hurricane. Amazing.
If you ever get a chance to see the Gazillion Bubble Show (I think the name might need a bit of work), I would say go! The music and the lasers don't do much for me.. hubby liked the lasers more than I did. But the bubble artistry... yes, I said that, was well worth my time.

Ok, now we are cool and relaxed and in great moods..... lets add sugar! Time for a treat. We skipped the 25lb apple pie (must go with the pizza). [Editor's note: I don't know if it's amazing (for Dollywood) or sad (for Hershey Park) to note that Dollywood had *way* more chocolate confections available than Hershey Park did...]

Yes, it is still in the cast iron pan it was baked in.
After treats we only had a few things left to do... rapids ride, slide, and another go on Fire Chaser Express for the boys.
By 6 we were on our way back to the room. Not all were thrilled with leaving the park, but it had been a full day and dinner was callin.

We spotted this growing in a planter along one of the paths... isn't that the symbol for hospitality?
And I found this park very hospitable :)

Again we are happy to be cooking for ourselves. And now the kids and hubby are exploring the resort while I put my feet up and blog a bit.

Last night we discovered that we have a great view, from our living room, of the nightly fireworks at Dollywood. So tonight we planned for it and got comfortable for the show. We have all decided that watching a big firework display from a comfy couch is preferable to a crowded park :)

Miles today: 20
Miles total: 1707
States Total: 10
[Roller coasters total: 35 (+5 from Dollywood)]

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