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PTR: Dave & Falafel Go To Dollywood!

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Again, thanks for all the comments. I have no idea if my nonsense ever amuses anyone but me, so they are appreciated.


So after a slight delay (I had to go to Kaiser this morning for all sorts of torment), it's time for Part 3 - Dollywood!


So the day was finally upon us where we'd be doing the main thing we came here for. We skipped the HIE free breakfast, figuring we could get something to eat at the park (and we were right!). The park was about two miles from the hotel, so in no time at all we were at the park. It was scheduled to open at 9, but when we got there around 8:30 (ALWAYS get to a park before it opens!), the gates were already open. I was already impressed!


Now, over the years, I have heard a lot about this place, most of it positive. So let me say this right up front to save you all the suspense as to whether or not I liked the place:


Other than perhaps Knoebel's, Dollywood is likely the best park in the US.


Yes, we absolutely loved it. Everything about this place is amazing. It's well themed, exceptionally clean, and there's a lot of shade (except in the new path area, which I'm sure will grow in at some point). All of the attractions are of good quality, and there are a large number of shows and things for people to do if they're not into rides (we didn't see any shows, as neither of us are particularly country music fans, plus I'd personally rather set myself on fire than watch a show or parade at a park, unless it involves explosions and strippers). The park was busy (but not horribly so), but everything from the rides to food service is exceptionally efficient. And speaking of the food, it is amazing, comes in insanely large quantities, and is very reasonably priced. And maybe it's the theme of the place, but the crowd seems to skew a little bit older than the average park crowd, so we witnessed no line jumping or other obnoxious behavior all day.


And I'm making a separate paragraph for this, because I really want to emphasize this point: the staff at Dollywood are far and away the nicest, most polite, and hardest working of ANY park in the US. That's right, Golden Ticket Award voters, just because you get ERT or free food doesn't mean you should ignore this park over your usual favorites, because you are completely wrong in not awarding this place every year. I'm not sure if it's the general attitude of the people in the area, or that the park tends to employ older people than your average theme park, but we were constantly blown away all day long at how nice everyone was. And hard working. Outside of Japanese parks, I've never seen people work so hard to make sure the guests are having a good time, or making sure the lines keep moving, especially at food service places. Oh, and a good number of them are very amusing. I especially have to point out the woman that was operating Thunderhead that evening, who was very funny on the microphone in the station. I have no idea what her name was, but she was awesome.


Since this is a coaster site, I'm sure you're all anticipating my review of the coasters (well, I'm sure your actually anticipating my shutting up and starting to post pictures, just so you don't have to read any more of my annoying yammering. Soon, I promise). So, in no particular order, here they are:


Thunderhead - I've heard a lot about this ride, but really wasn't sure what to expect, as my tastes often skew very differently than other people (BALDER RULES!). But I'm here to tell you that this thing ran like a bat out of hell on our first ride..AT 9 AM IN THE MORNING. We were both blown away. This is a great coaster, a ton of fun with lots of speed and direction changes, and air at the front. I'm sure it will end up in my Top Ten in the coaster poll later this year, though with two Intamin wood coasters to ride at some point, I'm not sure where. But yes, this coaster is amazing, and we loved every ride we took on it.


Tennessee Tornado - OK, here's the question: How does Dollywood have an Arrow looper that is fun, and doesn't beat the hell out of you?!? I have no idea, but this ride rocked. I was very apprehensive when we got on it, but it ended up being amazing. Another quality ride.


Mystery Mine - I've been on a number of these at this point, though obviously this version was a lot more themed than any of the other ones. I'm sort of ambivalent about this ride. It's certainly well themed and there is fire. On the other hand, the first half is really a headbanger and kind of rough (I found the second half to be a lot smoother). It's fun, but I wasn't blown away by it.


Blazing Fury - WTF?!? Seriously, this is like the most random thing ever. And we got soaked (we sat in the front). So screwed up, you can't help but love it. Or at least like it a lot. We only rode it once, though.


We also rode all the water rides, which were all quite fun, especially the new River Battle. And those who were not there missed my falling over Falafel and almost killing myself getting into that boat ride that's at the top of the mountain in the park (that was an exhausting walk up there!).


Overall, we had an amazingly fun day of riding, eating, and checking out all sorts of shops and crafts and stuff. We spent the whole day there, and were bummed when we had to go home. We hope to make it back to the park again, maybe next year. I highly recommend Dollywood, especially if you've never been there. It really is a great place.


OK, enough of my yammering, let's go to the visuals (which will mostly be Falafel's pics, as the battery in my new camera has about zero life, which I found out when it died half way through the day...grrr)!




And we're sorry we left you in the car all day, Mr. Bitey! We did have plans to do an awesome report featuring Mr. Bitey, but were lazy and never went back to the car because we were having too much fun. Next time...and this concludes Part 3. Stay tuned for Part Four covering our final day, and one of the most awesome attractions in history! Thanks for viewing!


Bye Dollywood! Thaks for the awesome day!


Falafel is heartbroken because she has to turn in her new love. I asked her that if she was in a lifeboat, and could only save me or the QBot, which would she choose? She chose QBot, because "you'd probably just fall out of the lifeboat anyway". This shows that she hates me, and yet knows me all too well...


There, that should stop everyone...


And Thunderhead! You know, i should probably watermark these, so none of you steals one of these pictures and claims it as your own...


More Mystery Mine


Clever Detective says, "I believe this one is not finished yet".


Gee, Falafel, you could build one of these, if only you were a Lady Carpenter...


They build these things here, and you can buy them.


And even more! Who deliveres more randomness than me?!? Yes, that's right, no one!


And more!


More random stuff




Yeah, this is kind of disturbing on a couple of levels...


And yeah, I lied about the food, because we both got ice cream before we got on the train. And it was awesome! More parks should offer homemade ice cream, instead of crap you can buy at the store.


Another shot of the train. Steam engines rule.


The train ride was way cool, even though we were surrounded by babies.


Badass faucet.


So this is what we had for lunch. This is a seriously disturbing amount of food. It was damn tasty, though, and these were probably the best chicken strips I've ever had. Neither of us ate anything until the next day after this, though.




I only post these because I know it will make her happy, and perhaps she will sort of like me for upwards of one minute...


Falafel was endlessly amused by this.


Wow, nice parking job. Sadly, I see far scarier things done with cars here in Baltimore all the time.


More random stuff. This place is really nice.


Coming next year: a ride based around Mothera. You heard it here first!!!




The Disk-O! I believe this is now my favorite flat ride, replacing The Chaos (which you never see any more anyway). Falafel and I agree that I need one of these in my back yard. Along with a gator pit and laser cannon, of course.


MySpace! OK, if you're not getting this "MySpace" reference, you need to go watch The Hipster Olympics on YouTube. Not until you've finished viewing this PTR and have written and posted a minimum 5,000 word tribute to its awesomeness, of course.


So yeah, no rocking the seat. Unless of course you hear The Final Countdown being played. Then there is no way on Earth you cannot help but rock...






We rode the Ferris Wheel, because you don't see regular ones very often, plus it totally reminded us of Japan, where there is a giant ferris wheel on every block.


Awwww, there's an entrance just for Joey!


What?!? We can BUY Splinters?!? I am in awe. Actually, the roasted corn we bought here was not all that great. It was blazing hot, though.


"No Falafel, I doubt we'll get that wet on River Battle. It's just streams of water." Yes, I am dumb...


You will get quite the serious workout on this ride, as cranking that wheel to soak people outside the ride requires a lot of effort.


New for this year: River Battle! This is a great deal of fun.


You get a little misted at this point. I personally would install water cannons here that would blast people with the force of a fire hose. And shoot bees at them. This is probably one of the many reasons why I'm not allowed to own a park...


Tower fall down


Timber Tower. I liked this one better than the one I rode in France, though I think it was because I already knew that it wasn't going to be particularly forceful, so I wasn't as disappointed by the ride.


The second half is a lot more fun. Speed at Oakwood smokes it, though.


A fun ride, but I wasn't blown away, as the first part is kind of rough.


The Mine Of Mystery! Not to be confused with the Bag Of Mystery, which always contains all the awesome Elissa Bingo Prizes. Falafel & I went shopping for the Europe Trip prizes, and trust me, we have outdone ourselves. Europe trip participants should be excited...


So we're hanging out in the station, and...HOLY CRAP! THERE'S A TRAIN RIPPING THROUGH THE PLACE!!! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES...oh wait, it's supposed to do that. Nevermind...


Thunderhead! It rocks!


Falafel took this pic to show me what she called "the nicest women's room in history". So now I share it with the rest of you.


Random fountain


Dolly's tour bus. It looks like a normal tour bus, but has a lot of hidden storage areas and weapons lockers which Dolly uses in her secret life of fighting zombies and keeping the apocalypse at bay.


After breakfast, we picked up Falafel's new best friend, the QBot. Seriously, this thing rocked. I had never used one before, and am now a huge fan. We waited in no lines the entire day, and at eight dollars a person, this was easily the bargain of the trip.


Here Falafel shows that yes, her Giant Scary Bun Of Death is indeed about the same size as a human head. And it was damn tasty too!


So since we skipped the free hotel breakfast, Falafel decided that she wanted to check out the bakery at the front of the park. This is what she got. The display case was full of equally gigantic and good-looking pastries.


Just inside, and you can already see this place is really, really nice.


Clever Detective says, "I believe we are at Dollywood!" Clever Detective - Coming soon to DaveTV. Check with your local cable or satellite provider for more info. Or just keep an eye on a new website that will hopefully be launched soon...:)


Some cars are protected by Viper, but ours is Shark protected!

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BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Oh clever detective.... Dollywood is seriously an amazing park, i can't speak highly enough of it. perhaps, when i am a LAAAADY Carpenter, i will go back and work there! I love how the horse has a Lovely Curly Mane in the poster


Great TR Dave. you are cracking me up! Nice job with the watermark btw!

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I really love Dollywood! I also love Thunderhead as you can see by the number of times ive ridden it.


Next time you go ride Blazing Fury in the back row to stay dry and to get some nice pops of air on the drops!


The only show we go to everytime is Dreamland Drive-In. No country music there!

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^ your avatar reminded me! ... the 'blue screen of death' hahahaha That's in the arcade you come into just off of Tennessee Tornado, i saw it and started cracking up, and asked Dave for my camera (he had it zipped into his pocket because of the looping coaster)


Me: Dave! give me my camera!

Dave: No, you'll only use it to make fun of PC's

Me: No, Dave. Not PC's- Windows. There is a Difference...

HAHA! Windows Sucks!


heehehee blue screen of death!

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And I'm making a separate paragraph for this, because I really want to emphasize this point: the staff at Dollywood are far and away the nicest, most polite, and hardest working of ANY park in the US. That's right, Golden Ticket Award voters, just because you get ERT or free food doesn't mean you should ignore this park over your usual favorites, because you are completely wrong in not awarding this place every year. I'm not sure if it's the general attitude of the people in the area, or that the park tends to employ older people than your average theme park, but we were constantly blown away all day long at how nice everyone was. And hard working. Outside of Japanese parks, I've never seen people work so hard to make sure the guests are having a good time, or making sure the lines keep moving, especially at food service places. Oh, and a good number of them are very amusing. I especially have to point out the woman that was operating Thunderhead that evening, who was very funny on the microphone in the station. I have no idea what her name was, but she was awesome.


Dave, can I copy this to my report? It's exactly what I should've said in mine! Customer service-wise, Dollywood is simply awesome (with the exception of one certain first aid staff member.)

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All these Dollywood TR are really making me with I had stuck with the plan to go there while I've been in TN. Oh well, maybe next summer.


Great TR and photos. Even if I can't make it there I can pretend I'm there with all the pics. I really want to ride Thunderhead!

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I'm so glad you liked our park....and most particularly The Thunderhead, since that is home to me. Make sure you come see me if...I mean when you come back.


Do you work there at Thunderhead? Cause I will stop by and say Hi the next time I'm there in a couple of weeks.

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I love Dollywood! I'd visit there, even if they don't build anything new! My friend called Dollywood "Disney in the Smokies." That's a fair assessment.


I've never laughed so hard at a PTR!

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Again, I appreciate all the comments. Glad I can entertain you all with my random nonsense. And dollywoodgal, I have no idea if you were working that day or not, but the Thunderhead crew was exceptionally good. You guys rock!


Sadly, we have come to the end of this PTR. It's now time for Part Four - Random Stuff In Pigeon Forge!!!


Our evening after Dollywood was spent watching shows on The Discovery Channel, and looking at the 1934 Delaware Women's College Yearbook (an awesome Thrift Store find by Falafel). This thing was a riot, and more importantly, inspired me to change my bio writing skills I sometimes employ for the TPR trip guides. So people on future trips, you REALLY want to write your own bio, or you'll really be getting an "interesting" one now! Perhaps Falafel can quote one of the bios from the yearbook here so you can see what you're in for.


We slept in a little on Sunday, as this day was kind of an "open" day, as we really had nothing planned. We kind of left it open in case Saturday had bad weather, so we'd potentially have some time to get to Dollywood before having to drive back to Nashville. But since we had perfect weather on Saturday, this gave us a chance to just do random stuff in Pigeon Forge. So you know what this means...MORE MINI-GOLF! Yes indeed, many rounds were played, along with some other stuff, including an amazing surprise attraction. As you'll soon see...


Anyway, enough of my yammering, let's go to the visuals!




But other than that, it was an amazing trip. And I have to thank Liz (yes, I can occasionally call her by her correct name!) for being an awesome travel partner and overall the most amazing person ever. Hopefully she can set aside some time in her busy schedule to do something like this again soon (we're supposed to go to a more local park next time, but that stays a secret - for now!). And thus concludes our adventures in TN and our visit to Dollywood. Thanks for viewing! May your days be free of giant carnivorous bee attacks! Until next time...


So after a long drive back to Nashville, we get to the airport to discover our return flight is delayed. We ended up getting back a lot later than we thought, and by the time I drove Falafel home and then drove back to my house, it was 3:30 AM.


Falafle and I agree - this is an amazing attraction! Not quite Dinosaur (which she has never been on, and one of my life goals is to go to WDW with her so we can experience it together), but an amazing display of cheezy goodness. This indeed was the perfect way to end the trip before we had to drive back to Nashville. Thanks for entertaining us in such an amazing fashion, Pigeon Forge!


Light, light, dinosaur


It spits on you! Wow, what an amazingly original idea. Oh wait...


Red makes it scarier. Or this particular color was on sale at WalMart that week. i'm going with the latter...


Gluargh! Another dinosaur attack! And this also concludes my imitation of dinosaur noises. This place did have some great sound effects, like what sounded like a guy eating potato chips. Who knew the dinosaurs enjoyed the Pringles?


Glarragh! Another random dinosaur!


Yarragh! Random dinosaur!


This amazing display of awesomeness when the doors open tell you that you're in for a godly experience. All of ten dollars may have been spent on the effects here.


Except we were not finished! As we had been driving around, we had seen the Jurassic Jungle Boat Ride place a couple of times, and since we still had some time, we figured it might be the perfect way to end the weekend. And oh, we were not disappointed!


One last shark shot! Adventure Golf is EXACTLY what we were looking for in a mini-golf course, and it had the perfect amount of cheese in a roadside attraction, and was a perfect way to cap off our weekend in TN.


So at most mini-golf places, if you get a hole in one at #18, you get a free game. Here, if you miss the hole in one, the dinosaur eats a random member of your party. The stain here shows this to be true.


Dinosaur at the front


...and the other half! Of course we had to play both courses, there was too much awesome stuff here for us to skip any of it!


Looking back over one half the place...


Another pink building that Falafel just loves. i'm so buying her a pink set of tools for Christmas. Along with a wide selection of Microsoft-themed t-shirts, because she adores Windows so much...


Busted ship




More hot shark action!


So this is one of those holes where you have to hit the ball from one level to the other. But my ball disappears. It got stuck at the beginning of the tube. I use this photo to illustrate that only I am capable of doing something this dumb.


Bigger than the Disneyland castle...


"Look Falafel, it's pink! You must love it because you're a girl!"


Another dinosaur. This place gets better and better...


Through the tentacle!


Falafel can't stay away, and is soon caught in the clutches of the octopus. Who has apparently already eaten one of her legs.


So anyway, there's an octopus, and you have to shoot the ball through one of his tentacles to get to the hole. Oh, Falafel and I are so turned on right now...


Speaking of sharks, Mr. Bitey says, "Hey guys, I don't care if you leave me in the car all day today. I have porn!"


They also have a shark! This place is going to rule!


So when we were driving around when we first got there on Friday, at one point Falafel said, "Oooohhh, I see a golf course with a dinosaur! And an octopus!" This of course meant we HAD to stop there at some point. So we saved it for last, as there is no better way to end a trip than with Adventure Golf!


So after Firehouse Golf, we noticed a store across the parking lot that had lunch boxes in the window. We investigated, and found the most random store ever. They had all sorts of odd stuff, including this giant Silver Surfer in the middle of the place. I really only mention this because Falafel bought this awesome belt, and we were waited on by the surliest person we had seen in three days. I'm not sure what happened to this woman that morning, but she was super-agitated. Maybe she needs more beef jerky. Or a cool physical...


This is Falafel. She has balls. Feel free to make up your own jokes.




Nice enough place, but most of the holes were straight shots.


Nicely landscaped as well.




Lots of cartoonish characters involved in all sorts of wacky misadventures!


Next up, Firehouse Golf. We saw this when we were driving around town, and decided to check it out. Pretty nice place, if not particularly challenging.


Some how we skipped this attraction too. Maybe next time. We'll have to bring more money, as I'm sure we'll want to sample every type and variety.


Lunch time! Falafel had never been to a Sonic (they don't have them in our area), so we ate here, and both had tasty chicken nuggets. I also dumped ice all over the place. I really should not be let out of my house...


We chose not to stop here. And really, what the hell is a "cool" physical anyway? Gloves kept in the freezer? I really don't want to know...


So Falafel, sea monsters, bears, giant lizards...yeah, that pretty much sums up my fantasy. Well named place!


Not the most amazing mini-golf ever, but it was worth a stop. And we had fun, which is the most important thing. Well, that and I didn't die by falling off anything. That's kind of important too. Don't worry, if I had fallen off something and died, I'm sure Falafel would have photographed it for all of you...


Since Falafel is a proper girl, she made sure that her golf ball matched her shoes.


I'm thirsty, maybe I'll just drink some of this wa...oh wait. Guess not...Seriously, why would you even try to do this?!? People amaze me with their dumbness. Though fish that shoot lightning from their eyes would also stop this from happening. And it would be more entertaining than a sign. But probably more expensive, which is why I'm guessing they went with the whole sign option...


BEAR! Who apparently has mange or something. This was a pretty typical mini-golf place, with the usual course layouts and stuff. We played both courses here, mainly because we had time to kill. And because we love mini-golf. As Falafel exclaimed at one point during the proceedings, "Can we play mini-golf all day and be entertained? I think so!' And she is correct!


If only it breathed fire or occasionally ate passing cars...


He is pretty awesome looking, though. One of the nicer mini-golf monsters I've seen.


Hmm, guess that's not going to happen. Fantasy Denied Golf, more like!


First up in our travels is Fantasy Golf. Hey, check out that Sea Serpent. I can't wait to climb up there and take a picture!

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Do you work there at Thunderhead? Cause I will stop by and say Hi the next time I'm there in a couple of weeks.


Yes, I'm the team lead for Thunderhead, aka the crazy girl, if you were at Thrills in the Hills. I had been up all day and I was crazier than normal...not much crazier, but a little. I love to have a good time....hey I work at the best coaster in the world, come on, you gotta have fun!!

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Dave, that trip report was awesome! I laughed, I cried, and even now as I am typing these words, Final Countdown is stuck in my head. I agree with everything you said about Dollywood. The staff is amazing, the food is amazing, and I am also one of those who "gets" Thuderhead. Love that coaster.


And Clever Detective is fine, but I'm thinking Cleaver Detective would be much more entertaining if set loose in Dollywood. (just thought I'd add in another inside joke to the mix )

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We don't have a "beef jerky outlet" in the 'Burg. Prime Outlets is missing a bet here.


Great stuff, Dave and Falafel--I would've expected nothing less! If you ever find yourself at Lake Tahoe, check out Magic Carpet Mini-Golf at South Shore or Carnelian Bay. Dinos out the wazoo. Kings Beach Mini-Golf doesn't have dinos, but many of the holes are challenging.

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