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Erik & Misty's Smoky Mountain Adventures


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What is on your "to do" list, as surely there can't be too much left in TN that you haven't covered?

 

I'm not sure. When I first started this thread, I planned it as strictly a 2009 thing--a sort of farewell to the area before we moved away. But now it's looking like we aren't going to leave until mid-2010, so I'll probably keep going so long as there's stuff to do.

 

Also, I thought there would be more coasters/parks so far, honestly. I had planned to do Nascar Speed Park (but their coaster was down most of the year), Belle Island (which stalled out during construction), Ghost Town in the Sky (their big coaster opened for one day), and Santa's Land (which I was going to do at the same time as GTitS). So any or all of those could still potentially be done next year.

 

As for the rest of this year, I'm sitting on about eight updates right now that I just have to sort through and post. And things around here mostly stay open through New Year's Day.

 

Right off the top of my head, I can think of at least five more mini golf places, four or five "museums," and quite a few other unique and/or unclassifiable things I haven't quite gotten around to yet.

 

I don't want to give away all my plans, because I think the element of surprise adds to the fun, but a few of the things I'm for sure planning are:

 

WonderWorks (since I was wrong about them not allowing photos inside).

Zorb

Ripley's Haunted Adventure

Titanic (when it opens next year)

The Fun Time Trolley "Tour of Lights"

And, of course, at least two more Dollywood updates (Gospel & Harvest Festival and Smoky Mountain Christmas).

 

So, yes, I can see this going on for just a bit longer.

 

Thanks, everyone, for the positive responses. It's always gratifying when someone takes the time to post something.

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The Apple Barn is located on the border of Pigeon Forge and Sevierville, and consists of several different shops and eateries, all of which heavily feature apples.

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You didn’t think I’d end this update without a shot of the telephone wires across the street, did you?

 

The Apple Barn. Take your mom.

 

And then buy her an iPhone.

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Though it’s certainly not in the same category as Toft’s, The Creamery at The Apple Barn is probably my favorite ice cream place in this area.

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Because we’re five.

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And now, dessert! (Note the apple trees on either side of the walkway.)

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Pop quiz: In this photo, is Misty barely tolerating: a.) her turkey, dressing, fried okra, and mashed potatoes? b.) having to pose for this photo? or c.) my ordering an entire pie as my lunch?

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Instead of starting you out with, say, bread or chips, these folks give you apple fritters and apple juleps!

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But I needed something hardier. The Apple Barn actually has two restaurants--one on each end of the property--but they basically have the same menu.

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Watching people make candy is always entertaining. And, this store features something I’d never heard of before: chocolate-covered potato chips. Wish I’d tried one, now.

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...and a candy store.

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...a winery (featuring lots of yummy apple-flavored wines)...

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There’s also a Christmas store...

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Yes! Just the thing I need to get this patch jacket started!

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There are also lots of apple accessories. Like one style of headset (available in white only).

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Actually, there’s just fruit inside. But slap an apple logo on it and smug hipsters will pay through the nose for it. (I swear I’ll stop soon.)

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This is where the Amish make iPhones. (I’m not proud of that joke.) Seriously, though, apples really don't look all that much like the letter A.

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Surely Misty did not go into a competitor christmas shop!

 

Of course, I looked at the competitors store. Gotta see what the other dude is selling.

 

My parents made me eat at that Apple Barn place during a family trip to the Great Smokies when I was much younger. I remember hating it and making a very similar face to your woman's for the whole meal!!!!

 

I actually prefer the Restaurant, but I figured I would give the Grill a chance.

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...a winery (featuring lots of yummy apple-flavored wines)...

Some of these are actually pretty tasty. Which reminds me, I think we still have an unopened bottle at home. Gonna have to take care of that.

 

As for the restaurant, it really is pretty good "home cookin'."

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Perhaps you are now thinking, "WonderWorks? Isn’t that in Orlando?" Indeed it is. But it's also now here in Pigeon Forge. How? Well, because it’s wondrous, of course....

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...what I really want is a WonderWorks toy big rig! Convoy!

 

So, the big question: Is it worth $20? Well, I think it depends on how hard it’s raining outside.

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Magnets are so blasé...

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WonderWorks really tops the competition by making you exit the attraction into an arcade, and then making you exit the arcade into a gift shop. Bravo, good sirs!

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There’s also laser tag and an arcade.

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She’s just mad ‘cause I grabbed the bars and trapped her there while I took a photo.

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Ta-da!

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Okay, this is kind of cool. Shine a light on this goofy pile of wire, and...

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Optical illusion land.

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So what? I watch her go to the bathroom all the time, at home.

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I’m not sure what the point of this thing is, but it looks really cool.

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I...um...I can’t do that.

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Ladies and gentlemen, it is time to follow the frog.

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You know you want to.

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Kind of like the floor thing, but on the wall.

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The “point” of Mind Ball is to out relax the other person and not really pay attention to what your doing. At last, a sport for me!

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My favorite thing in the whole place. You drop a bowling ball and it shoots a tennis ball 40 feet in the air. Somebody tell Stan Checketts.

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In case you wanna get REALLY kinky, there’s a mirror above the bed of nails.

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Super bubbles!!!

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Big piano.

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I’m not really sure what this thing was. But I like what the last person did with it.

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The answer is no.

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"Backbeat, the word is on the street, that the fire in your heart is out."

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Hmmm, sounds dangerous.

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What I might look like if I were dancing on a pressure-sensitive image-morphing floor.

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What Smisty would look like lying on her back. (What?)

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What Smisty would weigh on Mars. (But she would claim it was only 68lbs.)

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What Smisty would look like if she were pretending to wear a spacesuit.

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If you jump high enough, you end up in space. (This joke makes more sense if you note the jumpy thing on the left. Otherwise, I just sound retarded.)

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Basically just video games. But, again, at least they didn’t cost anything extra.

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My fastball was 34 miles per hour. That’s really good, right?

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These “peddle upsidedown bikes” were undergoing some sort refurbishment.

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Yes, it’s just a rock climbing wall. But as least it’s not an upcharge.

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Predictably, I was quick to start but slow to stop.

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The first little section features some statistical demonstrations, VR games, and earthquake and hurricane simulators.

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Spinning tunnel awesomeness!

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Okay, time to go in. But first we have to get spun around the right way.

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The lobby is actually quite elegant, outside of the fact that there’s another building crashed into the top of it.

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The WonderDog Café is new since the last time we visited. But it’s pretty much just a snack bar.

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There’s also a separate dinner theater at this location, called “Hoot N’ Holler.” But that was not on the agenda for us today.

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The main lobby and ticket booths.

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This photo may be slightly crooked. It’s a bit hard to tell, really.

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"...unless you can do it upsidedown."

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Though WonderWorks is one of the first things you see as you cross the border from Sevierville to Pigeon Forge, it is set quite a bit further back from the road than its Orlando counterpart.

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You may remember this van from such updates as, “The 24th Annual Dolly Homecoming Parade.”

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I love Wonderworks, it's a really awesome place and I personally believe that yes, it is worth the $20. The self propelled flat ride thing is a lot of fun, sorry it wasn't working for you, and most of the exhibits are really neat. Did you try their inverting motion simulator, or was it closed too? It gives a lot of really good hang time.

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^ The "build and ride your own coaster" thing is visible in the background of the Air Cannon photo. We've been on it before. It's not really my thing, but it was running, yes.

 

I like WonderWorks. But I certainly don't think it's a "must do."

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Have you done the location in Orlando? I'm just wondering if they're the same or have different attractions. I've never done one, always seemed quite pricey without having a good idea of what you're paying for.

 

So thanks for the look inside!

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Have you done the location in Orlando? I'm just wondering if they're the same or have different attractions. I've never done one, always seemed quite pricey without having a good idea of what you're paying for.

 

I haven't, for much the same reasons that you laid out above.

 

I only finally gave this one a try because I got in free the first time (they had a local employees freebie thing right when they first opened).

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Ripley's Haunted Adventure

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Being like a Horror Nights maze is certainly not a bad thing, but I do prefer Mysterious Mansion to Ripley's Haunted Adventure.

 

The best bit is the elevator trick at the very end, but I won't describe it in any detail lest I spoil it for you. Unfortunately, they do sort of telegraph it ahead of time--which takes some of the surprise out of it anyway.

 

Still, if you like haunted houses, this one is certainly worth a visit.

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The top level and your guide into the funeral home.

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"Oh, and please keep your arms and legs inside the funicular at all times."

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"Ladies and gentleman, there is to be no kissing and no photography inside the house."

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A kiss for good luck?

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A "rickety old" funicular take you to the second level, where the vast majority of the attraction is.

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This attraction reminds me quite a bit of a Universal Halloween Horror Nights Maze--except that there are more props and fewer actors. Which really has nothing to do with this photo. But there you are.

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There's an elaborate backstory about a mysterious casket company.

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Choose thy fate: The Headless Horseman's unstoppable wrath, or the wet floor!

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Wedged between two other attractions, near traffic light #8, is Ripley's Haunted Adventure.

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The best bit is the elevator trick at the very end, but I won't describe it in any detail lest I spoil it for you. Unfortunately, they do sort of telegraph it ahead of time--which takes some of the surprise out of it anyway.

 

Like you just did?

 

Just kidding. We're gonna have to try out one of these places the next time we're up there.

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It's a lot like Horror Nights. You have to go in as a group and stay with that group at all times. Not to mention the chainsaw guy! I instantly went into Horror Nights mode and took the lead of the group. It didn't really scare me or shock me in any way.

 

I really liked Mysterious Mansion over Haunted Adventures, but that's just my opinion.

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Never been much of a show guy, but I had some free tickets to Black Bear Jamboree, so I figured we might as well use them....

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This bear is very lucky, because he's outside.

 

Look, you're not going to do any dinner shows anyway when you come here. You know it, and I know it. But, if for some reason you do, stick with the Dixie Stampede.

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When I finally gave Dixie a try, I was pleasantly surprised. But Black Bear reminded me of why I'm not a show person.

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The show over, our sanity "bearly" intact, we flee for our lives back into the gift shop.

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Yes, the bears are never seen or mentioned again, but who cares? God Bless America!

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And now, apparently forgetting about the whole bear thing--as well as the fact that the performers have been dancing around in the skimpiest clothes possible up to this point--we go Gospel.

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"What? You didn't like it? Then how about some Country! Surely, bears like Country!"

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"Well, I guess the disco was okay...."

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It never cease to amaze me that YMCA--a song that could not be more obviously about gay sex--is considered innocuous enough to be played at public gatherings and church picnics. (Go Asian Native-American dude!)

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So yes, it's disco time! And what could be more disco than a Paul McCartney "look-alike" singing Yesterday?

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Apparently, the idea is that they're trying to find some kind of music the bears will like, for their new musical film being shot out in the woods.

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Misty says, "What the hell are we watching?"

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And then the dancers come back out and it's a sock hop.

 

I would like to take a moment to draw attention to the Asian dude in the middle, who was easily the best part of the show. Not only did he valiantly represent all minorities, but he was also the only one comfortable enough with his gayness to be having any fun out there. When all the other males were awkwardly twirling around in a "Yeah, I'm dancing, but I might not be gay" sort of way, he was like, "Here I am, Pigeon Forge! Love my fabulousness!"

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Then the "director" and his assistant (who speaks and sings in a purposely obnoxious "nerd" voice the entire show) come out and talk to animatronic bears.

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The show starts, without explanation, with "Hooray For Hollywood" style singing and dancing.

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Chicken and stuff on a plate.

 

So you eat, the pre-show MC dude begs you to tip your server for, like, a solid 5-minutes, there's a 15-minute "intermission" that starts at the announced showtime, and then the show actually starts after that.

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We arrived 10 minutes before show time to see that the pre-show had started...and people were already eating!

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The ticket windows inside the main lobby/gift shop.

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Dixie Stampede is unarguably the most popular dinner show in town, but this one is probably number 2.

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