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Erik & Misty's Smoky Mountain Adventures


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Any chance of Dollywood Splash Country?

 

Sorry, I don't do requests.

 

Nah, just kidding. Anything for the Nerd!

 

I have to admit, I'm not much of a water park guy. Still, we usually try to visit Dollywood's Splash Country at least once a year--mostly because it's extremely close and we get in free. It just seems like bad form not to go, you know?

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Bye-bye, Splash Country! Your attractions may be standard, but at least you're pretty!

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Well, thank you so much for that little reminder of my own mortality.

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And...the inside of said gift shop.

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The park's main gift shop.

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Dolly likes butterflies.

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Yummy flatbread thingies.

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Can we eat now?

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There, that's better.

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No...we just came from there. Where the heck is a map?

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The splashdown area. This is where you apologize for touching that really hairy dude. (Or, ask for his number. Again, depends on you.)

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Just like on the other one, they pair up parties of two. It makes sense capacity-wise, but it can be a bit disconcerting to suddenly be rubbing arms and legs with half-naked strangers. (Or, you know, totally awesome. I guess that depends on you.)

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The park's second family raft slide, Big Bear Plunge.

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The water play structure in mid-dump.

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I just find the idea of a water jet shooting up through a lounge chair hilarious. What can I say? I'm five.

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...and some open water (by which I mean, something kind of like a regular old pool).

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...with some low-impact slides...

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Cute kids/family area...

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Ah, this looks more our speed.

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Moving right along....

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We're gonna go with "no" on this one.

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Fire Tower Falls

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Cute food stand. And like all food stands at Splash Country, they primarily serve chili. Um....

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Yes. Welcome to Itchy Point.

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In my view, water parks are all pretty much the same. But at least this one has a nice setting.

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"Center for responsible hydration"? So...I can drink the water in the wave pool?

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But be warned, Dolly is trying to drown you! Evil! Stay away!

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It's only, like, 15 feet high--and the splashdown pool is shaped like a butterfly! How bad could it be??

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And now, the most innocuous-looking slide of death ever created.

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Individual tube slides.

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Wild River Falls family raft slide.

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Exploding out of its swollen banks, its heaving waters pulsating against-- Excuse me a moment.

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Mat slides.

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I'm not really quite sure what this is, but it looks pretty cool.

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One of them newfangled toilet bowl rides.

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Airtime-inducing body slide.

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Awesome.

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Nice "lots of stuff" shot, if I do say so myself.

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The (only) entrance and exit to the lazy river.

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Misty totally wins with this photo.

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The lazy river is my favorite thing here.

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The main lockers, if you're into that sort of thing.

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The stand on the left is where you go to rent a locker. The one on the right has the weirdest name of anything ever.

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Aha! Stuff!

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Rules 1 & 2 = Please don't eat diarrhea. Rules 3 through 6 = You and your children are disgusting.

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This is as bathing suit-ish as we get.

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Uh-huh, sure.

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The actual gate. It's a bit of a walk from the ticket booths to the attractions.

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A water park close enough to my house to walk to. And they have water waiting for me!

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I never knew Dollywood had a water park! Is it next to the park?

 

Kind of. Their parking lots are across the street from one another, but it's a bit of a walk from front gate to front gate (Dollywood's parking lot is weird).

 

They've actually just reworked it all this last year, so that you drive into both parks the same way, and then choose which one to go to after the toll booths (driving through a tunnel under the road to get to Splash Country).

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I like cheesy. And I enjoy laughing at things that aren't nearly as great as they think they are. But not everything works like that. Sometimes "bad" is just bad.

 

World of Illusions

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What, seriously? This is the exit?

 

Yes. Yes it is.

 

YOU ARE INVISIBLE!!!

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Okay....

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YOU ARE INVISIBLE!!!

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The big finish.

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Lt. Worf, I guess. And some other dude they had laying around. They disappear, as if my magic. Or transporter. Whatever.

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Here we see "a superman" using his x-ray vision to check out "a Lois Lane."

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In this illusion, a plastic ball rolls around on a table--as if by magic!

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Misty looked really bored in this photo, so I illusioned it up some.

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Floating mannequin!

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Neither Misty or I could sort out how this was even supposed to work despite multiple attempts.

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I wish I could say this illusion doesn't come across well in photographic form, but actually it does.

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"Complaints will be taken at the exit."

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Well, I guess the wall would have just been blank otherwise.

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No! They're on to my tricks!

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Yes. I am a genie.

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This will prove to be the highlight of your tour, sadly.

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Smoke tornado thing.

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Random is good.

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It sounds awesome so far.

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World of Illusions is located in Gatlinburg, right next to the Reagan Mall (home of Old Gatlinburg Golf & Games and Hauntings).

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You've been working so hard on this thread and I think this is the first time I've commented. Oops!

 

That's okay. You still contributed. Some of the photos are yours, and this thread would be nothing without your mirror maze dance.

 

Thanks for the kind words, everyone! I'll do more when I get to it.

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Mr. Edge said it best here.

I love your updates, and they are always entertaining... but this one had me laughing from beginning to end.

 

Big thank you for Splash Country! That truly made my day. Even the peek in the gift shop (girlfriend and I are gift shop/park swag nuts) was cool. Both you and SMisty had some pretty shots of the rides and scenery.

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Everytime I look at your updates, I wish I'd have had more time to spend in the area when I went to Dollywood this summer. There is just so much to do! The one thing we did do was visit Sam Houston's schoolhouse if that counts...it's a Texas thing I s'pose, LOL.

 

Great report as usual! The captions always have me laughing. I now feel the uncontrollable urge to plan another trip to spend just in that area.

 

...although, I'll probably skip World of Illusions...

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I've been sitting back soaking all this in, and taking notes if I ever get down there again...

 

The World of Illusions just isn't what I remember it being. Ok, the lobby looks sort of the same, except back wen I went through it they flashed it with star wars characters, not Harry Potter, and not the double edged light saber which we didn't even know about at the time.

 

 

The only thing I can remember being the same is the "Make your friend" disapear trick, which was at the very end of it. The other one I remember vividly is one where you looked through a window and saw a gyspy with a crystall ball on a tablle, the table appeared to stick out into the hallway where you were standing, and supposedly you could move your hand on the table to move the crystall ball on the other half of the table. Not that it ever seemed to work right....

 

From your photos above it just looks a lot drier in tone than I remember it being.

 

IIRC, didn't World of Illusions close down for some time? I never got to see Mysteries of the Unexplained or whatever it was called, I was alwsys told "You're not old enough for that one" then it went out of business. I sometimes wonder if your not old enough = nice way of saying "we don't want to blow even more money on these tourist traps" I recall I was usually allowed to choose 1 per trip so choose wisely, unless of course somebody else wanted to see one of them, then I could parlay it into seeing more than one on a trip.

 

We used to go down there evey year, but the last time was down there with the family, Thunder Eagle was still running. Oh, I made a drive by in 2004 and saw Dollywood, Dixie Stampede, 2 or 3 of the go-Kart/arcade places in Pigeon Forge. (The one that looks 50'sish outside and required waivers to drive their fast carts on a slick track., and the one with three tracks, none of which were all that special - okay well except for the one where you do a hairpin turn while dropping about 30-40', said drop having big flashing lights and use brakes signs. I would later figure out that if you just let off the gas, you could safely make it around the turn just letting the cart coast down. (This IS a coaster group, right), they were also unusual in that you loaded the carts and then drove through a little 1 cart wide passage to get to the track, then returned the carts down that same passage.

 

Let me add my kudos along with all the others for bringing us your feature.

 

Gatlinburg area tourist traps I have done (and can remember)

* Ober Gatlinburg (Alpine Slide, yessir!, why else would you go up there

*The skyride you showed that just goes up to the Gift Shop in the Sky, as opposed to the Ghost Town in the Sky in a a somewhat nearby city (I've seen that one as well)

* Space Needle and its arcade

* Ripleys Motion Theatre

* Ripleys Haunted Adventure

* The indoor mini golf where Ripleys Haunted Adventure is now, it had the Star Trek themed holes, and had the finale with Hole 18 being the Space Shuttle hole.

*Christus Gardens

* The haunted house a couple doors down from Christus Gardens, I redid that one in 2004 and it did not live up to my memories of it at all!

* A big wax musuem that was up where Old Gatlinburg mini golf is now, and then Q-Zar after that. My only game of Q-Zar brand lazer tag in fact.

* World of Illusions

* Hauntings

* Earthquake the Ride - I redid that one in 2004 just to sucker the person I was with into it. "You won't believe how amazing this is!" - How is that indoor mini golf next to Earthquake, the Indiana Jones (I think) Adventure Golf?

* Gatlinburg (No) Fun Mountain - short lived(?) traditional style amusement park

* Hillbilly Golf - Perennial Favorite!

* The wax museum down that way, which was an indoor gokart and mini golf last time I saw it.

- also, I've seen over the years, almost all the crafers get run out of the stores there as more and more of them get filled in by the same tacky souvenir and T-shirt shop as every other joint in town.

 

Of course I've hit whatever go cart park had the Thunder Eagle, and I have that credit, and I saw the NASCAR speed park. Yep, also hit Cade's Cove Loop Road, Clingman's Dome - you want a challenge do the Cherokee to Gatlinburg drive on the foggiest day you can find!

 

Did the Bear Zoo thing in Cherokee, and remember fondly the coin operated "Educated Animals" that did tricks. Darn PETA! I recall somewhere around there was one of those Mystery Houses at one time, the kind where water runs uphill, or a person leans way back in a chair and doesn't fall over, easier to walk up than down, etc. Once I even did a helicopter tour of the Smokies, the only time I have been in a chopper.

 

 

A couple of the traps I haven't done are either the old or the new Ripleys museum, but I did get snookered into that Tales from the Crypt attraction that lived a short time where the old Ripleys was. I also never did the Guiness World Records museum. (As opposed to the Guineess Tasting Museum, which would be quite a feat as I recall the area is dry.)

 

Remember, at least one breakfast in a pancake house is required per trip. Though, I call breakfast at the Apple Barn - its a long wait for family style breakfast featuring apples any way they can serve them - apple fritters, apple butter, apple juice, etc. Not to be confused with a similarly named restaurant right on the main drag in Pigeion Forge. We've gotten nailed on that.

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^ Though I live in Pigeon Forge, I certainly didn't grow up in this area. In fact, I'd never ever heard of it (except for Dollywood) before about five years ago. So, for the most part, I really can't speak reliably about any of the area's older, now-gone attractions.

 

[...]and the one with three tracks, none of which were all that special - okay well except for the one where you do a hairpin turn while dropping about 30-40', said drop having big flashing lights and use brakes signs. I would later figure out that if you just let off the gas, you could safely make it around the turn just letting the cart coast down. (This IS a coaster group, right), they were also unusual in that you loaded the carts and then drove through a little 1 cart wide passage to get to the track, then returned the carts down that same passage.

 

I believe you're talking about Speed Zone--which has the distinction of being the closest go cart place to my house, and one of the few I've actually done.

 

* Ripleys Motion Theatre

* Ripleys Haunted Adventure

 

Done these, but have no photos. They may be revisited at some point in the future, but I have no definite plans.

 

*Christus Gardens

 

This is now closed and sitting empty. I never did it. I could have, but it just didn't seem like my kind of thing.

 

How is that indoor mini golf next to Earthquake, the Indiana Jones (I think) Adventure Golf?

 

"Treasure Quest." It's pretty good, but I need to take more photos of it.

 

Once I even did a helicopter tour of the Smokies, the only time I have been in a chopper.

 

Definitely on my list. One of the more logistically tricky things for me, though.

 

I also never did the Guiness World Records museum.

 

It's terrible. The only reason I can imagine doing it again would be to take photos for this thread. (See how I sacrifice for you people?? )

 

Though, I call breakfast at the Apple Barn - its a long wait for family style breakfast featuring apples any way they can serve them - apple fritters, apple butter, apple juice, etc. Not to be confused with a similarly named restaurant right on the main drag in Pigeion Forge.

 

I probably will do an update about The Apple Barn at some point. I believe the restaurant on the parkway you're referring to was the Apple Tree Inn, but it's now gone.

 

Thanks for taking the time out for such a detailed response!

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The Apple Tree Inn sounds right. We ate there a couple of times on family vacation. We always used to eat at the Apple Barn, Burning Bush Restaurant and the Old Mill just about every family vacation to the area. The Burning Bush is of course gone now. I used to love their little rotating tray of fruits and muffins.

 

I was about to comment on how much you are sacrificing for this thread. I mean you spent money on World of Illusion for pete's sake!

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Yeah, the Apple Tree Inn was right on the Parkway. I remember the Burning Bush Restaurant as having dozens of finches and being literally on the edge of the National Park.

 

Does Bunny Golf still exist? I know there was the sad "bunny massacre" some time back, but I wondered if they ever came back with it.

 

Seriously, this thread is awesome.

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^ Dollywood's food is pretty good. I'll have to take more pictures of it.

 

^^ Bunny Golf apparently became Nightmare Golf after the incident. Nightmare Golf has been SBNO for a few years now.

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The only picture I seem to have of it.

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I also seem to recall seeing a mini golf in the Pigeon Forge area, that in need of a gimmick, or intense jealousy over Hillbilly Golf's gimmick, has some kind of mine car that you ride from the ticket office up to the start of the course. Mind you that unlike Hillbilly Golf, this track just circles the perimiter of the golf course.

 

Oh at Dollywood you can't go wrong with any of the food but try their buffet, that was bar none one of the best amusement park meals I have had in a long time. Aunt Granny's is it? I recall being surprised the park has printed up t-shirts for it, seriously, how many other theme park restaurants have a line of souveniers?

 

I've also never been to the Comedy Barn, so I don't have my standard issue red and yellow t-shirt. What, do they give those things away free or something, its not uncommon to see entire families walking around town all wearing them.

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I think Bunny Golf actually had two bunny massacres. They reopened after the first one, but sadly the second one did them in. Either way its been closed for awhile. (What kind of person kills bunnies not once but twice!?)

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Bunny Massacare? What happened, from context I thought somebody meant the place burned down or something like that. But now I hear there were TWO bunny massacares! They need the bunny rabbit from Holy Grail!

 

 

I don't know if this was a Smokey area mini golf as I've hit quite a few mini golfs in different tourist cities, but I remember us being drawn to one by a huge castle in the back of course. We asked which of their courses involved the castle, and were all exciited. We got to the castle, we walked up a long windy rampway to the top of the castle, then you merely putt your ball over the drawbridge into the castle and walk back down to continue the hole down below.

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^^ Somebody tell me if I'm completely wrong about this my memories are a bit fuzzy, but I seem to remember hearing reports about someone breaking in and poisoning all the bunnies. Again I'm pretty sure thats what happened, but it was a while ago.

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I searched on Roadside America.com and there's a few mentions of the bunnies "being beaten to death". Sadly I don't think it was something as bloodless as poisoning them. I didn't realize there were two massacres, but RA.com mentions that multiple times as well.

 

I've been to this area many times over the years. I remember an amusement park there that featured a fake mountain and lots of spinning rides. I rode one spinning ride twice in a row and ended up hurling in the bathroom. Ever since then my tolerance for those things has gone way down.

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^That was Magic World. It looked much more exciting from the Parkway with the big castle but it really was just a bunch of spinning rides. At least, we got the dragon coaster credit. I think I made you stay on that tilt a whirl and it was more than just twice in a row.

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