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Finally going to Dollywood


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Hi,

 

Ok, so I coerced my wife to forgo our initial vacation plan to Costa Rica in exchange for Dollywood (yes, I'm very convincing). Dollywood has always seemed to elude me. I've travelled around the world, been to most every theme park of interest in the country, yet I've never found a reason to be in eastern Tennessee.

 

So we're off to TN the first week of Oct. I've managed to shoehorn in Graceland, a solid night of drinking on Beale Street, a couple days of hiking at the National Park, and 2 days at Dollywood.

 

Any "must do's" in the area? Coming from NH I don't see what all the fuss is over the foliage, but from what I gather it's going to be pretty crowded. Dollywood closes really early the whole time we are there, so I was thinking of going on a Fri and Sat (they also have random operating days). What is good to check out after the park closes?

 

Also, I'm quite accustomed to the beer and theme park combo, which sadly, I will not get to enjoy while at the dry Dollywood. Anywhere nearby for a tasty beer? Any info would be great on visiting the area during this crowded time.

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^^If you spring for the Q-bot, you could probably do Dollywood in a day. I like the place quite a bit, but I don't know if I consider it a 2-day park.

 

Hillbilly Golf up the road in Gatlinburg is fun. You get to take a funicular up the mountain to the actual mini golf courses.

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I visited Dollywood for the first last week. I too have always wanted to go, and even lived in Kentucky for most of my life, but never made the trek down. I was back in Kentucky visiting family and decided that it just had to be done. So, I asked my sister if she would let one of my nephews skip school and we headed down on the Wednesday after Labor Day.

 

The park was practically empty. The front of the park seemed semi-crowded, but it was mostly older guest there primarily for the shows, food and shopping. The back of the park, with most of the major rides, was deserted. There were absolutely no lines all day and the weather was great (except for a couple of thunder claps that closed most of the rides for 30 minutes both times). We just rode the bumper cars a few times while waiting for the other rides to re-open. Although I thought the 3 big coasters were fantastic, I think I enjoyed Blazing Fury the most. Such a weird ride...and even though I kind of knew what to expect, it still surprised me. And my nephew's reaction, who had no idea what was going on, was hilarious.

 

I'm sure you will enjoy your visit. It truly is an awesome park. I'll be going back soon.

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Unless you're planning on seeing most of the shows, Dollywood should be a 1-day park. I visited the park on a busy day and was able to ride most of the major rides in under 3 hours.

 

All of their coasters are great; but make sure you don't miss out on Mountain Slidewinder. IMO, it's the best ride in the park.

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Unless you're planning on seeing most of the shows, Dollywood should be a 1-day park. I visited the park on a busy day and was able to ride most of the major rides in under 3 hours.

 

All of their coasters are great; but make sure you don't miss out on Mountain Slidewinder. IMO, it's the best ride in the park.

 

Mountain Slidewinder won't be open when he goes. It closed on Labor Day, along with the play fort on the hill...I didn't get to experience either.

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Instead of doing two full days, I'd recommend doing their deal of coming in late one day and getting the next one free. Then the first time you are there, focus on getting all the rides out of the way and then spend the next day on the shows/rerides accordingly. I have been on a weekend before but even then the longest line I have ever experienced there was for a show. You will probably never see a line exceeding 30 minutes in length for the rides.

 

^^I'm sorry you missed out on such a deadly ride. Word to the wise, don't sit in the back on Slidewinder, your butt will become wetter than wet.

 

Anyways, I can't stress it enough that you go the Grist Mill at least once. The best thing in the entire park is there. If you are Diabetic, then get your insulin ready because you have to try the CINNAMON BREAD!

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Thanks for all the info. I guess the place we are renting the "cabin" from is a preferred property and has a 2 day for the price of one pass. I just saw this a few mins ago. Even before, on the park website they mentioned a $20 second day deal. Looked good to me. I dont plan on being in the area anytime soon again, might as well get my fill.

 

This brewery you speak of intrigues me.

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I also suggest this thread for lots o' good info: http://www.themeparkreview.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=50420

 

If you want to try to avoid parking fees at DW, I suggest the Dolly Trolley which runs from the main trolley area in downtown Pigeon Forge to DW back and forth all day. Parking is free there and the trolley is 50 cents a ride/person.

 

Trolley link: http://www.pigeonforgetrolley.org/rideguide.html

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You should plan for two days. We were there for a single day and there wasn't a minute that wasn't filled, and Thunderhead was actually closed. We would have easily, easily had a very full half 2nd day, maybe even a full one.

 

Even if you do the first day and don't feel like you need the 2nd you can always decide that after, whereas it's harder to shoehorn in a 2nd day you haven't planned.

 

It's one of the best parks in the country. Take your time and savor everything.

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The changing of the leaves is something many people come to the Great Smoky Mountains to see, but I still think October's "crowded-ness" is often overstated.

 

In any case, a crowded day at Dollywood is usually more of a problem for seeing all the shows than for riding all the rides--though Saturday will obviously be the worst day of the week. Any lingering concerns on that count can easily be countered by a relatively-cheap Q-bot rental, though.

 

All of Dreamland Forest is closed for the season, including the Slidewinder. I can only assume this is a cost-cutting measure, since all the other water rides remain open. Still, it's a very small section of the park that you probably wouldn't have spent a lot of time in anyway.

 

The 1-day or 2-day argument probably has more to do with how you like to experience a park than it does with Dollywood itself, and it sounds like you already knew the answer to that one going in.

 

The Smoky Mountain Brewery has a location in Pigeon Forge, as well, if you don't want to drive into Gatlinburg for it.

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The first week of October might be a little early for the best fall color. I've been up to the Smoky's a few times that week and there was only a little color at the peaks of the mountains.

 

I've been to both Smoky Mtn Brewery locations in the area and would second the recommendation. The Pigeon Forge location is in a strip center, with mini golf out front, near traffic light 2B, Community Center Dr. The Gatlinburg location is near the south end of town, 2 blocks from entering the Park, across from the Ober Gatlinburg Tram--it is off the main road a little bit behind another restaurant.

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Any must see things after the park closes? Is that Ripley's mirror maze any good? That intrigues me for some reason.

 

That one's pretty short. I recommend the one at MagiQuest instead. In fact, the only thing that keeps me from calling MagiQuest itself a "must do" is the fact that it's a chain. It is really cool, though.

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