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Gatlinburg/Dollywood at 4th of July

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Hi fellow TPRers.... seems like forever since I have posted on here, probably because it has been. Well, my presence on here, like everything else in my life, is hopefully getting somewhat back on track. Hopefully. Maybe.


So... to that, I am putting out at request for opinions, suggestions, etc. Gatlinburg on the 4th of July: Patriotic Paradise or Kiss of Death???


We are planning some sort of trip the week of July 4. Gatlinburg seems like the forerunner right now, but my concern is that it will just be too packed. My thought would be to drive in on the morning of the 3rd, be there for the midnight parade, spend Sunday taking in Gatlinburg attractions, fireworks from the downtown streets or try to find a chalet with a guaranteed view of downtown. Dollywood on Monday or Tuesday and, potentially, a trip over to Cherokee to see a family member perform in an outdoor play there. However, if it's going to be nightmare to get into town on the morning of the 3rd, and everything is packed to the gills until Tuesday, then we may change travel dates or even locations.


The parade and fireworks sound awesome, but not to the extent that it would be worth going and being miserable in the crowds!




Edited by disneygurlz2s
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Well, I think you already know this...but yeah, if it's anything like previous 4ths of July, it's going to suck.


Let's see now, on the busiest day of the busiest month of the year, let's close down the town's only road for a parade!


Seriously, you could easily spent two hours just driving the 15 miles from I-40 to Pigeon Forge that weekend. And as you get closer to the parade start time, ETA to Gatlinburg quickly starts approaching, well, infinity.


On the other hand, I don't really know where a good travel destination would be on those particular days.


Maybe if you drive in at 4:00am on Friday and get a hotel that's on the parade route....

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^^Well, I had my suspicions, Erik. We honeymooned in Gatlinburg 15 years ago on Columbus Day weekend and it did take us a LONG time to get into Gatlinburg at dinner time on Sunday. But, my thought was to leave here (Cincinnati) as early as 5 am, so that I am getting into town by late morning..... Once we get there, I am good to either hang at the Chalet for the day or park and just walk all over for the day.

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I have never ventured into Gatlinburg for the parade or fireworks however if you plan on going to Dollywood July 4th is the best day really (may be hard to believe but its true, historically not nearly as many people visit on this day). July 4th in the past has been one of Dollywood's least busiest days for the month of July. The park does not do fireworks and closes at 8 therefore many people don't visit on the 4th. Patriot Park has fireworks on the 4th if you do not want to venture into Gatlinburg. You could ride the Trolley from Patriot Park on the 4th into Dollywood then leave the park around 7:30 and catch the trolley back to Patriot Park for the fireworks.

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Well, I decided to go for it regardless.... I booked us for July 3-7. My plan is to leave Cincinnati as early as 4 am on the 3rd, so that we get into the PF/Gatlinburg area before too many people are out and about for the day.


If you have any other travel advice for the trip, please let me know!

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