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Dollywood Discussion Thread

p. 766 - HeartSong resort announced!

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Just to build off of what Kim said above, I'm going to link to a post I made a while back on the subject. The comments are pre-COVID, but it's still speaks to her points:

On 6/3/2018 at 3:15 PM, michaellynn4 said:

There are also some very interesting statistics on a variety of contributing factors to the decline of the "summer job", as it's not necessarily just an increase in laziness. From the article:

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Why did American teens stop trying to get summer jobs? One typical answer is: They’re just kids, and kids are getting lazier.

One can rule out that hypothesis pretty quickly. The number of teens in the workforce has collapsed since 2000, as the graph below shows. But the share of NEETs‚ÄĒyoung people who are ‚ÄúNeither in Education, Employment, or Training‚ÄĚ‚ÄĒhas been extraordinarily steady. In fact, it has not budged more than 0.1 percentage point since the late 1990s. Just 7 percent of American teens are NEETs, which is lower than France and about the same as the mean of all advanced economies in the OECD. The supposed laziness of American teenagers is unchanging and, literally, average.

Short answer: more and more teenagers are focusing on their education, including an overall increase in college enrollment and an increase in students taking summer classes. As someone previously stated, the days of a bachelor's degree being enough to stand out in a job market are long gone (hell, I'm kicking myself for going straight to grad school and getting a generic MBA instead of waiting and choosing a more specific masters degree in my field to help my resume stand out more).

Are there lazy kids out there? Absolutely, but that‚Äôs no new thing - I worked with plenty of other teenagers growing up who had questionable work ethic. It‚Äôs important to avoid the rose-tinted glasses when discussing this subject. I myself am one of those middle-class adults who tends to wax nostalgic about my summer job experience and used to have pretty strong opinions on "making sure my kids grow up right, know the value of a dollar, understand the meaning of hard work, blah blah BS BS yadda yadda". However, facts and statistics don't lie, and, once my kids are old enough, I'll need to consider what the culture, education environment, and job markets are like in order to figure out what's really best for their future before I choose to ‚Äúgift‚ÄĚ them working papers on their 14th birthday like my mom did to me.

In fact, recent statistics are showing that there may be a reversal of that trend, with many teenagers opting for summer employment again. Teenage employment is currently at its lowest rate since 1953. Again, as with my post from a few years ago, there'll always be a group of kids one can point to in order to help support whatever pre-conceived notions we already have about "kids be lazy, man". Gotta look at the macro level, though.

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15 hours ago, michaellynn4 said:

Just to build off of what Kim said above, I'm going to link to a post I made a while back on the subject. The comments are pre-COVID, but it's still speaks to her points:

In fact, recent statistics are showing that there may be a reversal of that trend, with many teenagers opting for summer employment again. Teenage employment is currently at its lowest rate since 1953. Again, as with my post from a few years ago, there'll always be a group of kids one can point to in order to help support whatever pre-conceived notions we already have about "kids be lazy, man". Gotta look at the macro level, though.

Bingo. And to no one's surprise, the increase in summer employment trends with increases in pay (which many non-theme park jobs were seeing prior to the pandemic). None of this is a secret. You can go find this in BLS statistics with absolute ease. We're still a very long ways away from having self completing lawn care services or making robots capable of properly grilling onions. And in terms of amusement parks, they've automated everything they could already. You think if they could have automated a Von Roll to not have 12 people running the thing that they wouldn't have?

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On 7/14/2021 at 10:39 AM, u4icmusic said:

Let me tell you what is happening now at Dollywood, most likely because the pay is only $10-$12 an hour. The staff is very young, they are untrained, unfriendly and sometimes downright rude. The two new people working on Drop Line are a prime example of who should NOT be on the Dollywood staff, at least in a position that deals with the public. They are both rude, never smile and act like they don't want to be there. There should be a supervisor walking around and correcting these issues instead of letting these two "kids" make such poor examples of Dollywood employees. Chik Fil-a, right down the street, is staring people out at $15 an hour and Cedar Point is starting people off at $20 an hour without raising any prices other than typical annual price increases we see everywhere. And so what if they have to raise prices. People don't want to wait in line 30 minutes for a drink refill or an hour for a hot dog. Adding 25 cents to the price to get more staff at a restaurant would be worth it to most people. People are not taking low paying jobs anymore when they can go down the street and find one that pays more. Dollywood is raking in the cash and they surely can afford to pay their employees a living wage.

Curious who these 2 who were working dropline are.

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Hey Everyone!

I know I asked some similar questions in the BGW thread yesterday, but we are also going to Dollywood on the same trip and I thought that it was better to keep it organized in the respective threads.

It's my first trip to Dollywood (and BGW) so I was wondering if anyone had some advice?

I also have a couple more specific questions I'd like to ask:

Does Dollywood have bins for all their rides? I thought I heard somewhere that they do but want to double check.

I've heard the legends about Cinnamon Bread and Lumberjack's Pizza, but are there any other highlight/good places to eat at the park?

What order should we hit stuff? I've heard to start with Mystery Mine, but is that still a good plan or should we start with something else?

Does anyone have any advice for Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg/Great Smoky Mountains National Park? It's also my first trip to that area.

Finally the "duh" question for Dollywood, has Lightning Rod's reliability improved lately? I stopped following it after it missed half a season for the up-teenth time!:lol:

Thanks in advance for all the help! I really appreciate it!

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Get there before gates open and you can get all coasters in a couple hours most days.  I'd personally hit Lightning Rod, then go back across the entrance for Thunderhead, Dragonflier, MM, Firechaser, Eagle, TT, Blazing Fury.  It's just a big circle. Firechaser is normally the longest line in the park.  LR next.  Single rider line can quick.  Can't stress enough getting there early, but that's the same for any park.  

Bins at all rides.  Ride ops normally will grab your stuff and put it away for you.  They are very nice about this.

LR has been running well lately.  Odds are good (knock on wood) you'll get on it.

 

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12 hours ago, swfan1988 said:

What order should we hit stuff? I've heard to start with Mystery Mine, but is that still a good plan or should we start with something else?

I get why people say this but I've really evolved to the point where I think that if Lightning Rod is the big draw for you then that's where you should go first. It's not a reliable ride. If it opens for the first hour and then closes for the day and you miss it because you were at Mystery Mine you'll be kicking yourself. You should absolutely, 100% go to Lightning Rod first, then do Mystery Mine and Firechaser after that because of their low capacity. Lightning Rod is more reliable lately. You'll probably be fine but don't mess around either. If it's open, ride it.

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14 hours ago, swfan1988 said:

Hey Everyone!

I know I asked some similar questions in the BGW thread yesterday, but we are also going to Dollywood on the same trip and I thought that it was better to keep it organized in the respective threads.

It's my first trip to Dollywood (and BGW) so I was wondering if anyone had some advice?

I also have a couple more specific questions I'd like to ask:

Does Dollywood have bins for all their rides? I thought I heard somewhere that they do but want to double check.

I've heard the legends about Cinnamon Bread and Lumberjack's Pizza, but are there any other highlight/good places to eat at the park?

What order should we hit stuff? I've heard to start with Mystery Mine, but is that still a good plan or should we start with something else?

Does anyone have any advice for Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg/Great Smoky Mountains National Park? It's also my first trip to that area.

Finally the "duh" question for Dollywood, has Lightning Rod's reliability improved lately? I stopped following it after it missed half a season for the up-teenth time!:lol:

Thanks in advance for all the help! I really appreciate it!

Heyo! I work there, so let me see if I can answer some of these for you.

My biggest advice, is if you're coming during the summer months, PLEAsE DRINK WATER!!! Hydrate before you come to the park. Hydrate while you are at the park. Hydrate Hydrate Hydrate! Drink water drink water! It sounds obvious, but you'd be amazed at the amount of times we have to call safety to get help for someone who has heat exhaustion or passes out due to dehydration. I literally saw it happen in person yesterday. Also, if you're coming for summer, do make sure to check out your sweet summer nights show. Its definitely worth the wait, starts at 9:40 in Wildwood Grove.

Most, if not all your coasters will have bins. I think they all do. A lot of our flat rides will have them as well. Please note, Daredevil Falls does NOT have bins. You must carry your items on that one. so if you got a phone you don't want getting wet, I'd recommend leaving it with a friend in the que line. I'm not sure about smoky mountain rampage. Might be the same there as Daredevil falls.

Front Porch Cafe is ALWAYs packed. same goes for Aunt Granny's. If you're coming during a weekday during the summer, expect lines. They will be long. Weekends tend to be less packed as far as I can tell, but my work time with dollywood is short, and I'm sure that will change. You may want to check out TIll and Harvest over in wildwood grove as well. Also, the cinnamon bread, you can get that at the Grist mill yes, but a lot of people don't realize you can get that at the bakery right as you enter the park too. The upstairs level to the Grist Mill is CLOsED, so don't try to go up there to get it, you'll be sorely disappointed.

As far as what order to get to things, I don't really have an answer for you on that. Refer to the guys above me. They may know better about that than I will.... single rider lines are good, but not all rides have them. I do suggest the timesaver, particularly if you're coming on weekdays during the summer. This past Tuesday and Wednesday have been the busiest days we've had since I started working here. It does save you a lot of time, particularly if you get to the park after the morning rush at the gates. Get there early, and make sure you have the dollywood app on your phone. It does come in handy, and we update wait times on the rides about every 15 minutes. Please note, if you want to ride Daredevil falls, That ride closes at 8. The website may say differently, but Daredevil falls is a special case in that the ride itself has no lights, which means it closes when the sun sets. Rides in general close, starting at 9 across the park from Country Fair towards Wildwood grove. All the rides over in Timber Canyon up to Wilderness pass will close at 9:30.

As for Lightning Rod. Well. It's at least opening every day. It is still having issues with it's launch every now and then, but it hasn't closed for an entire day during the time I've worked here yet. Typically if it does, it's down for an hour or so, then they get it fired back up. Keep the dollywood app on your phone, and you'll know when it goes down and gets back up and running. I've had a chance to ride it multiple times with the Ibox track, and the air time is still very much there. In fact I got a night ride, last ride of the night, ride on it a couple weeks ago. That was an experience. lol.

Let me know if you have any other questions. :)

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Also, if you want to see wait times recently, you can check any day you want here:  dollywoodwaittimes.com

Can also use queue-times.com which is quicker and easier than using park apps.  Link above for DW makes looking at historical much easier and quicker.

 

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3 hours ago, coasterbill said:

It's not a reliable ride. If it opens for the first hour and then closes for the day 

It hasn't done that in a long time. I just looked at all of July and not once.

It has a few rough days, but the worst looked to be Jul 16. opened at 10, down at 1:15 for 30 min then up from 1:45 til 2:30 before going down for the rest of the day. (Was that a weather day? a lot was down that afternoon)
Back up the next day after a late start but only down for an hour around 5:30.

 

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I get it, but since that ride is obviously the big draw it's still a totally unnecessary risk for a first-time visitor so that they can wait a few minutes less for Mystery Mine which still won't have much of a line if they rope drop Lightning Rod and then go straight there. That's just me though...

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1 minute ago, coasterbill said:

I get it, but since that ride is obviously the big draw it's still a totally unnecessary risk for a first-time visitor so that they can wait a few minutes less for Mystery Mine which still won't have much of a line if they rope drop Lightning Rod and then go straight there. That's just me though...

Oh, LR is first on my list, just not because of reliability.

Start there work around the park, hit LR again. Maybe eat then LR again. Random stuff (rides/shows/shopping) until dark and hit LR again after dark. 

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THANK YOU EVERYONE FOR THE HELP!!! I can't tell you guys how appreciative I am! If anybody every needs help planning a trip to Silverwood (or any other park in the coaster desert for that matter) let me know and I'd be glad to return the favor! I can't begin to exclaim how awesome the help is! I'll post a report on my thoughts after the trip for sure!

Definitely the takeaways are:

-Go to Lightning Rod first, then mystery mine, then firechaser or dragonflyer, than everything else

-Crowds might be mixed. I think well be there either on a Friday or Saturday in August depending on how the rest of the trip goes.

-Be wary of crowds and the time the sun sets

-Bins for the rides where it matters

One more question I have is, do you guys have any advice for Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg/National Park? I know I am staying in the Pigeon Forge area because of Dollywood, but my group and I are also there to check out everything else the Smokey's have to offer.

Thanks again for the help! This is one of the many reasons that makes TPR so great!

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Ripley's Aquarium in Gatlinburg is nice. Cades Cove is a nice drive.  Plenty of good hikes in the mountains if you're into that. Dinner shows around the area. Hatfield and McCoys is typically the best food at those places from what I've heard. 

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On 7/22/2021 at 7:26 PM, swfan1988 said:

THANK YOU EVERYONE FOR THE HELP!!! I can't tell you guys how appreciative I am! If anybody every needs help planning a trip to Silverwood (or any other park in the coaster desert for that matter) let me know and I'd be glad to return the favor! I can't begin to exclaim how awesome the help is! I'll post a report on my thoughts after the trip for sure!

Definitely the takeaways are:

-Go to Lightning Rod first, then mystery mine, then firechaser or dragonflyer, than everything else

-Crowds might be mixed. I think well be there either on a Friday or Saturday in August depending on how the rest of the trip goes.

-Be wary of crowds and the time the sun sets

-Bins for the rides where it matters

One more question I have is, do you guys have any advice for Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg/National Park? I know I am staying in the Pigeon Forge area because of Dollywood, but my group and I are also there to check out everything else the Smokey's have to offer.

Thanks again for the help! This is one of the many reasons that makes TPR so great!

Pigeon Forge is pure tourist hoop la (not saying there aren't fun things to do there just be aware it is hillbilly Vegas) The Old Mill restaurant actually is very very good but there will likely be a 1-2 hour wait, although lots of little shops and stuff to look around in while you are waiting.  Gatlinburg is Pigeon Forge's more sophisticated cousin. Shops and most restaurants are just a cut above quality wise to PF. Agree that the aquarium is very good. Pancake pantry is great for breakfast and Anakeesta has a chair lift up to a cool mountain view along with a single rail alpine coaster, zip line, rope walk, restaurant, etc. If you want to go up there and do any of that strongly suggest you buy tickets on their website ahead of time or you will spend a long time in line. 

 

Just outside of Gatlinburg (I mean maybe 5 minutes from the main drag) there is a Sugarland Ranger station for Smoky Mt Park. They can give you all the info on trails and lengths/difficulties of hikes. Just google it and you will find it. If you have time do try to spend at least part of a day in SMNP the contrast between the natural beauty of the park and the mess of "civilization" that is PF is rather jaw dropping, lol. Gatlinburg is kind of a bridge between the two. There are good alpine coasters in both GB and PF, again you can google them and find them all.

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On 7/22/2021 at 7:26 PM, swfan1988 said:

I know I am staying in the Pigeon Forge area because of Dollywood, but my group and I are also there to check out everything else the Smokey's have to offer.

Everything? How many weeks you going to be there?

Seriously, there's a lot between Sevierville south to the National Park. 
I've been there for a week at a time more than a dozen trips and still haven't seen/done everything I want to. And there's new stuff coming all the time.

I've only hiked a few trails in GSMNP. A few river floats, but still haven't done any whitewater there.
A few zip lines but more on the list. Haven't done any mountain biking yet. I haven't been skiing or tubing at Ober Gatlinburg.

Lots of attractions and shows I haven't seen yet.

Never mind all the tourist trap shopping stuff.
 

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Don't forget:

- Jurassic Jungle Boat Ride (PF) - One of the silliest, cheesiest dark rides you will ever come across.  Grossly overpriced, but that's Pigeon Forge for you! 

- Earthquake The Ride (Gatlinburg) - If you thought Jurassic Jungle was bad, wait till you ride this.  It makes no sense whatsoever and has several things that will make you shake your head and say "what the f... was that?"  Absolutely loved it though!

- Hillbilly Golf (Gatlinburg) - a cute mini golf course where you ride an incline railway to the top and then work your way down.  There are 2 courses and each is very "old school".  Still a good time.

- Mysterious Mansion (Gatlinburg) - A scary and well-maintained walk through Haunted House located just behind the Parkway in Gatlinburg.  The staff is friendly, the few actors working there do a great job popping up in unexpected places, and there's even a neat beginning where you have to figure out how to proceed.  Might be too intense for kids.   

 There's also a new "Soarin"-style attraction that just opened at The Island complex in Pigeon Forge.  It looks outstanding and will definitely be on our list when we return to the area. 

Also, as others have mentioned, the Old Mill Restaurant (and also the Old Mill Pottery House Cafe) are fantastic.  The desserts alone are worth making a stop.  But the lines are crazy all times of day.  Two other large restaurants we liked were Local Goat in PF (a sports bar restaurant with tremendous food across from the Titanic museum), and Applewood Farm Grill, which I believe is actually in Sevierville.  When you are seated, you are given a basket of deep-fried "apple fritters" and a "apple julep".  Both are simply delicious.  Much of the food is allegedly scratch made too and their fried chicken is probably the best in the area.

OK, I'm done ranting.  Just enjoy your trip.  You'll love it whatever you end up doing!    

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1 hour ago, BitterOldHag said:

 and Applewood Farm Grill

One of my favorites. And don't forget the Farmhouse Restaurant a little farther back.

A lot of the same items, but different menu and feel. 

https://www.applewoodfarmhouserestaurant.com/wp-content/uploads/2021-AWF-ALL.pdf

vs

https://www.applewoodfarmhouserestaurant.com/wp-content/uploads/2021-AWG-ALL.pdf
 

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Unfortunately I missed the drone and fireworks show for this summer. I went several times while they were doing the show, but I could never stay until it got dark out, usually because it was so dang hot and it wore me out. I was planning on going list last Friday or Saturday night, but on Friday morning I received my second Moderna Covid vaccine and I pretty much felt pretty bad and ended up not going to Dollywood. I've seen the videos of the show on youtube and really would have liked to have seen the show live, but it wasn't in the cards for this year. Hopefully they will bring it back next summer or do another version for Halloween or Christmas.

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Queue-Times is showing that the park has reported Wild Eagle as down since mid-afternoon last Thursday (July 29). Anyone know anything about this? I know it was closed for a time earlier this year, and wonder if they're having similar problems. Gonna be visiting this Saturday so hopefully they can get it back up!

EDIT: And nevermind, appears it's reporting as back up. Guess it just a few-days kind of problem.

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