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Erik & Misty's Smoky Mountain Adventures

Sat Apr 25, 2009 3:14 pm

Wherein we detail our enjoyment of all the strange and wonderful tourist attractions in the place we used live.

We did everything, so you don't have to.

Introduction and Dollywood's Festival of Nations - Page 1
Space Needle - Page 1
Earthquake The Ride - Page 1
Hillbilly Golf - Page 1
Sky Lift - Page 2
Dixie Stampede - Page 2
Jurassic Jungle Boat Ride - Page 2
Old MacDonald's Farm Mini Golf - Page 3
Wild WaterDome (Wilderness at the Smokies) - Page 4
Newfound Gap & Clingman's Dome (Great Smoky Mountains National Park) - Page 4

The 24th Annual Dolly Parton Homecoming Parade - Page 5
Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies - Page 6
Ober Gatlinburg - Page 7
Dollywood's Kids Fest - Page 7
Smoky Mountain Fantasy Golf - Page 7
The Incredible Christmas Place - Page 9
Cades Cove (Great Smoky Mountains National Park) - Page 9
World's Fair Park & The Sunsphere (Knoxville) - Page 10
Hauntings - Page 11
Ripley's Believe It or Not! Museum - Page 12

Blindshot Barnaby's Circus Golf - 13
Dollywood's Splash Country - Page 13
World of Illusions - Page 14
The Flying Horse Grill - Page 16
Adventure Golf - Page 16
The Knoxville Zoo - Page 16
Fort Fun / Old Gatlinburg Golf & Games - Page 17
MagiQuest - Page 18
Forbidden Caverns - Page 19
Red Rooster Pancake House - Page 20

Lazerport - Page 20
Motor Nature Trail (Great Smoky Mountains National Park) - Page 21
Professor Hacker's Lost Treasure Golf - Page 22
Sevier County Fair - Page 22
Parrot Mountain - Page 23
Gatlinburg's Mysterious Mansion - Page 24
Sir Goony's (Knoxville) - Page 24
Dollywood in Summer - Page 25
The Apple Barn - Page 26
WonderWorks - Page 27

Ripley's Haunted Adventure - Page 27
Black Bear Jamboree - Page 28
Cooter's - Page 28
Dinosaur Walk Museum - Page 29
Hollywood Wax Museum - Page 29
Walden's Landing / Firehouse Golf - Page 32
Dollywood's National Gospel & Harvest Celebration - Page 33
The Old Mill - Page 35
Davy Crockett Mini Golf - Page 36
Guinness Book of Records - Page 37

Hollywood Star Cars Museum - Page 38
Dollywood in the Snow - Page 39
20th Annual Winterfest Kick Off / Patriot Park - Page 40
Trolley Tour of Lights - Page 41
The 12 Days of Christmas - Page 42
Dollywood's Smoky Mountain Christmas - Page 42
Rainforest Adventures - Page 44
Treasure Quest Miniature Golf - Page 45
Smoky Mountain Knife Works - Page 45
Gator Golf / The Track - Page 47

Tennessee Museum of Aviation - Page 48
The Alamo Steakhouse - Page 48
Dragon's Lair Fantasy Golf / Nascar Speedpark - Page 48
Scenic Helicopter Tours - Page 49
Rocky Top Finale - Page 49
Hi, I'm Erik. This is my girlfriend, fiancee, and companion friendy thing, Smisty (TPR screen name: speedmetal). And this is our house in the heart of beautiful Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
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Nestled at the base of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, we’re within easy walking distance of the area’s main drag…
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…and all the restaurants, shops, dinner theaters, and other attractions that go along with it.
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Plus, more mini golf than you can shake a putter at…
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...and, of course, Dollywood!
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Dollywood starts its season with Festival of Nations.
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This year’s version seemed a bit scaled back, though.
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Where previous years saw loads of street performers, shops, crafts, and outdoor displays throughout the entire right side of the park, this year it’s pretty much limited to just the front section.
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These guys are about it, as far as street performers go.
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According to Dollywood, this is Asian food. Whatever, it looked good.
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And, apart from a few flags here and there, that’s about it for Festival of Nations.
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Luckily, Dollywood has lots of other fun stuff to keep one occupied.
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The Country Fair area is home to most of the park’s flat rides and games of skill.
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Notice anything odd about this photo? (Or rather, with what’s going on in the photo?)
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Smisty won a frog.
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Even though I’ve been visiting Dollywood pretty steadily for four or five years now, and despite the fact that they aren’t adding anything major this season--for some reason, the park has just really grown on me this year.
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Bring on the water rides. First up, Smoky Mountain Rampage.
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That doesn't look good.
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Oh crap.
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Red's Diner--because it’s actually a law that every park in the US must have a 50’s-themed diner.
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But at least that one is in a whole 50's-themed area of the park.
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We rode separately the first time. Misty got “Going to the Chapel” on her radio. I got “Flying Purple People Eater.”
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I broke the horn by pushing it too much.
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"Adventures in Imagination" is pretty much the Dolly section of Dollywood.
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Inside Dolly's tour bus. (Which was so exciting that I became a being of pure energy.)
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Does this mean the park is going to be busy today?
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Hydrangea is a genus of about 70-75 species of flowering plants native to southern and eastern Asia and North and South America. (See how it ties in to the Festival of Nations?)
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Dreamland Forest is largely a play area.
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But it’s also home to a ride my spellchecker doesn’t like one bit, The Mountain Slidewinder.
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It's a long walk up...
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...and a wet ride down.
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And now to Craftsman’s Valley.
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This is a craftsman. He is crafting.
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One of Dollywood’s patented sloping walkways and the entrance to Daredevil Falls.
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I almost never skip this one.
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It only has one drop, but it's a pretty good one.
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This photo pretty much sums of my feelings about Tennessee.
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Forget the church. How many parks have a guitar and dulcimer store??
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Blazing Fury - part dark ride, part rollercoaster...
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…and yes, part water ride.
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Misty demonstrates her unique butt-drying technique.
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This is the world’s smoothest Arrow multi-looper, The Tennessee Tornado. And I am about to show you the best picture I’ve ever taken of it.
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The only way this could be better is if Dolly Parton was riding in the front seat with Burt Reynolds.
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And now back to lame photos.
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Sounds dangerous. I’ll just put my camera down there instead....
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If you know anyone that likes to make beaver jokes, bring them here immediately.
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A "River Battle" in full swing.
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Mystery Mine’s first outdoor section.
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Hey, it’s me! I’m a lumberjack!
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All of the rides in Timber Canyon. From left to right: Mystery Mine, Lumberjack Lifts, Thunderhead, and Timber Tower.
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(The) Thunderhead's entrance and exit.
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I have no idea how this won so many Golden Tickets…but it is pretty good.
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And pretty enough to hang on your wall.

Bye-bye (for now) from Dollywood. Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more Smoky Mountain Adventures!
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Sat Apr 25, 2009 8:51 pm

Awesome TR. Also, Golden Tickets are rigged, no Disney park ever wins, and Knoebel's always wins best dark ride. Hawkers poll FTW.

Sat Apr 25, 2009 9:09 pm

Very nice photos! I absolutely love Dollywood and all of its uniqueness.

Sat Apr 25, 2009 9:17 pm

Another great TR from you. Thanks for sharing!

Any chance I could get a High-Res copy of your best photo that you've ever taken of Tennessee Tornado? I would have to say that it is my favorite photo that I have ever seen of it, and I would love to use it as a desktop background. If not, no worries!
I also think Tennessee Tornado is the smoothest Arrow that I have EVER been on. I was super surprised the first time I rode it.

Sun Apr 26, 2009 6:20 am

^ Why certainly!


It's 1600 x 1200. That's as big as I take 'em, since I never end up cropping much anyway.

Sun Apr 26, 2009 6:52 am

Next up, Gatlinburg's Space Needle.
Standing 407-feet tall, this observation tower offers spectacular views of downtown Gatlinburg.
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The entrance and ticket booth. The price for adults is $7.25 (but, as with almost everything in the area, locals get a substantial discount).
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The building that surrounds base of the tower houses an arcade.
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But we want to go up--preferably, fast.
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Riding up to the top.
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The observation deck is pretty bare, and oh so ghetto, but the views are nice.
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That's kinda cool.
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Looking down Historic Nature Trail (traffic light 8).
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Ober Gatlinburg's tram coming back into the station.
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The Sky Lift attraction.
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Misty not being a chicken. Let's see what she's pointing at.
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Is it the downtown area stretching back towards Pigeon Forge? No...?
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Oh. How do you suppose that sign got there?
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I push the button.
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The mark of quality. Let's get the heck out of here.
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Sun Apr 26, 2009 9:44 am

If you passed this on the streets of Gatlinburg, you might be forgiven for thinking, "Ugh, this looks bad." But you would be oh so wrong. For, in fact, it is The Greatest Thing Ever.
Earthquake The Ride - an experience completely unlike anything you can do at USF.
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Sure, yes, you experience an earthquake while riding a subway train. But aren't those elements common to nearly every ride, when you really think about it?
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The sign behind these simulated guests says, "An actual ride."
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The train holds eight people, in four rows of two, and the track is about twice the length of the train.
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The train moves forward and back, and the seats tilt backward and forward. It's not violent or painful, though (surprisingly).
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The earthquake strikes! And suddenly there's another train on the track! It's heading right for you! And also, there's a barrel of acid!
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But that's nothing compared to the escaped gorilla who was being shipped to or from the Congo, wide awake, via subway!

If you like cheesy WTF, then you owe it to yourself to experience Earthquake The Ride.
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Sun Apr 26, 2009 1:08 pm

This is a great thread! I just did the space needle for the first time a few weeks ago, and now I have an urge to go back and ride the earthquake thing.

Sun Apr 26, 2009 6:04 pm

^ Thanks! I'm not sure how necessary it is, but I'm having fun doing it.

Hillbilly Golf
On a nearly unbuildable plot of land in Gatlinburg exists a mini golf course like no other.
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Basically, there was just enough room by the road for a ticket shack, so they built a funicular up the side of the mountain.
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Up we go.
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Why would anyone want a barrel of mildew? (Actually, it says MTN.DEW, but I’m not sure that’s any less weird.)
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There are two courses, and they both run back down the mountain.
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This is my friend Seth. He took a break from hiking the AT to play some mini golf with us and enjoy a cola.
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Both courses are very shady. This is good choice for an outdoor activity on a hot day.
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Does my fatness make me look fat?
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And now here's a thing.
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Pretty good overview of the place.
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Honestly, I'm pretty fond of this place. If you were only going to play one mini golf establishment in the area, you could do worse.
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The 18th hole is an outhouse. (I’ll let you make your own “two stroke” joke here.)
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Actually, you don’t quite putt your way all the way back down. You have to take the funicular again...not that you wouldn’t want to anyway.
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Yes, Misty, you won. You don't have to brag about it.
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Sun Apr 26, 2009 10:06 pm

Erik, this is awesome and brings back some wonderful memories from last Thanksgiving. Still can't believe I was right around the corner from our house!

With so much to do in both Pigeon Forge AND Gatlinburg, this as an on-going thread would be a huge help to anyone interested in those areas. I'd be very interested in seeing what other attractions you go to.

Seriously, great work here!
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