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.
Nestled at the base of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, we’re within easy walking distance of the area’s main drag…
…and all the restaurants, shops, dinner theaters, and other attractions that go along with it.
Plus, more mini golf than you can shake a putter at…
...and, of course, Dollywood!
Dollywood starts its season with Festival of Nations.
This year’s version seemed a bit scaled back, though.
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.
These guys are about it, as far as street performers go.
According to Dollywood, this is Asian food. Whatever, it looked good.
And, apart from a few flags here and there, that’s about it for Festival of Nations.
Luckily, Dollywood has lots of other fun stuff to keep one occupied.
The Country Fair area is home to most of the park’s flat rides and games of skill.
Notice anything odd about this photo? (Or rather, with what’s going on in the photo?)
Smisty won a frog.
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.
Bring on the water rides. First up, Smoky Mountain Rampage.
That doesn't look good.
Red's Diner--because it’s actually a law that every park in the US must have a 50’s-themed diner.
But at least that one is in a whole 50's-themed area of the park.
We rode separately the first time. Misty got “Going to the Chapel” on her radio. I got “Flying Purple People Eater.”
I broke the horn by pushing it too much.
"Adventures in Imagination" is pretty much the Dolly section of Dollywood.
Inside Dolly's tour bus. (Which was so exciting that I became a being of pure energy.)
Does this mean the park is going to be busy today?
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?)
Dreamland Forest is largely a play area.
But it’s also home to a ride my spellchecker doesn’t like one bit, The Mountain Slidewinder.
It's a long walk up...
...and a wet ride down.
And now to Craftsman’s Valley.
This is a craftsman. He is crafting.
One of Dollywood’s patented sloping walkways and the entrance to Daredevil Falls.
I almost never skip this one.
It only has one drop, but it's a pretty good one.
This photo pretty much sums of my feelings about Tennessee.
Forget the church. How many parks have a guitar and dulcimer store??
Blazing Fury - part dark ride, part rollercoaster...
…and yes, part water ride.
Misty demonstrates her unique butt-drying technique.
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.
The only way this could be better is if Dolly Parton was riding in the front seat with Burt Reynolds.
And now back to lame photos.
Sounds dangerous. I’ll just put my camera down there instead....
If you know anyone that likes to make beaver jokes, bring them here immediately.
A "River Battle" in full swing.
Mystery Mine’s first outdoor section.
Hey, it’s me! I’m a lumberjack!
All of the rides in Timber Canyon. From left to right: Mystery Mine, Lumberjack Lifts, Thunderhead, and Timber Tower.
(The) Thunderhead's entrance and exit.
I have no idea how this won so many Golden Tickets…but it is pretty good.
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!
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.
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.
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