Asking the boys what one of their favorite things we did all last year was, they would certainly put Dollywood in the top five (probably somewhere between going to art camp, and living (because we never want to get out) in the lazy river at the Gaylord Texan).
We’ve put off amusement parks so that they would both be tall enough to ride almost everything, since not being able to ride things can be a drag. Shug is seven, but already tall enough to ride *every single thing* at DW, and Shugie can ride most. Shug’s favorite is the ‘Wild Eagle’ which takes riders upside down three times (I think three times, I actually have to keep my eyes closed most of the ride!):
Wild Eagle – New in 2012 from Dollywood on Vimeo.
At first, Av and I had no intention of getting a yearly pass, but when we saw that — and I think it’s probably this way at similar-size amusement parks — an annual pass is actually less expensive than two separate day visits, we went ahead. And we got our money’s worth, as we took five or so visits last year. We didn’t even go during the summer, when we knew it would be crazy crowded, and on each of our visits we almost never heard a complaint about a wait time. Going in the winter is pretty anyway, because the park has its lights up.
And wow, what to say about the park? I grew up going to Six Flags in Atlanta and occasionally (school trip) Opryland before it closed. Dollywood seems to be supremely clean. It’s themed to music and Appalachia, almost equal parts admiration and poking fun at itself. It’s very ‘family’. I’m not much for amusement park food, but they have a snack called cinnamon bread…simply bread, butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon…and it is one of the best/unhealthiest things ever.
And one thing that I’m thinking almost no other amusement parks have: a chapel on the grounds. Here, it’s the Robert F. Thomas Chapel, named after the doctor that delivered Dolly Parton.
All the artwork is quilted: