On The Road: Random Adventures: Dollywood

The Dollywood Grist Mill- one of the park's most famous landmarks

The Dollywood Grist Mill- one of the park’s most famous landmarks

She Said:  Dollywood
            I’ve been going to Dollywood since I was nine years old. Several years ago, I was able to finally go with RJ. We’ve been back several times since then. I really think it’s a fun place to go because there are a lot of things I can do as someone who gets very motion sick and still have a fun time.
            Dollywood has some really great roller coasters (or so I’ve heard).Many years ago, my sister and some friends talked me into riding two rides, which were wild for me but pretty tame for other people. I was terrified, sick and will never do that again. As I’ve gotten older my motion sickness and vertigo have intensified so trying something like a roller coaster wouldn’t be possible. Dollywood has the cutest little ride (like the teacups) that’s called the Lemon Twist. I used to love it, but they stop the ride so abruptly ( and coupled with the altitude) that it makes me me desperately sick. So, no more crazy rides, even tame crazy rides for me! I love the Carousel because it’s beautiful and the music is so pretty. I also love riding the little Antique Cars (Rockin’ Roadway)! I don’t really ride anything except those two things at this point. My family and friends all love the water ride  Rampage but my boat once got stuck and had to be evacuated at the peek of the drop (seriously, ask my mom, it happened!) and it was so scary. My mother made me get right back on after they fixed the ride so I wouldn’t be scared of it but it didn’t work. I’m terrified and never riding it or any drastically pitching water ride again. I’m just glad that there are rides that I can enjoy and don’t make me sick!
            Because Dollywood is Dolly’s theme park you might imagine that there’s lots of great music and they really do have quite a few different shows.  I really like Country Crossroads because it’s a combination of classic and modern country songs. There’s also a really neat Doo-Wop act that performs outside.  My favorite show is Heartsong. It could use some refurbishment for the screen (it’s a movie) because it’s pretty old it’s still my favorite show. It makes me feel like a little girl again and reminds me of what I love about being back home. They also have lots of different festivals throughout the year that feature various types of entertainment. I’ve seen some amazing Russian and Irish dancers at The Festival of Nations. The bluegrass music at the BBQ & Bluegrass festival is top notch! Their Christmas shows are really good and frankly it’s hard to feel like Christmas if I haven’t seen Christmas in the Smokies.
            There is all manner of other fun things to do at Dollywood. They have all different kinds of crafts and things being made (wagons, candy, etc) that are fun to watch. The Dolly museum is another one of my very favorite things to do. It has tons of her costumes, pictures and awards. They update some of her wardrobe sections pretty frequently so it’s always interesting to see what’s there. I was really excited that when we were there they had just added her outfits from Hannah Montana! We also visited the Southern Gospel Museum and Hall of Fame.  My grandfather got me interested in gospel music as a little girl so it was so neat to see some of the names and faces that I remembered. They had some really cool exhibits! I enjoy just walking around and looking at the pretty landscapes. One of my new favorite things to do is visit the Lucky 7 mine and do some panning for gems. I’m a good prospector and once we’ve bought our bag of dirt I can usually find some pretty stones really quickly!
            Shopping at Dollywood is fun, too. There are always lots of interesting things to look at in all sorts of shops so even window-shopping is fun. RJ and I both own several t-shirts each because they are attractive and they wear very well. Someone just can’t resist the bargain bundled t-shirts!
            Dollywood is very green and very pretty. The park is really pretty clean for the most part, especially considering the volume of people it hosts in a day. I complain about the ladies’ room sometimes, but I do that everywhere because most of the time it’s hard to find a decent clean restroom.
            If you’ve been following our reviews from our trip then you will notice that I’m not crazy about the food at Dollywood. I really wish they had a place that served nice salad (not bad boxed salads) or simply grilled chicken. RJ and I wanted to see if there are really any places worth eating at in the park so we’ll continue to share our experiences with you. I can’t imagine wanting to eat at Miss Lillian’s Chicken House again. Although depending on the item I might ( maybe) eat at the Spotlight Bakery again. I’m interested in seeing though if there’s anything worth trying or if we should just skip it!
            I really enjoy Dollywood and I’m already looking forward to when I’ll get to go back next!
Overall Rating- 7
One of Dollywood's beautiful water wheels

One of Dollywood’s beautiful water wheels

Dollywood's beautiful Carousel horses- isn't that a cool mane?

Dollywood’s beautiful Carousel horses- isn’t that a cool mane?

Classic Cars in Jukebox Junction at Dollywood

Jukebox Junction is awesome and so is this car!

He Said: Dollywood

We visit Dollywood anytime it’s possible when we visit East Tennessee.  It’s a great park, and something that we typically really enjoy.  You’ve already seen our reviews of the food we had most recently (Spotlight Bakery for breakfast and Miss Lillian’s for lunch) but I bet you’re wondering, what else we did, and if it was fun.

We did a lot this time around.  We always ride the carousel pretty early, so we don’t have to worry about any shopping bags.  It was as fun as always.  We walked through the church, and walked through the museum of Dolly’s life, rode in their car ride, and saw Heartsong.  These are some of our standbys that we always do, and always enjoy and this day was no exception.  I didn’t like that we didn’t have a live banjo player for the Apple Jack segment of Heartsong, but I understand he can’t always be there.

There were some other things we don’t normally do that were really fun.  We finally toured Dolly’s bus (which I was excited to do and enjoyed, but don’t think I would do again).  We walked through the Gospel Hall of Fame (which I also liked, but probably wouldn’t do again).  We got to look at all the birds from the bird show, which I really loved.  We walked around a lot, and saw a lot of things that we don’t normally encounter, including a pizza place I’d like to try (it looks like it has servings similar to the Spotlight, but for pizza!), and several rollercoasters that were fun to look at.

The most fun I had all day though was mining for gems.  We bought a bag of dirt that has gems in it, and sifted it in running water.  Kari is really good at finding shiny stones.  People would stop and watch us as we prospected.  That was my fondest memory of the day.

I’m sure I’m missing some fun stuff we did, but those were the highlights for me (did I forget to mention I bought something like 8 shirts on clearance), and it was a great day that I look forward to repeating again next time.