Sunday, October 23, 2022

Pigeon Forge - Dollywood

Our original purpose for heading to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, was to go to Dollywood! We've wanted to go for a few years and Fall Break seemed like the perfect time. Boy, was it! The temperature was perfect and the leaves were in prime leaf-turning time!

Dollywood is a theme park in Pigeon Forge that has undergone some facelifts and changes over the years. It's in a pretty big growing season right now, which I'm sure is exciting for the area. They have a new roller coaster coming in 2023 and have a plan to continue expansion after that! It was a gem of a theme park! It was exciting and full of rides, but had a quaint, homey feel as well! My ONLY complaint about it was that for rides it had baby rides or thrill rides and there was nothing in-between.

We decided to do TWO days in the park because looking online we found that two-day tickets were only $30 more than one-day tickets. Perfect! We'd heard that there was a possibility that we'd be able to use our Wild Adventures annual passes if we purchased tickets at the gate so Grandmamma took those and we waited to purchase until we arrived. If you're a member, DO THAT. Will, James, and Grandmamma all have passes and they each received a 50% discount on their tickets PLUS Eddie, Granddaddy, and I also got a 50% discount using their Wild Adventures Bring-a-Friend passes. Woohooo! The second day we went we wound up getting an offer from someone for 3 free passes (we assumed it was Dollywood Bring-A-Friend passes) so our overall cost per person per day wound up being $34! You can't beat that!

Rides! Our boys were tall enough to ride everything AND they could ride alone which was a huge win for us this trip! Their favorites were the Barnstormer (see James standing alone in front of that bizarre-looking swing), Tennessee Tornado, and Wild Eagle. Barnstormer was HORRIBLE looking and reminded me of a ride at the fair. James rode it twice all by himself. Will LOVED Wild Eagle, but I think we only did it once. It was a HUGE roller coaster with a major drop, lots of speed, and several inversions! Once was enough for me!

Because it was October, Dollywood had Harvest Festival happening. It was SO much fun. They had plenty of pumpkin-themed foods (we didn't try any) and lots of photo spots and characters. I'm going to be really honest - the characters were LAME compared to Disney World, but they don't exactly have movies that they can pull from. The owl character was CREEPY.

The absolute best thing we ate and the best bang-for-our-buck snack was the loaf of cinnamon bread that we bought (three times). It was AMAZING. Our first loaf came from the mill and the second and third ones came from the Starbucks (bakery). The first one was TONS better, but I'm not sure if it was the location or just the batch - they just didn't have nearly the amount of cinnamon as the first. Holy moly these were good! I think 20 people told me before going to be sure to get the cinnamon bread and we were SO glad that we did. (We didn't think the apple butter added anything to it so you can skip that extra!)

It was SUCH a fun trip and I'm sure we will be back again in the future!

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