Saturday, September 22, 2018

Fall 2018 Theme Park Trip-Day 3

Day two at Dollywood was a very calm day as compared to the first day.

To start the day, I didn't set an alarm. I hadn't gotten much sleep the past couple of days. The two flights didn't get me much rest and about the time I was checking into the hotel I was really starting to feel it. I didn't get up until almost 7:30am. I let me body let me know when it was ready. I did a little bit more planning and got to Dollywood for their opening at 10am.

Because I had rushed around the park the day before and basically did all of the coasters, today was just a day to enjoy without worrying about accomplishing any goals. First thing I noticed going into the park is that not only were there more people, but more kids. Also, when did toting kids around in one of those collapsible wagons go into vogue? I was surprised at how many I saw. Because there were more families today, I decided to move quickly and hit a bunch of rides before the crowds really piled up. Made a coaster pass including several rides on Wild Eagle and Mystery Mine.

So on with the exploring. I continued to go back to the Artisan Valley of the park and look at all the different crafts. I talked to some employees and they said that the park wanted to expand that area but was finding it hard due to a troubles finding talent. We then discussed is it because the artisan didn't want to pass it on on there wasn't anyone behind them that wanted to learn? They felt it was more of the latter than the former. That's a shame but then again, we have technologies that help produce items for people at a quicker pace and cheaper cost, but in many cases the quality is not the same.

A train ride is always an enjoyable endevour! They were loading people on and taking people not in a circle pattern, but more of a dumbbell shape something like two circles connected by a line. In parts if you were on the left side of the train, where you saw the left side going out, coming back you got the ride side. If you're a park nerd, the trip went around the area that is being expanded for 2019 called Wildwood Grove. Land has been cleared, grading is going on and some construction has already started. I ended up talking to a clerk at a clothing store that is outside of the park and they said they are really excited as being a resident in the area, it will give them something new to look forward to when they visit the park.

One of the challenges has been the food and what to eat. I did find a couple of items that weren't the best, but better than alternatives. I got what would have been an Italian sausage sandwich but I asked them to hold the bun and the chips. I asked the cashier if she would give the chips out to someone who just wanted chips at her stand and she wouldn't do that so I just asked the people behind me if they wanted an extra bag and they said sure. Later in the day I did decide to go off script. I had one of the park staff say that Ham and Beans had good southern food. I ended up with a platter that had beans, corn bread and potatoes in addition to some meat and other veggies. They also had  blackberry cobbler with vanilla ice cream included in the price. Oh, it all tasted sooo good! A little later when I was looking for an outlet, I ended up getting a salted caramel milkshake. I just know that tomorrow I need to make sure that I don't continue the trend.

While I didn't watch any shows from front to back, there were so many available that I caught pieces of throughout the two days.  One of the people happen to start while I was eating the corn bread. I couldn't see who it was from where I sat due to a wall in the way. It turned out to be part of one of the other items I was told I must do is get a picture with Miss Lillian, the Chicken Lady of Dollywood. After the show was over, Mission Accomplished!

I really want to applaud Dollywood for providing me such a good time. There is a warmth and charm there that just oozes out of everything going on there. As a side note, I was surprised at how many guys I saw there with epic beards and mustaches that were on staff. Disney only allows close cropped stuff. One guy operating Mystery Mine had a beard about as long as mine and a great handlebar mustache. But then again, it totally falls into line with the story they are telling at the park. I found the food prices reasonable. Anywhere you could ask for ice water and you got it for free. They were running the rides with multiple trains and kept the lines down. Granted at one point of the day I did see Tennessee Twister with a 50 minute wait, but that seemed to be the longest I saw when I looked at the map. The longest I personally waited was for Blazing Fury at 10 minutes. Over the past several years they have had Timer Tower, the Adventure Mountain ropes course and Lighting Rods which closed shortly after opening. Granted the other two are already gone and they are still working to get Lightning Rod working, but they have some rides that have some wonderful theming and work very creatively in the spaces they have available for use.

Outside of the park I wanted to do a little bit of shopping (reference paragraph 5) as they have several outlet malls unlike what we have in Hawaii. I went to a store to pick up a shirt and on the way back to the hotel I traveled down Parkway. That's right, just Parkway. Not Parkway Blvd, Parkway Ave or Parkway Parkway. This reminded me of  what RT 192 was in Kissimmee, FL back when I worked at Disney.  Today's Hwy 192 only wishes it is as busy as Parkway is now. One item that was recommend was Jurassic Jungle Boat Ride. I saw the lighted sign and had to go around the block to get back into the parking lot. OMG, I posted a couple of pics to Facebook and I stated it was Gloriously Tacky! It was so bad it was good! Many of the animals didn't work. The lighting didn't work in several areas. There was one place where they had a giant Jurassic cockroach with its latex rubber skin ripped, hanging down and showing the stuffing underneath. There were several times that I just laughed. Unfortunately, the last scene where it seemed to have several things go wrong I was laughing as some action took place with a loud noise and the little girl (is a 10-11 year old little?) in the row in front started crying. I wasn't laughing at her as I started laughing before she started crying. It took the parents a minute or two after getting off the boat to get her calmed down.

I'll go running in the morning, but tomorrow is primarily more of Parkway in Pigeon Forge and the touristy stuff including a couple of mountain coasters, Titanic and moonshine tasting!