Dollywood Pumpkins, 2021

“I don’t see how a pumpkin patch could be more sincere than this one.” — It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

The first weekend of October, we took a one-day trip with C.A. to see the Pumpkin Luminights at Dollywood.
The Mystery Mine illuminated for the events.
It’s not Dollywood if you don’t eat an entire loaf of Cinnamon Bread.
We shared our apple butter with this honey bee.
My original theme park crew: these two cheery faces!
See our quick vlog of the day here.^

We’re already looking forward to going back for the Christmas lights!

“Don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.” — Dolly Parton

Visiting Dolly’s Kingdom, Summer 2021

Outside the Mystery Mine at Dollywood; pretty sure this is my favorite ride!
Scott’s emotions after trying cinnamon bread for the first time.

A “must do” at Dollywood is visiting the Grist Mill for cinnamon bread. If Disney World has Dole Whips and Universal has Butterbeer, the iconic must eat item at Dollywood is the hot, fresh, gooey cinnamon bread.

C.A. and M. also visited the old time photo booth. There was no wait and a plethora of costumes and backdrops to choose from. They made their own theme by mixing ‘southern belle’ dresses with a hot air balloon + a racoon and some weapons.

Scott loved the park so much he got himself a season pass at the end of the day! Their pricing is actually pretty fantastic for a season pass – and since this trip was in August, we didn’t get to see any holiday decorations this time around, so he’s already planning to return for the “Illuminights” (Halloween) and Christmas events.

Our pro tips:

  • We stayed at Riverstone Resort which is only 3mins from the Dollywood entrance. There are lots of hotels in pigeon forge.
  • The blacksmith shop inside Dollywood is a working blacksmith studio and IF YOU HAVE CLOSED TOED SHOES you can make a small knife out of a screw, railroad spike, or horseshoe and take it home with you. But you gotta have the right shoes! Scott missed out this time because he had soaked his tennis shoes on the River Rampage ride and changed into flipflops – but it’s on his to-do list for next time! Prices for this start at approx $30 and the easiest knife project only takes about 20mins of your day. We recommend getting over to the blacksmith shop first thing if this is something you’d like to do, since the appointment slots book up.
  • Don’t miss the cinnamon bread! You have to find the Grist Mill to get it. We like the apple butter with it.
  • The bald eagles / bird show is also a “can’t miss” moment in the park, check the map for the schedule of bird shows. See their livestream here: https://dweaglecams.org/
  • I think my favorite ride is the Mystery Mine – although there’s still a couple of coasters I haven’t tried so who knows! Coaster lovers with love this short ride with special effects, super fun loops, and two “straight up” pieces of track (my coaster nerd verbiage needs improvement, I know).

Fun fact: Dolly hasn’t ridden any of her own rides (except the train). “I don’t ride the rides. I never have,” she told The New York Times. “I have a tendency to get motion sickness. Also, I’m a little bit chicken. With all my hair I got so much to lose, like my wig or my shoes. I don’t like to get messed up. I’m gonna have some handsome man mess it up, I don’t want some ride doing it.”

Additional fun fact: Dollywood was on Forbes best employers list for 2021. They offer benefits like tuition reimbursement, scholarships for the children of employees, and a primary care health clinic.

You have an opportunity around the park to “round up” your purchases to benefit Dolly’s Imagination Library. If you have kids, check out this resource!

Check out our vlog here^.

If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one.”

– Dolly Parton

Universal Fun!

In June 2021 we took a big ol’ fashioned family vacay to Universal Studios for Dana’s 40th birthday!
We are Kings of the (theme park) Bus! [<–This is a Tim Tracker reference, and if ya know, ya know.]
Rainy weather can’t dampen our spirits.
Did you know that Universal had their own Purple Wall just like Disney?
“Books by the dozens for you and your cousins!”
Family photo taken at Jurassic Park… um, I mean Universal. You know the one. Check out a one second video of our trip below.

Happy Birthday, Dana!

First time to Dollywood: 2020!

Sometimes you just need a little bit of extra theme park magic…
My best theme park partner and I headed up to Dollywood for the weekend. We didn’t get a lot of photos because we mostly spent our time soaking it all in — the cinnamon bread, the rides, the train! We are Disney World Fans to our core, but Dollywood actually astounded us with it’s charm.

We already can’t wait to come back and bring the boys next time!