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silver2005

Hello, Dolly!- silver2005's 2019 Southeast Trip

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The recent set of announcements along with Boss avoiding another potential round of RMC'ing convinced me already to go with my SE trip for next summer. 

Park list is as follows- 

Kings Dominion

Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Carowinds (If I don't go with KICers in March)

Dollywood

KD and Busch Gardens will be back to back.  If I stop in Charlotte, it'll be quick, but I do want to spend at least 2-3 days in Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg when I do Dollywood.  I actually don't need a lot of suggestions on this trip because 1) I've been to KD and Dollywood already 2) I have made multiple trips to PF/Gatlinburg, and 3) I've learned enough to get by from friends regarding BGW and Carowinds.  Lodging will be a concern for the Tennessee portion though.  The way they parks are listed is the likely route I'll be taking (leaving my favorite park for last).  

I'll also be doing my first Holiwood Nights next summer as well, mainly to get more laps on Raven, especially at night.  My last trip to HW was rather unlucky in that I only got 1 lap on Raven and it closed for 2 days thereafter.   May squeeze in KK for that as well.  

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Updated trip info-

- Going to do Carowinds on the trip itself and not in the spring for opening weekend, I want to take my time to get to know the park and hopefully any kinks on the new coaster will be smoothed out by then

- Trip will start in Virginia, go down south to Charlotte, then finish in Tennessee

- Still figuring out how long to stay in Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge.  I want to stay 3 days, but if lodging is too pricey, it may be either 1 or 2.  If I stay 3, two of the days will be for Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge exploration as well as getting at least 2-3 of the alpine coasters in as well as a trip into GSMNP and a round of putt-putt.  I think I can knock out Dollywood in 1 day since this will be my  4th visit.  I'd really, really like to save Dollywood until my last day of the trip.

-I'll probably be doing Busch Gardens first to get the more hilly park out of the way.  I remember being able to take my time at KD so I can take that visit easy.  

- Credit addition total- 27 (Overall total to be at 141, crossing my fingers that Lightning Rod and Volcano will be open)

- Need to remind myself to get the cinnamon bread at Dollywood

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I had just recently been wondering what a trip like that might look like logistics-wise.  Are you driving the whole thing?  How far between KD and Carowinds is it?  And then to Pigeon forge from CW is about what 9 hours?  

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I am driving the whole way.  

Cincinnati to Richmond (where I plan to stay for the VA portion)- 8-10 hours

Richmond to Charlotte- 4-5 hours

Charlotte to Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge- 3-4 hours

Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge to Cincinnati- 4-5 hours

I did a big PA/NJ trip last summer which had similar driving, so its not like I haven't done it before.   

My itinerary will look something like this-

Day 1- Travel to VA

Day 2- BGW

Day 3- KD

 Day 4- Travel to Charlotte, spend time downtown

Day 5- Carowinds

Day 6- Travel to Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge, spend time in Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge

Day 7- Another day of various shenanigans in the area

Day 8- Dollywood

Day 9- Back to Cincy

I need the extra travel time as I have a medical condition which makes it hard to keep going all the time as it affects my digestion and water intake, so I need to schedule R&R days during the travel days unless there's a small park like MIA that I'm visiting.  I'm not above splurging a tad either- I'm game for Fast Lane at either of the 2 CF parks if need be or if I'm feeling ambitious (Fury 325, Intimidator, Afterburn, and the new coaster at Carowinds may get me to purchase one), I usually get in 1 nicer meal, and I also like to be a bit spontaneous, which with Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, will be very easy.  

I'm also considering  KD's water park if I get to Richmond at a decent time on day 1.  

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That sounds like a great trip for sure.  And when broken down like that really does not seem to bad.  I think you have definitely figured out the best way to do it all in the given time.

Sadly this summer I think would be unrealistic for me to attempt it but the one after I think I will.  The only bad thing is that I am over in Indy so it tacks on a  couple of more hours there and back.  Still not too bad though.  Also I considered flying over to DC for the first leg and renting a car for the rest of the trip so when I do go I may end up going that route.

And I agree if I am going to go over there, I was thinking getting Fastlane at the CF parks could end up being worth the purchase for sure.

Anyways I will be interested in hearing how your trip goes once the time comes!

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I have my first requests for this trip. 

- ACE doesn't do discounts to Dollywood nor BGW, so any info on discounts would be appreciated.  

- I'm gonna go with my gut in terms of food at BGW and DW (another reminder to myself- get the cinnamon bread), but I could use dining suggestions for KD and Carowinds 

- Any nice restaurants in Charlotte or Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg (gonna treat myself to one really good meal on the trip)

- Best route suggestions from Cincinnati to Richmond, VA (I have a Massachusetts EZ Pass), this is by far the longest leg of the trip and there appears to be no good direct route between the 2 with a spiders web of routes I can choose

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On 1/11/2019 at 12:18 PM, flightoffear1996 said:

In the Gatlinburg area there is a restaurant called Sawyers it seriously as the best non ghetta breakfast food I have had.  Make sure you get there early though as sometimes the wait is up to two hours.

Wow that place is getting great ratings... going to have to check that out... I'm borrowing the inlaws time share in that are for a week, any more restaurant suggestions would be most welcome...

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^ Take 275 to KY 9 in Wilder, KY to Grayson, KY.  At Grayson you'll get on I-64 which will take you straight to Richmond.  It is a beautiful drive especially once you get into the Blue Ridge Mountains.  About the only heavy traffic you may run into is around Richmond.  Huntington and Charleston neither have awful traffic.

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It is kind of a bummer about Volcano and the absence thereof (I'm not gonna be happy seeing it vacant).  I will probably need to do I-305 early as my body isn't too keen on too many positive G's if my rides on Invertigo have taught me anything.  Same goes with Vortex at Carowinds. 

I also may have to bump Dollywood up before the last day of the trip with how this trip is going to end up on the week. I'm thinking something like this-

Saturday- go to VA

Sunday- KD/BGW

Monday- BGW/KD

Tuesday- go to Charlotte

Wednesday- Carowinds

Thursday- to Gatlinburg/PF

Friday- Dollywood

Saturday and possibly Sunday- G-Burg/PF fun

I could also bump it up to leave on a Friday, do KD on Saturday since there is the FL option, which would make Dolllywood fall on a Thursday.  I am NOT pulling a malem and doing KD or BGW the day I leave for VA.   

The biggest question in shifting it is- Is BGW better on a Sunday than Dollywood would be on a Friday?

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I think I got it- I'm going to bank on KD not being too bad on a Saturday and leave on a Thursday, do BGW on a Friday, KD on a Saturday with Fast Lane if needed, and then do everything else accordingly- Sundays are ideal traveling days, and that'll place Carowinds on a Monday and Dollywood on a Wednesday-Friday (giving me more flexibility if weather becomes an issue in G-Burg).  

Its a bummer the woodies and Crypt aren't on Fast Lane @ KD.  

Anybody know of any BGW or Dollywood discounts?

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Just note, they call it Uptown Charlotte instead of Downtown Charlotte. But, if you say Downtown Charlotte, they'll understand what you mean. Good restaurants at Carowinds are Harmony Hall near Intimidator and Blue Ridge Junction near Copperhead Strike. Chickie's and Pete's in the Carolina Boardwalk area also has good food. 

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^ BGW, Carowinds and Dollywood are pretty good in the food department based on what I hear and in Dollywood's case, based on experience.  

KD is where I need a food recommendation for.  

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^ BGW, Carowinds and Dollywood are pretty good in the food department based on what I hear and in Dollywood's case, based on experience.  
KD is where I need a food recommendation for.  

When I was at KD last year I ate at the Mac Bowl (their version of Mac n Cheese bar). Although I didn’t get mac & cheese, I got tater tot’s. It was really good and they had a lot of different toppings to choose from.

I’ve also eaten at country kitchen and outer Hanks, both were pretty good. I would say country kitchen is along the lines of KFC with chicken and sides to choose from. Outer Hanks has your typical fish and chips products.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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1 hour ago, pianoman said:


When I was at KD last year I ate at the Mac Bowl (their version of Mac n Cheese bar). Although I didn’t get mac & cheese, I got tater tot’s. It was really good and they had a lot of different toppings to choose from.

I had the Mac Bowl this past weekend at KD. Portions there are smaller than KI’s Mac bar during haunt/winterfest (where portions varied day-to-day anyway). It was pretty good, albeit not very warm. I still prefer KI’s variety, especially with Bacon Jam. I think KD’s variety of toppings was a little better. 

Definitely worth a try. 

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I remember the food at KD being pretty mediocre (went in 2002, it was my only visit).  There's not a lot outside the park either. 

Aside from Volcano and Anaconda, I wasn't that impressed by KD, but they've added enough stuff to keep it of interest to me.  I missed out on their Flight of Fear as my family didn't want to ride it with it being a copy of KI's, and I think we just forgot Avalanche was there (it'll be my first Mack Bobsled).   I did manage to get the rare Hypersonic XLC credit, though- one of the defunct coasters I'm particularly proud of getting to ride.   I'm really hoping their Crypt is working- I have a taste for Top Spins.  I also want to give the woodies a second chance, but I'm glad Hurler got RMC-ed.  And yes, I did get to ride Volcano.  It was a fantastic ride- one of the best launch sequences ever. 

BGW I've only passed by.  That year, my family went down to check out Williamsburg, and we had Paramount season passes for KD.  We drove by BGW on the way to see Yorktown.  Really bummed I missed out on Big Bad Wolf.  

Carowinds initially peaked my interest due to them having the coolest looking Top Gun coaster out of the entire Paramount chain (I've been a bit jealous of Carowinds and Great America for getting B&M inverted coasters before KI got Banshee and I've heard great things about Afterburn), and with the attention CF has given it, I've been meaning to check it out.  

Also, with my visits to KD and Carowinds, I'll finally get the 2 final Geauga Lake relocations I don't have.

Finally, Dollywood is the highlight of this trip for me.  Dollywood is my absolute favorite park.   Love the charm, the atmosphere and theming, the location and setting, has a solid collection of rides, love the shows and food, Thunderhead is my favorite GCI, Daredevil Falls is my favorite flume, Blazing Fury is one of the most fun rides I've done, it all just comes together so well.  Has the cool factor of having real locomotives for the Dollywood Express.  Love, love, love the place.  Crossing my fingers hard on Lightning Rod.   I have high hopes for it after getting a few rides on Steel Vengeance.  My last visit was 2008 and I've been multiple times.   

Another reminder to self- get the cinnamon bread at Dollywood.  

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As far as discount tickets for Dollywood if are a passholder of the Newport Aquarium you get half off admission (both are Herschend properties).  If you don't the best deal might me to get a season pass if you are going multiple days.  They sometimes also do an after four and the next day is free, but I think they have ended that in the last year or so.

We go down several times a year so we have passes. A weekend is definitely the time to go there as the weekends are generally crazy as a lot of people just do long weekends to the area.  

As far as the park, if Lightning Rod is open hit it first thing as it has horrible capacity and frequent downtime.  I would suggest doing the park counter clockwise.  Hit LR, then the water rides, Barnstormer, Blazing Fury, and then you can start hitting Tornado, etc.  As far as the coasters on that side of the park both Mystery Mine and Firechaser Express have lower capacity.  Firechaser even though a "family coaster" is a ton of fun and something that I highly recommend.  Thunderhead usually has its longest waits at opening but will be a walk on later in the day as will Wild Eagle.  

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4 hours ago, silver2005 said:

I just remembered one big thing I wanted to ask concerning my Tennessee venture- what alpine coasters do any of you recommend?  I only plan on doing 2 or 3.  

We did Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster. With a groupon it brought the cost down to about $11pp. 

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18 hours ago, silver2005 said:

I just remembered one big thing I wanted to ask concerning my Tennessee venture- what alpine coasters do any of you recommend?  I only plan on doing 2 or 3.  

I have also been on Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster and really enjoyed it.  I have not been on any of the  others to compare though.  

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Cost for the alpine coasters won't be an issue.  I'm taking extra cash anyway for a nice meal in either Charlotte or Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge.  I am also going to be going through some of the touristy stuff in G-burg as well (one day will be devoted to strolling along downtown Gatlinburg, when in Rome so to speak).  

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