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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)


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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