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Looking at doing a 2-3 day mini trip to Dollywood and the surrounding area.  A day at dollywood, another day or 2 doing whatever else.  2 adults, 3 kids (10,6,3, though perhaps 11,7,3 at the time of visit if that makes a difference).

 

Any recs on where to stay (dollywood resort is one option), things to do aside from dollywood.

 

TIA

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Also doing a trip down that way in a few weeks.

There are cabins/condos out the wazoo.

There is an insane amount of stuff to do in the Pigeon Forge/Gatlingburg area.  It's basically a tourist trap, like Myrtle Beach.

Lots of cool easy hikes in Smoky Mountain National Park.

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Yes, Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg is our family vacation spot each year. A week in a cabin.. As teenageninja said, lot's of cool EASY hikes.. Lot's of fun and free

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I did the Smoky Mountain Alpine coaster last Sunday after Dollywood closed. Definitely worth a try- very fun and faster/longer than I expected. Look for a groupon to save 25% off the tickets. 

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12 minutes ago, medford said:

where's the best place to go cabin shopping?

 

Depends...Dollywood Cabins would go through them...but I've used Homeaway.com and VBRO for Cabins.

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21 minutes ago, medford said:

where's the best place to go cabin shopping?

 

I was going to joke cabinsRus, but there is an actual website. It has not been updated in like 15 years. http://cabinsr.us/

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32 minutes ago, medford said:

where's the best place to go cabin shopping?

 

AirBNB has cabins as well.

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airBnB was my first thought, I've never rented thru that; honestly a little Leary though I really shouldn't be.

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12 minutes ago, medford said:

airBnB was my first thought, I've never rented thru that; honestly a little Leary though I really shouldn't be.

I've rented through AirBNB multiple times.  My friends rents his place out on there.  It's a pretty secure system.

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thanks for all the advice....

I'll find a place...now, aside from Dollywood for a day, any specific advice on what to do?

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Any of the mountain coasters. Definitely check out "The Island." 

Depends on what all you are into when visiting new places...tons of things to do. I love the area and spend a good amount of time there.

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Visiting the area for the first time in early June for a week... Will obv be hitting Dollywood, and will make a swing over to Knoxville to catch a minor league baseball game, but with a week to fill, any other suggestions are very welcome... Dinner shows, rainy day activities, funky giftshops, awesome putt, great places to eat, historical sites, anything you can think of...

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10 hours ago, Honorarius said:

Visiting the area for the first time in early June for a week... Will obv be hitting Dollywood, and will make a swing over to Knoxville to catch a minor league baseball game, but with a week to fill, any other suggestions are very welcome... Dinner shows, rainy day activities, funky giftshops, awesome putt, great places to eat, historical sites, anything you can think of...

Do you like tourist trap attractions? I know that sounds funny, but there are tons! I definitely will get my recommendations for the area up here soon for you all.

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26 minutes ago, Creed Bratton said:

Do you like tourist trap attractions? I know that sounds funny, but there are tons! I definitely will get my recommendations for the area up here soon for you all.

That's the problem, there are so many, I don't know which ones are worth the time/money and which are a waste...

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Leaving in a few days for Pigeon Forge.  What's the cheapest way to buy tickets?

Also thinking of visiting the Great Smoky national park and hiking a bit (have a 3 year old so not super hiking)

Saw some place that you can tube, if the weather is nice.

Saw somethign on Anakeste, anyone been?  Worth doing?

Anything else worth recommending?  Other than Dollywood one of the days we are down there, we are pretty flexible.

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Just got back... Def do one of the alpine coasters... There's one that runs at night with the track lit up, and it's for sure worth your $15...

Also, if there's not too many of you, instead of dropping $20 for parking at Dollywood, take the trolley... It's $3 dollars a head (and 3 and under is free) for a day pass for the trolley (or $2.50 one way to/from Dollywood), and you can park for free in the lot at the trolley office... Saved the 2 of us $14 bucks a day each of our 3 Dollywood days...

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Thanks,

We are staying in Pigeon Forge, I think pretty close to the main trolly station, that was the hosts rec as well.

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Oh, and the cinnamon bread from the Grist Mill at Dollywood is phenomenal and lives up to the hype...

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OK, so for anyone that is looking for future advice on the area, I'll share my experiences:

Got down there Sunday evening, we rented a house in Pigeon Forge, close to the Ole Mill district, so pretty good location in the heart of Pigeon Forge.  We knew we had to go to the Grocery Store and didn't want to be too active, but the kids saw a mountain coaster on the way in (Rocky Top Mountain coaster) and wanted to try it.  We got our stuff in and I looked up the ride on You Tube to get a feel for what it was like (and if my 7 year old who is scared of most coasters could/would ride and if my 3 year old could ride (he absolutely would if given the chance, which he was)).  All the kids loved it so much they wanted to take a second trip.  The 3 year old had to sit in front of an adult in order to ride; I'm not sure about the 7 year old, but she preferred that anyways.  I looked up a youtube clip of Goats on the Roof today and based upon that clip, I think this one looks better, however it is different.  Goats on the roof takes you on  along journey up the mountain, then one long continous (and twisy) ride down the mountain.  Rocky Top MC takes you up several different lifts, with journey's down the mountain to the next lift.  Perhaps others would enjoy the long trip up and 1 long trip down, I liked having several different rides up, down and around the mountain.

Monday morning we drove into Gatlinburg and took the lift up the mountain at Annekesta.  Lift is an open aired ski lift type, but they do have a handful of enclosed lifts if you need one or would prefer one, longer wait.  While I love coasters, I'm not big on heights, so it got my blood flowing a bit being that high up, and especially when it had to make frequent stops to let some guests on that needed extra assistance.  At the top of the mountain there are a couple of places to eat, the sit down restaurant that we had for lunch was excellent.  There's a nice garden area to walk thru, a tree house play area for kids, a bridge walk (tree canopy to tree canopy) and perhaps a thing or two more included with the price of the lift.  Additionally, if you want to pay more there is zip lining and their version of the mountain coaster, we didn't pay to do either, so I can't report much about them, but are there if you are interested.  Well worth it

Monday evening we went to a go-kart/arcade/putt putt place.  About what you would expect, the kids loved it, there are about a million of them in Pigeon Forge give or take, so take your pick. 

Tuesday was Dollywood.  Clear morning, but we knew rain was coming in.  got there and headed for Lightening Rod (5 min wait).  My son and I rode it while my wife took the two younger kids to the car ride immediately next door.  When we got off, I texted my wife "OMG you've got to try this"  As we got off, she and my other two kids were exiting the car ride, so we switched kids and she and my son headed for Lightening Rod (now a 10 min wait) while I did the car thing with the two little ones.  The car ride was pretty cool, a bunch of vintage style muscle cars; my 3 year old got to "drive" which made him estatic.  While we were on that, "lightening was detected in the area"  they shut down all the big rides if lightening is spotted within 10 miles of the park.  I mention this only because I found it interesting that they shut down lightening rod (irony aside) for lightening within 10 miles on a ride that takes 90 seconds, while Annekesta said they shut down their lifts if lightening is spotted within 5 miles on a ride that takes 12 minutes (at some point on the way down, they stopped letting people on the lift as the system was moving in).  Anyhoo, they didn't get a chance to get on, but the small rides were still running, so we headed over to their original kiddie area and played there for about an hour before the rains started moving in.  It went from light drizzle to everything being shut down, to a down pour in about 5 minutes.  It was nearly lunch time so we stopped in the pizza joint (sit down and enclosed) and had some pizza (edible but only ok) while the worst of the rain hit.  With a little bit of clearing in the rain, we headed over to a show with covered seating and took in the last half of that, then were waiting for a different show to start when we noticed that the train was starting operations again and the rest of the park was about to open back up.  We caught a few more of the kid rides in that area while waiting for the 3 oclock train.  Train ride was cool, there appears to be a huge clearing behind the recently expanded area that could signal the addition of a new coaster sometime soon.

After the train ride, the rain was finally clearing up, so we headed back to lightening rod so my wife and son could ride it, while I did the car ride again.  After that, we headed back to the other half of the park and started working our way up the mountain.  First was Thunderhead (awesome, I like Mystic Timbers and Renegade better as GCIs but still a great ride)  My 3 year old was ****ed he couldn't ride, so from there we went to the kid coaster in that area (forget the name).  They let you do 3 laps before boarding the next group of people, but since there was no body waiting in line, my wife and 3 kids all got a re-ride (I sat it out, always feel guilty taking up a spot on a coaster of that type unless I have to sit with a kid that is too small otherwise).  We then proceeded to Mystery Mine, I'm not the type that can ride coaster after coaster after coaster, I need breaks and knew there was a lot back there I wanted to do, so I sat it out while my wife and son went on.  While they were riding, my 7 year old daughter said she was going to try it, I of course being the good parent didn't say a word about inversions, just calmly said OK, as soon as mom gets off we'll go (she was close to getting on Thunderhead but backed out).  Of course as she spots my wife she runs up to her and tells here that she's going to give it a try.  My wife, being the good mom that she is tells her "oh now, that's way too scary for you".  So she changed here mind.  from there, we worked our way up to fire chaser express.  I loved that thing, as did all of my kids.  With no wait, we rode it twice and the kids could have gone again and again.  I'd love to see KI get something similar for their kids area.  After 2 laps, I need a "coaster break" myself, so my wife and son went over to Tennessee Tornado while my 2 others played in the fire chaser express play area.  I don't know if its an arrow looper, but it kind of looked like it, and based upon multiple experiences on different arrows, I decided early on I wouldn't miss it too much so it was one I could skip.  Wife said it was much smooter than Vortex, but not as good.  Short ride, like The Bat, a longer walk back to the ride than the ride itself.  After that, my son and I rode Wild Eagle, they weren't even dispatching full trains.  I get why some refer to it as "mild eagle" but I love that B&M smoothness.  I enjoyed the ride a ton.  I then sat in the play area with the kids again while my wife and son took a spin on Wild Eagle.

From there, we made out way to the new kids area Wildwood Grove I think.  Its a great area with a lot of different rides that they don't have in the other part of the park.  We wanted to get our youngest on their inverted kids coaster.  its only a 39" height requirement, I don't know if its local regulations or they change in the seats compared to KI's kids invert, but I loved that he got the chance to ride it.  It seemed much more forceful than Flying Ace Arial chase which I've always thought was fun, but smooth.  It was getting close to 7:00 (park closes at 8) so we headed back up to the top of the new area and ate in their Mexican cantina restaurant.  Food was excellant, the pulled port I had on top of my nachos was great.  After dinner, my son wanted to ride Mystery Mine shaft again, while the other 2 wanted to do some rides in the Wildwood Grove area (the enterance to the grove is right next to Mystery Mine).  So he headed over there and took 2 quick rides (his favorite ride at the park) while my wife took the other 2 on their small viking ship type ride and a few others.  We meet up again at some sort of Black Bear ride, which I'm not sure how to describe but you sit on a black bear and bounce your way around a single rail track.

Overall, if you like coasters, Dollywood is well worth the trip, we missed in the indoor coaster, as well as the water rides, but hit most everything else

Finally, on Wednesday we hit the aquarium (not a huge fan, definitely crowded) and Dolly Parton's Stampede (pricey, but an enjoyable show and dinner)

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