SFOG / Dolllywood / Pigeon Forge Insight

Monday, June 6, 2011 1:35 AM

Well, well its finally that time of year. I leave this thursday for my first coaster trip of the year! Doing my own little run of the south, hitting SFOG on 6/10, Lake Winnie on 6/11, and Dollywood/Pigeon Forge on 6/12-13.

Now on to the questions....

SFOG seasons pass- Does anyone know if the "coupon book" they give you with your pass includes any discounts towards a Flashpass purchase? Are there any decent dining options outside the park relatively close by that are CBuzz recommended?

Dollywood- Has anybody had experience with their "virtual que" ? If so does it work along the lines of the Six Flags Flashpass? As in front of the line access, not just holding you a spot x amount of time into the future.

Lodging in Pigeon Forge...any particular area I should be looking at for hotels convenience/scenery wise? Any hotel favorites(I'm a big free breakfast fan myself ha)? Places to eat?(I'll pass on Dixie Stampede)

Any can't miss attractions in the area besides Ober Gatlinburg?

Thanks in advance for any help. I've gotten amazing advice in the past from you guys, looking forward to your responses!

Last edited by unitykid, Monday, June 6, 2011 2:01 AM
Monday, June 6, 2011 12:54 PM
DaveStroem's avatar

At SFOG, with the opening of DDD you have to get your hand stamped with a time to come back for your ride. We were there for an ACE event, so we got all the rides we wanted without a wait, but during the day it was CRAZY BUZY.

As to food in the area, there is a Wendys at the west exit of the parking lot and a lot of options one exit beyond this. I have been told to say away from the Fulton County exit that is east of the park. This goes for hotels as well.

The Q2Q works pretty similar to SF FP, but also includes many of the shows (this is what we got it for) and is a lot less expensive than Six Flags.

Before you can be older and wiser you first have to be young and stupid.

Monday, June 6, 2011 1:03 PM

I highly recommend staying at the Dollywood Vacations cabins that are located behind Dollywood. They are a bit pricey but well worth it and include admission to the park throughout the length of your stay including free parking, as well as other perks such as a coupon book for discounts off of food/merch/SkyZip. We spent three days in one of the least expensive cabins (One More Night) and I thought it was one of the best places I've ever stayed.

We went to the park on a Saturday and Sunday morning in the beginning of May and were easily able to ride all the coasters with almost no waiting.

Hope that helps.

Last edited by Amnesiac, Monday, June 6, 2011 1:04 PM
Monday, June 6, 2011 1:12 PM
Tekwardo's avatar

I would actually suggest eating in the park at SFoG, the food isn't bad. There was a BBQ place there that had really decent food. I would suggest parking at the private lot just before you get to the SFoG parking. It is literally right across from the gate and very convenient. I need to get down there soon to ride Dive, it looks fun!

As for Dollywood...

[Dollywood- Has anybody had experience with their "virtual que" ? If so does it work along the lines of the Six Flags Flashpass? As in front of the line access, not just holding you a spot x amount of time into the future.

Dollywood's Q2Q is a Qbot, just like Six Flags and works as such. Having said that...and granted I haven't been this year...I've never felt the need to use one. Unless lines have gotten excessively long for the rides over the last 18 months or so, I've never been to the park (and I've been a LOT in the last several years) where I felt the need to get a virtual queue upgrade. Having said that, it's not very expensive, but I really don't think I could suggest it. Oh, and definitely DEFINITELY eat in the park at Dollywood! And don't miss anything! Even the Heartsong Theater, it's weird, but funky. OH! And ride in the 3rd seat on Blazin' Fury!

Lodging in Pigeon Forge...any particular area I should be looking at for hotels convenience/scenery wise? Any hotel favorites(I'm a big free breakfast fan myself ha)? Places to eat?(I'll pass on Dixie Stampede)

There are plenty of convenient hotels/motels in PF and Seiverville. I can't help you there because I've stayed at cabins any time I've stayed over, but there are plenty of choices, and they're usually not too expensive, even for the nicer places.

As for stuff to do other than Dollywood, there is a Credit at the NASCAR place, if it's open, and some rides there. Tons of shopping. And the Haunted House in Gaitlinburg is a lot of fun (Not the RIpley's one, the other one, as the Ripley's one is 'family friendly' and expensive). Otherwise, there is a lot of junky tourist traps there.

And there are a ton of chain and non chain restaurants. I've yet to find a "Must Eat Here" kind of place...except Dollywood. Get cinnamon Bread from the Mill!

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Monday, June 6, 2011 1:52 PM
LostKause's avatar

SF Flashpass has a few different options. The higher priced option allows you to cut to the front of the line with very little wait, the mid-priced option makes you wait a reduced amount of time, and the less expensive option makes you wait the full amount of time (supposedly). I believe that I read that the only way to get to a front-of-the-line Flashpass for DDD at SFGA is by renting the more expensive Flashpass option. It is not included in the cheaper option.

If the cabins that Amnesiac is talking about are the ones that are way up in the mountains, that you can see from all over the park (especially from the train), then they look absolutely fantastic. I can't find exactly which one they are with a quick internet search, but I want to stay there too. They look like they are almost floating on the mountainsides, and they are very high up. Does anyone know the name of those cabins? I want to stay there!

I went to DW my very first time last spring. Best. park. Ever. I spent a day and a half at Dollywood, and still missed some stuff. The park seemed pretty busy, and every show was packed full, but the ride lines were only between walk-on and fifteen minutes. Before my visit there, I planned on getting a Q-Bot, but I noticed right away that it was unnecessary.

The rest of Pigeon Forge and G-burg was your everyday tourist area, but really nice and fun. I am planning to stay longer the next time I go there, maybe even make it a vacation instead of a theme park visit.

(Funny that I know so much about Flashpass, seeing how much I hate it. Know you enemy, I guess. :) )

Monday, June 6, 2011 2:06 PM

Yeah, the cabins you can see from the park on the train are part of the Dollywood Vacations cabins. Each cabin has its own unique name (I'll scan a map of the resort later). Some of them are huge and the road to reach them is very twisty and steep.

Monday, June 6, 2011 10:08 PM

thanks everyone....lots of great information! I'm really looking forward to Dollywood, just one of those parks that never seems to get any negative words about it.

I almost forgot about the credit at the Nascar spot, thanks Tekwardo!

I'm not a huge fan of the concept of pay to cut, but if its a park i don't plan on getting too more than once every few years best believe I'm all over it.

Anybody know if the SF seasons pass coupon books gives you a discount off flash passes? still trying to figure that one out.

Last edited by unitykid, Monday, June 6, 2011 10:12 PM
Monday, June 6, 2011 10:23 PM

Just posted some pictures of the Dollywood Vacation cabins if you are wondering what they look like, as well as a map of the resort.

Monday, June 6, 2011 10:49 PM
rollergator's avatar

Just having been to Dollywood and SFoG....you will probably (in ALL likelihood) find VQing at Dollywood unnecessary. The full parking lot will tempt you I'm sure....but their demgraphic skews a little toward the....elderly crowd. Even with a pretty decent crowd on the Tuesday pre-HWN, there were no ride lines longer than a couple trains deep. The worst wait we had there was 10-15 minutes, and most times we had walk-ons.

Dare Devil Dive (Memorial Day) required that we get a handstamp - we ended up with the last ride times of the day. Apparently you can ride all you want during that hour. I found their "coupon book" virtually useless - and got no free parking into other SF parks...maybe diff. parks had different coupons?

Monday, June 6, 2011 11:28 PM
eightdotthree's avatar

At Dollywood I would stay away from the Pigeon Forge area and stay in Gatlinburg. My wife and I stayed at the Doubletree which was really nice but a drive from the main drag which had all the silly tourist stuff one could want. The biggest surprise for us was a micro brewery that had great pizza and beer. I would love to go back and use Gatlinburg as home base to explore the Smokey Mountains some more.

Here are a few photos from our trip.

Last edited by eightdotthree, Tuesday, June 7, 2011 10:01 AM
Tuesday, June 7, 2011 12:45 AM
LostKause's avatar

I guess I could tell you about the public transportation system at Pigeon Forge. I took my Mom with me to Dollywood. We stayed at the Econo Lodge Riverside, which was reasonably priced, and had a really nice indoor pool/hot tub, and free breakfast. The big reason I chose that hotel though was that there was a "Trolley" stop right in front of it that went straight to Dollywood. We took the "Trolley" both days. we went to the park. The drivers were very friendly, and made the drive very fun.

Mom needs a wheelchair when she goes places like that, and the drivers were very accommodating to her needs.

I think that we were more comfortable with this travel situation because we are both used to large cities. If one is not used to public transportation, it might be a better idea to drive yourself to the park.

The biggest pro to taking the Pigeon Forge "Trolley" was that you didn't have to pay for parking, and the bus ride was only a dollar or two. The biggest negative to this was that one day of our visit, we took the bus that gave us a longer route back to the hotel, and it was really long, and the benches to sit on on the bus were hard wooden benches - Charming, but uncomfortable.

Anyways, the bus system didn't have a schedule, and ran every fifteen minutes. We both found it to be a very convenient way to travel between the park and the hotel.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011 12:47 AM
rollergator's avatar

FWIW, Dollywood's parking is *only* $8.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011 10:59 AM

In April, I stayed at:

Clarion Inn & Suites, 1100 Parkway, Gatlinburg (865)436-5656

It was a nice hotel with a very good "free" breakfast (made to order omelets, waffles, etc.). It was also very convenient walking to the Smoky Mountain Brewery location right next door. I prefer the ambiance of the Gatlinburg Brewery location to the Pigeon Forge location. They frequently have music on Friday and Saturday nights in Gatlinburg, whereas we have encountered karaoke twice in Pigeon Forge. Both brewery locations have good bar food and decent beer (I really like their porter). Other than grabbing lunch at Friday's in Gatlinburg after hiking down Mt. Leconte, I haven't been to any other restaurants in the area since I discovered the Brewery.

The Dollywood Q2Q system is very good if you want to attend the shows. The lines for the shows are much worse than for the rides. The Festival of Nations shows this spring were excellent. I haven't seen it yet this year, but I really enjoyed the Sha-Kon-O-Hey! show last year.

Last edited by Alan T., Wednesday, June 8, 2011 11:01 AM

Wednesday, June 8, 2011 11:18 AM
LostKause's avatar

I agree that Festival if Nations is excellent! I am allergic to country music, and was worried that I would have an outbreak at the park, but Festival of Nations was a great remedy for that illness. lol

And the country music that was presented at Dollywood wasn't so bad. It was more folk, bluegrass, and gospel than contemporary country. It went well with the theme of the park, and Dolly is just awesome.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011 11:59 AM
Rihard's avatar

Tekwardo said:
I would suggest parking at the private lot just before you get to the SFoG parking. It is literally right across from the gate and very convenient.

I'm interested in learning more about this. You say that it is a private lot. Does that mean it's not Six Flags owned? How much did this lot cost? Is it easy to spot when approaching the park? Any problems with crime in the lot?

We'll be at the park at the end of this month and if parking here is cheaper and closer than the main lot (which I remember is very far from the gate) we just might take a chance on it.

- R.A

Wednesday, June 8, 2011 12:25 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

I've parked in that lot every time I've been to SFOG. It's closer than much of the official SF lot. Never had a problem.

Actually looks like it's a real paved lot now - I wanna say last time I was there it was just grass. (Google Maps)

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Wednesday, June 8, 2011 12:31 PM
Wednesday, June 8, 2011 12:45 PM
Rihard's avatar

Thanks Gonch. The map helps a bit. Is it the S Srv Rd lot flanking both sides of the street or are we talking about the larger lot with the buses? Is it any cheaper than the SF lot?

- R.A

Wednesday, June 8, 2011 1:00 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

It's flanking S Srv Rd.

If I remember correctly (and it's been a while since I've been there, things may have changed) it was actually a couple of bucks more to park there.

We liked it because it was covenient, quick and close to the gate. Good for both coming and going.

But it's been a while since we've been to SFOG, I'm sure someone else has more current info.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011 1:24 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

I was there summer '09 and it was still there and I think it was exactly the same price as the regular lot.

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Wednesday, June 8, 2011 3:35 PM
Tekwardo's avatar

I think last year opening weekend it was around the same price.

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