Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg Weekend
December 16-18, 2005
I slept okay, but not very long. I was actually awoken by the morning sun around 6am, but lay in bed until about 8. I showered and got read, as did everyone at Beth’s Cabin, and eventually everyone made it into the Element. The park didn’t open until 11, according to the website, but I had Ed’s backpack in my car, so we went back to Best Western to drop that off so that Ed could pick up Mike B.
Since we had a lot of time to kill, we decided on breakfast at a sit down restaurant on the Pigeon Forge strip. I don’t remember the name of the place, but it wasn’t as crowded as it looked outside. We all sat down and ordered. I was in the middle of a conversation when I look around to see the waitress with our food. It wasn’t any longer than about 2 minutes. That was by far the quickest service I had ever gotten at a sit down restaurant, and the food was good. I ordered the big breakfast thing, which had 3 ginormous pieces of country ham (yum), three eggs over easy, plus biscuits and gravy. All was good, but even I couldn’t finish my food, nor did anyone else at the table.
Ed called to say that they opened the park up and that they were waiting for us, so we paid, went around to the back of Dollywood, parked, and made our way on the tram to the park gates. We saw Ed, Tina, Mike B., and Nicole standing around waiting. Everyone with me except Danny had sent a check for pre-paid admission and food, so I was responsible for paying admission. This was the first lesson we learned on the trip, don’t trust me to know what I’m doing. It is actually cheaper for a Season Pass holder to buy tickets, so Nicole got a refund for me to put towards her Season Pass, since she wants to come back next year a couple times. This didn’t take too long, and she paid as I went to pick up the meal tickets for the group.
After all of that, we were trying to figure out how much money I owed everyone, and I couldn’t seem to equate that correctly. Then Nicole realized why. With her Season Pass price, she basically got us all in to the park without paying taxes, which there are a lot of for amusements in TN. Well, I forgot to charge for taxes in the first place, so no one was really getting any cash back. It took a few minutes standing on the inside of the gate to figure that out. I went to the ATM to get the rest of the admission money for Nicole as well.
Brian and his group hadn’t arrived yet, nor had Dawn (dawnmarie) and her boyfriend, whom we hadn’t met yet. So we walked up towards Thunderhead, but it was not yet opened, though they were expecting to open within the next half hour. So we headed down, around, and up towards the other major coaster, Tennessee Tornado. Ed and Mike B. commented on how it was weird that on the long walk up the hill towards Tornado and Blazing Fury that there were no rides, only shops. I explained to Ed that in the summer time there were offshoots of the walkway that went to the water rides such as Daredevil Falls and Mountain Slidewinder.
Upon making it to Blazing Fury, which didn’t have a wait, we hopped in and I rode with Ed towards the back, with Mike B. in the back.
Blazing Fury-Always fun. This isn’t the bestest coaster evar, but it is interesting. They were running at least 2 trains by this point. The ride does take a while to go thru, so you do get your waits worth in ride. The splashdown at the end is always not as wet in the winter as is in the summer, but you do get a sprinkling. If you’ve never ridden, you have to ride at least once. It is kind of rough in spots, but it is an odd ride, worth riding.
After Blazing Fury we headed towards Tornado, but Brian called and reminded me I needed to pay Brad’s way in, so while the rest of the current group headed to Tornado, I went to the front of the park. I could see them standing on the other side of the turnstiles, but I had to get the cash out of the ATM for Brad’s admission. Once I was out, I met Tommy & James (oh my…) and told Brian that he needed to pay for Brad’s ticket since he had a season pass. We made it in, and the group was hungry. Okay, so James was hungry. But, then, James was always hungry. So we walked around, took a few pictures of people, places, and things. Then they decided to eat at the Backstage Restaurant. Beth was on the phone with Kris while I was heading up to ride Tornado with them, but she said to stay there and they would meet up with us.
So we went in and were seated. I only got water as I had just had breakfast. James showed me pictures of their Chihuahuas and I told them about our new Chihuahua puppy. I was downing my water as the rest of the group came. Beth, Mike C., Matt, Danny and I decided we would go on over to Thunderhead, so we told them to meet us there as we headed out. On the way at some point, Danny talked to Dawn, who was in line for Thunderhead with her boyfriend.
We made the arduous trek up the hill to Thunderhead, much of which is under construction for next years new attractions. We arrived in the Thunderhead station, which was running the normal one train during the winter season, saw Dawn and her man, and rode in the front half. I rode by myself as Danny and Matt rode in front of me, with Mike C. and Beth behind me.
Thunderhead-This is always the highlight of Dollywood. I love Tornado, but it really is all about Thunderhead. It was running a bit faster than it was at the same time last year. I could honestly stay at this coaster all day and not get off, it really is good. After we got off, we all got back on. We made a quick introduction to Dawn’s boyfriend, Russ, who was also very nice, and a new coaster enthusiast in training.
The second ride was just as good, as I rode with Beth. That coaster just keeps getting better. As we ascended the lift hill, over towards the right you could see the base for the new topple tower being installed next year, as well as all of the other areas being cleared out for attractions. Thankfully, Thunderhead Gap gets more for next year, as it needs it. Matt and I, and I believe Dawn figured out why they say that Thunderhead has ‘Double G Forces’, instead of saying it pulls 2 Gs: We’re at Dollywood, of course it has ‘Double Gs’. Okay, I know, that was corny.
After the two rides we waited for the rest of the group to come meet us. It was warmer than it was the past year, but still very cool outside. Eventually, the rest of the group made their way up to us and we got in line. I rode this time with Tommy, then again with Matt. Thunderhead is a gem in the wooden coaster world. There is a reason it lands in the top 1 or 2 spot in the polls. It is a truly out of control experience.
After our couple more rides, we were going to head to Tornado again. Ed and Mike B. were going to wait for Dawn, Russ, Beth, Mike C., Nicole, and Tina as I called to let them know. Danny, Me, Brian, Alicia, Tommy, James, Kris and Brad all went off on our merry way, with them doing the usual making fun of everyone. As we made it down from Thunderhead, I saw a woman who worked at the park with Taco Bell. Kris asked what she had, and apparently, she had a banana in that bag. I didn’t know you got bananas at Taco Bell…
We also stopped by for a quick picture of us at the Thunderhead sign. Good times. So James was hungry again as we tried to head to Tornado. Thankfully I’ve been to Dollywood enough so that I don’t have to want to do everything in a short amount of time. I know what they have to offer. Add to the fact that they have tons of good food (hey, it is Dollyfood after all), so we stopped to get some sweet stuff at one of the many food places. It was warm in there, and I ordered a piece of chocolate pound cake. It was a chocolate monstrosity, with very good home made whipped cream.
We had planned to go to Tornado, but we ended up going towards Country Fair instead as the normal Tommy & James, Kris, and Homey G madness ensued. I tried my best to give them a chance to get rid of me, but apparently they didn’t mind having me around, since Brian wanted to know why I wanted to leave the ‘cool gang’. So we walked over towards the flat ride County Fair section and looked around. Brian, Brad, Danny, and I all had to take a spin on the Veggie Tales Coaster to get our credits.
Veggie Tales Sideshow Coaster-All left turns. The coaster wasn’t bad, if the trains were a bit uncomfortable to taller people, but you get two turns. It was interesting and worth it for one ride, but I doubt I’ll ride it again next visit. Hey, we got the credit.
Next we made our way over to the Dizzy Disk. I rode in the summer and liked it. Brian almost backed out, but ended up riding. This apparently pushes his nausea threshold.
Dizzy Disk-The wait was kind of long, but we had fun making fun of the people on the ride. Especially the little boy that looked very unhappy. I think that tenth cheeseburger did him in. Although we found out during their ride that his friend really had to use the bathroom, since he made it known to everyone. Kids are so vocal. The lone ride op was not having a good day it seemed. We all got on and I immediately got jumped because my feet weren’t flat on the ground. Then I got yelled at because I wasn’t holding on to the lap bars. I sat in the middle of Danny and Tommy. The ride op had a thick accent that sounded German. I kept referencing the Family Guy episode with Stewie and Brian in Germany. “Ve Ver On VACATION!” She liked to yell at us; thusly I dubbed her the Dizzy Nazi after the Family Guy reference was well enough established. Then we saw a haircut that was absolutely hideous. There should be laws…
Next we made it to the Aviator, though I don’t know the name of the one at Dollywood. I had never been on one, and rode with Kris.
Aviator Thingy-Boring. Although it was funny hearing James scream ‘Brian!’ with Tommy screaming out my name (or something close to my name…). Kris and I get off the ride and he goes in to ‘mentally challenged mode’, with me following suite. I think the woman getting off the ride in front of us thought it wasn’t an act, as she just smiled because we seemed to be having fun, even though we were ‘challenged’. “Hi!”
This time, we were actually trying to make it to Tornado. It took a long enough time, but we did try. I can’t count the amount of times that we stopped for a potty break, or that James stopped for food. Sorry bout throwing those other potatoes away, btw (hehehe). We did finally manage to get to Tornado, though. Alicia didn’t want to ride as she was cold. In fact, we spent some time in a store by the Fair section so she could warm up. Kris and I were having fun with these little wooden guns that make a loud popping noise. I don’t think that the people working in there liked us very much…
We had run into Dawn and Russ and Matt, who ended up not with us, and taking Danny along with them, it was just the 6 of us at this point. We stopped by the Eagle Sanctuary for more pictures and what not before heading up the rest of the way to the coaster. At Tornado, Alicia got in line with Brian and I, who were in line for the front seat, but she didn’t ride so I asked her to hold my water. I rode in the front with Brian.
Tennessee Tornado-This is still the best Arrow out there. On the first drop into the loopscrew, Brian’s hat came off of his head, but the hood on his sweatshirt was holding it. Brian was pressing his head back against it so as not to loose his precious Gamecocks had, and the next thing I knew he’s going “Dude, grab my had!”. This made a less than fun ride, as he’s got his head pressed back and my left arm is holding onto his hat (I couldn’t get it from his head, but I didn’t want to lose it), so we both came off with cramps. Still fun, though.
After that ride, we went again at least once more. Kris ended up with some 13 year old girl. That was fun, especially Brian and Brad hollering ‘Get the Digits’ and Brian’s…suggestive…hand movements. What was that text message you got from her again, Kris?
As we went down the hill, we decided on another go at Blazing Fury, their first of the day, my 2nd. The line was longer, but still not bad. I ended up getting in line in front of Brian and Alicia so that Brian could point out the guy under the tracks in the station. I had never seen that before. Weird. Kinda creepy for sure. I got on with Brad and Kris a couple rows back. Another fun time, but I got a little wetter than before. One thing I had forgotten from the summer that Brian pointed out for sure after they got off was that you do get at least one or 2 points of major ejector air in seat 1-3 on this. Wow, a Magnum seat on Blazing fury. Too bad I had to pee when I got sent into the lap bars…
As we came out, it was dark and the lights were on. It was almost time for dinner, but we had to stop for another bathroom break and a picture Brady Bunch style on some random steps. Tommy even does his ‘cheese face’ when he’s not in the picture. Classic.
So we peed (poor Kris, weren’t those bathrooms disgusting?) and headed down the hill to Aunt Granny’s. If that isn’t the most incestuous name ever for a restaurant, I don’t know what is. We got to Aunt Granny’s and were greeted by everyone else, sans Dawn and Russ since they weren’t going to do the buffet. The line to get in was major long. I had gotten a call from Dollywood a week prior moving the location of our meal to Aunt Granny’s. I was hoping we wouldn’t have to wait since they knew we were coming, so I went in the exit and talked to the (slightly unfriendly) manager, who directed me to another server, who then told me to have everyone in the group line up at the emergency exit with our meal tickets handy. I went out that door and yelled for “All of my people to come here”, as the people in the back of the line looked at me, not looking happy. When we all lined up at the door, some kid in line asked his mom who these people were, and the mother said “They don’t know what they’re doing or where they’re going apparently”. As the server came and took our tickets, letting us in, the entire back of the line gave us dirty looks and what not. Hey, you pre-pay and you skip the lines next time too…
We had a room pretty much to ourselves. There were 15 of us to eat, and we had a very fun dinner. After getting our drink orders, we were let lose, as I instructed everyone to the ‘ACE Line’. If you don’t get it, never mind. So we ate, chatted, and had a very nice dinner. The food was actually pretty decent. They kept the buffet stocked with turkey, fried chicken, and ham, pulled pork, meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans, breads, desserts, and much more. Our server was really great as well. Eventually Dinner was over and we headed to Thunderhead for some nite rides.
Last year, they didn’t close Thunderhead down until 8:30ish. This year it was closed after dinner, though it wasn’t that cold out. We were surprised at this, and next year I’ll be sure to schedule dinner closer to 8pm. Since the outside coasters were closed, we headed down towards the gate to take a group picture. Brian wanted to look at the picture they had taken when they entered the park as well. This was fun standing around, but I ended up getting a little too close to Danny (what was that all about again?), making Ed laugh, as well as laughing at James’ constant yelling of ‘Brian!’ Eventually Dawn and her Man showed up while she was talking to Matthew (MaMoosh) on the phone. She got off and we found a very nice gentleman to take a picture of us at the front of the park.
Immediately following the picture, the Homey gang was leaving. Alicia was cold and the coasters were cold. So we all hugged and said our goodbyes to the leaving group. Then we headed towards the Train for a night ride thru the Smokey Mountains. I didn’t get to do it last year and we just made it this year. In fact, due to them taking a bathroom break after I did, Nicole and Mike C. almost didn’t make it.
We were finally on the train, something everyone was looking forward to. The ride is about 20 minutes, mostly in the dark. The conductor on the back of the train was a lot of fun and played along with us well. I love riding on a train. It just seems so relaxing. I just wish the trains at Dollywood had wider seats, my behind isn’t that small.
After riding the train, Dawn and Russ were planning on leaving, so Danny walked towards the front of the park with them as we headed to Blazing Fury. We all hugged and said our goodbyes to Dawn and Russ, then headed for one last ride. The final Blazing Fury ride was fun as I had Ed sit in the ejector seat with me. I also showed them the guy under the tracks.
As we came out of Blazing Fury, the park was empty up our way. We made it down towards the front gate, which was crowded because of the Carol of the Trees show Dollywood puts on. We ran back into Danny, who was still with Dawn and Russ. They left as we went to the Emporium. Some wanted to shop, but that place was far too packed for me. Matt, Mike C., and myself all waited around for everyone to purchase stuff as Nicole and Tina waited outside. Once we were all finished, we went out the turnstiles beside the Emporium so as not to wait. They only let you go out after the park is closing. We said our final goodbyes to Mike B., Ed, Tina, and Nicole as we got in line for the tram. They weren’t parked far from the front, so they didn’t need a tram. We decided we didn’t want to wait either as the line was very long, so instead we walked to the Element, which ended up not being far either.
Before I drove the group back to the cabin we stopped at a gas station. I tried to hide from Danny and Matt, but that wasn’t so successful. We also stopped to see how much a ride on the Screaming Swing down the street was, but decided against riding. Once arriving back at the Cabin, Matt, Beth, Mike, and I got in the Hot Tub, which had since been fixed. Beth and I sipped on Coconut Rum mixed with Milk and Banana Schnapps. Mike sat out for a while but eventually went back in. I sat out with Beth and Matt till 3am. It didn’t seem that long.
Eventually everyone went their way to sleep. Sunday was a hectic morning getting ready and what not. Beth and Co. left before I did and apparently backed over an embankment. I was going to hang around the area, but decided that since I don’t get many Sunday nights off that I would go ahead home and enjoy the nite off. The perfect end to another fun coaster riding weekend. Thanks to everyone for coming, next year the rest of everyone who was invited but didn’t come should at least think about it. You don’t know what you are missing with this. Next year, also, I promise not to organize anything but the dinner. Hey, I did good on that one! *** Edited 12/19/2005 9:07:19 PM UTC by TeknoScorpion***
"Where's Danny?" -Clint, with me often times being right next to him
"Briannnn" -James on his repeated expression of clinging to Brian ;)
"Where's the fussball table?" -drunk Clint?
"It's hard to suck fudge through a straw." -Matt on Steak N Shake Sippable Sundaes
"Double G.....forces" -Thunderhead announcement
"I-N-X-S" -everyone making fun of me for not knowing the correct name of the band
"Danny straddled my face!" -Clint, on me sitting on his face =p
"Mike knows how to kill a bear." -Beth on what would happen if a bear attacked Kris, referring to when Mike annihilated a bear with his motorcycle
"There's a special place in Hell for people who steal the baby Jesus." -radio announcer on the news that the Baby Jesus was stolen from a nativity scene
"Is it ok if I put my hand there, Danny?" -Matt on how we had to move around body parts to fit comfortably in the back seat and "there" was my shoulder ;)
"It's like a cookie. A long, nugget shaped cookie. IT'S A F&$#ING MILK BONE!" -Me tryiing to describe part of a Twix to Clint, who refused to understand
"There's a special place in Michigan's Adventure for people like you" -My play on "hell" quote
"Yes, we're handicapped. I broke my.. dignity" -Me on why we were sitting in the handicapped section of the train ride
"I got Ed!" -Clint's play on "head" in how close Ed got to him accidentally at one point
"They're playing Sticky Pudding"
"Is that the theme song to Brokeback Mountain?"
-loose South Park reference to the gay cowboy episode
"Oh yes, there will be balls" -my response to the Tommy and James video description, a play on the tagline "Oh yes, there will be blood" from Saw II
This situation floored me with roffling, someone else will have to dictate it better, but this is what I remember..
Kris- "Hey, got some Taco Bell there? You can't bring that into the park"
Dollywood Lady- "It's ok. I'll sneak it in here"
Kris- "Alright then. Did you get a Chalupa or a Gordita?"
DL- "I got one of them Chiquitas"
Kris- "You got a banana at Taco Bell?!"
Another funny situation..
*Kris is asleep with his mouth gaping open*
Mike: Got anything to put in his mouth?
*Danny nods head, then looks down at his pants*
*Kris touches Danny's leg and the game's on me*
*laughter ensues* ;)
Y'all missed out. =p
"Danny straddled my face!" -Clint, on me sitting on his face
I'm still trying to figure you out there, Danny. Does the term 'too close for comfort' mean anything to you? ;)
"I got Ed!" -Clint's play on "head" in how close Ed got to him accidentally at one point
Actually, that was more a play on getting Mooshed ;). Ed started that whole other thing.
Kris and the Banana woman was Hi-Larious. Actually, hanging out with the entire Carolina/Ohio group was Hi-Larious. No, wait, this entire weekend was Hi-Larious. Now we just need to pick a date for next year...
We can't forget to mention Ed's white nuckle Ferris Wheel ride. :D *** Edited 12/19/2005 9:33:03 PM UTC by Acoustic Viscosity***
My favorite line from our server at Aunt Granny's when she seated us was... "Wow! I thought ya'll were gonna be a bunch of kids!"
She was right. ;-)
The food was pretty good indeed! Great times! The chicken and mashed potatoes were excellent!
*** Edited 12/20/2005 12:00:36 AM UTC by coasterqueenTRN***
Oh! And did anyone do one of the Skyscrapers in Pigeon Forge? I peed myself on one of them. It was exciting.
*** Edited 12/20/2005 3:35:59 AM UTC by Michael Darling***
Actually, We were the 'sober audience'. All we had was rum and Schnapps. I can't help it Beth is a weak-be-drunk (and she still could have fooled me that she even felt it at all). I couldn't even tell I had had anything to drink the entire time I was in the hot tub, which I think is why I had probably more than 5. Never felt the effect of alcohol at all. Maybe it was the hot tub?
I just really liked the Coconut and Banana with milk taste :).
I didn't even get to visit my favorite chinese place this time. Hmph.
I'm sure you had a heck of a lot more fun than I did...
Because we picked the perfect day to move into our new house... with 10 degree weather (That's Farenheit for those across the pond) and -9 windchill.. BRRRRRR!!!!
Sounds like you guys had a blast, lets hope next year is a different story.
EDIT... Next year being a different story as in, Rob, Cindy & Family can make it down there! *** Edited 12/20/2005 4:36:05 PM UTC by HeyIsntThatRob?***
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