Friday, July 8, 2011

Smoky Mountains Reunion, Part 5: Dollywood

I do love amusement parks. I love the thrills and the adventures, the music and being with my family. However, I am not so much a fan of crowds, summer heat, and never-ending lines. Fortunately, Dollywood offered all of what I like, and very little of what I don't.

Honestly, my husband and I agreed, our trip to Dollywood was probably one of the best amusement part experiences we've ever had. The setting was picturesque, nestled in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. There was plenty of shade trees throughout the park, so we never got hot. And most importantly, we almost never had to wait in line for a ride for more than 20 minutes!

And like my sister Lisa said, going to an amusement park gives you a wonderful opportunity to really bond with your family. We had no obligations or responsiblities to be cleaning or cooking for a gathering. We just had fun together. It was a blast!

This was our group of kids, belonging to my sister, my cousin and me. And because they are such a good-looking group, here's their profile to enjoy! ;)

Dollywood has some of the best music of any theme park out there.
My young musician thought that their music was quite catchy, and sang along with his cousin, Annie sometimes.

After they were strapped in to harnesses, they were able to climb everywhere in this structure.

Then the kids rode this "Water Rampage" ride, where basically they rode in a raft and squirted the heck out of each other.

Needless to say, they got wet. VERY WET.

As in, soaked to their cores. Suprisingly, this was NOT the most wet we were on that day. No indeed. Later that day held MUCH more water in store for us, but at this point of the day we were blissfully unaware of what lay ahead.

We fit in a few more rides, and then it started raining. So we thought we'd go eat lunch while we waited for the rain to pass. While we ate, we were entertained the famous Miss Lillian, otherwise known as the "Chicken Spirit Lady". Yes. The whole show was about chickens. She sang, she danced, and at one point she had my husband join her. I loved it!

She even gave Evan a "chicken blessing".
That was good entertainment!

Unfortunately, when we finished our meal, the rain had not stopped. It was growing progressively worse. The forecast showed that the rest of the day might be just as wet, so the decision was made to get rain passes for the next day, and head home.

It was easier said than done.

If it gives you any idea of what we went through, we joked that we were going to have t-shirts made that said, "I survived the Dollywood Flood of 2011!"

Running from the building where we got our rain passes to the tram station, it was raining so hard that we could barely see. People were sardined into that station who were trying to catch a tram back to the parking lot. At first when we got to the station, people were kind of laughing at how ridiculously wet they were getting, and how unbelievably hard it was raining. However, as the rain came down in rivers from the mountains, some of it was passing through that tram station. The water kept getting higher and higher, and very quickly it was up to our ankles. People stopped laughing and started looking a little panicky.

Finally it was our turn to get on the tram, and as we rode to our cars, we were awestruck by the rivers that were cresting through the parking lots. I don't know if I ever saw anything like it. The youngest kids were a little scared by the whole experience. I held Evan, and my sister, Lisa, held Caroline. Lisa made her feel better by saying that she and Caroline were "flood buddies." And that's what they kept saying for the rest of the vacation. :)

The next day, we got into the park for free with our rain passes. Really, aside from being nearly drowned (ok, I'm being a little dramatic), I'm glad it all turned out the way it did because we got an extra day at the park!

This time, my cousins Patrick, Mary and their daughter, Megan joined us!

Here's my cousin John, Megan and Pat looking very cool in their sunglasses!Megan loved the rides. She was able to go on the carousel, the log ride, and a few others.

Second cousins Mary and Annie really doted on Evan. He was a happy boy!

Then Dave, Pat, Mary, John and Sue took the little kids and Megan on a few more rides while my sister Lisa, my brother-in-law Jim and I took the older kids on the rollercoasters and water rides. (Caroline and Seth rode big rollercoasters for the first time.) We decided to get a zip drive to save the pictures that were taken of our group when we were on the rollercoasters, and I am so glad we did. They are priceless!

I mean, seriously, just look at this picture. Maybe even click on it to see it bigger. Just look at that expression of sheer terror on Seth's face. And how THRILLED Caroline looks. And how it looks like my sister and I could fit softballs in our mouths we had them open so wide when we were screaming. CLASSIC!

Again, click on this picture. The expressions on these cousins faces are just fabulous.

Poor Seth! I swear, he was having fun. We were not forcing him to ride. Although looking at these pictures, you might wonder!

Soon the kids were figuring out where the cameras were, and posing for the picture. Hee hee!

Then we picked Evan up for the log rides. He LOVED LOVED LOVED them! Look at that thrilled little face!

We had a ball!

Can you tell?!
Those were two days well spent!

1 comment:

5boys4kathy said...

I know I probably shouldn't have, but I seriously laughed out loud at the look on Seth's face in all of those roller coaster shots. I'm actually still laughing, poor guy, lmao.