Listen to TSPP Episode # 209 - Live From Dollywood w/ Pete Owens, Brian Angello & Joel Manby! 8/30/12
If anyone has anything bad to say about Thunderhead, I've yet to hear it. Since that Great Coasters woodie opened at Dollywood in 2004, it's been nothing but "OMG, INSANE!!" "My new favorite wooden coaster!" "Best night-ride EVER!!!" blah, blah, yada, yada.
I'll confess: I'm not the biggest Country/Western music fan, so as much as I think Dolly Parton herself is the cat's pajamas, I'm not that familiar with her, um, body of work. Thus, prior to 2004, Dollywood was not a high priority for a visit. (If this was "Van Halen Land," I'd be there every year, and I'd also be wondering what the hell "Van Halen Land" was doing in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, and why don't we have a "Van Halen Land," dammit, but I digress.)
Eight years on, with Thunderhead, and Mystery Mine, and Wild Eagle, Dollywood had become well nigh irresistible. So The Season Pass crew made it the focal point of our multi-park trip this past August and we were all blown away. First, forget the damned rides; this is among the most beautiful theme parks in the world. Second, the damned rides, they are amazing. Third, the cinnamon bread. And way more than all that.
Got a ton of photos to share (none of which fully capture Dollywood's panoramic awesome-saucitude), so let's get to it.
I'd never been to any location in the Smoky Mountains region before, and let me tell you, it sure is mighty pretty up in those mountains. And if it weren't for the road signs, you'd have no luck finding this joint. When I say it is in the woods, I mean it is in the woods. Apparently, there's a big ol' water park, "Splash Country," like, right next to the theme park, and I'll just trust that it exists, because we didn't see a bit of it. (Another of many reasons we want to come back soon.)
Once through the main gates, the mighty pretty gets even prettier.
Here's Brent setting up a shot for Doug's interview with Brian Angello, one of the super-cool Dollywood ambassadors we spent time with.
From left to right: Doug, Brian, Darrell, Deanna, R.C. and Brent, all looking very professional and stuff. We had so much fun on this trip, per usual. During some of this two-day visit, we also got to hang out with Mary Jo Collins, Matt Fiege, and Joel Bullock, AKA The Coaster Critic, and they were awesome company, too.
This is the Friendship Fountain, and speaking of friendship, Dollywood earned this year's Golden Ticket award for "Friendliest Park," along with several others.
See, Dolly is so nice; everyone here is so nice.
I only took photos of a couple of these stars, and picked this one at random to share. Then I googled his name. Turns out Bill Owens is Dolly's uncle, helped get her started in music, bought her a guitar, how do you like that? Here's a video of the two of them together at the park, in 2009.