Becky Mansfield

My Top 5 Favorite Things About Dollywood: 
Category: Trip Planning
Date: February 1, 2017

There are many things that I love about Dollywood, from the old schoolhouse in the park to the most amazing shows.   I love that there is a chapel right in the park and at the same time there are those rides that are so thrilling and FUN!  I could list 100 things that I love about Dollywood, but here are my favorite 5: 

1- Dolly Parton 

She is such a generous person.  She is kind and so funny!  I loved how she is raising money for those families that were involved in the fire as part of her My People fundraiser with the Dollywood Foundation.   I love that even with her success, she has never forgotten her past, or where she came from, or her humble beginnings.  She has a replica at Dollywood of her childhood home (her brother built it and her mom helped decorate it). She grew up with only one bed in her home and in very closer quarters with her family. It is said that she still returns to visit her childhood home often. 

2- The rides! 

My favorite is the Lightning Rod.  It was amazing.  It was so fast and so much fun (and worth the wait to ride in the front!)   Our son’s favorite ride was the Wild Eagle.  It took a little courage before he would ride it, but after he did he told me that he felt like he was flying. The water rides were a huge hit in our family, too. They are a perfect way to cool off in the middle of a warm day! 

3- The 25 lb. Apple Pie! 

For Dollywood’s 25th anniversary, their pastry chef created a 25 lb. apple pie - and it was such a hit, so it is still there in their 32nd season.   It is the star of the bakery.  When we walked in, I think we all stopped to stare at it for at least 5 minutes, amazed that a pie could be so big and look so delicious!  It comes in the cast iron skillet, too.  Can you imagine bringing that out for dessert at your next party!?  So fun! 

4- Reminiscent of Simpler Times

I can’t really describe it, but it feels easy there- peaceful.  It has an old-time feel.  Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t old-time at all, but it just feels like a simple time.  The people are among them most kind people that I have ever met.  When I met Dolly Parton, I asked her why she thought the workers were so sweet and she said, “It’s just our mountain way!” 

5- Craftsman’s Valley

It’s not something you find at most theme parks- master craftsmen who practice their crafts in front of an audience.  You can even buy handmade goods right after watching them make them. It is like a fall festival every day.  You know the kind where they have the craft stations just filled with things that locals have made?  That’s it.  They have these amazing wood crafts, recipes, and jams that you can take home with you that day.  My favorite things were the wooden signs, but my sister-in-law loved the blown glass. 

Dollywood isn’t just a theme park, it is a whole vacation… an experience that I am happy to give my family.   It is somewhere that I want my kids to take their kids and say, “When I was young, my mom loved this ride!”  Or, “When we ate here when I was your age, it was just as good!”  It is somewhere that I know my family loves and I love it, too (maybe the most!) :) 

 

 


My Family's Favorite Ride at Dollywood
Category: Thrill Rides
Date: April 19, 2017

Picture hopping into the passenger seat of a 1950s-era hot rod and then in the blink of an eye, going from 0-45 miles per hour and up 20 stories.   That’s what Lightning Rod at Dollywood is all about.   It speeds down the 165-foot drop at 73 mph (the fastest speed for a wood roller coaster in the world!)

When my husband and I first went on the ride, we had no idea what to expect.  We were calm, cool & collected…



Well… what can I say?  It was AWESOME!

Dollywood is right when they call it an “adrenaline-charged lap through the trees in the hills and valleys surrounding Dollywood.”  We actually had 20 seconds of airtime!   I couldn’t wait to bring our kids for a try on it!   Our oldest son loved it like we did.  We waited in line to get the front seat and he was blown away by the speed of the roller coaster.  He asked to go on it again and again.  (This is right up there with Wild Eagle in his mind.)

On my next trip to Dollywood, with my mom & sister-in-law, we tried it again.

This is the before picture… I should have asked someone to take an after one. Haha!

We have many favorites at Dollywood, but for me and my family, this one takes the cake.  It was exciting and unexpected.   I can’t wait to try this ride at night (on our next trip).  One of my favorite things is to stay at Dollywood when it is dark outside and go on the roller coasters… I’m not sure what it is, but it brings a whole new level of excitement to the rides.   

Do you know the story behind it?  
Johnny Rev, as his friends affectionately call him, grew up with adrenaline coursing through his veins. His family’s reputation was built on years of spinning wrenches and tuning engines, and now Johnny is the go-to guy for those with an unquenchable need for speed. Never one to settle, each of Johnny’s hot rods is more impressive than the one before. Finally, after months of tinkering, Johnny invites Dollywood guests to sit behind the wheel for the first test drive of Lightning Rod, his newest flashy, world record-breaking creation. (read more here)

If you haven’t tried this ride yet- what are you waiting for?  It’s amazing, fast, fun, thrilling and all around a BLAST!  Go for it!  

Ps- Planning a trip this spring?  Check out Dollywood’s Spring Guide to help you plan your visit :) 
Find more info here.