Thursday, June 14, 2012


Please forgive my weird smile.  The ducks were all making this horribly loud jangling "music," the ride operator was singing, I was dizzy from the spinning ducks,  and I honestly felt like I was in a horror movie--you know when everything is spinning around right before the screen goes black because the character couldn't take it anymore?

 So.  Betcha didn't know Dolly Parton has her own theme park.  But she does!  And it's actually really fun.  As I mentioned in a previous post, we went there for my ninth birthday, and I loved it.  So it's only fitting that we return the month prior to my twenty-ninth birthday, right?

Actually, we weren't planning to go to Dollywood.  We were driving past on our way to go hiking again, and I just decided that yes I really really did want to go, hang the cost and the weather and whatnot.  So we called my parents and did some quick debating and we ended up going.  And I (and hopefully everyone else!) had such an awesome time!  Thanks, everyone, for indulging me.  It was truly delightful.  And especially fun to be there with Mary Beth, as we had the same memories of going on the same rides over and over and over again, and it was so fun to ride them again together!

When we first got there, my parents took the boys on some of the kiddie rides (and the train, which made Isaac's entire life worth living, because he didn't talk about anything else for the next week) while Neil, Mary Beth, and I took Abigail and Jules on some of the more adventurous rides.  Abigail could ride all of the roller coasters except for one, which was crazy to me!  My little baby!!  Riding roller coasters!  Loving it!  Convincing me to ride the insanely bumpy goes-upside-down-too-much roller coaster yet again, much to my neck's regret!
 I'm not sure how many times Isaac rode this carousel, but I can't get enough of this darling happy face.  I took Luke on it later and he wrapped his chubby feet around the horse's neck and held on to the pole with his hands and laughed with the most extreme rapture you have ever seen from a child his size.  He clearly knew exactly what he was expected to do, and he took great joy in being a "big boy" and doing it!
 Okay, so there are some really awesome things at Dollywood.  There's this cool new roller coaster where you're suspended from your back, so that your feet and head are both flying free (it's billed as America's first "wing coaster," and I'm doing a terrible job of explaining it, but basically it's like the Raptor at Cedar Point but without the overhead support system).  And there's this awesome thing called Adventure Mountain where you're wearing a pseudo-climbing harness and you're roped in and you can clamber all over cliffs and ropewalks suspended above geysers, and Neil got totally blasted by a geyser and Abigail and Juliet thought that was the funniest thing they had ever seen.  ||


My favorite ride was this thing called River Battle.  Partially because all nine of us could go on it together, and partially because it was so cool--you are on this raft thing and every person has a water cannon, and you shoot your water cannon at the other boats, who are shooting back, AND at the bystanders, whose cannons have a much greater range!  It was SO awesome and we got completely soaked.
 And then of course we spent a good long time at the side shooting at the people on the boats.  Especially when we recognized someone who had totally soaked us.  My mom commented once on how quickly society breaks down and we all become these crazed savages lusting for revenge.  (Can you see that glee on my dad's face as he totally nails one of the boats?!)
 We seriously had to drag everyone away from these.  Even Isaac was cranking the water cannon as fast as he could go!
 At the end of the day, we started to wind down (and then Abigail dragged me on two more roller coasters and I realized that my joints are getting older).  Dad and I spent awhile with the boys on these little kiddie rides while  everyone else was doing bumper cars.  (Sidenote:  my dad was on two conference calls while we were trekking around Dollywood.  I'm not sure why I found this so amusing--he probably didn't--but I did.  Great multi-tasking, Dad!  Maybe it was just how he was so serious with the background of the carnival games and the Ferris Wheel.)

But seriously--are these two not so adorable?  Luke was so excited to go on these rides with Isaac!
 And then the girls appeared and the four of them packed themselves into a buzzing bee.  Bzzz.  Bzzz.

It seriously was the most perfect day.  Perfect weather, no lines, everyone was so cheerful (despite the fact that we hadn't planned to spend the day at the park and we had no sunscreen or lunches--just granola bars, oranges, and string cheese!)--and thankfully I didn't realize my camera was gone until the next day, so the Dollywood trip remained unspoiled.  It was absolutely lovely and the highlight of the trip, in my mind.


Anonymous said...

Great post and photos!
Love, Aunt Pam

Elise said...

perfect :)

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