Just up the road from Gatlinburg is Pigeon Forge.
Lining the main drag are hotels, amusement centres and restaurants. As with Gatlinburg they are all trying to pry that $20 bill out of your hands for half an hour of entertainment, longer if you are lucky.
Pigeon Forge is best known for Dollywood, Dolly Parton’s very own theme park; and who doesn’t love Dolly Parton!
It is way to long to walk everywhere around Pigeon Forge but there is a trolley system in place if you choose not to drive. I rode the trolley to get to and from Dollywood to avoid paying for parking.
Dollywood’s location is close to the home town of Dolly Parton, Sevierville in Tennessee. If you stop by the local courthouse you will find a bronze statue of the great lady herself. I did not visit the statue as I saw Dolly in person at Dollywood.
It turns out that a season pass costs only slightly more than two one-day passes, bargain, so that is what I purchased. Now I plan to return when they celebrate Halloween!!
Dolly has personal touches around the park, including butterfly motifs and a true country feel. Chasing Rainbows is a museum dedicated to her life housing every artefact from her career. Well worth a look through even if you are not her number one fan.
The Lightning Rod is plagued with issues and has been out of action for a while. Probably for the best if it is not quite right.
I was in the park on the perfect day as Dolly was also in the park to announce an expansion of a new area to open in 2019, Wildwood Grove. Dolly is known for her presence around the park when she is in town and the day I was there Dolly held a tour for guests. It is not quite the parade you would expect as Disney and you can view the short video on Instagram here: Dolly’s Tour
I was not so sure about newest, highest ride: The Eagle. I do not like heights but after my first ride I had to go again, four times to be exact. It helped that I lined up straight after Dolly toured the park so the wait was only five minutes each time.
It is not necessary to purchase a pass to skip the lines if you don’t mind short waits. The lines are not super long, the longest I waited was 45 minutes for the Mine ride and it was worth it! Overall Dollywood is a fun day out and can be completed in one or two days.
Dolly Paton’s Stampede
While in Pigeon Forge you have the option of two Dolly Parton dinner shows. One is the Celebration! Dinner Show and the other is Dolly Parton’s Stampede. The latter is the one I chose to see.
I opted for preferred seating in the blue southern section. Turns out they have a rivalry between north and south throughout the show so choose wisely.
Before the show you are entertained by some of Dolly’s recording musicians in a tavern style hall for about 45 minutes. After the pre-show it is time to enter the arena.
You are served dinner while you watch the show, which consists of soup in a cup, chicken, pork, corn and potato that you have to eat with your hands. That part I was not a fan of. BYO cutlery if you don’t like eating with your hands.
There are displays of stunt riding, pig racing, games and of course the clown of the night, Skeeter. He was enjoyable to watch and his antics brought light hearted humour to the evening.
Overall, it was a very entertaining evening and I am happy I chose this show as it represents what you would expect from a wild west show.
Just a quick note that wherever you sit in the area it would still be a decent view.
Well worth a visit if you are in the area.