It’s time for my trip report for my second straight day at Dollywood. Now, just to be clear, Dollywood is my downright favorite theme park I’ve visited so far. I love the charm of the park and everything it offers.
We arrived at the park at about 9:45am, about 15 minutes prior to park open. Our entire intention was to take it easy and enjoy the day, which is exactly what we did. We never really went out of our way to get the most rides, which was really relaxing.
Our first ride of the day was Lightning Rod, followed by Rockin’ Roadway, the park’s “antique car” ride. For the ride, you step into a car, which rides around a track for a few minutes.
After these rides, we headed over to the Heartsong Theater to see Heartsong: The Movie. This was a twenty minute presentation performed by Dolly Parton, highlighting moments of her growing up in Sevierville, Tennessee. I personally really enjoyed this film, much like I do all the show content Dollywood has to offer.
Following the show, we made a quick loop around the park, riding Dollywood Express, the Villiage Carousel, Blazing Fury and Wild Eagle. When we made it back to the other end of the park, we stopped by Red’s Drive-In for lunch.
The park was particularly crowded today, which led to many long food lines. Although we spent about 30 minutes waiting to order, we really didn’t mind. After this point, however, we really just intended to walk around the park and relax for a while.
Every year, Dollywood hosts something titled Festival of Nations, which features unique cuisine and performances from groups from all over the world. At 3:30pm, we headed over to the Showstreet Palace Theater. This theater, perhaps the largest and most popular venue in the park, was home to Ladysmith Black Mambazo. This group from South Africa has worked with Dolly herself on multiple occasions, and is one of the main draws to the Festival of Nations. To put things into perspective, their style of music is strikingly similar to a combination of a capella and what a barbershop quartet would do. I really enjoyed it.
We walked around a little more after the show, then went to end the day at Lightning Rod. Initially, the wait was only 25 minutes, but right before we about to board, maintenance decided to reduce operations to one train. This was supposed to only be about a 10 minute delay, but ultimately ended up being about an hour. We could’ve went elsewhere, but we ended up sticking it out and I had what was probably my best ride on it.
After a quick stop for cinnamon bread, taffy, and a couple souvenirs, closing time of 7:00pm had come. We took the Dollywood provided trams to our car and were on our way. Since this was the last park on our trip, leaving was a little bittersweet, but ultimately we were ready to head home. This was the longest theme park trip I have ever done driving, having traveled a total on 2,040 miles roundtrip. Ultimately, all the parks were fantastic, and I would definitely like to take a similar trip at some point in the future.