Oh shit son, I had you fooled. You really thought I was done slapping out Dolly-words, didn’t you? But nope! I have more pictures and thoughts to share because I’m a freak who really likes things past the acceptable limit.
Contrary to popular belief (and the overly, grossly gushing romance novel I wrote last week) there are other rides at Dollywood other than Lightning Rod, and they are all fun too!
Basically, Dollywood has a stash of fine-ass coasters up in those Smokies and Chooch and I rode the fuck out of them. Except for Wild Eagle, which was evidently the first winged coaster in the country! (Maybe the world? I don’t know, too lazy to google.) For some reason, these types of coasters don’t do much for me so Chooch and I only rode it once. It was good, but not “I can’t wait to get back on that bitch!” good. There was a highlight though: when we were next in line, some young girl was exiting and said to us, “It was easy!” Chooch really latched on to this and decided he needed to pass it on too so when we were exiting, he said it to the next person in line, some middle-aged dude who thoughtfully responded with, “It was easy, huh? Ok!”
Across from the Wild Eagle, though, was a family coaster called Fire Chaser. It’s by no means a “thrill ride” so we went into it with very expectations but it ended up pleasantly surprising us!
First of all, it has a mild launch to it which is kind of unexpected for family coasters, but I thought it was cool because it kind of prepares kids for bigger thrills in life, you know?
This part is cool because it features a BACKWARD LAUNCH, at which point, the track changes and you ride the rest of the way back to the station backward, and you enter the station the same way you enter while another coaster is currently out for a spin! OH THE MAGIC OF CHANGING TRACKS! We were so stupidly giddy about this that we dragged Henry on later in the day.
He was this thrilled about it:
It was even more fun this time around because Henry and I sat in the back seat with Chooch in front of us, and Chooch and I did our really obnoxious and exaggerated WOO HOO HOO! WOOOOOO HOO HOO HOOOOOOO!s through the entire ride and Henry was begging us to stop. “YOU’RE PISSING EVERYONE OFF!” he hissed, and we were like, “duh that’s why we do it.”
God, Henry just doesn’t get it.
But yeah, this ride was tons of fun. I especially loved that it had a storyline and that there were actual flames in the firecracker storage room!
The ride I was the most excited to ride, after the Lightning Rod, was MYSTERY MINE. It was the ride that most stuck in my mind after our last visit in 2011 and since Chooch was too short to ride it that time, I was so stoked for him to get to experience it this time. At the time, it was the first ride like this I had ever ridden – it starts out like a darkride, but then it has two outside portions with crazy drops and loops. It’s actually QUITE painful (you know that when you’re 12-year-old’s takeaway is, “That was so much fun, but it really hurt” then it is definitely not a comfortable ride!) but the theming is 100% worth it. I remember being so surprised by it the first time I rode it, and then I made Henry ride it and he pretty much needed a neckbrace for the rest of our vacation. That being said, he politely opted out during this visit, haha.
It’s so beautiful at night! We rode it three times because we were determined to finally get the front row, and third time’s a charm. It was worth it!
The first time we rode it, we were in line behind a family and I noticed that one of the guys was wearing a shirt that said Pittsburgh on the back, so I got all MISS BUTTINSKI on them (Chooch’s favorite thing about me) and asked, “Excuse me, are you from Pittsburgh?” because you never know, I wear a shirt from some bar in Cleveland sometimes, you know? PEOPLE WEAR STUFF, IS WHAT I’M SAYING. But in the case, they actually were from Pittsburgh! Well, a little bit outside of the city, but close enough that they would definitely be fans of the sports teams.
“We’re actually sneaking out of here at 4 to watch the game,” the one guy faux-whispered to me and I was like, “OH HO HO HO” which is my “I’m trying to fit in with the football fans” laugh.
Mystery Mine for life!
Another great darkride/coaster combo at Dollywood is the less-thrilling but hilariously-themed Blazing Fury which takes you through an 1880s hillbilly town that’s about to go up in flames. The ride operator screams FIRE IN THE HOLE! We actually got Henry to ride this with us later in the day and he was annoyed because he had to stand in a separate queue by himself while Chooch and I giggled secretly because Chooch was air-dropping pictures of his cat to unsuspecting iPhone users in line. Henry probably thought we were laughing at him though because he has a Victim Complex.
Here in this photo, you can see part of Chooch’s and my second favorite in the park, our bae the Thunderhead. In the forefront of the photo is Wildwood Grove construction, the new-for-2019 area of the park which is going to include whatever that green coaster is in the background.
But, Thunderhead. Wow wow wow wow. I 100% do not remember loving this ride so much when Henry and I rode it 7 years ago. Maybe my love for woodies (lol) needed to develop a bit more with age, I don’t know, but my appreciation for these types of coasters is much more massive now. I understand them a little better now, after falling down the Coaster Vlogs rabbit hole, and goddamn do I wish Kennywood had a beastly wooden coaster that could stand up to some of these fancy ones out there. Not only is this ride pretty long, it is VICIOUS! From the moment the coaster starts to bend over the initial lift hill, it is non-stop. This coaster fucking FLIES and it has some incredible banks. My favorite part of it is when it actually COMES BACK THROUGH THE STATION:
This is a really shitty photo, but you can see how there is an elevated track so that while people are loading in to one car, another one comes roaring through and the whole station rumbles. Chooch and I screamed our dumb faces off the hardest during this part every time.
The best part is that the park was so empty that day, at least rider-wise, that we were able to just walk right on this badass babe every single time.
Riding it at night though, wow motherfuckers. I even didn’t mind Chooch screaming Papa Roach lyrics while we were on it because it just added to the giddiness. (I don’t know why he has been doing that lately — it must have been in some Tic Toc video or something.)
Chooch loved the Tennessee Tornado which was just a standard steel loop coaster and it did nothing for me but I rode it twice anyway because sometimes I actually do shit for my kid.
The second time we rode it, some dumb bitch teenagers behind us spent the whole ride up the lift hill talking about how “anything could happen,” like “the restraints could break” or “a plane could crash on us right now.” It was awesome commentary as you can imagine. I wanted to turn around and try to punch them, a la Frankie Avalon in “Back to the Beach.”
Anyway, Henry is like our pageant mom, standing on the sidelines with a camera.
Henry’s new family.
We also rode some non-coasters too, like the carousel, where Chooch was extremely downtrodden because he WANTED TO RIDE THE DEER, BUT SOME DUMB LITTLE KID BEAT HIM THERE, WAH. So instead, he pouted on a pig.
Most of the ride operators in Dollywood are like tall glasses of sweet tea (lol whut) but the older broad at the swings was a miserable biotch. She was angrily telling people where to sit and then gave us the shorter ride of our lives.
What a Waltzing Bitch.
Chooch and I had a strange encounter with some woman in line for the Lemon Twist. I saw him make eye contact with someone so I turned around and this older blond woman in a hoodie was like RIGHT UP AGAINST ME doing this super weird smile-thing that was more frightening than friendly. I thought she was with the kids behind us but it turned out she was alone and then I felt kind of bad for being so judgey when I saw her joyfully solo-spinning in her cup. But honestly, my first thought when I saw her was that she left her gingerbread house to take a spin on the Lemon Twist and would finish cooking the children upon return.
I feel like all Chooch and I did was laugh all the livelong day. We get along the best at amusement parks.
A trip to an amusement park would be remiss without a cruise on the kiddie cars! It’s also right next to the Lightning Rod, which is so perfect, theme-wise. This ride has a dual track so halfway in the line, you can split up and go on the other side. The guy in front of us was so annoying and had like 8 children with him, so I hissed, “Cut across to the other line!” to Chooch. Chooch was reluctant, because he really wanted to get the pink cadillac and didn’t there was one on the other track. He had even been counting when we were in the other line to see when the pink car would come back. He gets really tightly-wound about these things and I have no idea where he gets that.
From Henry, I guess.
Anyway, turns out the original line we were in actually moved faster than the second one for some reason, AND if we had stayed over there….we would have gotten the pink Cadillac.
That’s Chooch’s “I’m smiling because we’re in public but please know that tonight might be the night we all learn about matricide” face.
Meanwhile, some dumb guy cut in front of us because his group was up ahead and we were so annoyed because he was a douchey hipster and said, “Hey can I squeeze through thanks” WHILE HE WAS ALREADY SQUEEZING THROUGH. Hello last time I checked you can’t hold some asshole’s place in line.
Anyway, Chooch was doubly pissed now because it looked like we weren’t going to get his second choice either, the baby blue car. “Great, we’re going to get this ugly ORANGE car now,” he angrily spat and in case you missed it before, let me remind you that these things are HUGE DEALS to him. I tried to calm him down by pointing out that at least we probably weren’t going to get the ugliest car in the lot (I said it was probably one of the many things that Henry would White Knight if he heard us talking about, like, “THAT CAR IS NOT THAT UGLY. A LOT OF PEOPLE WOULD BE EXCITED TO GET THAT CAR” because this is his role in life, the most annoying devil’s advocate ever). But then! The hipster douche in front of us wasn’t just with some broad, but also A CHILD and he seriously tried to stuff himself into the car with both of them, like a Carhartt flannel that fit him before becoming a dad drove him to drink more artisanal hard ciders and mead.
So this meant that douche-dad had to ride alone, so he took the ugly orange car that we were going to get and that meant we got the baby blue car after all!
Oh man, we had so much fun on this, rocking out to oldie Christmas carols while I beeped along like a maniac.
God, never let either of us grow out of this stuff. I feel like every “best day ever” we had in 2018 involved an amusement park and I wouldn’t have it any other way!