Oh you didn’t think there would be only ONE Dollywood recap, I hope. Come on, you know how gratuitous I am with the amusement park montages. It’s a sickness! I have to get it all out of my system, like a cleanse, so that I’m ready for the next park, which sadly probably won’t be until next spring, omg ugh no fml.
Just in case you couldn’t already tell, we had the best day ever at Dollywood! This holiday season is a slippery slope for me. I’m either shooting tinsel out from between my legs or I’m severely depressed or I’m casually ambivalent but here’s some backstage info: in all of those cases, I’m usually severely depressed, ha.
However, removing myself from the situation actually really helped because on actual Thanksgiving, I wasn’t even thinking about being sad over family who isn’t here anymore, etc etc. Instead, I was enjoying the day with Henry and Chooch and being excited because I knew we would be leaving for Tennessee soon!
I think this needs to happen every year. It’s the perfect solution, and we all had a ton of fun (yes, even Henry!). So, this might be why I’m feel especially sentimental about this particular adventure.
In this episode of No One Gives a Fuck About Your Theme Park Fetish, Erin, let’s look at some (read: a lot) of snapshots I took that day on my phone, like it’s 1957 and we’re watching a slideshow of my trip to the Alamo while knocking back some White Russians.
Except without the White Russians.
Shit, I haven’t had a White Russian in a LOOOOOONG minute.
Now I want to have another gross vintage food party and serve up some tacky W.Russhies.
No one calls them that.
Henry could have married me at Dollywood, maybe, if he really cared enough.
I don’t get it, you guys.
I don’t know how we missed this last time we were there (wait, I know how—I hadn’t discovered the underbelly of roller coaster YouTubers yet) but Dollywood is apparently famous for their CINNAMON BREAD. Look, we had only ridden ONE RIDE before I was seduced by the sweet siren call (read: FUCKING GOOD SMELL) of the Grist Mill.
“We just got there!” Henry said, when I was like, “GET YOUR ASS IN THERE AND BUY SOME.”
But look, I didn’t eat anything for breakfast because I was convinced that there was ham in the hotel’s scrambled eggs (there wasn’t, supposedly), and you know how things like that set me off and make me throw silent tantrums, right? Well, that happened and I rejected every other option that Henry pushed my way and then growled, “Just give me the room key” where I went back and wrote awful things about the hotel in my spell book.
I mean, I could have just told you that I was really damn hungry, but I felt like YOU NEEDED TO KNOW WHY. #BLAMETHERAMSEYHOTEL
Shit, I scarfed my share, maybe more than my share, of that warm slab of cinnamon dough, sometimes after dunking it in apple butter, sometimes with a slather of cream cheese icing. You don’t know how I eat my cinnamon bread.
Shit, except I just told you.
Chooch was complaining about it hurting his teeth, so he’s basically an old person already.
Henry, delivering the goods.
I guess this guy was making the bread? Or gristing something in the mill? Is gristing a thing?
My best friend for the day. If I had to compare our giddiness and get-along-ingness to something, it would have to be our time in Korea when we had a zillion inside jokes about Henry and laughed like little shitty hyenas much to Henry’s chagrin. It was just like that.
If you look right in the center of the picture, you can see Henry walking alone, which is what he did every time Chooch and I went on a ride when he wasn’t sitting on a bench. He just lurked. He’s a pro at theme park lurking. Guy knows theme park benches and restrooms better than anyone under the age of 55, OK.
The weather was a perfectly mild 65 most of the day! Dolly Parton approved.
Being vegetarian, I try to do my due diligence before throwing myself into the arms of hot dog vendors. Dollywood said that the Front Porch Cafe had veggie burgers, but when we rolled up and I looked at the outside menu, I DID NOT SEE IT. This almost caused the day to sour, because food is the impetus of all our fights. It’s like that in your house too, right? I stormed off and frantically checked my phone for a plan B but all that came up was emergency contraceptive. I was honestly watching the whole day deteriorate around me when Chooch was like, “We could just….ask?”
THIS IS WHY MY BOY IS IN THE GIFTED PROGRAM, YO.
So he strode right back up to that hostess at Front Porch Cafe and confidently asked, “Do you have veggie burgers?” and she said, “YES THEY ARE JUST NOT ON THE MENU.”
Henry said that’s probably because they don’t want anyone to know because then they’ll have to run out and buy some.
Chooch and I were happy to order our veggie burgers and they waitress was just like, “MMmmmmkay” while giving us the side-eye, buy then Henry brought back the southern cred by ordering THE CHRISTMAS HAM DINNER HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
EWWWWWW LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL. That stuffing looks like Jabba the Hut! It’s like an elementary school lunch lady dumped all that shit on his plate with an ice cream scooper.
OMG I’m going to puke.
Anyway, halfway through our lunch, we realized that this was the same place we ate with Bill when we had SHERBET as a waiter but SHERBET was not there. I wonder if he still works there? I sent Bill a framed picture of him for Christmas one year and he was v. thankful.
Here’s Chooch convincing passers-by that he’s never fed ducks before. He was so committed to his new role that he even let one of them bite his hand.
(Honestly, when we first walked past this lake area, he started cooing over the ducks with so much vim and vigor that several people actually stopped to see if they were special ducks or something.
Nope, the only thing special over there was my son. Keep it moving.
THIS WAS AFTER WE RODE THE LIGHTNING ROD FOR THE FIRST TIME. Chooch was actually hiding there like that while I was in the bathroom and several people got scared. We really left our mark on Dollywood that day, you guys.
I’ve mentioned my favorite theme park vlog on here, In the Loop, before and I’m pretty sure I ALSO mentioned that my favorite person from that vlog is a guy named Legend but ONLY because sometimes his girlfriend Molly makes cameos in some of the videos and I don’t know what it is, her Peter Brady “Time to Change” episode voice, her casual “it’s beer-thirty” declarations, or her laid-back “just here for the ride” demeanor, but I just fucking love her. Anyway, of course we’ve watched their Dollywood vlog and Chooch was so excited when he saw this photo-op.
“This is where Molly had her picture taken! We have to have our picture taken there too!”
Henry was just like, “Oh for god’s sake” as we ran over to pose.
We rode the train later that night so we could see the lights. Christmas carols played the whole time, and during one of the songs, Chooch asked, “Is this Dolly Parton singing?” and I started to stammer because I wasn’t sure — I only know “9-to-5” and “Jolene” OK?!
OK, and “I Will Always Love You” but I like to pretend that song doesn’t exist, I dislike both versions.
SIDE BAR: when I was in middle school, one of the local DJs was mad about something and he played Whitney Houston’s version back to back with Rumpshaker for like four hours and got fired.
Any Pittsburgh friends out there remember that?
I love this picture so much! Also, that’s my Cure t-shirt he’s wearing because someone was supposed to supervise him when he was packing and failed to do so, so he didn’t bring enough clothes, lol.
(Don’t ask who that “someone” is.)
It stayed pretty sparsely occupied in the park all day because, again, most people were old and just there for the shows and atmosphere, I guess.
“Rural” usually isn’t aesthetic, but the…wood-y? theming definitely works here and it’s very charming. I also like that the rides themselves aren’t very in-your-face. You have to actually walk around a bit to get to each one.
The color palette is definitely “timber.”
You guys, this Christmas tree did all kinds of cool color-changing bullshit that I thought would be lame but was actually pretty nice.
I was definitely just there to ride the rides, but the lights were pretty cool, I guess. I don’t think I would have paid to just see the lights though.
No, I know I wouldn’t have. I only care about the coasters! Fuck Christmas.
I mean, I love you Christmas — you keep amusement parks open longer!