Our Day at Dollywood

We spent our last full day in Pigeon Forge at Dollywood which, according to the sign, is celebrating its twenty-fifth year. We had a wonderful time making memories we will, no doubt, share countless times in the upcoming years.
This was the first time my father and his brothers and sisters have ever taken a vacation together. Each mentioned they regretted waiting so long to do so. It was interesting observing my relatives apart from the environment I am accustomed to interacting with them in, i.e. my Grandma's house.
They were like teenagers. I wanted to crash at 11PM but they stayed up until 3AM playing pool, Scrabble and talking about anything and everything. Instead of sleeping in they were up again with the sun, rising around 6AM. They love spending time together and they all get along so well. It's truly incredible.
This was not my first trip to Pigeon Forge or Dollywood. Dad took Josh and I shortly after the park opened almost twenty years ago. All of my relatives, with the exception of my Aunt Lois, have also been to Pigeon Forge. It was especially exciting watching her experience an amusement park for the first time in all her sixty-three years.
Instead of watching shows, we decided to spend our afternoon riding rides. Beginning with Raging Rapids we persuaded my Aunt Lois to "trust us" and ride everything from water rides to roller coasters with us. She was so brave and she knew it too. Her reactions, which included exclamations like, "Lord Jesus save me!!" and "David, get me off this thing!!" were more entertaining than the rides. Despite everything she stayed with us, even riding the Tennessee Tornado and Mystery Mine rides.
We concluded the day with a train ride around Dollywood on an engine named Cinderella. At the beginning of the train ride, each passenger is encouraged to wave and yell "How-dee" to everyone they see as the train travels throughout the park, a custom I had forgotten since my last visit.
Although twenty years separated my two Dollywood excursions, it appears another trip is in my future. My cousin Latosha is getting married in nearby Gatlinburg on October 9th, an event that will reunite the family in the Smokey Mountains for the second time this year. From now until October I will be planning my next Tennessee adventure which I hope will include Cade's Cove and lunch at the Pizza Palace in Knoxville. If anyone has suggestions of other interesting attractions to see in and around Pigeon Forge I would love to hear about them.

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