The amusement park non-rider: everybody knows one. In our family, it’s pretty much me. I used to love roller coasters and carnival rides when I was a teenager. Then one day, I didn’t love them anymore…at least not the roller coasters. The carnival rides (tilt-a-whirl, ferris wheel, etc.) I can still handle, but there’s something about the feeling that I might be plummeting to my death that makes me not want to step foot on roller coasters anymore. We’ll just go ahead and blame it on inner ear problems though. Round and round doesn’t bother me, but the up and down makes me a nervous wreck!
So why then, you might ask, would I ever want to go to an amusement park? Let alone buy a season pass? Well, all amusement parks aren’t created equal and some are created with people like me in mind!
Our little family (minus one) took a trip to Dollywood the other day and I spent most of it alone. The park was packed to the gills and it was hard to get pictures, but I managed to snap a few of the things I did. Dollywood, located in eastern Tennessee, is one of those places that offers enough entertainment that you can always find something to do…even if you’re a non-rider like me.
Here are just a few suggestions:
1. Watch a show. Sorry, there are no pictures of that. I was busy watching the shows! We visited during Festival of Nations and I saw Timber (think Cirque du Soleil with lots of hatchets and a few logs) and Rhythm of the Dance. The rest of the family joined me for Rhythm of the Dance. They said they needed a break, but I really think they just couldn’t resist the music. The Super Trooper was even hoping they would invite him onstage so that he could share his dance moves, but alas, they overlooked him. It worked out okay though, as he doesn’t actually have any dance moves.
The shows change with the seasons and the different festivals, but I’ve seen plenty of shows there and I don’t think I’ve ever been disappointed! Heartsong will forever be my favorite, although I have to admit that I remember when Dollywood was still Silver Dollar City and I really miss the show with the saloon girls (I always wanted one of those dresses) and the train robbery. Dolly should bring those back. Also, Thunder Road. Thunder Road should definitely be a permanent feature.
2. Look for cool water features.
There are plenty of water features at Dollywood. On really hot days, if you’re lucky you can find a few to get a fine mist off of. I’m afraid they might frown on wading in the creek, but it sure is tempting!
The rest of the time, the water is just fun to look at. Personally, I would love to have some sort of whiskey barrel fountain in my yard. The mill might take up too much room.
3. Shop. Dollywood has dozens of places to shop. I’ve seen clothes, jewelry, household items, crafts and handmade items, food, and toys. There doesn’t seem to be a shortage of things to buy.
I even found a sculpture that reminded me of Mushu from Mulan and a new putter for my golf-loving oldest son! I didn’t get a picture, but I came “this” close to buying a jar of Toe Jam. Yes. Toe Jam.
4. Have a snack. There are definitely plenty of food options at Dollywood. I’m not really sure how many restaurants there are now, but it seems like every time we visit, there is something different. Dippin’ Dots are pretty good, but I really love the berries and cream. I looked everywhere for the fried banana pudding, but I’m guessing they don’t have that anymore. They have coke slushes or freezes down in the Country Fair–those are the best thing ever on a hot day.
A few years ago, during the Festival of Nations, they had an Irish cheese plate with brown bread, a variety of cheeses, and a chutney. I wish they would bring that back and keep it forever! I tried to find out what kind of cheese it was, but I never could. *sad face*
Just for future reference, BBQ and Bluegrass starts in May. That’s some good eatin’! I’m almost as excited about that as I am the Christmas shows!
5. Feed the ducks.
Or the fish.
Just don’t fall in. I think those suckers would gnaw an arm off before you could climb out of the pond. Plus, there’s some nasty looking stuff floating around in there. Don’t want any of that on you!
6. Take a nap. Seriously, the Super Trooper can power nap like nobody’s business.
7. Eat ice cream.
Well, why not? It’s hard business walking around trying to entertain yourself. Everybody needs an ice cream break now and then. This one had cake in it. Cake and ice cream…at the same time. Pretend it’s your birthday!
8. Ride a roller coaster.
Just kidding!! Hold everyone else’s stuff while they ride roller coasters.
The crazy people in the back with their hands up are mine. Crazy, I tell ya.
9. Pay your respects. I was going to take a picture of the casket, but it was always full–which is a weird problem to have. Some of the headstones are hilarious though. It makes me a little sad that I couldn’t find one that said, “I told you I was sick.”
10. Take selfies…or “ussies.” God love, isn’t she pretty? (Don’t get upset, Spizzie has already approved this picture. She never obsesses over her looks and makes some of the best faces you’ve ever seen. She doesn’t care who sees them either. I think she’s the smartest girl I know!) I’m not sure if this is a selfie or an ussie. The Super Trooper says if there is more than one person, it is an ussie. I’m not sure if that counts if they don’t know they are in it.
11. Take a shower. You just never know when you might need one, I guess.
12. Look at exhibits, read the signs, and go to church.
The Southern Gospel Hall of Fame and Museum has some really interesting things if you like music. It’s also a good place for a little quiet. I visited Dolly’s Childhood home, but my pictures turned out as outlines of me (reflecting off of the plexiglass). It was another place that seemed very quiet.
Speaking of quiet, I love this little church and it’s always so peaceful inside. The world just sort of melts away.
I always enjoy finding signs that I’ve never noticed before. I think this one is my favorite of the day.
13. People watch. You just never know who you might see.
Thank you very much…
14. Visit the eagles. Dollywood has an eagle sanctuary. They actually have several different types of birds and a show that will tell you all about them. It’s pretty amazing to see them up close. (Only I wasn’t that close…I zoomed in!)
So now you have fourteen things to do when you don’t want to ride the rides. There are countless other things you could do if you have the time–ride the train, have an old timey photo taken, talk to some of the park employees, make new friends. Who knows, if you start talking to strangers, you might even find yourself talking to Dolly…or me!!
*Just so everyone is in the know, this is NOT a sponsored post. We’ve been going to Dollywood for years. My husband and kids love to ride rides, but I’m not a big fan and I’m always looking for something different to do. Just thought there may be other like-minded individuals out there who feel the way I do and wanted to share!