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Old 02-14-2013, 01:50 PM   #46
tina.tina
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Some random tips:

Dollywood has cabin rentals and you can buy length of stay tickets that are a better deal than one day.

I like Hidden Mountain Resort cottages because they're close to the main road in Pigeon Forge (near Apple Barn) yet in a quiet area. It's not really a cabin feel but there are hot tubs on the decks and a communal pool at the top of the hill. Prices are really reasonable.

DH loves Huck Finn's catfish restaurant in Pigeon Forge. We also love Pancake Pantry in Gatlinburg.

To me, the beach is a cheap vacation. We have cereal and sandwiches in the room and go out for supper. We mostly stay on the beach. For extra fun, we watch free fireworks and may spend a little extra money at an amusement park. Gatlinburg is not a cheap vacation. The kids could possibly whine non-stop about mini-golf, go carts, and amusment rides simply because it's everywhere you turn. Toy stores are packed into every corner of Gatlinburg. I suggest you give your kids a spending limit and let them know up front what activities you have planned.
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Old 02-14-2013, 01:58 PM   #47
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We just ate at the Peddler 2 weeks ago. It was not good and definitely not worth the money. My husband was given a raw steak. Both of us agree that their sister restaurant the Park Grill is better.

Also like the Smoky Mountain Brewery
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Old 02-14-2013, 02:45 PM   #48
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We live less than an hour away so go up often.

Dollywood is fun and we had season passes until DD was born. They have a few good coasters but some GREAT shows. We have been to Cedar Point but I wouldn't compare the two they are totally different.

I wouldn't do the Dixie Stampede. Everyone I know who goes didn't really like it.

Never been horse back riding.

The aquarium is great. I love it and would probably spend a half day there. The penguin exhibit is cute and I like touching the sting rays.

Cades cove is very pretty and there are some easy trails that lead to waterfalls. Unless you plan on hiking or its a busy day this won't take much time either. However I suggest you get out and walk around and take a few of the easy trails and have a picnic.

The Roaring Forks driving trail is very pretty. If you like waterfalls, there is a pretty one at Tremont. We hiked the trail since the guide said it was easy and short and it wasn't! When we got there we noticed that one level down there was a parking lot. They sell different maps with different trails and they are only $1.

The Alpine sleds are fun but I agree with the others to add more so you can enjoy the other attractions at Ober Gatliburg. Most Children want to do more than ride one ride once. Also take time to look at the animals there. They were cute. I haven't been up there in awhile but will got back when DD gets older.

Tram/Skylift- We have done these before too. If you are talking about the chair skylift in Gatlinburg on the strip its ok. But it and the tram to Ober are sorta the same. I wouldn't do both. Ober Gatliburg has a chair lift too.

I would cut out the Dixie Stampede and horse back riding. However I would add a night of mini golf and go karts. We love doing this and its fun to get an ice cream after. I know you can do that anywhere but you pass so many and they look fun. We give in. We had a visitor from South Africa and we were showing him around. He asked to stop and ride go karts and play mini golf and we had fun. I am sure if grown adults get pulled in your kids will too.
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Old 02-14-2013, 03:00 PM   #49
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Few things I forgot

Clingman's Dome has a very pretty view and isn't to bad a walk up. It's all paved.

I know you mentioned driving around. Traffic can be horrible especially on weekends or when schools out.

For food we Love Apple Barn and The Old Mill. Also like Flap Jacks and pancake pantry but the do not serve dinner. They are very good. Unless you plan to eat out for breakfast or lunch, you might need more than $40 per day, food isn't cheap and neither are groceries. There is a Super Walmart but the prices tend to be higher than other Super Walmart's I've been to.

Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are fun but not cheap. If your not careful you will be nickel and dimed at every turn. It would probably be cheaper to go to Dollywood for the day than to just drive around and wing it.
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Old 02-14-2013, 04:13 PM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigger1221 View Post
Few things I forgot

Clingman's Dome has a very pretty view and isn't to bad a walk up. It's all paved.

I know you mentioned driving around. Traffic can be horrible especially on weekends or when schools out.

For food we Love Apple Barn and The Old Mill. Also like Flap Jacks and pancake pantry but the do not serve dinner. They are very good. Unless you plan to eat out for breakfast or lunch, you might need more than $40 per day, food isn't cheap and neither are groceries. There is a Super Walmart but the prices tend to be higher than other Super Walmart's I've been to.

Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are fun but not cheap. If your not careful you will be nickel and dimed at every turn. It would probably be cheaper to go to Dollywood for the day than to just drive around and wing it.
Bolded mine. That is the truth The first time we went I couldn't believe how much we spent on minigolf. Now, we hang at the timeshare for a day using the pool and waterpark. We go to Dollywood for a day and a half and we go to the Aquarium. We also did the Titanic last year and my DD8 absolutely loved it. We bought the combo Aquarium/Titanic ticket. Other than that, we pack picnic lunches and go for drive/hikes. Those are free. We stay away from Pigeon Forge except for dinner. We go to Gatlinburg a couple of nights and get ice cream at Kilwin's.
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Old 04-09-2013, 11:42 AM   #51
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Definitely keeping an eye on this thread. We're taking a break from WDW and going to Pigeon Forge this July. I have a cabin reserved already and now I'm putting together our activities. So far I'm thinking:

Dollywood & Splash Country (3 day pass)
Ripley's Aquarium
Forbidden Caverns
National Park

I'm wondering if any of you can help me decide which trails at the National Park are good for novice hikers with a 4 and 6 year old in tow?
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Old 04-09-2013, 01:31 PM   #52
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we went to gatlinburg/pigeon forge in 2008. we used mountain rentals of gatlinburg, and paid MUCH less than $200 per night for our cabin.

our favorite thing to do had to be the laser tag at fort fun in gatlinburg-SOOOOO much fun! DD also really enjoyed the gem mining at 3 bears gift shop in PF. we bought a $15 bucket of dirt and she found a 2 carat emerald and a 1 carat sapphire. i also very much enjoyed ice skating at ober gatlinburg-DH and DD....not so much, lol.
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Old 04-09-2013, 01:52 PM   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dallas_Lady View Post
Definitely keeping an eye on this thread. We're taking a break from WDW and going to Pigeon Forge this July. I have a cabin reserved already and now I'm putting together our activities. So far I'm thinking:

Dollywood & Splash Country (3 day pass)
Ripley's Aquarium
Forbidden Caverns
National Park

I'm wondering if any of you can help me decide which trails at the National Park are good for novice hikers with a 4 and 6 year old in tow?
Laurel Falls Trail is a nice paved trail that ends at a water fall. Go to the Visters Center in the Park, the rangers will help you pick Trails. and we just got back had a great time. The Aquarium was awesome!

And I can say to all The Old Mill beats the Apple Barn hands downs. It was Cleaner, service was 50 times better & the food way better.

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Old 04-09-2013, 02:05 PM   #54
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Now that I'm back from our trip I can give a brief report. We were there the week of our spring break, the week before Easter.

One thing first - if the traffic on 441 is horrible and you need to get to the opposite side of town, take Taester Lane as a bypass. It connects back to 411 in many places.

We stayed at the Quality Inn & Suites at Dollywood Lane. It was nothing fancy, but it suited our needs. The room was clean and had thick towels in the bathroom. There was a large mini-fridge and a microwave, which came in handy for all the take-home we had from our meals. A hot breakfast was included (scrambled eggs, biscuits & gravy, waffles, instant oatmeal and grits, as well as cold cereals, hard boiled eggs, fruit, yogurt). They have an seasonal outdoor pool, and they share the postage-stamp sized pool over at the Comfort Inn next door. It was so small that we skipped it.

It's on the far side of Pigeon Forge, closer to Gatlinburg, and a short drive to Dollywood and just about across the street from the Dixie Stampede. We paid an extra $10 per night for a rollaway bed, which brought our room costs before taxes from between $64 - $73 a night. There are sit down and fast food restaurants in walking distance, as well. If we ever go back we'll stay there again.

Here's what we did: Wonderworks, Dollywood & the Great Smoky Mountains.

Wonderworks. It was fun, but GET THERE EARLY! You've been warned. We skipped attending Palm Sunday services to go there instead, and I'm glad we did. The place was virtually empty for the first two hours (hours are 9:00 am - 10:00 pm). You can go in and out all day long, which is nice. It was getting full when we left for lunch around 12:30. We went back at 2:30 and it was PACKED. The kids did a few things, then we left. There was even a line to do the bubble room. Granted, it was raining out that day, so it could've been busier than usual.

Dollywood. Now, I'm a Disney Parks fan through and through, but Disney has met their match in Dollywood. No, it's not the same, but I thoroughly enoyed it and I can't wait to go back. It's like being in one huge Frontierland. The food prices are about on par with other theme parks (= expensive), but what I loved most about it was that about the only place you found the typical theme park goodies for sale was at the emporium at the front of the park and a few selected kiosks and shops. Otherwise you could find items for sale from clothing (LOVED Dolly's Closet!), hand crafted items, rocks and gemstones, a wagon maker, and the like. You can get a full list on it's website. And the prices were so reasonable!

If you arrive after 3:00 pm, you get in the next day for free. That's what we did and we loved it! We told the kids they could wait 45 minutes in line for the rock climbing wall at Wonderworks, or leave and go to Dollywood and ride roller coasters. Humm... There were hardly any lines at all. DH & the kids did the coasters while I shopped and saw the Bird show. We went back the next day and had a blast, even though it snowed all day! Make sure to see the shows - they are amazing!

Great Smoky Mountains. We entered through the Gatlinburg entrance and stopped at the Sugarlands Visitor Center. It is still under construction, and it's going to be beautiful once it's complete. Instead of planning our day there ahead of time, we waited to figure out what to do once we talked with the park staff. Since it was snowing we needed to change a few plans, but ended up hiking to Laurel Falls (1.3 miles each way) and touring Cades Cove. That took up one day. I'd plan for two days or more if you wanted to do more hiking or driving tours.

The Old Mill. We ate lunch there on Palm Sunday, and it was an hour wait. Luckily (?) there were some shops to visit so we could get out of the cold rain. The food was good and very substantial, and we took half of it back to the hotel to eventually eat for dinner.

We tried to get into the Dixie Stampede the day we went to the Smoky Mountains, but we weren't able to get in. I guess everyone in town were seeking indoor entertainment since it had been snowing all day long. It would've been fun to see, but I'm glad I didn't plan it ahead of time. Sometimes we were just too tired - or full - to do anything else at night except for watching a movie on tv.

We drove through Gatlinburg the first evening to see what it was like. One word - claustrophobic! Parking was outrageous and the traffic even worse. So, we didn't stop except for going to the sporting goods store to purchase DH a jacket.


I hope this helps - let me know if you have any questions.

We stayed away from the outlet stores and gift shops, but I do believe I've never seen so many go-kart or putt putt golf places in my life!
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Old 04-09-2013, 02:13 PM   #55
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Great Review :-) The Park is def something to do each and every trip no matter how many returns we've actually made it to NC over 11 yrs lol WonderWorks is loved by my 2xds 16&12 tho yes I'm sure the weather made it over crowded glad y'all caught early hours;-) Thanx for sharing
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Old 04-09-2013, 07:20 PM   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dallas_Lady View Post
Definitely keeping an eye on this thread. We're taking a break from WDW and going to Pigeon Forge this July. I have a cabin reserved already and now I'm putting together our activities. So far I'm thinking:

Dollywood & Splash Country (3 day pass)
Ripley's Aquarium
Forbidden Caverns
National Park

I'm wondering if any of you can help me decide which trails at the National Park are good for novice hikers with a 4 and 6 year old in tow?
The trail at the Sugarlands is really nice and goes to a small waterfall. I believe the whole thing is a mile and is called the Fighting Creek Trail. There is a wonderful little nature trail also not far from Sugarlands. It is paved and is great for kids. There is a map that explains different sights along the way. My son really enjoyed both trails.
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Old 04-09-2013, 09:10 PM   #57
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G'burg business person here... you were here the week before Easter? That week was THE busiest week of the entire 4-6 weeks of "spring break"! That week, then the week after was super busy, too. From now until Memorial day - you have the run of the town!
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Old 04-10-2013, 01:13 AM   #58
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Don't forget Dolly's Splash Country if you'll be there in the summer months. There is a new "water coaster" opening this year. I love Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge..I live about an hour and a half away and we go down there when we want a weekend getaway. Love my TN Mountains!
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Old 04-10-2013, 08:06 AM   #59
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Sounds like a great trip. We were in the area that week also, it was COLD!!!!! We wanted to go to Dollywood but it was too cold for us, we went to the aquarium instead.
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Old 04-10-2013, 01:56 PM   #60
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G'burg business person here... you were here the week before Easter? That week was THE busiest week of the entire 4-6 weeks of "spring break"! That week, then the week after was super busy, too. From now until Memorial day - you have the run of the town!
Be honest with me, how is the last week of June?
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