Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Sabrina's Brochure Spotlight: Dollywood 2005

This week's featured park is very high on my list of parks I'm DYING to visit. I've traveled to some exotic destinations in my life, yet somehow the entire state of Tennessee has eluded me thus far. This is unacceptable!

Dolly had a lot to smile about in 2005. She welcomed 10 new rides to her Smoky Mountain lair that year, one of which is depicted in the concept art that's hiding behind those dapper young men pictured at the bottom of this brochure cover.

Not too many parks can claim that the introductory paragraph of their brochure was written by a country music star. Of course we'll never know whether Dolly herself really wrote this, but who cares! Either way, it sets the tone for what Dollywood is all about: making lasting memories with family and friends. (And that beautiful Smoky Mountain backdrop certainly doesn't hurt, either.)

So how do you go about making lasting memories at Dollywood? Well first, we have the rides. While many of those pictured do constitute "thrilling adventures", there are plenty of adventures to be had by non-thrillseekers as well. This was a banner year for the "family rides" department, with the County Fair section of the park seeing a $5 million renovation that included the addition of 10 new family friendly rides.

Anybody besides me notice that the photo of Thunderhead pictured above is a mirror image of the one on the brochure cover? So disoriented, I am! Okay, not really...moving on.

Lasting memory maker #2: "family traditions" of the non-mechanical variety. In addition to the rides, Dollywood also features an assortment of unique attractions that you just don't find at the average theme park. According to the park's web site, Dollywood's Eagle Mountain Sanctuary "houses the country’s largest presentation of non-releasable bald eagles". You'll also find an assortment of walk-through attractions, including everything from a one-room country chapel to a replica of Dolly's childhood home.

Lasting memory maker #3: shows. It would be a crime if a park named after Dolly Parton didn't feature some kick-butt entertainment. Where else can you see superior live performances featuring country, gospel, bluegrass, and rock music all in one place?

Lasting memory maker #4: hand-made local treasures. This alone sets Dollywood apart from just about every other theme park in existence. The park prides itself on the impressive contingent of Smoky Mountain craftsmen (and women!) who demonstrate their traditional crafts to visitors each day. I'm a sucker for the old-fashioned and traditional, so this would be right up my alley.

Lasting memory maker #5: festivals. You'd think every day was a festival at Dollywood after all we've seen so far, but wait! There's more... The park also hosts four spectacular seasonal festivals. The National Music & Harvest Celebration was a new addition in 2005, and featured more than a month's worth of free concerts.

Lasting memory maker #6: FIRE! FIRE! heh heh FIRE! I'm referring (of course) to the Bear Mountain Fire Tower, which made its debut at Dollywood's Splash Country water park in 2005. This $2 million interactive water play structure may not do justice to its moniker, but it certainly heats up the fun and was a welcome addition to Dollywood's sister water park. Excuse me--water adventure park.

Really? Is that all?

Obviously, I'm kidding. This is one hefty brochure! And it has to be, in order to adequately showcase all that Dollywood has to offer. You get a lot for your admission at this park, and (as seen here) there are always specials and discounts available to sweeten the deal even more. I sure hope I have an opportunity to cross this park off my to-do list in the next few years!