June 27, 2005

Fire in the hole!

Saturday The Wife and I went with friends Pam and Andrew to Dollywood. It was Pam's birthday and that was what she said she wanted to do. It turned out to be a very good choice.

Dollywood compares very favorably to Knott's Berry Farm, in terms of its size, ambition, and enjoyability. I remember when I was younger, Knott's was a good place to go because it was easier to get into and a little bit cheaper than Disneyland, and at that time had not yet been overrun with street gangs so it was still a family-friendly place to be. At least on the day we went, the park was not terribly crowded, except for the area where the tamer kiddie-rides were located (which unfortunately was the first area we visited).

The pièce de résistance had to have been the Blazing Fury. Dollywood's "answer" to Space Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean, this indoor roller coaster was themed around a fire in a mining town. The super-cheesey animatronics and tepid coasts were nothing compared to the theme -- "Fire in the hole!" -- repeated endlessly throughout the ride.

I think the best ride was the Mountain Slidewinder. The four of us got loaded up on a flat rubber raft and put in a twisty tube with water sliding down it. The effect was much like a bobsled or a luge. We also got very wet, on that ride as well as several others. We enjoyed the eagle exhibit, and the food was reasonably priced (by theme park standards).

I would go back to Dollywood, but not soon; it's the sort of thing you do occasionally. You can read more about The Wife's description of the event here, and Pamela's here, hopefully Andrew will add his report soon, too.

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