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We Always Dream Of Dollywood!

Our refrigerator magnets hold art and drawings from our kids, weekly schedules for preschool, important contact numbers, a family calendar AND a list of essential items to bring to Dollywood.  

Randa loves lists, especially when it comes to packing things our family of four needs for week long beach trips or day trips to Dollywood.  She takes the kids to Dollywood so often her packing list now has a permanent place in our kitchen.

The word Dollywood has become an adjective in our house, too.   The kids have their Dollywood shoes, their Dollywood clothes, Dollywood cups and we always bring the Dollywood double stroller.

And don't forget the Dollywood season passes!  ​

What makes Dollywood so cool?​

Our family is lucky to be about 2 hours away from one of the best family theme parks in Tennessee.

We took the kids to Dollywood again this past week and while we were watching them splash around in one of the kids playground areas, we started talking about why we love taking them here so much.  

Randa said she loves how safe she feels with the kids at Dollywood.  She never worries about them.  Ever. 

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Dollywood does a fantastic job of creating a special family atmosphere, and it all starts as soon as we see the big Dollywood sign and enter the grounds.    

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The staff are very friendly, they always have smiles on their faces and they're ​so happy to see our kids having a great time.  Everyone from the parking staff, the greeters at the front gates and the helpful attendants who manage the rides, they're all awesome at what they do. 

And it really helps that the majority of the staff at the rides for kids are seniors, people who probably have kids and grandchildren of their own, so when they buckle up our kids maybe they're seeing visions of their own loved ones being safe and having fun.  Their enthusiasm and happiness is easy to see, and it doesn't just come across as good customer service, it comes across as genuine joy and caring for all the kids at Dollywood.  

Attention to Detail at Dollywood​

I really like the vintage decorations and landscaping throughout all 150 acres of Dollywood, nothing has been overlooked.  

I enjoy the weathered wooden benches that have been smoothed down over the years, the aged barn wood fences, the vintage crates and boxes, the classic advertising signs and glimpses of what life was like for Dolly Parton when she grew up in the mountains of Tennessee.  

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The roses, creeping vines, pine straw, various flowers and shrubs and mulchy areas are all in perfect condition without a weed in sight.  And I've never seen anyone tending to the gardens.   

It must be magic!

Kids Favorites at Dollywood

I asked the kids what their favorite rides at Dollywood are and Sydney said all the rides!  No favorites?  Nope, she loves all of them.  And Trey didn't hesitate when he said his favorite ride is the scrambler!

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randa & the kids on the scrambler!

We spend almost the entire day at the kids section getting our faces painted, riding the ferris wheel, the shooting star, the bees, ducks and pigs, the elephants that go up and down, the kids coaster, the merry-go-round and the cool cars...and don't forget the River Rampage!

And now Sydney is tall enough to ride the swings with us.  Yay!  Soon Trey will be tall enough, too.  Maybe next year?

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when the lines are small the kids stay on as much as they want!

When we were there last week I tried Dippin Dots for the first time!  How have I lived all these years without these tiny dots of ice cream deliciousness in my life?  I'm not sure how I've missed these before but I can guarantee I'll be getting a large cup of cookie dough Dippin Dots on every visit!

The kids love them, too!​

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cookie dough dippin dots. delicious!

A Family Tradition at Dollywood

Randa has been going to Dollywood for as long as she remember.  Before we were married she went with her girlfriends and her Mom and couldn't wait to take me to see her favorite theme park when I moved to North Carolina.  

Her memory stick is loaded with pictures of her at Dollywood over the years, but a couple of the pics stands out the most for me because ​they show how the merry-go-round is definitely becoming a family tradition for us.  

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randa at dollywood before we had kids

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sydney was born a few years later

And one more little bit of family tradition happens every night at our house.  Before bed we do a special prayer and ask that no bad dreams come into our bedrooms, the kids choose happy thoughts and places to think about to keep the bad dreams away.  

We always dream of Dollywood.

Winter 2017 UPDATE:  Sydney is now tall enough to ride all the rides (except the Wild Eagle)  Woohoo! 

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Josh

Husband | Daddy | Writer | DIY Wannabe

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