One of the neat things when we get out of the usual Disney/Jersey Shore loop is that we get to see some really different kinds of amusement park rides. You go a couple places most of the time and get a set idea of what’s possible, and then you go somewhere else and get a completely new perspective.
Dollywood had some neat things to offer. In addition to the obligatory wooden roller coaster and looping steel coaster, they had some brilliantly simple rides that offered small-t thrills. Here we are on the Lumberjack Lifts. Concept: You and a friend pull up on a shared rope (the ride does most of the lifting) and you hoist yourself up to the top of a 25-foot tower, which is slowly spinning to afford you a 360-degree view of the park.
Another ride is something like the Buzz Lightyear shoot-’em-up game at the Magic Kingdom, only it’s outside, and with water:
They also had a kids’ play area that was generously shaded with trees and big canvas panels. It was a great place for us to take refuge in the heat of the afternoon:
Other rides took concepts we’d seen before, and, well, took them to the max. In the second picture, my older two kids are one of those specks way up in the sky… sorry, Grandma, but they did come home safe:
Compared with that flight, I can’t imagine this one half as impressive:
Maria soon went back to more ambitious rides… this one spun in a large circle while swooping back and forth in the air on a half-moon steel track. The pictures don’t even begin to do it justice, but what you can see is that Maria looks completely serene. In fact, she rode twice.
Fortunately for Chels, Nick, and Anna, the teacups are a near-universal offering at theme parks, so they could do some slightly less intense spinning:
Chels likes to ride big thrill rides, and I can’t usually get pictures of her while I’m cowering in fear under a bench. But I was able to snap one late in the day:
It was a full day! In fact, notice how zonked Anna looks on the carousel:
No surprise, then, that the day ended for our girl like this: