Here's some pictures and/or a mini trip report.
We arrived early as the sun was rising for the ACE Smoky Mountain Coasterfest. Since the RV parking is now gated, it requires a code. Security came by and eventually let us in. I'll make sure Josh gets us a code before the event next time.
Here's the main reason so many were here. We just came to get into the Christmas spirit.
I saw a piece of gum on the ground... Seriously, I do applaud their efforts and environmental consciousness.
The station is coming along nicely.
This will be the last thing you see before you plummet to your dea..... I mean before you get some great airtime on the dip before the first real drop.
I chose not to take the construction tour as I saw how muddy it was, and how inconsiderate one attendee was in washing his shoes off in a public restroom sink.
I <3 me. Or I'm an idiot. You choose.
We ate lunch at Backstage Restaurant. It was our first time at this full service restaurant. Not only was the food exceptional, the service was as well.
Pimento cheese appetizer. I've been living under a rock and this was my first time trying pimento cheese.
The meatloaf was not quite as good as the meatloaf at Mythos but a very close second. The smoky baked beans were awesome and something you have to try.
The quiche was also fresh and great. Is that pronounced 'keesh' or 'quickie'?
Despite having been to Smoky Mountain Christmas numerous times before, this was our first time seeing Dollywood's A Christmas Carol. Unfortunately this is the last year for it but I'm sure something even better will take its place.
I don't know why we passed it up until now. The show was very well done. We didn't expect anything less, honestly.
Even Dolly was there. Well, at least, in spirit.
Moving on to the lights, one of the highlights of any Christmas trip to Dollywood. This shot is difficult to get with the huge crowds wanting to get an iconic picture here. What a statement for a park entrance.
Everywhere you look, the lights are breathtaking.
The life-sized bulbs are a new addition since our last trip. They look great during the day but even better at night.
Useless factoid: They spend months hanging their 4 million+ lights.
Disney and Universal. This is how you do Christmas. Nobody compares to Dollywood for Christmas and is still our favorite despite having been to most parks' Christmas events.
I'm sure Dolly had some say on making sure there were pink lights.
Pictures really don't do it justice. You have to be there and experience it.
Big butts are in right now.
The meticulous attention to detail is remarkable. Every single light is lined up perfectly...well except for one that I found out of the millions of lights. I fixed it, though. You're welcome, Dollywood.
As we head up to Timber Canyon, there are many moments that make you want to stop and pause to take it all in.
Here you can experience Carol of the Trees - a huge tree with all kinds of lights and effects choreographed to music. I think it lasts for about 10 minutes and seems to run every 15 minutes.
You can click through this to see a short shaky video clip of the show. My daughter and I thought the Tetris scene was the best but I didn't get a clip of it.
This is a great new addition since our last trip.
We love campfires and S'mores.
Speaking of camping, if you don't know what to get me for Christmas, this would work.
Pay no attention to the sign. It is misleading.
So to wrap up, our nighttime ERT on Thunderhead (and Wild Eagle) welcomed some rain. Welcomed, you ask? Our first few rides were dry, but after the rain started, Thunderhead was wicked insane fast. It reminded me why Thunderhead remains in my top 5 favorite wooden coasters. The rain was snow in the higher elevations, making for an extremely scenic trip for our first hour driving back home.
Thank you, Dollywood, and ACE, for putting on the event. We have a great time.