Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Dollywood Presents A Smoky Mountain Christmas

The holidays aren’t complete without a visit to Dollywood during A Smoky Mountain Christmas.  From November 8, 2014, through January 3, 2015, you can experience a winter wonderland filled with four million holiday lights and spectacular holiday performances.  With the purchase of Dollywood tickets you also gain access to a full line-up of Christmas shows, which is the highlight of the event for me.    


Dollywood’s A Christmas Carol, an engaging adaptation of the Dickens Classic, is my top show choice.  Relatively new to the Dollywood holiday show schedule, the production entertains with a talented 15-member cast, charming Victorian scenery and period costumes and fully orchestrated musical tracks emphasizing themes of redemption.  The inspiring show puts a new twist on the visits of three spirits to Ebenezer Scrooge, to the delight of audiences.  Arrive at the Showstreet Theater 20 minutes or more before showtime to get the best seats. 
 
Of course, there’s plenty more to see and do at Dollywood Pigeon Forge during Christmas.  Both the Carol of the Trees and Parade of Lights dazzle the senses.  Thousands of lights synchronize with holiday music to transform Rivertown Lake into a seasonal symphony.  The Parade of Lights marches through the park nightly with Christmas floats adorned with bright lights bring Christmas cheer to the park.   

If you can, make time for at least two more shows – Christmas in the Smokies and O’ Holy Night.  Centered on tradition, Christmas in the Smokies is a downhome country Christmas with classic songs performed celebrating the joy of the season.  O’ Holy Night brings the meaning of the season to the spotlight.  Follow as three shepherds are guided by a star and a little girl looks for an angel.   

Santa’s Workshop is also a favorite of mine.  The larger-than-life toys, 18-foot tall Christmas tree and Santa’s friendly helpers never fail to bring out the kid in me.  Plus, you can get your photo taken with Santa for a cute holiday keepsake. 
Make time out of your visit to do a little holiday shopping, too.  Unique treasures can be found throughout the craftsmen-based stores.  Don’t want to carry your purchases around the park?  No problem. You can choose parcel pick-up and collect your packages at the exit shop when your day of fun is done. 

As long as weather cooperates, rides and attractions will be open.  Soar through the skies on Wild Eagle, feel the rush of Thunderhead and then go for a spin on Dizzy Disk.  It may be a bit chilly but the thrill is worth it! 

Before leaving the park you can also visit the Robert F. Thomas Chapel.  The one-room country church, outfitted with simple wooden pews and hardwood floors, is a special place to reflect on Christmas.  If you’re at the park on Sundays worship services are held at 5:30pm during Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival.

Reserve your day at Dollywood.  You’ll experience a true Smoky Mountain Christmas full of merriment, festive cheer and plenty of memory-making. 

Find out more about visiting Dollywood »
Ashley is Reserve Direct's travel expert, visiting Pigeon Forge to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Special Events a Highlight of Pigeon Forge Winterfest

Pigeon Forge Winterfest welcomes the winter season with celebrations hosted throughout the Smoky Mountains.  Special events and unique things to do are planned, and holiday decorations can be found throughout Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, and Sevierville. Winterfest begins November 11, 2014, and lasts through February 28, 2015.

Some of the events scheduled include during Winterfest include:
  • Shadrack's Christmas Wonderland (November 7, 2014 - January 4, 2015) is a festive treat for the senses known as the “world’s largest drive-through, fully synchronized, LED Christmas light and music show."
  • Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas (November 8, 2014 - January 3, 2015) features seasonal shows that include Dollywood’s A Christmas Carol and a dazzling four million holiday lights.
  • See five million shining lights while you're on a Winterfest Trolley Tour of Lights (November 11, 2014 - January 9, 2015. The heated, enclosed trolley comes complete with a personal tour guide who will share stories about Pigeon Forge's history and famous Winterfest displays.
  • A gigantic fireworks display is set for November 27 at the Titanic Museum Attraction, plus watch snow fall from the ship’s bow every Saturday from Thanksgiving weekend through December.
  • Gatlinburg will welcome the arrival of 2015 in unique style with its 27th Annual New Year’s Eve Ball Drop and Fireworks Show (December 31, 2014).  At the stroke of midnight on January 1, 2015, fireworks will blast off the rooftop of the 400-foot tall Space Needle with special music choreographed for the fireworks show.
  • Wilderness Wildlife Week (January 24-31, 2015) is a city-sponsored week of special programs about Great Smoky Mountains National Park and numerous other outdoor topics.
  • Saddle Up (February 18-22, 2015) is a city-sponsored celebration of cowboy poetry, western music and the American West, including entertainers Waddie Mitchell, the Quebe Sisters Band and Wylie & the Wild West.
Plan a Pigeon Forge vacation to experience Winterfest in the Smokies. 

Find out more about visiting special events in Pigeon Forge »
Ashley is Reserve Direct's travel expert, visiting Pigeon Forge to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Pigeon Forge Winterfest Kick-Off Lights Up the Holiday Season

Ready to embrace the holiday season? Of course you are! Join Pigeon Forge as they welcome the holiday season to the Smoky Mountains. On November 11, 2014, two exciting events are planned – the 4th annual Salute to Veterans Parade and the kickoff to the Winterfest. Both events are expected to draw large crowds so scout out your parade spot now and get ready to witness one of the premier Christmas displays in the Smoky Mountains.

Pigeon Forge honors veterans during the 3rd annual Salute to Veterans Parade. Featuring celebratory bands, seasonal floats and incredible entertainers marching into the heart of Pigeon Forge, it’s a true patriotic salute to our nation’s heroes. The parade will begin at 4:30 PM at Traffic Light #10 and travel north along the Parkway to Traffic Light #7, and wrap up around 5pm at Patriot Park, leading into the Winterfest Kick-off Ceremony.

After the parade, the 25th annual Winterfest will officially begin. The ceremony will take place at the intersection of River Road and Old Mill Avenue, at the bridge near the Old Mill restaurants, home to one of the newest and largest Winterfest light displays. In addition to a keynote speech, Winterfest Kick-Off visitors will enjoy a variety of seasonal delights.

Festivities planned for Winterfest include:
  • Kids' Play Area
  • Food Vendors
  • Pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus
  • Musical Entertainment
The evening will close with the ceremonial lighting of Winterfest's more than 5 million lights, followed by a dazzling fireworks display. In celebration of the 25th anniversary of Winterfest, even more lights and holiday displays have been added as well as many local businesses dressing up their holiday décor for an impressive showcase of holiday charm.

After the lighting ceremony, hop aboard the Trolley Tour of Lights. For one night only, the ride is free of charge as part of the kick-off events. It’s a fantastic way to see the bright, seasonal spectacles of Winterfest.

The kickoff is just the beginning. Winterfest runs through February 28, 2015 so there will be plenty of time to see all the lights, take a ride on the Trolley Tour of Lights, and attend special events like Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland, Wilderness Wildlife Week, and Saddle Up.

Find out more about Christmas in Pigeon Forge »
Ashley is Reserve Direct's travel expert, visiting Pigeon Forge to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Shadrack's Christmas Wonderland a Holiday Tradition in Tennessee

It’s never too early to start planning your Pigeon Forge holiday getaway. The festive traditions of the Smoky Mountains include Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland, an amazing light display sure to put you in the holiday spirit. Known as the “world’s largest drive-through, fully synchronized, LED Christmas light and music show”, this show is a highlight of the Christmas season. In Pigeon Forge, Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland is located at the Tennessee Smokies Baseball Stadium at 3540 Line Drive. The light display is open from November 7, 2014 – January 4, 2015 from dusk to 10pm every night (later on weekends).

Hundreds of thousands of twinkling lights dance in unison with charming Christmas carols to create a dazzling light spectacle you won’t find anywhere else in Tennessee. All of the programming is done by in-house Shadrack Team specialists and all the elements are custom made featuring 100% energy efficient LED lights throughout the shows for an environmentally friendly experience. Take a look at this preview to see what's in store:


The event includes Santa’s Village, which features a petting zoo, pony and camel rides, photos with Santa, a Christmas tree lot, and festive refreshments like hot cocoa, apple cider, funnel cakes, Christmas cookies and kettle corn.
Ticket information is as follows:
Car/Family Van:  $20.00 Tax Included
Activity Van, Limo, Mini Bus: $30 Tax Included
Tour/School Bus: $75.00 Tax Included

Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland is the most decorated and honored Christmas light show in the United States. It has received numerous awards and honors. This holiday season, experience the magic of Christmas in Sevierville.

Find out more about visiting Pigeon Forge during the Christmas season »
Ashley is Reserve Direct's travel expert, visiting Pigeon Forge to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Dollywood Garners Four Golden Ticket Awards

Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee recently racked up four awards at the Golden Ticket Awards.  The awards are presented annually to the “Best of the Best” in the amusement industry.  Eager to see how your favorite Pigeon Forge theme park rated? Read on.

Dollywood won the following Golden Ticket Awards:
  • Friendliest Park
  • Best Christmas Event for Smoky Mountain Christmas
  • Best Food
  • Best Shows

Dollywood won Best Food, Friendliest Park, Best Shows and Best Christmas Event in 2013 as well. 
Calculated from an international poll conducted by Amusement Today, the Golden Ticket Awards are the results of a detailed survey is sent to a database of experienced and well-traveled amusement park fans around the world – in balanced geographical regions – asking them to rate the “bests” in 25 categories.  They are the equivalent of the Academy Awards for the amusement industry.  Awards are presented to the “Best of the Best” in the amusement industry in such categories as “amusement parks,” “roller coasters,” “water rides,” “shows” and “food.”

Let us know what you think.  Which Dollywood show is your favorite?  Name the food you love to eat at the park.  And, share with us why Smoky Mountain Christmas is the best theme park Christmas event.

Find out more about visiting Dollywood »
Ashley is Reserve Direct's travel expert, visiting Pigeon Forge to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Pigeon Forge Events: November 2014

Check out these Pigeon Forge events planned for November 2014:

November 1 – January 31: Shadrack's Christmas Wonderland
Shadrack's Watersports and RV presents their award winning largest drive-through synchronized lights and music display. Enjoy this display from the warmth and comfort of your own car. In addition, enjoy Santa's Village, which includes a petting zoo with pony and camel rides, photos with Santa and lots of goodies to eat. The fun continues with Santa's train, an inflatable slide, a trampoline bungee jump and a ferris wheel. Located at Smokies Stadium in Kodak, Tennessee.

November 11 – February 27:  Pigeon Forge Winterfest
Pigeon Forge joins Gatlinburg, Sevierville, and the rest of the Smokies as the town turns into a winter wonderland. Millions of lights, decorations, special events, music and food make Pigeon Forge an amazing destination during the winter months.
November 11:  Winterfest Kickoff
The kickoff begins with the Salute to Veterans Parade and ends at Patriot Park with live entertainment and the ceremonial lighting of the Pigeon Forge Winterfest displays.


November 11– February 9:  Winterfest Trolley Tour of Lights
Take a tour of all the Winterfest lights and displays in a heated trolley. Tour begins and ends at Patriot Park with multiple tours nightly.
November 8– January 3:  Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas
Visit Dollywood during the holidays and see millions of lights, special Christmas shows, and delicious holiday meals.


November 27:  Thanksgiving at The Old Mill
The Old Mill Restaurant and the Pottery House Café & Grille will be open on Thanksgiving Day serving a family style traditional feast. Reservations are not accepted.
November 27:  Fireworks at the Titanic Museum
The Titanic Museum is planning a special fireworks display at 7:00pm to celebrate the lives and legacies of the ship’s passengers, crew, and rescuers.


November 27 – December 28: Titanic’s Holiday Snow Wonderland
Starting on Thanksgiving evening and every Saturday in December, you'll be able to experience falling snow from right off the bow of the ship. Plus, the interior of the ship is decorated in Edwardian-period holiday regalia and lights.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Pigeon Forge Dinner Shows Serve Up Entertainment

Dixie Stampede
Pigeon Forge dinner shows combine a night of entertainment with a delicious meal for a one-of-a-kind experience. From toe-tapping music shows to spirited stampedes and lumberjack feuds, dinner shows in Pigeon Forge TN are engaging productions the whole family will enjoy. Choose a dinner show to enjoy on your Pigeon Forge vacation for a fun night out in the Smokies.

A few of the best Pigeon Forge dinner shows are:

Dixie Stampede Dixie Stampede dazzles guests with a cast of talented performers and a team of skilled riders who lead the show’s 32 magnificent horses through barrel races and other various tricks, all in the name of Dixie Stampede’s friendly rivalry and competition between the North and South sides of the arena.  While watching the action packed shows, guests dine on a delicious feast of chicken, barbeque pork loin, creamy vegetable soup, corn on the cob, homemade biscuit and flaky apple pastry for dessert.
Lumberjack Feud Join Lumberjack Feud for an unforgettable experience as you journey back in time to the creation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where two logging families compete for the remaining timber before the park opens.  You’ll choose a side, Dawsons or McGraws, then cheer on your lumberjack family to victory! The competition features real, ESPN Lumberjacks, Lumberjills, and world champion Timberdogs.  While watching the show, dine on chicken breast, pork loin, mashed potatoes, green beans, macaroni and cheese, dinner rolls and a tasty applejack fritter for dessert.

Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Show: This rough and tumble show tries to settle the long-standing feud between the Hatfield and McCoys.  Help these two legendary families settle their differences mountain-style with showdowns including dancing, dueling banjos and fiddles, yodeling, action-packed stunts and feats of strength.  Feast on an all-you-can eat meal of fried chicken, barbeque pork, creamy soup, homemade bread, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, coleslaw and Granny’s famous dessert. 

Smith Family Dinner Show: An incredible mix of classic country, traditional bluegrass, heartfelt gospel, good time rock ‘n roll, and family friendly comedy make the Smith Family Dinner Show one of the best in the Smokies.  As a guest of the show, you’ll dine on a buffet dinner.  The menu includes friend chicken tenders, chicken and dumplings, meatloaf and other signature southern dishes.   

Murder Mystery Dinner Show: Dine on a dinner of soup, savory pork tenderloin, oven-roasted chicken quarter, sauteed green beans, homemade mashed potatoes, dinner roll, and a delicious cheesecake all while trying to solve the murder mystery.  The Murder Mystery Dinner Show performs three different whodunit show, alternating nightly. There’s always a murder, though, and you’re in charge of solving the crime!

When you reserve your Pigeon Forge dinner show tickets with Reserve Pigeon Forge you get the best deals on these popular productions.

Find out more about Pigeon Forge show »
Ashley is Reserve Direct's travel expert, visiting Pigeon Forge to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Best Fall Hikes in the Smoky Mountains

October is one of the most scenic times of year to hike in the Smokies.  The bright colors of fall are painted across mountains and valleys, creating a setting that beckons one to explore.  With over 500,000 acres comprising the Great Smoky Mountains National Park choosing where to hike and sightsee can be a bit overwhelming.  Use our helpful list of the best fall hikes in the Smoky Mountains to get a head start on your journey. 

We recommend these hikes to see fall foliage:
Albright Grove Loop Trail: Trail Location – Cosby; Distance – 7 miles roundtrip; Difficulty – Strenuous
An excellent example of a hardwood forest, Albright Grove is one of the most diverse forests in America. Hiking here during the fall offers a rich blend of different colors and foliage. Plus, come of the oldest and tallest trees in the Smokies are found along the way.

Alum Cave Trail: Trail Location – Gatlinburg; Distance – 5 miles roundtrip; Difficulty – Moderately Strenuous
With an elevation of almost 5,000 feet, Alum Cave Trail offers outstanding views of the Smoky Mountains. Sweeping views of Little Duck Hawk Ridge to the west and Myrtle Point to the Northeast give hikers quite the reward.

Appalachian Trail:  Trail Location – Clingmans Dome or Newfound Gap Road; Distance – Varies; Difficulty – Moderate
I recommend hiking the 7.5 mile section of the Appalachian Trail located from Clingman's Dome to Newfound Gap.  Canvassed with color, the peaks and valleys you pass through are a true highlight this time of year.

Baskins Creek Falls: Trail Location – Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail; Distance – 3 miles roundtrip; Difficulty – Easy
Hike to Baskins Creek Falls to enjoy a canopy of fall foliage complemented by a two-tiered, 40 foot waterfall.

Little River Trail: Trail location – Elkmont; Distance – 4.9 miles roundtrip; Difficulty – Moderate
History and outdoor beauty combine at the Little River Trail. The entire length of the trail hugs a river of the same name, with a slow elevation gain making it an easy climb.

Mt. Cammerer: Trail Location – Cosby; Distance – 12 miles roundtrip; Difficulty – Strenuous
If you’re up for a challenge the 12 mile roundtrip hike to the summit of Mt. Cammerer is a fantastic fall hike. The summit offers exceptional views of peaks and valleys; Some say they’re the best in the National Park.

Old Settlers Trail: Trail Location – Greenbrier; Distance – 17 miles one way; Difficulty – Moderate
Old homesteads and a diverse collection of flora and fauna make the Old Settlers Trail a unique fall hike.

Porters Creek Trail: Trail Location – Greenbrier; Distance – 4 miles roundtrip; Difficulty – Moderate
A variety of scenery, including historic sites, waterfalls and a meandering stream, create an easy yet rewarding Smoky Mountain hike.

Sugarland Mountain Trail:  Trail Location – Clingmans Dome Road; Distance – 7 miles roundtrip; Difficulty – Moderate
The Sugarland Mountain Trail follows the ridge between Clingmans Dome and Little River Road. Peaceful and pristine, the forest here features a wonderful walk through the bright leaves of fall.

Get outside this autumn and see the splendor of Mother Nature.  The entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is just minutes away from Pigeon Forge, so you can easily access all of the hikes listed above. 

Find out more about viewing fall colors in the Smokies »
Ashley is Reserve Direct's travel expert, visiting Pigeon Forge to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Things To Do at Biltmore Estate this Fall

Visiting Biltmore Estate is a grand adventure any time of year but is especially beautiful during fall.  The Blue Ridge Mountains are awash in autumnal color creating the perfect backdrop for this historical attraction.  Even better, there are fun events to take part in as well as outdoor activities placing you in the midst of fall in Asheville, North Carolina.  Explore these things to do at Biltmore Estate this Fall. 

Photo Credit: Biltmore Estate
 
There are plenty of things to do at Biltmore Estate any time of year.  Outdoor offering include:
  • Float Trips
  • Fly-Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Segway Tours

At Biltmore, it’s not only the foliage that gets the fall color treatment.  Biltmore’s Fall Gardens are some of the most extensive displays in the Southeast. The landscaping teams nurture thousands of mums, which bloom in shades of purple and gold and line the estate’s Walled Gardens.  At the Shrub Garden guests will find leaves colored with vibrant yellows and reds, while dogwoods and redwoods located throughout the estate are canvassed in shades of orange.  Brilliant fall color can be seen September through November, although October seems to be prime time for best viewing.

Be sure to bring your camera to capture the color of Biltmore Estate during fall.  Some of the best fall photo spots include:
  • The Rooftop of Biltmore House
  • Statue of Diana
  • The Loggia
  • Top of the Rampe Douce
  • South Terrace Tea House
Reserve any on these activities to make the most of your time at Biltmore during autumn.  The Estate has more to explore, though.  In addition to the elegant and architectural features of the home itself, guests will find gardens in bloom, gorgeous vistas and fine grounds awaiting their discovery.  Make time for Antler Hill Village, too.  Several savory restaurants, a winery and craft demonstrations. 

When you’re in Pigeon Forge you can easily access Biltmore Estate as it’s only about 100 miles away.  Make the trip and you’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking attraction and a scenic mountain drive along the way.    

Find out more about visiting Biltmore Estate »
Ashley is Reserve Direct's travel expert, visiting Pigeon Forge to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Six Money Saving Pigeon Forge Tips

Are you trying to plan a Pigeon Forge vacation, but don’t want to break the bank doing so?  In the Smoky Mountains you can have a budget-friendly getaway where you won’t have to worry about spending big bucks in order to have a grand time.  Not only is the area affordable, it also boasts several ways to save while you play. 

Follow our money saving Pigeon Forge tips to enjoy the best of the Smokies while keeping your budget in check.
Sign up for Getaways Emails:  Reserve Pigeon Forge sends a monthly email featuring ways to save in the Smokies.  You’ll see the latest deals on shows, attractions and hotels.  Plus, you’ll be the first to know when special discounts and promotional codes are available.  Sign up for Getaways Emails here.

Take Advantage of Direct Deals:  Did you know there is almost $1,000 worth of savings on Reserve Pigeon Forge?  Use our Direct Deals page to keep track of the best prices for everything from zipline attractions to entertaining shows and hotels deals.
Visit Dollywood Twice for the Same Price:  If you arrive at Dollywood after 3pm (after 6pm during Smoky Mountain Christmas), you can enter the park the next day free of charge.  Make the most of your time at the Pigeon Forge theme park with this excellent offer!

Ride the Trolley:  Save your gas, park the car and ride the Pigeon Forge Trolley.  The trolleys are an easy and affordable way to get around the city.  Plus, you can connect to Sevierville and Gatlinburg so you can explore all the Smoky Mountains have to offer.  All day ride passes are only $2.50, while one-way fares range from 50-75 cents.
Book a Vacation Package:  Bundle you hotel stay with your attraction passes and Pigeon Forge show tickets and you’re sure to save. Take a look at the Pigeon Forge vacation packages, choose one that fits your vacation needs and start your savings!

Follow Reserve Pigeon Forge:  Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up-to-date on the latest savings, customer contests and special social media discounts.  You never know when a flash savings special might happen!

Take advantage of these free things to do in Pigeon Forge »
Ashley is Reserve Direct's travel expert, visiting Pigeon Forge to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.