USA 2014 Blog Day 16
Hi folks, well just a quick update on the car ... we managed to speak to someone from Dollar at Newark Airport who confirmed that they should have swapped out our car at Knoxville. Apparently the oil has to be changed every 3000 miles and was changed when we picked it up, but as we have done so much driving it needs to be changed again. They advised we should be good for another 1000 miles but not to let the mileage go over 8000 miles. We checked this evening and we are on 7675 miles so need to contact Newark again for them to arrange for it to be swapped out somewhere nearby, so we are going to try and arrange the swap in Kentucky tomorrow as this is near the airport and they will arrange to have another car waiting for us - fingers crossed!
Well today we went to Dollywood which is nestled in the Smoky Mountains, Tennessee. We have visited this park once before 10 years ago, but they have since installed 3 new coasters. The rides opened at 10am and by 11am we had ticked off all the coasters, as although the park was busy there were no queues for the rides. As for the 3 new coaters: Mystery Mine – has to be the most boring version of this ride type we have ridden, and it wasn’t even as good as the small one at Galveston Pier. Wild Eagle – much better than the flying coaster at Six Flags Great America, with a lovely first drop and nice elements taken at a decent speed. FireChaser Express – A dual launched (forward & backward) family coaster which it quite tame but the kids love it!
We also tackled the 3 water rides in the park today to cool off after lunch, and got drenched as we got stuck under a waterfall waiting to get off the rapids - all good fun. During the afternoon all the rides closed down as there was a lightning strike in the surrounding area (even though it was hot & sunny and not raining) and the park have to wait 20mins after the last strike before they will re-open the rides, and even then one of the ride ops has to test ride them first – strange operating policy if you ask us. Unusually many of the park staff are retired or semi-retired so there are a fair few older ride ops. One of them we spoke to today came from Hucknall in Nottingham not far from us, but now lives there as a citizen - small world.
We had decided to spend the last 1½ hours on their wooden coaster Thunderhead, but when we got there they announced that due to the parks firework display, they were closing the coaster an hour early at 9pm – DOH! Never mind, we still managed to squeeze in another 4 rides and had the last ride in the front seat with only 1 girl on the train with us – and we had been in the park for 12 hours! This was a great day and the park is probably one of the most scenic and best themed parks we have been to, although we would probably wait for another major coaster to be installed before going there again.