My first memories of going to a theme park was a little place outside of Chattanooga named Lake Wenapesauka (or some such) it may still be there…I loved that place they had a Zoltan machine and like that one baby Tom Hanks consulted in “Big” and Dragon Quest (Dirk the Daring rocked) and that was just the ARCADE! My favorite ride was called the Black Hole, a big cylinder where you were spun around until you were glued to the wall when the bottom dropped out. I loved it, I think its the only ride where I threw up when I was a kid.
Yesterday, I experienced that same stomach-churning thrill on my first visit to Dollywood in several years. I remember being a kid and going to Silver Dollar City. It’s the same place, partially owned by the same people, but it’s personality is so influenced by Dolly Parton as to be a wonderful parody of theme parks. Instead of the looney tunes or a Disney cadre, heroes of 80s country music are the cartoon characters you expect to see. It’s been there more than 25 years, and it has created what we now know as Sevierville and Pigeon Forge.
My pal Lee and I had to try all the “non-wood” rollercoasters but the highlight for me, was a newer ride called The Barnstormer. A simple swing (supposedly) where ya strap in and go back and forth. Well for some reason this was the most thrilling thing I’ve experienced in my recent memory.
If I could have taken video of the experience I’m sure it would have to have had some explicatives deleted. I was “greenish” when I finished, according to Lee’s wife Kristi. A good green, indeed.
Then we ate. Hoo boy…
If you’d like to live within a few easy miles from Dollywood, join me at http://www.robsellsknoxville.com