Thursday, June 12, 2014

Dollywood Cabins Review and Tips 2014

beary special dollywood cabin pigeon forgeA fun alternative to staying in a motel or hotel in Pigeon Forge is to stay in a luxury cabin or chalet. If you’re planning on spending a day or more at Dollywood I highly recommend staying in the Dollywood Cabins. They’re a bit pricey and you need to book well in advance but it is totally worth it. Very good value and one of the best places I’ve ever stayed. Perks include being able to go to Dollywood everyday you have the cabin reserved for the price of a single day ticket. Dollywood cabin guests also get free parking in one of the closest lots to the park entrance as well as other discounts.
Staying in a cabin could really take your vacation to the next level and make it a truly memorable experience. They’re especially great for honeymoons or when traveling with friends or family.  The mountain views are incredible, especially at sunset while soaking in the private hot tubs on the cabin’s decks. Don't try to cram in too much each day. The whole point of renting a cabin is being able to lounge in your pajamas on the deck, watch a spectacular sunset, and cozy up by the fire. You may not want to leave the cabin at all - and that's perfectly fine

The cost per night might be prohibitively expensive for some families on their own but a group of four or more can rent a nicer cabin with more amenities for a lower price per couple. Save money by brining your own food instead of eating out every night. If you’re staying with friends it could be fun to have each couple plan and cook one nightly meal.

If you’re thinking about staying in a cabin and are looking at prices, be aware of the potential “hidden” fees. If the cabin has a hot tub (and most do) there could be an additional hot tub fee that is not considered as part of the nightly rate. During the busy summer season nearly every cabin will require your stay duration to be at least two nights and may charge a reservation fee. Then there are state and Sevier County taxes to potentially pay as well. So just be warned when you see that totally awesome Groupon deal that looks too good to be true, be sure to read all the fine print so you aren’t caught by any unexpected fees.
dollywood cabins review
Tip: Sometimes you can take advantage of the fact the cabins require guests to stay more than one night. For example, let’s say you’ve booked Thursday through Saturday night, checking out Sunday morning and another couple booked the same cabin beginning Monday evening. This means Sunday night is unfilled but another guest can’t book it because it’s only available one night. The cabin company would rather have the cabin filled than sitting empty a night so you now have the opportunity to extend your stay by a night or two for a steep discount, at least 50% off if not more!

Learn more tips like these by reading Things to Do in the Smokies with Kids.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Top 50 Most Terrifying Roller Coasters - 45. Furius Baco

Known for: World's only launched wingrider
Park: Port Adventura
Location: Spain
Type: Steel
Opened: 2007
Designer/Manufacturer: Intamin AG
Height (ft.): 46
Speed (mph): 83.9
Inversions: 1

Furius Baco was the world’s first wing coaster where the seats are cantilevered off the side of the train instead of being on top of or below the rails allowing passenger’s feet to dangle freely. What makes Furius Baco even more unique is it’s the world’s only launched wing coaster, and while many other launched rides typically launch immediately into a giant hill, Furius Baco races off of the launch track and dips down into a trench. Because the wingspan of the vehicles is so wide the outside seats are far away from the center of gravity of the trains and often result in a rough and bumpy ride. This could be one of the reasons why Furius Baco has been the only wing-rider with stationary seats sold and manufactured by Intamin. The wing-rider market is dominated now by B&M who appears to have solved the roughness problem.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Top 50 Most Terrifying Roller Coasters - 46. The Bat

Known for: World's first suspended coaster
Park: Kings Island
Location: United States
Type: Steel
Opened: 1993
Designer/Manufacturer: Arrow Dynamics
Height (ft.): 78
Drop (ft.): 70
Speed (mph): 51

One of the most notorious rides in roller coaster history is The Bat at Kings Island. It was the first ever suspended roller coaster where the cars hang below the rails and are free to swing freely from side to side. The Bat only operated sporadically between 1981 and 1983 before being dismantled in 1985. Over the years, the legend of the Bat has grown due to the outrageous rumors about why the ride was destroyed and because so few people were able to ride it. Contrary to many wild stories, the Bat never killed or even injured a rider. Poor engineering of the trains, track, and structure is what really lead to the ride’s demise. A year after the Bat was removed the Vortex looping coaster was erected in the Bat’s place and actually reused the station. Concrete footers from the Bat can still be seen beneath the Vortex’s structure. The suspended roller coaster returned to Kings Island in 1993 with the edition of Top Gun (renamed Flight Deck and later re-themed to the Bat). If you were fortunate enough to ride the original Bat consider yourself lucky!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Ultimate Book About the Harry Potter Ride

Today I want to share with you the latest book on my reading list: Secrets of the Forbidden Journey.  It’s an in depth look at how the Harry Potter ride at Universal's Island of Adventure works! Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is the most technologically advanced ride on the planet. 

It uses robotic arms that travel along a transport fixed to a track (called a RoboCoaster) and synchronizes with other moving platforms and animatronics.  

This book gives a detailed walkthrough of the ride, talks about the history of how it came to be, then dives into details about the engineering and technology behind it. This also includes how it uses hologram projectors and dome screens on carousels. 

It also talks about a few of the effects that were planned but didn’t make it to the final ride, like the dragon actually breathing fire and a more fearsome Whomping Willow tree. f you’re interested in how rides work or want to pursue a career in the theme park industry I recommend checking this book out. Available on