Our second full day in Pigeon Forge started out on the wrong foot. And if any of you have traveled with small children you may already know that if the day starts out bad, it will probably be like that all day, which was true in our case except for one or two little gems along the way.
We stayed at All Seasons Suites, which was right off of Dollywood Lane. Our hotel room was situated very nicely for a family of 5 on a budget. The hotel was ranked #7 on tripadvisor.com, though now it looks like it's #8. With a brazillion places to stay in the Pigeon Forge area, I really wanted to find a place that was recommended. I had some specifics I needed met and did a lot of research to figure out what kind of place would suit our needs. Some of our needs/wants were:
1. Close proximity to Dollywood
2. A room with a kitchen (or at least a fridge w/ freezer)
3. A separate bedroom
4. Free breakfast
5. A nice pool
And even though I've stayed in Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge at least 15 times, I've usually stayed at the same place, give or take a time or two. I would have loved to stay here again, but the hotel wasn't close to Dollywood and if we had a room with a fridge/freezer we'd be paying like $200 a night. So, hence my research. The place we found met almost all of our needs/wants. The place was a little dated and the bed was VERY firm, but all in all it was a nice place, very clean and it was extremely convenient (Food City was about a half a mile down the road!). That all said, Evan was sleeping in a pack n' play that we moved from room to room depending on whether or not he was taking a nap (bedroom) or was down for the night (living room w/ the kids). Ethan and Mallory shared the pull-out sofa bed. They all did pretty well with the arrangement, though I don't know what I would have done if I didn't bring my noise-maker alarm clock with me for Evan's sake! Evan slept through LOTS of digitized thunderstorms!!!
The night before our trip to Dollywood, Ethan woke up about 4 times throughout the night and the last time I just let him stay in bed with us (around 4am). Ethan is a pretty loud sleeper as well as a roly poly, so needless to say, I didn't go back to sleep. Then Evan woke up at 5am and chose to be up for the day. So, I attempted to transfer Mallory into the bedroom so Evan could be awake without disturbing her. Well, the transfer failed. We were all up at 5:30.
Needless to say, it was a crazy morning. With crazy kids.
We headed off to Dollywood and got there with everyone else who was going to the park that day. Lots of people. Everywhere. And it was hot, though not as hot as going in July or August, I suppose, so I shouldn't complain too much. We swapped out our online-passes to our real season passes once in the park and made a bee-line for the steam train.
Why, you may ask? We had been talking up the steam train to Ethan quite a bit during the days leading up to vacation. Ethan was very excited about riding a steam train. Evan was really tired and I figured it would be a good opportunity for him to nap during the 30-minute train ride and I could sit down while holding him (he's a bigg'un). Patrick suggested we ride in the front so Ethan could see the engine. So, we board with great anticipation for our ride.
Then the whistle blew.
And guess what? Evan didn't like it one bit. Cried. Cried and cried. Like a baby (go figure).
And guess what again? Ethan didn't like it either. He covered his eyes and ears, buried his head in Daddy's chest and was still as a toad playing dead. Who's idea was this to ride in the FRONT? Right next to the whistle? I shouldn't give Patrick a hard time, though, 'cause I thought it was a great idea, too. At first.
And guess what AGAIN? We had to endure the screaming baby and the scared toddler for the entire ride because the nice Mr. Conductor-man wasn't going to stop the train for anyone.
Welcome to Dollywood.
Thankfully the Merry-go-round was a hit.
As well as the flying elephants.
That's all we really had time for, since the kids were tired (from the crazy morning) and hot and sweaty. We had planned to go back the next day, so we didn't mind cutting the afternoon short. We all needed rest!
I took Evan in the pool in the afternoon while the kids slept, after which we headed out to dinner at one of my favorites, Applewood.
The kids were OK, but they just don't like going out to eat, mainly because they are not used to the food, I would say. I usually get "intense", which is a nice way of putting it, when the kids don't eat while we're out. If I learn to iron out my wadded panties, I think I'd have a better time. One day I will, but it will most likely be when all of my children are NOT UNDER THE AGE OF 4!
We did get a picture in front of the gazebo (or "gazoober", as Mallory called it).
Everyone was much happier when we headed back to the hotel per Mallory's PERSISTENT requests. On a side note, she asked to go back to the hotel every time we left the hotel (no joke). She liked the hotel. A lot.
After some pool time, the kids hit the hay. They were pooped.
It was shortly after the kids went to bed when Patrick noticed the rash.