Every trip has highlights and low points, regardless of who you travel with. When you vacation with family? The ups and downs always seem to be exaggerated. During my two and a half week road trip, there were some wonderful moments that my family and I will remember forever....and there were experiences that will become a part of family folklore forever. (Like a suitcase falling on my dad and tearing up his leg. Or both of my parents coming down with colds mid-way through the trip.) So, in a way, even the downs were pretty darn memorable.
The trip consisted of a full day drive to Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, then a day driving to Atlanta (where we stopped at the World of Coke), and another day to Orlando, Florida. Once there, we spent a day at SeaWorld, and two days at Universal. After that, it was ten magical days at Walt Disney World, and a three day drive home, with stops in South Carolina and Baltimore. Yes, this was certainly a busy vacation! Here are some of my travel pictures and stories.....
It has always been my dream to visit Dollywood. Though, I never really thought it would happen. Quite frankly, it was unlikely that I would ever find myself in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. So, when my family started talking about driving to Florida to celebrate my mom's birthday....I pitched the idea of Dollywood. It was on the way. Sort of.
By the time we arrived there, I was desperate to see it all. We only had one day in the theme park, so we were on a tight schedule. Since my brother and dad were not so interested in the Dolly Parton aspect, we separated for most of the day. My mom and I toured the museum (which was amazing. There was every Dolly award, costume, and artifact in there ever), shopped, and went to some of the live shows.
Unfortunately, the weather was not great. It rained on and off for the afternoon and many of the rides were shut down. But overall, it was a fantastic experience. I loved Dollywood and would absolutely like to spend more time there. The best parts? Shopping in Dolly's Closet, checking out the Chasing Rainbows museum, and seeing the My People show - which starred members of Dolly Parton's family.
The World of Coke
After leaving Tennessee, we drove to Atlanta. We weren't there for very long (just an afternoon) so there wasn't a ton of time to see much. However, we made time to stop at the World of Coke. It was a lot of fun there. We got to see a lot of old Coca-Cola memorabilia, meet the mascot, head into the vault that carries the secret recipe, and even try out Coke products from around the world. Then we went into the gift shop and spent some time looking at all of the awesome Coke merchandise. Before heading back to the hotel for the night, we stopped off a Johnny Rockets for a delicious meal.
The next day, we finished the drive to Orlando. And the day after that was dedicated to SeaWorld. My brother and Dad ended up driving to another attraction, so it was just my mom and I checking out the park. It was actually a lot of fun! I'd never been to SeaWorld Orlando so it was definitely exciting. The day started out sunny and beautiful but an hour or so into it....the rain began. It poured non-stop for the remainder of our time there. They actually wound up closing the park an hour early because it was so bad. But thankfully, my mom and I were able to see all of the shows (sea lions, dolphins, and whales), tour the aquarium, and even do a little shopping.
I'll admit. I was very excited to visit Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. I'd never been to a Universal Studios park before and I am a massive fan of minions, Harry Potter, and Dr. Seuss. By all accounts, the next two days should have been amazing. Honestly? They were okay. My mom was not impressed with the parks and ended up leaving early both days. The weather was horrible again and it poured on and off. But we still managed to make the most of it.
The actual Universal Studios park didn't have a ton in it. I expected it to be a lot bigger. More like Disney! But I did like the minion ride, the ET ride (my favourite), and the Harry Potter section. The Simpsons area was really cool and well done - but smaller than I expected. The next day, we went to Islands of Adventure. I definitely preferred this park. The cartoon sections were great and the Harry Potter ride in the castle was fantastic. Overall, I liked Universal, but I don't know that I would plan a trip to go back again.
So, there you have it! Part one of my road trip blog post. My next one will be all about my time in Walt Disney World. Stay tuned....
Have you done any travelling this summer?