Saturday, November 22, 2008

Dollywood Parade of Lights, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg

We get many questions this time of the year about Dollywood and the Parade of Lights. People want to know where to stay, how far Pigeon Forge fis rom Gatlinburg, does Dollywood still have free passes and discounted tickets, what are the hours, etc. We created this site to hopefully make your trip easier and more enjoyable.

If you can imagine the view of over 4 million lights on display in the park you will understand why so many families make this an annual vacation. The Smokey Mountain Christmas experience will astonish and will truly get you in the Christmas spirit. Here is the complete schedule of events and see the information below for more tips and advise.

Discount Tickets - Unfortunately, Dollywood no longer brokers discount tickets to third party businesses. Some of the fast food chains have $5 off coupons from time to time so pay attention when your driving into town and look for advertising. Personally we recommend that people purchase tickets online before reaching the park to save time. Here is the link for Dollywood Tickets

Parking - You can choose to park at Dollywood and still walk for $6 or you can catch the trolley for around 50 cents. The trolley will drop you off at the front gate. Here is a link for the Pigeon Forge Trolley.

Clothing - Just because it is comfortable during the day doesn't mean it will be comfortable at night. Significant temperature changes are common in the mountains so please make sure you check the weather forecast before hand. Instead of wearing heavy clothing plan to dress in layers.

Food and Beverages- You are not allowed to bring food or drinks into Dollyword, but water is provided for free in the park at fountains and at restaurants. As with any theme park, the food can be expensive so if you eat before you arrive you can save money.

Cabin Rentals- There are many hotels and condos for rent in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, but this time of the year so much nicer sitting next to the fireplace in a nice cabin. Please contact CabinsUSA or Eden Crest Vacation Properties

Trip Planning for Your New Years Eve Vacation at Disney World

While spending New Year's Eve at Walt Disney World Theme can be a once in a lifetime experience, it can also be a unpleasant memory unless you do a little planning. These tips will help ensure that you enjoy your vacation and make your trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida a once in a life time vacation. Please keep the following tips in mind.

  • Arrive early - You need to arrive at the Walt Disney World Theme Park as early as possible and plan on spending the entire day. By arriving early you have the benefit of securing a fast pass. They will not last long and you can expect lines to be over an hour long for some rides. It is recommended that you rent a locker for the day to store extra clothing instead of carrying it around all day.

  • If the park reaches capacity you will not be allowed admittance. While you will be allowed into one of the parks, it may not be the park you wanted. This is another reason to arrive early. It happens every year, so make sure you're aware of it.

A list of events, hours of operations, and a link to each Disney's theme parks main site is listed below.

IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” at 7:40 p.m. and 11:50 p.m.
Open from 8 a.m. and close at 1 a.m.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Fantasmic!” at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m.
“rock on” with live performances by “Mulch, Sweat and Shears,”
“Lights, Camera, Happy New Year” fireworks show at 11:50 p.m.
Open from 9 a.m. until midnight on December 31.

Magic Kingdom
“Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade” will set the park aglow at at noon and 3 p.m., “SpectroMagic” parade at 7 and 10:30 p.m
“Holiday Wishes” fireworks spectacular at 8:30 p.m.
“Fantasy in the Sky” fireworks at 11:50 p.m.
Open from 8 a.m. until 1 a.m.

Disney's Animal Kingdom Park
Open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on December 31.
“Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade” at 3:45 p.m.

Mountain Property and Residentail Communities in Western North Carolina

Not only is Western North Carolina known for the beautiful mountain property and ski resorts, but also for its luxury resort residential communities such as the The Headwaters at Banner Elk, Wilderness Trail, and SweetGrass.

The Headwaters at Banner Elk is an 800 acre master-planned gated community with nature trails, two cold-water lakes, first class clubhouse amenities, two lighted tennis courts, and breathtaking views. The homesites are 1 to 4 acres in size with the majority of the mountain side homes facing South or Southwest and have elevations ranging from 3100 to almost 3900 feet. In addition, Headwaters offers fishing piers and picnic areas around the lakes, indoor and outdoor swimming pools for year round use, and the Farmstand, a community garden complete with private community plots, a gardening room and restrooms. For more information and to view a photo gallery, please visit

Wilderness Trail is located outside the village of Banner Elk and features a Fazio-Robbins designed golf course with elevations over 4500 feet. The community is a member of the Silver Signature Audubon Program and was designed to give you the same sense of feeling you would find in a national park. Most homesites are near or exceed an acre in size and were designed to maximize views. In addition to the Fazio-Robbins designed golf course, Wilderness Trail will feature spa packages and a staffed sports complex with swimming pool, racket sports, and exercise area. For more information and to view their photo gallery, please visit their site at

SweetGrass is a master-planned community featuring a 22 acre lake, native trout stream, and three miles of hiking trails. The social center of the community is the Lake House which is currently under construction and scheduled to be completed in 2009. A Boat House will be available for those wanting to canoe around the lake. There are several parks located onsite, including one that is accessible by canoe. SweetGrass offers Estate Homesites from 1-3 acres, Cottages, Cabins, and Lodge Homes. For more information and about SweetGrass or to schedule a visit, please visit there website

Friday, November 21, 2008

Appalachian Mountain Ski Resort, App Mtn Ski

Those of you that ski or snowboard in the Boone, Banner Elk, or Blowing Rock, area of North Carolina know that there are two things you can rely on at Appalachian Mountain, first is their snowmaking operations, and second is their customer service. Well now they have taken it to another level. App Mountain has recently announced a partnership with Snowshoe Mountain in West Virginia. Season Pass Holders at App Mountain will receive a 50% discount off lift tickets at Snowshoe Mountain. This is the first time we know of that one of the North Carolina Ski Resorts has made efforts to partnership with Snowshoe Mountain.

There will be blackout days during peak seasons. The blackout dates are Dec. 20-Jan. 4, Jan 16-19, Feb. 13-16. Season Passes are still available for singles or family members. Please see information below for pricing.

Single memberships
Adults: $450
Students: $390
Juniors / Seniors: $360

Family Memberships
1st & 2nd member: $685
3rd member: $305
4th and each added member: $205

For more information you can visit Appalachian Ski Mountain by clicking, or contact them at 828-295-7828.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

What's New at Beech Mountain

It has been several years since there has been this much excitement about the opening of Beech Mountain Ski Resort. Beech Mountain has made significant changes this year including the addition of a new Terrain Park, new grooming machines, new management, new tubing run, and a new quad lift. They will continue to offer their weekday special rates for the 2008-2009 season.

They will still offer the beginner friendly Terrain Park, but the new one is designed and built for skiers and snowboarders with intermediate and advanced skill levels. Staff will be onsite to constantly keep the area maintained and safe for skiers and snowboarders alike. The two new Piston Bully 400 grooming machines should also improve the skiing conditions as well. The chairlift servicing the Oz Run has been converted to a quad life to provide guest a more comfortable ride.

For the opening weekend, November 22 and 23rd, they will offer weekday rates. The following week will offer the normal weekday specials; half price adult day tickets on Tuesday, $25 adult day tickets on Wednesday, and ladies day on Thursday.

For more information on Beech Mountain please visit their website.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Skiing and Snowboarding in Boone, North Carolina

It's Ski and Snowboarding Season in North Carolina again.

Sugar Mountain, Beech Mountain, and Appalachian Mountain will all be open for the Thanksgiving Holiday.

Sugar Mountain has already opened and is continuing to open more slopes almost daily. Snowmaking operations are underway at Appalachian Mountain and Beech Mountain and they are scheduled to open Friday and Saturday, respectively.

You can view the snowmaking operations online by webcam on In addition to the snowmaking, snow is forcasted for the weekend. We have listed a few additional bits of information to help make your stay enjoyable. You can also stop by the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce

Weather Report - Rays Weather (the best forcast in the high country)

Beef 'O' Brady's -located in the Wal-Mart Shopping center and a great place to watch football.
Casa Rustica - Italian Restaurant located in Boone, NC

Best Western in Banner Elk - Closest location to Sugar Mountain and Beech Mountain
Hampton Inn in Boone, NC - Near restaurants and ski rental shops
Super 8 Motel in Boone, NC - Near restaurants and ski rental shops

Ski Rentals
1rst Tracks Ski Rental - Good staff and great prices
Have other family member that do not ski? Then check out the Time Outdoors Blog for hiking and photography information in the area.