Dollywood, Chasing Rainbows and life on the road.

Dollywood, Chasing Rainbows and life on the road!

So you find yourself driving through Tennessee to see the changing of the seasons, and colors of fall in the mountains. Be sure to schedule a little extra time to stop by and enjoy Dollywood! 

Just inside the gates of Dollywood, you will find the “Chasing Rainbows, The Dolly Parton Story, Museum.” 

Chasing Rainbows, The Dolly Parton Story is nothing short of amazing! Although I believe you could get a guided tour, you will appreciate the flexibility that a self-guided tour affords you.  You could spend days strolling through this museum and still not see all that is there! Believe it or not, I am at a loss for words to describe the treasures you will discover inside. So, you are just going to have to come to Dollywood and experience it for yourself!

To share the results of her decades of dreaming, and to inspire others to follow their own, Dolly created Chasing Rainbows, a state-of-the-art museum featuring interactive and behind-the-scenes collections, stories, and memorabilia from Dolly’s life and career.  
 
See costumes from Dolly’s movie career including 9 to 5 and Straight Talk, as well as many of her lavishly sequined gowns worn during her countless concerts, award shows and special appearances.  An entire case contains Dolly’s many awards, including Grammy, Country Music Association and People’s Choice Awards, as well as plaques commemorating gold and platinum records.  In addition, a touching display features the original handwritten lyrics to some of her biggest hits.
 
Through special notes, pictures and keepsakes, guests are able to follow Dolly’s path from the mountains of East Tennessee to the grandest stages around the world.

Dolly’s Home-On-Wheels!

Be sure to jump on board of Dolly’s tour bus parked in front of the Chasing Rainbows museum! 

The tour guide told us that when Dolly took delivery of her new tour bus, she just “stepped off this one and left just about everything on the bus, just the way it was!” The clothes and wigs on board, Dolly actually wore.  The dishes, she actually ate from.  The stove, she actually used! 

Dolly loves to cook, but hates to do dishes! 

So, Dolly would cook and her lifelong friend and tour companion, Judy Ogle would do the dishes! Although she loves to cook things like chicken and dumplings, she saves them for a once-in-a-while indulgence, after all, she has to fit into her fitted stage clothes! (nice to know that we all have the same battles!  LOL)

This 1994 Prevost, was Dolly’s home away from home!

Dolly wrote a lot of music on this bus, including all the music for “9 to 5!”  This tour bus, really was her home, away from home.  A place where she could just relax and enjoy life on the road.

Dolly said that she prefers driving over flying or cruising. Not that she is afraid to fly, she just feels more at home on the road. Dolly, is a self-proclaimed gypsy at heart!  Dolly travels, with two bus drivers. That way, while one is sleeping the other one can keep those big wheels rollin’! 

“I love to travel. I love my fans, and I love to perform live,” Parton says. “So here we go!” – Your Lookin’ Swell, Dolly by Richard Gehr, 7/5/2016

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Dolly’s actual tour bus.

Dolly’s career and her bus have taken her all across the U.S. Now, the entertainment legend’s home-on-wheels is parked at Dollywood, and you can take a look inside. Dolly’s bus is parked in front of Chasing Rainbows museum in Adventures in Imagination®. Designed by Dolly’s longtime road manager, bus driver and friend Don Warden, and his wife Ann, the 1994 Prevost features hand-tooled leather from Germany on the sofa and chairs, cherry cabinets and brass fixtures. In addition to three bunks, the bus has two bathrooms and a shower. Dolly’s bedroom features three clocks–one set on Los Angeles time, one on Nashville time and the other on Dollywood time

Be sure to stop by the Dollywood website for park hours and events!  Dollywood is located at 2700 Dollywood Parks Blvd., Pigeon Forge, TN 37863.

With more than 40 rides, 15 exceptional shows, five of the South’s largest festivals, Southern-style dining, and the friendliest employees in the world . . . Dollywood is an award-winning destination!

For my handi-capable friends…

Yes, of course, this park is handicap accessible!  There are mobility scooters and wheelchairs for rent, just inside the gate, if you want to leave yours at home or in the car!

I rented one myself.  Although I can walk some, the experience was more enjoyable and less tiring by renting the scooter.  This is Tennessee after all and there are a few hills here, “ya know!”  LOL

As you know, I am a LBK amputee.  I was able to ride the rides here without issue.  But, before you can ride, you need to stop at guest services to get a ride pass.  This will enable you to know which rides you can ride, helps you avoid lines and have the most enjoyable experience possible.  Be sure to do this as soon as you get there, it only takes a couple of minutes! I had to remove my leg for a few of the rides, but you know, I don’t mind just kick that thing loose to have some fun!

Dollywood is huge and there is so much to see and do, that I just have to have more than one post about and thus… stay tuned for part 3, Dollywood & The “American Pickers”, coming soon! If you missed my first post, Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee – Part 1 click here.!

Let me share with you the most important thing I have discovered.  Where ever you go, whatever you see, share it with others!  Don’t be afraid to stop and smell the roses, to share a smile with a stranger, a meal with friends and build memories together that will last a lifetime!

All photographs in this post were taken by the author, Bill McQueen, amateur photographer, food enthusiast and sometimes traveler.

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