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80th Birthday Wish: Ride Every Dollywood Coaster!

It was a sunny fall afternoon. The smell of fresh baked apple pie burst from the Spotlight Bakery on Showstreet. Jerry and his wife Kay, a life-long friend of our family, sat across from me at a nearby table.  A few weeks earlier, I discovered a picture Kay’s daughter posted of their recent trip to Dollywood. Immediately, I reached out to schedule a time to hear Jerry’s story.

The couple have been married for 4.5 years. Jerry, originally from Illinois, shared how he and his bride visited the Smoky Mountains on their honeymoon.  On Jerry’s 80th birthday last year, there was one place he wanted to go to celebrate – Dollywood!  Jerry’s son Chip traveled to spend the milestone birthday with his dad.

Kay admitted she saw little of Jerry that day as he and his son ventured from ride to ride around the park.  “We started with Thunderhead. I told Chip, ‘Wait! We have to get the front row.’,” laughed Jerry reflecting on the day.  When the ride was over, Jerry urged his son to ride again but Chip replied, “No, I think I’ll sit this one out Dad.” He and his son set out on a mission to ride every coaster on the park – that’s exactly what they did.

Insider Tip

Sit back, buckle up and smile! Get a Dollywood Photo Pass and capture your unforgettable coaster memories.

On the day I met Jerry, I brought along my two children. My son and daughter love roller coasters, but I do not feel so hot when I ride them. They were thrilled when Jerry offered to be their riding companion. Watching Jerry enthusiastically join my kids’ on favorite rides gave me great joy. When I asked him which was his favorite coaster he said unequivocally, “The Wild Eagle,” with a smile.

Insider Tip

Flexible schedule? Visit during the week for shorter lines!

Jerry’s joy riding Dollywood roller coasters is infectious – it even made me consider trying it again!  There’s no age limit to enjoy all Dollywood has to offer. You can stay young at heart just like Jerry on your favorite thrill-seeking ride!

Insider Tip

Skip the line of your favorite rides with a Dollywood TimeSaver Pass.

By | 2020-06-30T16:29:48+00:00 June 30th, 2020|Attractions|0 Comments

About the Author:

Michelle Borja (Dollywood Insider 2019-Now), a native of East Tennessee, recalls first walking the streets of Silver Dollar City when she was just a child. She couldn’t wait to share the experience with her son and daughter. As a marketing professional, Michelle enjoys storytelling and often shares Dollywood planning tips with friends. She homeschools her children which offers flexibility to visit the park often. Their favorite getaway is a stay at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa, which Michelle calls “their home away from home.” They complete their schoolwork by the grand piano overlooking the pool, enjoy time at Dollywood and finish their day with a sip of Dolly’s pink lemonade by the fireplace.
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