I feel your pain with these two as well as Tower of Terror and Soarin Over California. Park is declining and at a fast pace too.
I actually have been to Silver Dollar City, many years ago. To be honest I don't remember much about it beyond a dark ride in a mine that was kinda cool.BTW, if you are willing to travel and are big on entertainment, try going to Silver Dollar City, incredible entertainment along with some fun rides and a train with a show.
Just go an do it, we did a cross country road trip and it was a blast, even during all.of this mess.Silver Dollar City has become #1 on my want-to-visit U.S. parks list. They seem to have their priorities straight, with charm and creativity right up at the top. And Time Traveler looks wonderful.
Do you remember DCA 1.0, and finally, a new boss finally admits that the original DCA was a joke, and not up to par, and spent a LOT of money to get it somewhere near Disney Standards. Then we got PP and GotG.I love Silver Dollar City! I miss those three years living in Central IL where I could drive down in half a day. Alas, back in Chicagoland now...
It's the same thing for me. Accelerating prices and decelerating value for the dollar. It just doesn't feel like they care anymore.
I will say that DL has given me much more appreciation for California as a destination-so much that's fantastic, and never-ending variety. So it's unlikely I'll completely stop going (nostalgia being what it is) until I either cannot justify it at all financially and/or they permanently muck with Pirates or Mansion.
I do still have more faith in DLR than I do in WDW, albeit not the level of faith I had in 2015 or that I currently have in the international parks by comparison.
But the point is, it's eroding. Virtually everyone who's been a long term fan has said it's eroding. And that really should concern Disney more than it probably is because of everything that's happened this year. Now is the time to course correct, and I can only hope that someone will actually have the wisdom to do it. Unlikely, but it certainly does feel like we are rapidly steamrolling into a point of no return, doesn't it?
Do you remember DCA 1.0, and finally, a new boss finally admits that the original DCA was a joke, and not up to par, and spent a LOT of money to get it somewhere near Disney Standards. Then we got PP and GotG.
Silver Dollar City has become #1 on my want-to-visit U.S. parks list. They seem to have their priorities straight, with charm and creativity right up at the top. And Time Traveler looks wonderful.
All excellent points and very well stated. Dollywood doesn't have the warmth SDC has, which is somewhat ironic, considering it was once a SDC property before Dolly bought it. My one complaint about SDC (it has been almost 14 years since I've been there) was the HILLS! I loved the landscaping, and really appreciated all the shade while there during the heat of July, but there were times I'd be at the base of a hill, looking up to the apex from behind my son's stroller, and would seriously consider just waiting right there for the rest of the day. LOLDollywood is nice and has its charms, but doesn't *quite* live up to SDC, at least for me. It is interesting though in that is very much the WDW of their operating company (Herschend) to SDC's DL. Some things are definitely better-the flume, the train, the cinnamon bread, and certainly the water park. Some-the Dolly things and the Eagle habitat-are unique. If you're very familiar with one of the parks, it's interesting to compare their various equivalents ("oh, this is their version of the Opera House!") Craftsman's Valley is a spectacular area (and is basically SDC: the themed area). But ultimately it is missing a lot of the intangibles that make SDC such an interesting place. When I compare SDC to DL, it's not entirely hyperbole-both of those parks developed organically and have lots of little random details and touches that were clearly the product of an ownership who brought a personal and keen interest into shaping the park in a very specific, deliberate fashion. The layout came about organically and so the parks aren't quite as streamlined as their successors. By contrast, Dollywood, like WDW, is not only much bigger but has also evolved in ways that fundamentally differ from its original conception-ways that aren't necessarily bad and were arguably necessary, but rob it of the sense of place, cohesion, and personal touches that characterize SDC and Disneyland. Thus, Dollywood strikes me as a bit hollow and disjointed, the postcard version of the experience-it looks prettier and is more impressive but lacks some of the warmth and substance of the original since some parts of the newer resort just don't mesh very well together.
Dolly's presence is both a blessing and a curse to Dollywood in my estimation. On the one hand, the park probably would be gone and the area in general much worse off without her-her company is the county's largest employer. You also get all of the cool Dolly things-the museum, cabin replica, and tour bus. However, it does muddle the park's identity and sense of cohesion IMO; the Dolly things are worthwhile but don't *quite* make sense in the park around it even as the park's overall identity and theme have shifted. The newer areas aren't as nice or as interesting as the pre-Jukebox Junction areas. I'll grant that it's nice to be able to walk more directly between the Tornado and Thunderhead compared to my first visit when they were both at dead ends and quite far from each other, but that new path is the exact anthithesis of the older part of the park and what made it special. I'll grant that I haven't seen Wildwood Grove, so perhaps that comes off better than the rest of the newer stuff.
I hope I'm not coming off as too negative, as Dollywood does a lot of things right. But SDC takes all of the things Dollywood does well and does them better but it's overlooked because it receives half the accolades. For understandable reasons (name recognition, location, etc), but frustrating ones nonetheless. Definitely go to Dollywood if you have the opportunity, but if I could only do one, I'd pick SDC every day of the week.
It’s a coincidence to see this thread, because I discussed the same thing with a friend last night. At the beginning of the pandemic lockdowns, I was frustrated that I had to indefinitely postpone a (now-canceled) trip to WDW. But as the months passed and Disney continued making terrible decisions across every division of their company, I realized my memories were far better than reality.I feel you 100%. This is the first year in 15 years that I haven’t gone to WDW. And you want to know what I miss the most? Tom Sawyer Island. Went there for the first time eve last year and enjoyed it.
Even with the whole Splash thing, my favourite attraction of all time, and I’m more concerned about the music and how Disney fans are going to treat me for still liking the property than actually being able to ride it again.
I would like to get out to Disneyland again, soak it all in. But I feel burned out with WDW in particular.
The SDC & Dollywood was interesting. I would have never picked up on those differences from pictures and videos I’ve seen. Would love to visit both some day. Until then, videos and google earth will do.
...speaking of which, I noticed just now how insane the parking situation for Dollywood is:
View attachment 493701
The quality is poor. But there’s a mile long stretch of a parking lot that is two lanes wide, that runs from the entrance to a larger lot.
I suppose WDW has a unique parking setup too.
Nailed it.It’s a coincidence to see this thread, because I discussed the same thing with a friend last night. At the beginning of the pandemic lockdowns, I was frustrated that I had to indefinitely postpone a (now-canceled) trip to WDW. But as the months passed and Disney continued making terrible decisions across every division of their company, I realized my memories were far better than reality.
I was too enthusiastic about the parks themselves to realize how frustrating the experiences actually were. Recent trips to DL involved dodging privileged, obnoxious locals and groups of teens who presided over “THEIR” park. WDW required jumping through hoops to make FP+ and dining reservations, and then staying glued to a buggy app all day. Most of Epcot has been closed or outdated for years. The other parks exploited NextGen to cut staffing, thereby inflating the queues and feeling crowded on otherwise “slow” days. The hotels were outdated and insanely overpriced.
Then MMRR wasted trackless tech on giant sound stages and some projections. Then even more details leaked out about the clueless Epcot refurb. Then the new paint job was revealed on Cinderella Castle. Then the news broke about Splash. We’ve discussed that in other threads. The pro-change ignorance from Disney fan sites and the media was astounding. Later, the classic music was pulled in the deceptive, hamfisted name of “inclusivity.“ Corporations hide behind that word because it protects them from criticism.
Then I ran out of decent content on Disney+ and was left with either movies I’ve already seen many times, or tons of low-caliber entertainment from the cesspool that is the Disney Channel.
Finally, my local Disney Store reopened, and it’s full of cheaply made tees and plush like you’d expect from a tourist trap in Kissimmee.
My friend and I realized we’ve been making excuses for the company for years because of our own sunken costs from childhood movies and park memories. Instead of continuing to innovate, they’re still milking and remaking our ‘90s childhood classics out of cold-hearted corporate greed.
Cold, calculated marketing or political agendas* control everything the company has released within the last 4–5 years. People who think this is still the great, imaginative Walt Disney Company are blinded by Pixie Dust; that sort of WDC is dead. It exists only in memories.
So go ahead. Enjoy Brer Rabbit and his friends. Enjoy the music that was perfectly fine until a faceless corporation declared otherwise—but is still perfectly fine. Have a Zip-a-dee-doo-day day.
Let the new “fans” drool over cupcakes and obsess over preschool-level entertainment, claiming it’s because they’re “kids at heart.” Let them turn up their noses at the actual work of the company’s visionary founder because it’s “old.” Let them think Olga’s Cantina is truly the best bar in America. Let them say it’s okay that you don’t go often anymore, because now you’re making more room for them. Let them call you a Doom-and-Gloomer.
This isn’t Doom-and-Gloom. I still like the parks and will return after there’s a vaccine. But I’ve also accepted I haven’t changed: the company has. The execs and WDI will laugh at the “Foamers” before moving on to other companies. If they’re not invested in the company’s legacy and unlimited creativity, why should we feel awkward for holding on to the classic magic?
*I’m talking about corporate politics, not American politics. You’d be amazed at how quickly execs will tank someone else’s project to get ahead, heedless of the millions wasted.
I'm a sucker for cinnamon bread. Thanks for the tip!Dollywood is quite tightly wedged between different hills and the entire property is like that, at least when it comes to the main park (I haven't made it to the water park or the hotel yet). That said, the park itself, while it does have elevation changes, is a bit flatter than you might expect given its location. SDC is sort of the opposite; it's a more expansive, sprawling layout, but basically the entire park is on a (at times quite steep) big hillside and very little of it is totally flat.
@Stevek Definitely add Dollywood! You won't regret it, and make sure you get a loaf of cinnamon bread before you go!
Dollywood is quite tightly wedged between different hills and the entire property is like that, at least when it comes to the main park (I haven't made it to the water park or the hotel yet). That said, the park itself, while it does have elevation changes, is a bit flatter than you might expect given its location. SDC is sort of the opposite; it's a more expansive, sprawling layout, but basically the entire park is on a (at times quite steep) big hillside and very little of it is totally flat.
@Stevek Definitely add Dollywood! You won't regret it, and make sure you get a loaf of cinnamon bread when you go!
I'm a sucker for cinnamon bread. Thanks for the tip!