And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children. Isaiah 54:13 KJV

Monday, May 30, 2016

Family Fun at the Dixie Stampede

Last week I told you a little about our recent trip to the mountains. I promised to give you more information on a couple of the places we visited for the first time when we were there. I think the overwhelming favorite for the whole family was dinner and a show at Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede. It was a new experience for the 6 of us (grandparents were included) and one that we all enjoyed.

I'm going to go ahead and admit that I didn't take pictures there. Several places said that no pictures were allowed at the show, and I took that to heart. I was ready to relax and enjoy the experience without my phone in my hand for pictures. However, pictures were allowed when we were there but no flashes. I did pull out my phone one time to get a shot, but everything was just happening too fast to get a decent picture. The Dixie Stampede takes family photos as you go in, and we did buy some of those for souvenirs.

My attempt at a picture.
I looked online for tips before we went, and I'm glad I did! Here is my own short list of tips for the Dixie Stampede in Pigeon Forge to help you on your own trip:

*Make reservations in advance. We did and we had great seats on the 3rd row. Honestly the arena is set up so there are no horrible seats. I really wouldn't want to be on the first row (dust), but the third row was perfect. We sat on the side for the South and we upgraded to "premium" seating. As I said all the seats would allow for a great view but we were near the center of the arena. The seating is padded benches with a small tabletop. We were comfortable but someone in your group will be sat by people from other parties. It's not a roomy area, but it isn't too bad. Everything happens so quickly that you won't have much time to think about it.

*When you arrive at the show, be prepared for pictures. They weren't horribly expensive ($25 for an 8x10 and 2 smaller photos). We were dressed cute but comfortable. I didn't expect them to take so many photos- 4 sets for our group of 6- but we did buy some of them because they were nice.

*Arriving at the suggested time is a great idea. You get your photos done and then you head to the saloon to watch the pre-show. It was a lot of fun! A stage in the middle held 3 guys who sang, told some jokes, and played instruments. There are drinks sold in the saloon, but you aren't going to need any because the meal during the actual show will fill you up! Some of the drinks do come in a souvenir mug. I read one blog that said the cups could be bought after the show in the gift shop, but that was not the case when we were there. Wasn't a big deal for us but if you have a child that really wants a cup, you may want to spring for one drink. When you go to the saloon, sit upstairs near the end where the restrooms and large maroon curtain are located. You will want to use the restroom before the show and the curtain is where you enter the arena. We were upstairs but on the opposite end. We still didn't have to wait in line long to get in. I was glad we weren't trying to manuever the stairs with the huge crowd that sat downstairs. If you arrive at the early time, someone will bring your pictures into the saloon. It was easy to see them in there and didn't interrupt our meal.

*Someone will go around just before the show and sell flags. The kids enjoyed having a flag to wave during the show and to bring home. Apple went around after the show and had the performers sign her flag. It made her happy and she had a nice souvenir. The flags were $3 each.

*Be prepared to eat with your hands and to take a lot of your food with you. You are served so much food. It was hard to eat and help a child with their food and watch the show all at one time. The food was very good. We really enjoyed the chicken and the apple turnover. One kid barely ate any food because they were so involved in the show, and that was okay. We took 3 bags of food with us when we left. Somehow I got stuck with all 3 bags while we were in the gift shop. I really wished I had a larger bag to put them in! It wasn't easy to carry everything. There isn't much room for a purse or bag while you are eating though. I had to keep my purse tucked on the floor by my feet during the show.

*Know what you want to drink because once you get in your seat, everything happens very quickly. We were offered water, Pepsi, tea, or lemonade. We also got coffee with our dessert. There is powdered creamer, sugar and sugar substitutes, and wet wipes on the table. It is all set up efficiently. Our waitress Lauren was super! Make sure you have some cash on hand for a tip at the end of the evening.

I tend to be a germophobe so my family was concerned about how I would fare at a meal with no silverware. Honestly I was worried too. I got over eating with my hands fairly quickly because it wasn't much of a problem with the food that was served. I was very happy for the wet wipes at the table. There were birds that flew around, but they stayed over the show area so I wasn't too put off by them. There are definitely some interesting odors, and there is dust/sand but the show was so good that I didn't worry too much. Since it is a show with lots of horses and some other animals in it, I thought it was all fairly clean.

The show divides the performers into the North and the South, and they compete in little games and activities throughout the show. There are lots of laughs and some singing and dancing. It was really a fun show to watch, and I enjoyed watching my kids enjoy it. While it isn't a cheap entertainment option, it is certainly a fun and memorable one!

If you've ever been to the Dixie Stampede, do you have any tips you'd add to these?

I did not receive any compensation for the post. I just want to share our experience with you!

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