Posted by: lylescott89 | June 28, 2013

The Great Smoky Mountains Journey Day Four: The Dixie Stampede

Hey kids,

Once again the sun was streaming in my window for the sole purpose of waking me up before 7:00 AM and once again IMy cabin, not yours wrapped a sheet around my head to block it out.  I realized that the next time I travel to a cabin I will need to bring along my sleeping mask (which is pink and says “sweet dreams” on it) that I rarely use.  You see if I use it at home I will sleep right through the alarm and well past the time I have to be at work.  I know this from personal experience.  Donna, on the other hand, was up bright and early as she was headed to church on this lovely Sunday morning.  She researched area churches the night before and finally found one that was not Baptist.  She was able to find a Methodist church near where we initially checked in for our cabin.  (Quick joke: What do you call a Methodist?  A Baptist who can read.  Ha, ha, ha.  An oldie, but still a goodie) Anyway she asked Adam and me if we wanted to join her and we obviously declined.  We had sleeping to do.

I awoke at a reasonable hour and found Adam awake and hungry.  I made us breakfast and then we retreated back downstairs for some video games followed by some morning hot tub time.  I realized at this point that there was really little I wanted to do on this vacation besides be in my cabin.  I was loving my cabin (though not literally) and did not want to leave.  When Donna came home she asked if wanted to do anything special and since we had big plans for the evening and had to leave around 4:00 for that, Adam and I decided we just wanted to hang around the cabin all day.  We did go to the pool for about 90 minutes or so, but other than that I don’t recall doing anything other than relaxing on the porch and reading.  It was a nice way to spend an afternoon.

So what did we have planned for the evening?  Well if you had read the title you would know now wouldn’t you?  Did you read the title?  Thanks to those who did, but shame on the rest of you.  For the evening we were headed to Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede.  For those of you unfamiliar with the Dixie Stampede, it is one of those dinner shows in which you get to eat with your hands while you are entertained by humans, horses, chickens and various other forms of wildlife.  The seating is set in a horseshoe and you are either seated on the north side or the south.  When I called to make the reservation I was asked which I preferred and I said wherever I could get a better seat.  Thus we were seated on the north side.

Southern BelleBut I am getting ahead of myself.  We left the cabin with the threat of rain and before we even got down to the pool area (a leisurely stroll if you recall) it was raining steadily.  When we arrived it was raining fairly heavy.  So I did the nice thing and let Donna and Adam off at the entrance.  We were behind a van filled with a bunch of those old ladies that wear the red hats.  I don’t know why, but they scare me.  Watching all those old women get out of the van made me think it was some sort of geriatric clown car at the world’s worst circus.  I parked a little ways away from the entrance as there seemed to be enough handicapped parking for the entire casts of Cocoon and The Golden Girls to each have their own private spot.

One of the best things about arriving when they tell you to is that you not only avoid the crowds trying to get in, but you also have enough time to visit with the Southern Belles outside, visit the horses and take a look in the shop.  Guess which one of those was my favorite?  Unfortunately, due to the rain there was only one Southern Belle outside, but she was very pretty and seemed to enjoy taking photos with myself and Adam.  (Well probably more Adam then I, but I can dream)  It was while we were there with the Belle that a group of red hatted ladies asked me to take some pictures of them with the Belle.  I asked the one lady whether she wanted me to use her camera or mine and she laughed.  I asked them to line up from youngest to oldest and oddly enough they all ended up in the same place.  We laughed again.  When I was ready to take the photo I said “give me big smiles and show off that Polident.  Let’s make Martha Raye proud”.  More laughs.  I ended up taking about a ½ dozen pictures with (oddly enough) six different cameras.

After that I went to the box office where the beautiful blond was working.  I gave her my info.  One of the staples of theBoot Mug Dixie Stampede is the boot shaped mug.  She asked if we wanted one for each of us and we decided to get two.  Once inside we could get them filled with a nice variety of beverages, but the DS is a strict family place so no alcohol.  I also told her that we needed one of our adult meals to be vegetarian.  She said that was no problem and handed me a ticket that had VEGGIE printed in big letters and said for Donna to put that at her place setting so our server would know.  Easy enough.

So we went to go look at the horses next and while I am by no means a “horse person” I certainly do appreciate the beauty of these fine animals.  They were all very pretty and all seemed quite contented and relaxed despite knowing that they would have to perform in front of a few hundred people in just an hour or so.  I found it interesting that there was a horse named Peyton and one named Eli, obviously after the Manning brothers.   It was easy to tell them apart because Eli had two rings while Peyton just had one.

We went inside and after the obligatory photo session we went into the Carriage Room for the pre-show.  It was here that we got our drinks.  We decided to try two different frozen drinks so we could see which one we like better and also because why would you get a Coke?  Adam and I were standing in line waiting to get our drinks filled when a cute girl in one of those saloon girl outfits asked if she could get them for us.  I said sure and she followed us back to our seats, which were about three steps away from where we were standing.  I know we got one that was strawberry blended with something and the other was something else blended with something.  When the girl brought us our drinks I gave her a tip and she looked at me funny, but took the money.  (I later found out from her that tipping was not necessary and she gave the tip to the guy that made the drinks) Adam could not decide which he liked better and frankly neither could I.  They were both tasty.

CharminThe pre-show began and it was just three guys singing some Hee-Haw style music and making corny jokes.  I am not into that at all, but it was fun nonetheless.  They were all very talented as far as I could tell, but the banjo player was exceptional.  The act was highlighted by the bass player sticking a roll of Charmin on a fan and having all unroll and land on one of the other guys.  Silly, but effective.  When they finished we all headed upstairs to the main auditorium for the big dinner and show.

We went to our seats and they were very good, but I have to say I do not think they actually have bad seats there.  We met our server, Jimmy, and he took our drink orders.  It was interesting because he took our tickets and folded them in a certain way depending on what drink we ordered.  He saw the big VEGGIE ticket in front of Donna and informed her that since her dish involved pasta she would be the only one given a fork.  I still think she should have had to eat the pasta with her hands, but I suppose I’ll just have to accept it.  So what was our menu?  Well, Adam and I had the following items:

• A Mouth-Watering Tender Whole Rotisserie Chicken
• Delicious Hickory Smoked Barbecued Pork Loin
• Dixie Stampede’s Original Creamy Vegetable Soup
• Scrumptious Homemade Biscuit
• Hot Buttered Corn on the Cob
• Tasty Herb-basted Potato
• Dixie’s very own Specialty Dessert (Apple turnover on our night)
• Unlimited Pepsi®, tea or coffee

I have to say that the creamy veggie soup is delicious.  I could have had a much bigger bowl of that.  The rotisserie chicken was, without question, the most delicious rotisserie chicken I have ever had.  It put the ones at Publix to shame.  And believe me, it was big.  The pork loin, while very tasty, was not big.  It was tiny.  I think it took me two bites to finish it off.  The biscuit was scrumptious and the corn was sweet and buttery.  The potato was good, but not exceptional and I had the sweet tea which was very flavorful.

The show itself is a lot of fun as well.  There is your host/emcee which guides the whole thing along with a lot of horses.After the show  Of course the show itself is a sort of old time, Annie Oakley, Buffalo Bill Wild West revue.  The show starts off with some roaming buffalo, some songs and trick-riding then eventually evolves into a contest.  Each side of the theater has a team to root for and the performers do various feats of strength and whatnot.  They have pig races, chicken races and ostrich races to name a few.  They also have a comedian that does some cornpone humor along with the emcee between acts so the performers have time to change their outfits and get ready.  As is often (Well, always) the case the sides were tied after all the events and the entire audience had to participate in passing flags down their respective rows to decide the winner.  It was no contest as we won hands down.  Or flags down if you will.

After the show we were invited down to meet some of the performers and their respective horses.  There was one performer I was looking for.  She had been introduced as Alison Roberts and I was mesmerized by her beauty during the show.  Alas, she was not down in the arena for photos and horse patting and while I was a bit bummed I was still happy because we did get to see some other pretty girls and their cool horses.  Plus we got to speak with the emcee for quite a while about the show and that was fun too.

With Alison RobetsWe were on our way out the door and headed down the stairs towards the exit through the gift shop when what did my eyes behold, but lovely Alison Roberts at the bottom of the stairs posing for pictures.  My heart skipped a beat and I scurried down the stairs as quickly as a fat guy could.  I had to wait a minute as there was a much fatter guy taking pictures with her and his kids, but then it was my turn.  I told her that I thought the show was great and that she was very good as well.  She thanked me, we posed for a few photos and then we stepped into the shop.  That Dolly Parton is one savvy businesswoman to have you exit right through the shop.  Even the dinner shows at Walt Disney World give you a break on that.

It was still raining, but it was very light so we all walked back to the car and then we headed back to the cabin.  We were all very full and exhausted, but I could not resist sitting outside and enjoying the cool Tennessee night when we got back to the cabin.  This was my cabin now dang it and I never want to leave.   Unfortunately it does not work that way.

What would Monday hold for us other than the light streaming in at 6:30 AM?  Stay tuned.



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