When we bought our season tickets to Dollywood and Splash Country in the spring, it was with the knowledge that the boys couldn’t ride on (or slide down) everything in each park. The minimum height requirement for all of the big rides is 48 inches. In May, Jack was just above 42 and Jeremy sat at 46.5. Jackson didn’t care, but Jeremy was downright offended. What did it matter about height as long as you had courage? He spent all summer wishing and hoping (and eating lots of vegetables) so that by his birthday in September he might reach 48 inches.
No such luck.
Then yesterday we thought it would be a good time to try again. The weather was perfect and Dollywood supposedly decorates the entire park for harvest time. After breakfast, we measured Jeremy against the kitchen wall. According to our measuring tape, he was finally tall enough. But, we warned him, we don’t have the final say. It would be a matter of the measurements according to the Dollywood officials.
You couldn’t shake the look of anticipation off of his face.
Sidebar: We missed the harvest decor. Supposedly, it doesn’t matter that Thanksgiving is still three weeks away or that leaves are still bright yellow, orange and red. The Christmas decorations are already up at Dollywood, which left me a little disappointed. I still have PUMPKINS on my porch, for the record.
But I digress…
Sure enough, after entering the park, we scrambled to the measuring station where children are given wrist bracelets to show the ride attendants what they are allowed (or not allowed) to ride. Jackson hovers around 44 inches tall, but our eight year old, finally, is a smidgeon over 48. We erupted into applause and headed straight for the roller coasters.
I wish I had photos to show you, but believe me – Jeremy was scared. He’d never admit it, but – doggone it – he’d waited all summer to ride roller coasters, so no amount of nerves would stop him now. He and Chuck rode Thunderhead first, an award-winning wooden coaster, and I could see from one good angle that Jeremy had wedged himself under Chuck’s armpit in fear.
After the ride was over, emboldened with excitement, I took a turn with him on Thunderhead too. We held hands and I screamed in his ear. It was fantastic!
He and Chuck went on to the Mystery Mine, which goes upside down a few times, while Jack and I hung back. There was no stopping our 48-inch tall roller coaster rider.
The only photos I have to share are from the swings – which he is able to ride on in a single seater - and from another topsy-turvy ride. Needless to say, he’s been on a natural high ever since.
Chuck and Jeremy are seated in the center of the photo. I opted out of this one because I chose to keep lunch inside my stomach.