Category Archives: Travels

Jensey Loves Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort

16th July 2016

Oh, Dollywood. <3

While on our holiday trip to Tennessee, we got to visit our happy place, Dollywood. But this was also our first time visiting the newly built DreamMore Resort! I’m a fan of all things Dollwood, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say we were at first a bit apprehensive about this resort. Our favorite thing about Dollywood is the charm and old Tennessee feel with Dolly’s fingerprint, but how can that be replicated in a brand new hotel?

Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort is completely different but still completely charming. The check-in process was wonderful, and from the front porch rocking chairs to the “living room” common areas on the main floor, you know you’re staying somewhere special.   The service was truly top-notch, I felt like I was staying at a Disney resort!

We got a great rate on our room, it only ran us about $180 with taxes. The resort comes with free wifi and parking which is nice.

I’m genuinely excited to go back again someday! <3

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They even had little rocking chairs. <3

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The seating area across from the check-in desk:

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Photos don’t do this justice! Behind the front desk, at first glance we thought we were looking at a back-lit photo, but it was actually several high resolution display screens showing slowly moving video of the Smokey Mountains. It looked so real, and I knew if I lost Nate for a second in the lobby I could find him watching these screens! :)

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My favorite part of the resort! There are two living room areas off the main lobby. We had some work to catch up on during our stay and utilized these areas a good deal.

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Unfortunately there are only two dining options at the resort : The Song and Hearth sit down restaurant and the DM Pantry. Song and Hearth tends to get a bit busy, is a little pricier, and has limited operating hours. We were constantly *just* missing the lunch hours. We were starving our first night there after getting back from the park late and slid in 5 minutes before they closed. Everyone was so kind (to our faces, at least!) and was incredibly sweet considering we were the only ones in the restaurant keeping them there late. I could have made a meal out of the bread they bring out prior to your meal (they also send out jarred pickles!)

The DM Pantry had more generous operating hours and is where we bought most of our meals. They had Starbucks-like breakfasts, coffee, ice cream, and ready made sandwiches. I really wish there was a third dining option, a quick service that would serve hot meals. Or at least room service. Sometimes after a long day in the park, the last thing you want to do is shower and get dressed to go down for dinner. (At least in my opinion!)

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The room! Our room was adorable and we both agreed we can’t wait to bring a kid back. I mean, it had bunk beds and everything! The decor was simple but tasteful, and I loved the cheesy Dolly touches, like “Put wings on your dreams” on the quilt and butterfly touches all over the resort.

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The bathroom was my favorite! There was a toilet behind a door (my favorite feature in ANY bathroom amiright?), and I loved the mirror! They include make-up removers in the free toiletries (thank you, Dolly!), and the lotion was my favorite hotel lotion ever- I even bought some on my way out of the resort. Well, I bought it online- The store prices were a bit crazy. :/

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They have adorable trolley buses that take you to and from the park!

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Other favorite things we don’t have photos of *sad face* :

  • There are 4 elevators in the resort themed Be More, Learn More, Do More, Dream More (ok, I’m pretty sure I made 3 of those up, but you get the idea.)
  • When you get out of the elevator, each floor had different Dolly photos and quotes, like “Put wings on your dreams,” and “The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.”
  • The hallway leading to Song and Hearth is lined with Dolly’s album covers. It’s so impressive how many there are!
  • When you stay at the DreamMore Resort, you get complimentary TimeSaver passes (their version of the FastPass) for every member of your party. This is the most complicated device possible and we ended up not even using it, but they can save you $25 a person if you were to purchase the service in-park.
  • There’s a locked box behind glass downstairs that supposedly has a song Dolly’s written to be her final song when she passes.
  • We discovered our faaaaaavorite thing on our last night at the resort : if you take the pathway past the pool, there’s a little open “barn” with a really fancy fire pit inside. Being December, we sat there alone for hours just talking by the fire. <3
  • The sweet cast member at the DM Pantry gave us free giant slices of cake when he learned we were there celebrating our anniversary. We never get free things at Disney any more!

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We will always love you too, Dolly! <3

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JENSEY LOVES DOLLYWOOD!

9th July 2016

DOLLYWOOD. <3

I love this park more than I can say. I think it’s a hard thing to explain to people, because even when we’re visiting the park, cast members are so confused why we left Disney to vacation there! But there’s something so quaint and sweet and real and special about Dollywood. And if you have to question it or you don’t understand, my biggest advice is to not go!

But for us, Dollywood is right under Disneyland just above Walt Disney World in order of favorite places. This place has my heart, and I’m so, so thankful that we got to make a mini vacation there last December! I’m ready to go back nooooooow!

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Nate’s favorite photo from the entire weekend: the line of ECVs in front of the Lightning Rod “Peeling out in 2016” sign had us cracking up. :)

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A couple “Nate, I don’t think we’re in Disney anymore” details.

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The best thing about visiting Dollywood around Christmas is getting to meet the REAL Rudolph, Feline, and Yukon Cornelius!  <3

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You could even say it glooooooows!

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Loved their elf costumes!!

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Tied for first for best thing about visiting Dollywood at Christmas? They go CRAZY with the decorations. EVERY building is decked out in lights Osbourne-style, and even the inside of rides are decorated!

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My favorite ride : Blazing Fury! It’s random and janky and makes me SO happy… Especially around the holidays. This ride basically follows the “story” of a fire engulfing a town in the 1880’s and includes scary “animatronics” trying to escape the fire, and one caught in an outhouse, as seen below:

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When you finish the ride, this is the sign that greets you. Once again, I don’t think we’re in Disney anymore!

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Disney may have banned the Selfie Stick, but you can find its off-brand cousin in every ride gift shop there!

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This was our first time using the “TimeSaver,” Dollywood’s clunky and confusing-as-hell alternative to the FastPass. But it just made me love Dollywood more when it took a 70 year old cast member 20 minutes (no exaggeration) to explain it to us, and we were still confused. If Nate can’t figure it out, there’s no hope for the rest of us!

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We got to peek inside Dolly’s RV! <3

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Best part of the day! I kept asking cast members to tell me more about “Parade of Lights,” Dollywood’s nightly holiday parade. I was trying to find out the best place to watch it, or how early we should get a spot. Sure enough, any cast member who saw I didn’t have a kid encouraged me to beat the crowd and just skip the parade. Of course, the more vague descriptions I got or embarrassed responses just made me want to see it more!

And y’all, when Rudolph started the parade riding in a PT Cruiser, this parade DID. NOT. DISAPPOINT. I was in Jensey Tennessee Christmas Heaven!!!!! <3

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Scary dog complete with human eyes peeking through? OK!!!! <3

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Even MORE terrifying snowman? YES PLEASE!

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Dollywood, you have my heart. I hope to be reunited again soon!!!!! <3

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Jensey Loves Christmas in Nashville

2nd July 2016

I thought since it’s July in Orlando and it’s hot as anything, I should spend my Saturday posts doing a little Christmas in July! Woohoo!

Last December we photographed a wedding for an old friend who went to high school with me. The best part about photographing a wedding in Memphis in December means we got to do all of our favorite Tennessee Christmas things!

One of these was a happy accident of being in the right place at the right time- Nashville during Franklin’s Dickens of a Christmas festival. When we lived in Nashville, it never failed we were out of town for every one of these festivals, so it was only fitting that our first time going was as Florida residents! Dickens of a Christmas is basically a big festival with people selling everything from clothes to roasted chestnuts to baked goods, and they have Dickens characters walking around. A lot of residents get in the spirit, and it was so fun to finally be a part of! Here’s hoping we get to make it back again soon. :)

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CHAD’S WINTER WONDERLAND. <3 <3 <3 Chad’s Winter Wonderland is a drive thru light show with two million lights on 8 acres of land. Every year gets a little bit bigger, but one thing never changes- Driving through Santa’s barn and meeting him from your car. This was our favorite kitschy thing to do in Nashville and I love that we still got to do it last year! :)

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Santa may have broken character by telling us he just moved up from Florida and misses the weather, but darn it if I still didn’t have a magical time! <3

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Jensey Loves Snoqualmie

18th June 2016

If you’ve ever seen photos from our best friends getting married in Africa, you know Lorie and Jon. Lorie and I have known each other since kindergarten, been best friends since college, moved to Orlando to do the Walt Disney World College Program together, met our husbands, married our husbands, and all 4 of us moved to Nashville 5 years ago. Then Nate and I broke our parallel lives by moving back to Orlando, leaving our other-couple-half in Nashville!

Anyway, that’s our friendship in a nutshell with Lorie and Jon. Shortly after our move back to Orlando, they moved to Seattle! They’ll only be there a couple years, but I’m so glad that we were able to make the trip to see them in their new home. They’re living in downtown Seattle in a crazy fancy and cozy apartment, and while I’m longing for them to move back to Tennessee so we can be close(r) again, it was so fun seeing them in this new life!!

Now for photos from the next leg of our January snow trip! <3

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Of course, we got a cabin for the weekend with them because that’s what we do with Lorie and Jon! We visited the town of Snoqualmie, which was only ~45 minutes from Seattle. But what a difference that 45 minutes made! What was a mild, rainy day quickly turned into 30 degrees and feet of snow!

I loved our snowy cabin. <3

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She’s just being Lorie. <3

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I mean, we were living in a postcard!!

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It’s not Lorie and Jon time until the boys are doing puzzles. <3

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Down the street from our cabin was this GIIIIIIIIANT sledding hill! It was so scary but fun, and that hike back up the hill was NO joke!

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Don’t let the smiles fool you- We’re both completely out of breath here!

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HAND. SOME. <3

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Lorie had a quest all weekend to make the perfect snowball. :)

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THIS IS THE SECOND STORY WINDOW, Y’ALL. SECOND STORY. SECOND. STORY.

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Oh right! So we were leaving Snoqualmie around noon when we get to the freeway on-ramp in town and find this. UMMMMM. We were supposed to be flying out the next morning for a session in Canada and this had me and Nate mildly freaking out, but as always, I can’t imagine any better friends to have in this situation than Lorie and Jon.

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We learned there was only going to be one more convoy out that day and the only way to know when it was going to happen was the closed neighborhood Facebook page! They would post on there and give the residents 10 minutes. When we went back out to see if the convoy was going to go or not, they were about to leave, but we needed to run back to the cabin to grab our stuff and Mary-Kate, Lorie’s dog! We RACED back to the cabin, all of us having a specific plan of what to do and grab, came back, and the convoy had LEFT! We were told again that the cop was going to come back for one more run, so we loaded up on junk food at the gas station and prepared to wait in this line of cars for hours. Sure enough, our line of cars started moving and we were on our way!

Lorie and Jon, we love adventuring with y’all. Come visit soon! <3