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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9th July 2016


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 Baby Root!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

19th June 2016

I know God exists because in a world of 7 billion people, I was lucky enough to meet and marry Nate. He has never failed to open the door for a woman or give his seat up on a monorail. Nate believes trees should be climbed and shopping carts should be ridden. Put a nephew in a laundry basket, and it becomes a space rover exploring the moon, and he’s frequently the guest of honor at our niece’s tea parties. Basically, I married my favorite Disney character, Peter Pan… But only if Peter cleaned toilets and did all of the laundry, too. <3

It is with great, great joy that I share on today of all days that this great man of mine is finally going to be a father…


Disney Adoption Announcement Photo

I’ve started this blog post a million times and the only common thread between my million drafts has been the huge smile on my face as I write them!! :)

We have roots in adoption on both sides of our families and always knew that regardless of our ability to conceive, we wanted to bring a baby home through adoption. Our journey to parenthood kept getting delayed for one reason or another (I’m looking at you, Tennessee and gallbladder surgery!) All it took was Nate asking, “What do you think about adopting?” over lunch one day to change our lives forever.

It’s hard to believe that last August we were deciding whether we’d adopt domestically or internationally and learning the intricacies involved in open vs. closed adoptions. In September, I would have told you with complete confidence we’d be adopting from Africa or China. Imagine our surprise when after a month of exhausting research, we were signing with a domestic agency for an open adoption!

I’m excited to share the more beautiful details of our adventure so far… And let me tell you, it has been an ADVENTURE. God has been showing off left and right. It’s with tears in my eyes that I write that we already have a promising match and I really, truly feel in my heart that I’ve sat in the same room as our to-be-born baby. <3

But with all the joys and excitement of adoption comes the scarier and unknown parts too. It’s for that reason that we’ll keep most details between us and our families until we bring our baby home. But just know an amazing story is unfolding and I’m already documenting it for future blog posts I hope to share once we’re parents!

Nate and Jensey

Want to help?

As soon as we started sharing our exciting news with friends and family, we were floored and humbled by how many people’s first reactions were “How can we help?!” Our baby isn’t here yet and we already feel blessed by the amazing village who already loves him or her so much.

If you’re interested, we put together a small list of ways you can help us between now and baby-time!

  • Prayers, pixie dust, happy thoughts, best wishes. We need all the love and good ju-ju we can muster! <3
  • If you know someone who is engaged, let them know about our photography! We’re already so thankful for any referrals, but this will increase 10 fold once we’re parents. Yay for being self employed! <3
  • This also goes for anyone who needs family photos or anniversary photos! ;)
  • We’ve never, ever made prints of our Disney art photos available for purchase. To help with our adoption fees, we’ll be offering them for sale for a *very* limited time. You can view our Disney store front here, and also check out prints from some of our other favorite trips.
  • We’ll be running wedding and portrait print sales between now and baby. I’ve been dragging my feet on starting a newsletter but it’s been on my mind this year. Until we start emailing promotions to you directly, keep checking back at the Root Photography blog and Facebook page for any announcements on specials.
  • Share this page! (Or even the link below.) :)
  • If none of the above applies to you, a family member set up a Go Fund Me page for us. We wouldn’t be starting this adventure if we couldn’t afford it, but that doesn’t mean we’re too proud to accept a little help. It turns out adopting babies is expensive! ;) If you’d like to skip your Starbucks for a day and donate $5, we’d be honored. We were strongly opposed to fundraising when we began, but my heart has been reminded over and over again that these things take a village. That’s nothing to be ashamed of if it makes life a little easier as we transition to our new roles of Mom and Dad.
“Mom and Dad.” Oh my goodness. <3