Ahoy, Dolly! Pirates, mermaids, sea lions and more

J. H. Osborne • Jun 10, 2019 at 11:05 AM

Mom and I went to Pigeon Forge on Friday in search of pirates and candy. We found both, as well as parrots, Dolly Parton, mermaids, fried chicken, sea lions and a ghost or two.

Parton was in town to officially open the dinner show attraction, Pirates Voyage (a Dolly Parton Company). Pirates is a complete makeover of what once was “Lumberjack’s” and later “Smoky Mountain Adventures.” Construction for the new show cost $9 million. And it shows. The set features two ships and a 15-foot-deep lagoon. The choreography is a delight. The acrobatics are amazing.

While we were served fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, sweet potato souffle, fried pork chops, biscuits and creamy vegetable soup, we were entertained with sword fights, cannons, mermaids and sea lions — all against the backdrop of a competition between two bands of pirates, the Crimson and Sapphire. Their prize: Davy Jones’ coveted sunken treasure.

Parton said since its soft opening on May 24, the crew has performed three sold out shows every day. I’m gonna go out on a ... plank ... and predict its popularity is going to continue. I’ve seen all the successive shows at this venue since it became a part of Parton’s Pigeon Forge empire, and this is the best by far. It’s fun. It’s new (to our region, anyway). It’s different.

My advice if you want to go is to make reservations well ahead of your choice date. I played around on the show’s website Friday evening to see how far out shows were booked. I had trouble finding room for two adults for various dates and times in the next couple of weeks. I found a Wednesday night near the end of the month that looked like I had my choice of seating (for two adults and two children), but two hours later the availability had lessened to only one side of the room. So it sounds like they’re booking fast.

Decked out “on deck” in a glammed-up version of a pirate’s costume, Parton said she wanted to look like Johnny Depp, but “I’m Little Sparrow not Jack Sparrow.”

As for bringing her pirates to the mountains (the show has proved hugely popular for years in Myrtle Beach, where it continues), Parton said the venue’s location at “The Island,” a shopping, dining and entertainment district, made it seem like an ideal spot for a pirate show.

As the approximately 90-minute show neared its end, Mom and I gobbled down our “Walk the plank” peach turnovers. We bagged our pork chops to bring home, along with skull-shaped “Pirates Voyage” souvenir mugs from the pre-show in the lobby.

The meal includes unlimited Coca-Cola products, tea or coffee. And vegetarian and gluten-free meals are available by request when you make a reservation.

If you book online, adult preferred seating is $56.99 per person, children (ages 3-11) are $29.99 each. There are additional taxes and convenience fees, based on total purchase amount, and a flat $2.20 processing fee per order. For two adults, preferred seating, and two children, the total came to $210.02. Show times and reservations are available by calling (865) 505-2469 or visiting www.piratesvoyage.com.

Oh, the candy I mentioned up top? Our last stop before we hit I-40 East at exit 407 was the Russell-Stover outlet. We found our own treasures.