Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

★★★★☆

About Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

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Even though this review will not count toward our fundraiser, I feel compelled to counter the evaluation of the person who was disappointed. We paid in full for our Gourmet Dinner and were thoroughly delighted with the dinner, the service and the scenery. It was a delightful experience from start to finish.

5
★★★★★

Even though this review will not count toward our fundraiser, I feel compelled to counter the evaluation of the person who was disappointed. We paid in full for our Gourmet Dinner and were thoroughly delighted with the dinner, the service and the scenery. It was a delightful experience from start to finish.

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We did the Nantahala excursion last weekend (9/28/07) with free tickets given to us by GSMR after having a terrible experience with their Mystery excursion on a previous visit. This experience was no better. First, be prepared for movie theater prices on drinks and their boxed lunches. A fountain soda at the train depot is anywhere from $2.50 to $5.00 depending on size. A child's PB&J boxed lunch costs over $5.00. This company will nickel-and-dime you to death including the asinine parking fee. Oh, and please don't assume the high food prices are justified by the quality. I personally observed the food car attendant attempt to replenish the hot dog buns with extras stored in the compartment above the food line. No less than 3 FULL PACKS of buns were MOLDY and had to be discarded, from which I can only assume that the food stock is not checked prior to each departure.

We PRE-ordered 4 boxed lunches for our trip. I emphasize PRE-order (and PRE-pay, mind you) because when the train stopped for lunch we, along with about a dozen other passengers, were told that there were no lunches for us. It took a full 30 minutes to get permission from a supervisor to allow us to have something else off the menu. That left us about 15 minutes to deboard the train, find a spot to eat, wolf it down, and be back on the train to head back to the depot.

As for the trip itself, don't expect 4 hours of nonstop breathtaking scenery. Most of the trip takes you through the woods with only an ocassional glimpse the lake or other long-range views. The staff attempts to dress it up as best they can, drawing passenger attention to a house "that was built it 1861 and occupied until 1986. The house was heated by a central fireplace and had a total of 3 rooms..." blah, blah, blah. When we actually saw the house, it was an abandoned shack surrounded by weeds that was ready to fall in on itself -- hardly a scenic outpost.

One other thing of which you should be aware: The trip backtracks instead of making a true loop so you see the exact same thing twice. In other words, the train hauls you out in the woods for 90 minutes, stops in the middle of a gravel pit where the engine disengages from one end of the train and attaches to the other end, then hauls you back the exact same way you just came.

There is no way I could ever recommend this to anyone. We had FREE tickets and still felt ripped off! This opinion was shared by every single passenger in our immediate vicinity on our car. I imagine you would be able to see much more traveling this area by car.

1
★☆☆☆☆

We did the Nantahala excursion last weekend (9/28/07) with free tickets given to us by GSMR after having a terrible experience with their Mystery excursion on a previous visit. This experience was no better. First, be prepared for movie theater prices on drinks and their boxed lunches. A fountain soda at the train depot is anywhere from $2.50 to $5.00 depending on size. A child's PB&J boxed lunch costs over $5.00. This company will nickel-and-dime you to death including the asinine parking fee. Oh, and please don't assume the high food prices are justified by the quality. I personally observed the food car attendant attempt to replenish the hot dog buns with extras stored in the compartment above the food line. No less than 3 FULL PACKS of buns were MOLDY and had to be discarded, from which I can only assume that the food stock is not checked prior to each departure.

We PRE-ordered 4 boxed lunches for our trip. I emphasize PRE-order (and PRE-pay, mind you) because when the train stopped for lunch we, along with about a dozen other passengers, were told that there were no lunches for us. It took a full 30 minutes to get permission from a supervisor to allow us to have something else off the menu. That left us about 15 minutes to deboard the train, find a spot to eat, wolf it down, and be back on the train to head back to the depot.

As for the trip itself, don't expect 4 hours of nonstop breathtaking scenery. Most of the trip takes you through the woods with only an ocassional glimpse the lake or other long-range views. The staff attempts to dress it up as best they can, drawing passenger attention to a house "that was built it 1861 and occupied until 1986. The house was heated by a central fireplace and had a total of 3 rooms..." blah, blah, blah. When we actually saw the house, it was an abandoned shack surrounded by weeds that was ready to fall in on itself -- hardly a scenic outpost.

One other thing of which you should be aware: The trip backtracks instead of making a true loop so you see the exact same thing twice. In other words, the train hauls you out in the woods for 90 minutes, stops in the middle of a gravel pit where the engine disengages from one end of the train and attaches to the other end, then hauls you back the exact same way you just came.

There is no way I could ever recommend this to anyone. We had FREE tickets and still felt ripped off! This opinion was shared by every single passenger in our immediate vicinity on our car. I imagine you would be able to see much more traveling this area by car.

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Both the day trips and the dinner train are so much fun. The view from the train is gorgeous. The food on the dinner train was excellent, and I really enjoyed the experience of riding in a train. The one drawback is that the prices seem to be a little high, but overall I consider taking a trip on the train well worth the money. If you have kids, keep an eye out for some of the special trains, like the Polar Express.

PROS: Great View from the train
CONS: Expensive.

5
★★★★★

Both the day trips and the dinner train are so much fun. The view from the train is gorgeous. The food on the dinner train was excellent, and I really enjoyed the experience of riding in a train. The one drawback is that the prices seem to be a little high, but overall I consider taking a trip on the train well worth the money. If you have kids, keep an eye out for some of the special trains, like the Polar Express.

PROS: Great View from the train
CONS: Expensive.

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With the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad you could plan the most romantic get away or plan some fun for the kids. The railroad offers several packages. You can do the Polar Express ride during Christmas or the The Little Engine that could or even a Mystery Theatre ride. There are so many choices. The prices range depending on where you want to ride on the train, some trains require you to be 21 or older, due to them serving alcohol on that part of the train. They even serve dinner in some of the cars. They also have gift shops at the train depot, restaurants, and valet for quick and easy parking.

PROS: several package choices, packages for adults and kids.
CONS: price

5
★★★★★

With the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad you could plan the most romantic get away or plan some fun for the kids. The railroad offers several packages. You can do the Polar Express ride during Christmas or the The Little Engine that could or even a Mystery Theatre ride. There are so many choices. The prices range depending on where you want to ride on the train, some trains require you to be 21 or older, due to them serving alcohol on that part of the train. They even serve dinner in some of the cars. They also have gift shops at the train depot, restaurants, and valet for quick and easy parking.

PROS: several package choices, packages for adults and kids.
CONS: price

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Climb aboard for rail adventure! Take a delightful journey by train along the colorful countryside of the western North Carolina mountains. Youll travel along cool rushing rivers, cross over a man-made lake on a high trestle and through lush green valleys and rolling farmlands. Operating year-round, choose from a variety of half-day scenic rail excursions departing from depots in the historic mountain towns of Dillsboro and Bryson City, North Carolina. Train and rafting combinations. Gourmet dining and Mystery Theatre Dinner Trains. The drive is worth it and the experience will last a lifetime. Check out their Christmas Polar Express packages, what a special way to make a Children's Christmas magical~*

PROS: An experience that will last a lifetime
CONS: none

5
★★★★★

Climb aboard for rail adventure! Take a delightful journey by train along the colorful countryside of the western North Carolina mountains. Youll travel along cool rushing rivers, cross over a man-made lake on a high trestle and through lush green valleys and rolling farmlands. Operating year-round, choose from a variety of half-day scenic rail excursions departing from depots in the historic mountain towns of Dillsboro and Bryson City, North Carolina. Train and rafting combinations. Gourmet dining and Mystery Theatre Dinner Trains. The drive is worth it and the experience will last a lifetime. Check out their Christmas Polar Express packages, what a special way to make a Children's Christmas magical~*

PROS: An experience that will last a lifetime
CONS: none

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