We decided to do the tourist thing during our week in Maggie Valley and were really looking forward to our day on the Smokey Mountain Railroad. We decided to do it right and go first class after talking to the gal on the phone and viewing the website. We arrived early and checked in with no problem and appreciated the fact that we were credited 10% for or AAA discount that we had forgotten to mention when making the reservation the day before. However, thing went steadily downhill from there. First off, the bathroom was out of order due to a water main break and there were no other facilities other than stores/restaurants in the area. When the train finally arrived, we were disappointed in the quality of the seating in the first class car. We were in the McMillan car and unfortunately had a table for two on the wrong side of the train. Turns out we couldn't see anything but rocks & tress from our window. The people on the river side had the better view, but even that was pretty much just the river and after 4 hours that can get old. To add to the "charm" our server was a gal named Lynn who seemed irritated from the start. We were later informed that she was one of the company's best, which made us wonder how bad it could actually get. Now add to the story the fact that the generator on the train was out, so the cars were stifling hot and we were unable to get drinks and weren't even sure if we'd get our meal! Luckily, they got it fixed about an hour or so into the trip, but even then it was a fight to get drinks, which we were promised would be kept constantly filled as part of our first class experience. The lunch when it was served was actually pretty good and probably the highlight of the trip. The rest of the trip seemed like jail time and all we could do was wait to get out. There was also an hour layover that we weren't aware of - I'm sure it was advertised somewhere, but we weren't the only ones surprised by the stop. Not much to be at the stop other than be glad we were off the train! We expected much more charm and thought there would be some narration about the trip and what we were seeing (which wasn't much). We expected beautiful views, but were pretty much stuck in the side of the mountain with not much to see other than rocks, trees & weeds. For the almost $200 we paid for this adventure, it was definitely a let down and something we would not recommend or do again. If I were stuck on this train again, I would definitely choose the open air car on a nice day.
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