Enjoyed the FREE ride up in the aerial tram (shuttle bus was also available). It was quite an adventure to ride the shuttle in the complete early morning darkness. The operator kept our spirits up with witty humor and reflections.
Upon arriving, we went outside to the North parking lot, where chairs and stadium seating was set up. The service consisted of several speakers/preachers (short and to-the-point!) and a musical duo. The "stage" was decorated with Easter lilies and provided amplified sound. The service was 6:30 AM - 7:30 AM - it began in the dark and then we all enjoyed watching the sun rise as the service progressed.
Afterwards, we enjoyed the breakfast buffet in the dining area - $14.95 pp for adults and some off for children. Those below 3 were free, I believe. Though this was a buffet, servers did provide drinks and service. There was quite a wait in line for the buffet, but a server allowed us to sit and wait for the line to go down - and provided drinks (coffee) while we waited.
Everyone (staff and church service) was very friendly and welcoming.
If you plan on going, get there early! We arrived at the Ober Gatlinburg downtown loading area around 5:30 or so. There were already 200+ people there in line! The tram (and shuttle buses) begins loading at 5:00 AM - 6:30. However, I believe they continued running past 6:30, due to the large crowd.
For those who are claustrophobic, have a fear of heights/dark, instead of the aerial tram, please consider the shuttle bus or personal vehicle (there is parking at top - I don't know if it was free for this event - there is usually a charge).
The other attractions at Ober were not open, but we could have stayed until they opened and enjoyed them for the remained of the day - the last tram departs at 9:20 on the dot. Miss it and you will be walking down the mountain! (Or perhaps an Uber can be hired?)
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