We also visited Gatlinburg on the first day of our vacation, despite me hobbling like a 93 year old woman after falling off my horse.
Gatlinburg is a lot busier than the Pigeon Forge area, with shops and restaurants packed in together like sardines along the parkway, and not many places to park. We went right in the midst of the peak hours so finding a place to park was fun.
We were starving by the time we arrived (I hadn't ate anything all day) so we started looking for the restaurant we'd planned on eating at, but despite the website for the restaurant stating it was on the parkway, it really wasn't and we could not find it. So we just parked the car and decided we would go to one f the many restaurants available.
We parked across from the Hard Rock Cafe so I suggested we go there, but got voted down, even though we'd be going there before leaving to get the Year of the Dragon pin my son is collecting (only to find out they are sold out in Gatlinburg :( which needless to say, was disappointing.
Unfortunately, we had parked farther down on the parkway than the area where the larger, much nicer looking restaurants were. We ended up going to the first restaurant we finally found (other than Hard Rock) , which was Mountain Edge Grill. Worst restaurant in Gatlinburg, I'm sure. The french fries were like the cheap ones you find at Kroger and have you ever had bacon you couldn't even taste? I assure you, it exists.
The price of our disappointing meal for our party of five, that could have been prepared at home for $20 and tasted exactly the same? Almost $70 !!!!!
So after that, we walked over to Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies. It was nice, though we've been on every trip to Pigeon Forge so it's not all that exciting to us anymore. I do strongly recommend it to anyone who hasn't visited it a bazillion times. One of the best attractions in the area. The shark tunnel is awesome.
After that we walked to Ben and Jerry's and picked up the ice cream cake I'd secretly ordered ahead of our visit since we went there on my youngest's birthday.
Then we made our quick trip to Hard Rock to get a pin (albeit not the one he'd originally wanted) my son wanted and it was back to the hotel for ice cream cake, and a long, hot bath for me and my aching bones, muscles... everything. Even my hair hurt. :(