Another amusement park you could check out is Silver Dollar City. It’s sort of a sister park to Dollywood, similar in some ways, but still very different from it. Although I have only read about SDC, never been there. We had a trip scheduled to there this spring break, and I was pretty excited, but of course it didn’t happen. But I’m definitely going to get there once things are open again.
SDC is built on top of an underground canyon, which you can tour as part of your admission. Definitely unique for an amusement park.
Anyway just thought I’d mention it because it’s closer to CA than Dollywood, although still quite a drive.
Dollywood has Lightning Rod, though