We went summer of 2011. Stayd in Wears Valley in a cabin booked through VRBO.com. NOT in a "community" which we liked.
Gatlinburg is VERY touristy ... if you're going to go into the Smokies, I'd stay in Wears Valley or Townsend ... we did spend 1 day in "town" for my daughter. The rest were hiking and fishing in the mountains.
EVERYTHING in Gatlinburg is pricey. Prepare for that. Comedy Barn was fun .. it was I think more in Pigeon Forge.