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Silver Dollar City (SDC) Discussion Thread

p. 274: New Fire in the Hole announced for 2024!

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I love SDC in the rain. You'll have the park to yourself almost and the second it clears up they are quick to get PK and the other sensitive rides back open. There's a ton to do at SDC even in the rain, although with it being spring break a lot of the shops are closed and there aren't any big shows...


Anyway, today was great. I'll post a few photos tomorrow, but Fireman's Landing is a smash hit as we knew it would be. It's a little more tight in the area than a photo perspective will give you, but you don't really notice all of the rides until you are in the center of it. The firestation building is magnificent, and really turns this area into a thematic experience. There are so many awesome details it's hard to go through them all right now. There's lots of cool little interactive things, neat little details in the theming (like the ladder canopies), phone charging stations, good theming detail inside the buildings and out, and of course the awesome color palette and paint job on the rides. Like I said, the area is beautiful, and it keep up with a lot of SDC theming conventions, including individualized "store" name signs on the buildings next to the fire station.


I was annoyed by the soundtrack in the area though. Not because of the music, but because every other minute it was cut with a booming voice that either advertised a nearby park restaurant or made some lame joke over and over again. They need to adjust that, or parents waiting on kids will be driven insane. I also didn't like how they left the toy store. It used to be huge, and I understand they had to do some things due to ADA, but what's left is kind of an ugly Frankenstein building. Taking out the ivy canopy also exposed the backside of the theatre, which is ugly. I feel like they'll revisit this area next year to pretty it back up.

Also, as was speculated, Firefall obviously has an issue with capacity. The queue line will perpetually be out the door and down the path into the area. It is a very fun little double shot though.


It's a little weird seeing so many rides smashed into a prominent area of the park now. On Lake Silver you can now see all of Fireman's Landing's six rides, plus TGS, Lost River, and Outlaw Run. That's very different than the SDC I grew up with, but I think they've done as much as they can to make it not feel like a run-of-the-mill theme park even with all the ride additions that are now the meat of the park. Fireman's Landing is a whole class above any "family" area of it's kind at any other park.

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^ Sounds great! I do have one more question. If SDC does not give us a rainy day voucher (rain check, whatever it's called), is it easy to upgrade your ticket to a second day ticked for 5 more dollars at the park? I might just play it safe and order a two day ticket online instead.


Okay, so not only is the rain going to keep some rides closed, but the cold air (high of 43 for the day) is looking to sour the visit too. I think I will just show up to the park for a few hours and see what happens. Hopefully SOME rides will be running at park opening.

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Two day tickets would be wise. The forecast is for rain Thursday also, but a high in the 50s. On SDC's website they spell out the temperatures at which each ride will close, so plan your day accordingly, and the chance of getting to do everything you want is pretty good.Plus, two days will give you a chance to take your time and really experience the park. Many of the craftsmen are out already, and watching glass blowing is a good way to spend your time while waiting for rides to re-open.

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Sorry for all of these questions but I do have to ask a couple more:


Is there an exact period of rainfall that will qualify us for the second day ticket voucher (I.E. Like a couple of hours)

Is reservebranson.com a legitimate website for purchasing tickets? I'm not seeing a two day option on the official website and the reserve Branson price is only $5 more than a one day ticket.

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Here's the official rain policy:


If you experience 90 minutes of continuous rain or weather interruption that restricts rides, attractions and your fun at Silver Dollar City, please stop by Guest Relations before you leave Silver Dollar City to receive a complimentary return ticket valid for any 2015 operating day. Season pass holders, if you used a Guest Voucher, we will trade your guest voucher for another visit.


I've not used reservebranson.com myself. I do know that last year a couple of the Branson ticket places on Hwy 65 were selling two-day tickets for the price of one. I don't know if that is true again this year, as it's still Branson's "pre-season." SDC itself sells a second consecutive day upgrade for $20 if you buy the ticket at the park.

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First (half) day was mostly a success. Temperatures were in the mid 30s and misting rain, meaning that many of the rides were closed (Wildfire, Powder Keg, Electrospin, etc). However Outlaw Run was not thankfully and man was that one of the greatest roller coasters I've ever ridden. This surpassed The Voyage as my Number 1 woodie thanks to its fantastic layout and riding as smooth as butter. Also, since the park was empty, I got in 10 laps in 2 hours. Also, the ride was crawling through the barrel rolls, making for some amazing hang time. I also rode as the only rider three times thanks to the lack of crowds, so OR was a walk on all of the time I was there. Only makes for a better experience! Seriously, this ride is wicked.


I also got to ride Barn Swing, Fire In the Hole, Thunderation (great mine ride by the way), and check out the great new Firemans Landing and ride FireFall. I'm hoping for warmer temperatures and no rain tomorrow (as well as little crowds).

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^Wow, that's really unfortunate that the temps dropped so low all the sudden. It was supposed to be nice this week... If it isn't warmer or not raining tomorrow, you should really check out the cave. The building you're forced to go through before entering the main square has a place off to the size to line up for it. It's a pretty decent tour.




Here are some of my photos from opening day. I won't do a whole big PTR, but I'll go over some of the cooler details.


Fireman's Landing really pops out from the rest of the park. One one hand, the architecture and details blend it into the city, but on the other it is just so vibrant and active that it can't help but stand out.


The lakefront is much more open and clean now.


One of the signature details.


Splash pad.


The new colors on the balloons are perfect. They picked just the right shades.


Looking back towards the entrance from a few steps in. They opened up some area leading into FL.... more on that later.


Firefall somehow feels like it really blends into the firestation, even though it is obviously a ride .


This is the firewagon that used to be on the main square.


The kiddie swings that used to be in Half Dollar Hollar. Still no clue why they moved them here and left an ugly gapping hole in the landscape under the swinging bridge...


Best theming for a 'frog hopper' ever.


I liked how the other "buildings" next to the firestation were named and themed as well. Important details consistent with SDC's "city" theme.


This is a charging station for phones!


Another signature detail. Take the pledge and ring the bell.


There used to be a ivy canopy that hid part of this garrish backside of the theatre. Not sure why they took all the stuff out of this area. I know they wanted to open everything up, but this is pretty ugly. I think they'll be back to work on this soon.



They are pushing this Lucky character so hard.


They've also really cleaned out the landscaping. They're not letting areas like this one get so wild anymore.



Notice how all the canopies are made out of ladders? Not very good for shade, but neat detail.


The firestation is massive in real life. Very imposing in a good way. Awesome atmosphere here.



They've replaced a lot of flower beds and shrubbery with wood chips. There will be some plantings to come, since it's only march and most of the flower beds that remained were still empty, but they've taken a lot out.



The trees add such a special dimension to this park. Wish they'd keep the new areas covered more.

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Visited SDC on opening day and had a blast even though I had a stomach bug over the weekend. The crowds weren't too bad at opening, but as the day went on the park started getting more and more crowded.


I had wished that the shows had been open, but as is the case with most theme parks like Six Flags they don't usually have them ready to go come opening day. Also, we noticed that about half of the shops were only open. The stores that were open had some really neat things especially the pottery maker and the glass blower.


As for the food, we went early and ate at Molly's Mill for breakfast. Pretty good food especially the cinnamon biscuits! I wish I had the stomach to eat some more of those because those were the bomb! I also really wanted to stop and try one of the giant cinnamon rolls from the bakery up front, but yet again I didn't want to risk aggravating my stomach any further than I needed to.


The park felt like to me it was a giant Frontierland and I wouldn't consider that a bad thing! I certainly love Frontierland at Magic Kingdom, but this just makes you feel like you've transported to another time and place. The themeing for all of the rides certainly is superb down to the very last detail! This is something I wish Six Flags would take notice of, but that's for another forum...


Since it had been raining all day Friday and part of the morning on Saturday not every thing was open at 9:30. The first thing we headed to was Fire in the Hole. Nice little powered coaster. It certainly had some pep-in-its-step. We then wanted to head over to PowderKeg, but due to the rain it was closed until further notice. Next up was Wildfire. Convinced my mother, who doesn't really do inverting coasters, to try this one out. I told her if you can do Rock 'N Roller Coaster at Disney World you can do this one. Yeah... these two coasters are nothing similar... Loved being able to watch the whole coaster from the exit dock and how close you are to the train. Made for some great camera shots. As for the ride itself, I certainly enjoyed it.


After Wildfire, we decided to then head over to the train. Nice 20-min round trip to get off of our feet and the little show they do was funny as well. After that we headed over to Thunderation. WOW. What a mine train coaster! Picks up some serious speed and you're flying through the forest before hitting the breaks! Ended up riding it twice that afternoon. Once that was over we decided to explore the back of the park with the Grand Exposition and Fireman's Landing to see what they had to offer. Picked and chose the rides we wanted in these sections before heading to eat some lunch.


After lunch, we wanted to tour the Marvel Cave. However, with all the rain Branson received the cave was flooded and they were only able to take us on half tours. Still pretty cool to go down in the cave and see what we could before turning around and heading back up the stairs. Next up. Outlaw Run! Wait time was 30 mins and it was well worth it! That coaster NEVER LETS UP until the barrel rolls! No wonder it was awarded best coaster of 2014! Holy crap! Had there not been a line I would have totally ridden it again! Those barrel rolls are something else!


Later on the weather finally cleared up and we were able to ride PowderKeg. Uh. Wasn't expecting that from a coaster! A lot faster than I thought it was going to be, with a serious kick to start the ride! Last ride of the day was a re-ride on Thunderation before calling it quits and heading back into Branson for dinner that night.


All in all, Silver Dollar City is a great family park. I enjoyed my first time there. Outlaw Run is in a category all by itself and I wish it was closer to Texas, but I guess I'll just have to make another trip back to SDC just to get some more runs in on the craziest coaster I've ever been on!


When I can get the pics uploaded on my computer, I'll try to post some of the shots I got on opening day!

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I don't see any problems with the back of the theater other than those black things above the doors.


In a park famous for it's beauty, theming, and attention to detail, it's definitely out of place. When you see it in person you'll understand what I mean - it sticks out from an otherwise beautiful and revitalized area. You'd think they would have put a facade on it, but I guess the project scope had to end somewhere.


disneyfreak1986, you'll definitely have to come again sometime during the regular season when everything is open. Spring break is called "Spring Ride Days" because the rest of the park doesn't really fully open until April-May. Christmas is a whole additional experience.

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This is pretty big news and should be in this thread as well as the Sea World threads!


Seaworld Entertainment, Inc. Names Joel Manby as President and CEO


ORLANDO, Fla., March 19, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. (SEAS), a leading theme park and entertainment company, today announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Joel Manby as President and Chief Executive Officer, effective April 7, 2015. At that time, Manby, 55, will also join the Company's Board of Directors. David F. D'Alessandro, who has served as interim CEO, will continue to serve as the Company's Chairman.


"The Board of Directors has completed an extensive search process and we are extremely pleased to welcome Joel Manby to SeaWorld Entertainment. Joel has nearly 20 years' experience and a proven track record with business models very similar to ours – multiple brands and multiple properties in the entertainment and theme park industries," said D'Alessandro. "Even in the most challenging business environments, Joel has consistently enhanced the performance of the companies he has led for customers, investors and employees alike. He has the experience and qualifications to lead our Company into the future."


Most recently, Manby has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Herschend Enterprises, the largest family-owned theme park and entertainment company in the United States. While at Herschend, he has consistently driven profitable growth, expanding the company from six to 26 properties while more than doubling annual EBITDA and net cash flow. Herschend reports annual attendance of more than 14 million across its companies.


"I am honored to be selected as SeaWorld Entertainment's new CEO. This Company has tremendous brands, and for more than 50 years, families have come to our parks to learn about animals, have fun and be entertained," Manby said. "We are known for our exceptional operations and world-class animal care. My job is to build on that foundation while consistently improving and innovating in a competitive environment. I look forward to working with our more than 23,000 team members through the challenges ahead."


Before joining Herschend, Mr. Manby spent 20 years in the auto industry. From 1996-2000, he served as CEO of Saab Automobile USA, where he increased the company's sales by over 60 percent and improved its J.D. Power Quality Rating from 30th to fifth in the industry. Prior to joining Saab, Mr. Manby held various roles at GM, and was a member of the start-up team for Saturn Corporation, where he was instrumental in launching Saturn's innovative marketing and distribution strategy.


Mr. Manby was the valedictorian of Albion College, where he was a Rhodes scholarship finalist, and he earned an MBA from Harvard Business School. He serves on the boards of several companies and organizations, including Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc. and the National Advisory Board of the Salvation Army. Mr. Manby is married and has four daughters.

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Well, my Silver Dollar City trek has finally come to a close. Id like to give my review of this very nice park now. Let's start off with the overall...


Overall: I'm sure in the summer time, this park has a welcoming, amazing forest atmosphere. However, it's the middle of March and no leaves on the trees. Also, the weather does not like to cooperate all of the time. I visited this Wednesday and Thursday and the highest temp it got to was 45 degrees, and that was today. Yesterday, the rain as well as 34ish degree weather kept Powderkeg, Electrospin, and Wildfire all down. Today, all three reopened in stages, with me waiting at the entrance to all three to open. The operations were not always the greatest, but still pretty good. There was a huge amount of walk of shames on all of the rides at least once. Not only does it slow down the operations, but it makes yourself embarrassed and angry at the ride ops when you only have yourself to blame for not using the test seat! Anyhow, back to the park. I didn't have much time to check out the shops, plus many were not open yet. Same goes for the shows though I caught a Houdini side show that was entertaining. Now onto the rides!


Fireman's Landing: I honestly only visited it to ride FireFall. It seemed pretty cute, and today it was especially crowded with children. Since I had Liberty Launch at Holiday World, this ride was nothing new.


Fire in the Hole: Front Row x1; It was cute, but I didn't appreciate the splash down thanks to the weather. Probably more enjoyable in the summer


Electrospin: x1; I was actually anticipating to ride this model of the Disko since I had only been on the Surf Dog and Pipe Scream models that don't have the bike seats. It was alright, but nothing too special


Thunderation: Front Row x1; Great mine train. I'd definitely put this ahead of Adventure Express thanks to the extra drop at the end. I wish they still had some of the cars turned backwards since it would make it more intense.


Powderkeg: Back Row x1; By far, the hardest credit to get this trip. Not only is this ride temperamental with the weather, but apparently it was also experiencing mechanical issues as well. As for the ride, it was a great family coaster. I'd almost say it's a little too intense for its low height restriction, but most of the kids coming off seemed to enjoying it. Great airtime on the second and fourth hill.


Wildfire: Front Row x1: Another tough credit, but opened earlier than Powderkeg. I was hoping for this ride to be just as good as Kumba, but sadly it wasn't. That's not to say it wasn't a great ride, because it was. Very forceful, with great views. I just wish they could've fit an extra corkscrew in there because it feels a little too short.


Outlaw Run: Front Row x1, Back row x12. I already posted my review on the previous page, but it's so awesome that it deserves another one. I seriously could not have been more hyped for a coaster more than this one. It lived up to the hype and surpassed it. It rode fast and wild, but yet it crawled through the barrel rolls leaving some ridiculous hang time.Outlaw Run also surpassed the Voyage as my new number 1 coaster. The only compliant I have is the length as once again it suffers from Short Ride Syndrome. 13 laps were seriously not enough, but sadly I had to leave early today. RMC needs more of these start-from-scratch roller coasters. I honestly just love everything about it.


To conclude this review, I'll add a few pictures:


Don't be fooled, the station and ride was empty Wednesday


The train wanted to be included in the picture, sigh


1 train ops = Empty brake run picture.


It's an inversion. Don't care what other people say.




Do a barrel roll!


Crappily timed picture, but 81 DEGREES

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The news of Manby moving on to SEAS has huge implications for SDC. I'm still trying to wrap my mind around it all.


HFEC has been growing enormously over the past decade. The attempt to turn SDC/CC into a Disney-light didn't work out so well, but the company has bought up a ton of smaller attractions and they are spending $300 million on Dollywood to turn it into a regional attraction. It's not the same company that it was before Manby, and the Herschends themselves are only getting older.


What freaks me out is that Manby was the only CEO who really connected with the Herschend brothers and took considerable time to understand how they wanted the company to be run. He fit the position like a glove. You really have to hope that the next CEO understands what makes the company so special and works to keep it that way.

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The news of Manby moving on to SEAS has huge implications for SDC. I'm still trying to wrap my mind around it all.


HFEC has been growing enormously over the past decade. The attempt to turn SDC/CC into a Disney-light didn't work out so well, but the company has bought up a ton of smaller attractions and they are spending $300 million on Dollywood to turn it into a regional attraction. It's not the same company that it was before Manby, and the Herschends themselves are only getting older.


What freaks me out is that Manby was the only CEO who really connected with the Herschend brothers and took considerable time to understand how they wanted the company to be run. He fit the position like a glove. You really have to hope that the next CEO understands what makes the company so special and works to keep it that way.

I totally agree. I hope Manby helps them find a replacement that's just as good as he was. SeaWorld definitely needed a better CEO though, and I'm sure he'll really help the company improve. Hopefully he'll help them market their parks better.

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