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Silver Dollar City (SDC) Discussion Thread

P. 261: Arvest Bank announces 10 year sponsorship deal

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and I do love the upgraded restraints, but I worry technically for its future

 

Forgive my ignorance, but what is upgraded about these restraints? Are they different than all the other ones on Manta, Blue Fire, Helix, Icon, etc.? Or maybe I'm misinterpreting what you're saying, I just thought I'd ask because now I'm curious.

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The way they lock is an upgrade. At Manta in Sea World San Diego, you pull them down yourself, and they are notorious for tightening and clamping down during the ride itself (not unlike Skyrush).

 

Here, it's all automatic... you don't touch the restraint at all, it comes down for you, and then gets (somehow) locked into place. They tell you to keep your hands up (even after the restraint comes down) until you see and feel a little "jiggle" as it locks into place. The restraint didn't move at all during the ride. Which is quite an upgrade. Makes the ride much more enjoyable, but I also wonder if it's causing some of tech problems. Does anyone know if this automatic restraint system is a first for Mack?

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And I was fortunate enough to get on their one of a kind German fun fair ghost train from 1972, which has only been open for 2 days! I even talked to the staff about it for about 20-30 minutes, and learned a lot about it, and they have big plans for it (including putting in live actors for Halloween!). It's still a work in progress, they aren't finished with it yet--they just wanted to get it up and running. But the operators have a real passion for it, and have a haunt background (and they got some assistance from a Knott's Berry Farm Haunt designer!). While it's a bit rough around the edges right now (and they know it), I think the potential is pretty clear, and am excited for its future. It could be a real jewel.

This is great--thanks for highlighting it! The park is definitely on my list for my next Branson visit. Someone kindly save me the searching--were there originally whisperings that this park would/might be temporary? I hope it sticks around.

You remember correctly. They've advertised it as this summer only, but they've also dropped hints that if they make enough money on it, they'll come back next year.

 

Edgeboy, glad to hear it's open and that it's a good experience. I'll have to get down there soon to check it out for myself.

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And I was fortunate enough to get on their one of a kind German fun fair ghost train from 1972, which has only been open for 2 days! I even talked to the staff about it for about 20-30 minutes, and learned a lot about it, and they have big plans for it (including putting in live actors for Halloween!). It's still a work in progress, they aren't finished with it yet--they just wanted to get it up and running. But the operators have a real passion for it, and have a haunt background (and they got some assistance from a Knott's Berry Farm Haunt designer!). While it's a bit rough around the edges right now (and they know it), I think the potential is pretty clear, and am excited for its future. It could be a real jewel.

This is great--thanks for highlighting it! The park is definitely on my list for my next Branson visit. Someone kindly save me the searching--were there originally whisperings that this park would/might be temporary? I hope it sticks around.

You remember correctly. They've advertised it as this summer only, but they've also dropped hints that if they make enough money on it, they'll come back next year.

 

Edgeboy, glad to hear it's open and that it's a good experience. I'll have to get down there soon to check it out for myself.

Where have they advertised it as this summer only? That just doesn't seem right since they built a huge, permanent building with a large, paved parking lot and a large LED sign. If they really only intended to keep it open for a summer (or at least just test the waters for a year) then they would just have a gravel parking lot, a cheap sign, and no building at all.

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  • 2 weeks later...

There's a pretty firmly established pattern that they don't add anything the year after a major addition, especially coasters. Plus, rumor is that they spent way more on TT than advertised and it is still breaking down pretty much every day. It might be awhile before we see them start on the next big thing.

 

I'd be thrilled if they started on other necessary enhancements like more parking and a better entrance/tram drop-off.

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I am thinking probably 2021 will be the year for the next big thing. Also until then I really think they should invest in Flooded Mine and Fire In The Hole as they are in such a sad state of disrepair. 80 percent of the effects were not working on either when I rode them last Monday. It was so strange riding thru Flooded Mine as it was so quiet you would have thought you were in the middle of a funeral procession. Really disappointed. This is not an isolated case as a lot of people have been commenting about it on various forums and social media and even at the park.

 

Also Flooded Mine just celebrated its 50th year at the park.

 

Another comment I have seen on Facebook to SDC which I sadly have to agree with:

"Just a suggestion to management start taking care of these older rides; sound tracks working prisoners actually working and water working where it used to, cannon firing and exploding in water outdoors. Fire in the Hole soundtrack, the gunshots and windows breaking in saloon area fans on the bridge did more than just create the fire effect it also helped move some air in there as it is noticeably warm in there, American Plunge has lost basically all the effects there, man drowning with dog saving him, the outhouse falling over. The park spends millions on a new ride but fails to upkeep the unique older rides. Somebody needs to be the head of quality control on a lot of things on park. Seems they are just worried about the new and not the tradition which is sad. My grown kids even say it is not the same."
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Unfortunately, the more complaints the park gets about Flooded Mine and FITH, the more likely they are to just bulldoze them. I am certain they see those rides more as problems vs. something people cherish. There is an awesome, dedicated crew for both rides, but the lack of funding over the years to fix major things has compounded over time and now the park is faced with the decision to either gut them and try to rebuild or simply bulldoze and replace with something completely different. There was a rumor a few years ago that FL would be completely bulldozed and the space used for a new coaster... I have a feeling the Herschends speak up from time to time to try to keep them from tearing down all the "old" SDC.

 

We'll see what happens. I keep feeling like FL and FITH are the next things to get replaced or re-done, but it hasn't happened yet.

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Silver Dollar City has sent us a press release announcing this year's Moonlight Madness event, offering extended evening hours in the park to enjoy the park's many attractions including Time Traveler and Outlaw Run in the dark!

 

Thrill lovers can take the world’s fastest, steepest and tallest spinning drop in the dark on the new $26 million ride Time Traveler during Silver Dollar City’s Moonlight Madness, an end-of-summer celebration with extended time to ride, play and dance into the night. Over 40 rides and attractions will be open from 9:30 am to 10 pm July 21 to August 5, with more than 12 hours a day to play.

 

Night-ride thrills take on new dimensions with Time Traveler, as guests can drop 10 stories at 90 degrees, traveling over 50 miles per hour before flying through three inversions with two launches, with spin – all in the dark. Riders can also soar into the sunset on The Giant Barn Swing, take a pitch-black ride on the world’s only double-barrel-rolling wood coaster Outlaw Run and take five inversions under the stars on WildFire, along with all the park’s rides and attractions.

 

Nightly Street Dances on the Square feature new emcees and performers Prince Ivan leading dance favorites like the Macarena and the Chicken Dance. Daytime shows include NBC-featured juggler Chris Ruggierio with a one-man variety show July 21 – 28, and award-winning magician and comedian Taylor Hughes performing illusion and comedy July 29 – August 5. A special fireworks show caps the “Hits from the Hollow” show at Echo Hollow Amphitheatre each evening.

 

The nighttime fun goes all the way to midnight on the final two Saturday nights, with special one-time evening performances from ‘80s tribute band Members Only on July 28, and ‘90s cover group The Mixtapes on August 4.

 

Moonlight Madness runs daily July 21 - August 5 at the Branson, Missouri theme park.

 

WHITE WATER: Nighttime rides are also featured at nearby White Water as it presents Night Water, featured on Fridays and Saturdays through August 4. The water park extends park hours to 10 p.m. for cool water fun on hot summer nights, with fireworks lighting up the sky at park closing every Saturday.

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I just returned from my first trip to SDC and I have to say that I absolutely loved the park!! The ride ops were great, the food was great, the scenery, the rides, the staff, everything I experienced was top notch. I've read some of the comments made recently about flooded mine and fire in the hole. Yes, they need some TLC! but as a first time rider I really enjoyed them alot. I was there for a day and a half and we didn't even see one show but we never waited in line for more than 30 min and that was on the river rapids ride. It was very hot! I appreciated the water misters around the park and the heavily wooded terrain. Very few times did we have to walk in direct sunlight. I came from Minnesota just to ride Time Traveler and it did not disappoint. The station was air conditioned, the train cars were beautiful and very comfortable to sit on and the ride itself was so unique. It was down once while we were there but it's a new ride, all new rides have bugs that need to be worked out. My biggest surprise was Outlaw Run. I wondered why the leg restraints but after riding it I now understand! So much force and speed and super smooth. The rest of the coaster line up was also pretty great. Wildfire has such an amazing view from the top! Powder Keg has a great launch and even Thunderation was really a fun mine train coaster. I thought the park had a pretty descent line up of flat ride although they could use one or two more.

Branson should be thanking their lucky stars for SDC!! The town itself was O.K. if you like sitting in traffic and looking at all the attractions. I was really surprised to see several old closed down attractions and hotels.

I came back to Minnesota and have been raving about SDC and telling everyone that they should go! I'm telling you local folks that you have a gem of a park. Yes, it needs some TLC but its a winner. My home park is a Cedar Fair park, Valleyfair! It's a nice park but pales in comparison to the charm that SDC has.

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Massive, sudden storm in Branson tonight. Lots of tree damage at the park from what I hear.

 

What is much worse is that a ride the duck boat was out on the lake when it blew through unexpectedly hard and ended up being capsized. 30 people on board and rumors that some may have perished. Hopefully that turns out to be false and everyone makes it out ok.

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Pretty sad that boats would be on the lake with severe storms very clearly in the forecast. A severe thunderstorm watch was issued at 1120AM, a severe thunderstorm warning was issued at 632PM, and the storms hit Table Rock Lake around 7PM.

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http://www.ky3.com/content/news/Emergency-crews-work-incident-involving-amphibious-boat-on-Table-Rock-Lake-488679201.html

 

Stone County sheriff reports 8 dead, 7 injured after duck boat capsizes on Table Rock Lake

 

The Stone County Sheriff confirms eight fatalities involved in a Ride the Ducks boat capsizing on Table Rock Lake Thursday.

 

Emergency crews responded to the incident shortly after 7 p.m. after a severe line of thunderstorms rolled through the area.

 

Sheriff Doug Rader reports the boat had 31 people on board. He tells KY3 News seven suffered injuries in the crash. Cox Medical Center reports two suffered critical injuries in the tragedy. Some of the 31 on board include children. Divers are on the scene searching for more possible victims. The sheriff says he does not know how many on the boat are missing. The sheriff is asking for any family missing someone to go to Branson City Hall. It remains a rescue and recovery mission.

 

Investigators say the boat ended up sinking in the lake. It remains in the water. Boaters and staff from the nearby Branson Belle rescued several.

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Search and rescue called off and switching to recovery mode according to reports. This is really bad. As of this writing only 18 people have been recovered with 11 being dead. Over 30 people were reported on board.

 

Despite the tragic outcome for the boat in question, I'm actually impressed these boats held up as well as they did. The other boat did manage to make it back safely. However, it appears that was because it was not fully loaded unlike the one that sank. If you see the videos this looks like something you would see from a storm out at sea, its crazy to see Table Rock look like that with them out there.

 

The final death blow to the vessel is around 4:10, they also reported live on KY3 that they had wind gusts equal to a Cat3 Hurricane! http://www.ky3.com/content/news/CAUGHT-ON-CAMERA-Viewer-captures-Ride-the-Ducks--488687431.html

 

Another article with various videos: https://heavy.com/news/2018/07/branson-duck-video-boat-sinking-sinks/

 

Alternate Link:

 

POV video from the surviving boat:

 

On another note, I could see how this could very well mark the end for Branson's Ride The Ducks Tours. The chain as a whole has unfortunately already suffered from a lot of bad publicity from other incidents across the nation.

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On another note, I could see how this could very well mark the end for Branson's Ride The Ducks Tours. The chain as a whole has unfortunately already suffered from a lot of bad publicity from other incidents across the nation.

 

Honestly, I think this needs to be the end of all of these. They just don't seem to have the safety record that they should. I feel like every year we get some story of an accident or death on one around the country.

 

Ugh, I just watched some of the videos and it's pretty bad. These vehicles are not good cars and they're not good boats, also I understand that storms can come on quickly (I live in Florida!), but it seems someone made a mistake having the boat out when a storm like that came through.

Edited by SharkTums
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Horrible news...how terribly sad for all involved.

 

I remember doing one of these tours in Pittsburgh several years ago and mentioning to Michael that I felt a wee bit too close for comfort to the water when we went into the 3 rivers. While they told us to keep our hands arm inside the boat, you could have easily just reached out and dunked your hand in the water - I would say only 3-4" if I seem to recall correctly?

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Just to update, I live in St. Louis so this is big news and updates are frequent. Of the 31 on board 14 survived and it is confirmed by Missouri State Highway Patrol the remaining 17 did not make it. Such an awful and avoidable outcome. Hopefully at the very least operators of these boat tours will take more serious consideration to weather reports in the future.

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Just read in a news story that Herschend Family Entertainment are sole owners of Ride the Ducks.

 

https://www.kansascity.com/news/state/missouri/article215219170.html

Herschend sold the majority of the company in 2012.

 

Got it.

 

ABC News is reporting that the National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning with high winds for that area about half an hour before the boat was hit. Incredible negligence to take those boats on the water. A warning means the storm had formed and was on its way.

 

People said it was sunny and the storm popped up out of nowhere, but clearly the National Weather Service was all over it in plenty of time. Weather forecasting is too good these days for these operators to not be aware of imminent weather threats. My cell phone goes off automatically with watches and warnings because I want to be aware of severe threats since we live in the midwest.

 

https://abcnews.go.com/US/missouri-duck-boat-capsize-unfolded-amid-weather-warnings/story?id=56711130

Edited by ilrider
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Yes, it was sunny and the storm came suddenly as you looked at it on the ground, but on radar it had been coming for some time. There was a severe thunderstorm watch for most of yesterday, and a warning came about 4:30 or so. I was at work when this happened (I work at Springfield-Branson Airport), and we were all in storm shelters when I got a news alert for this. Airplanes were all grounded and everyone in both terminals were in storm shelters, and these people thought it was totally okay to take some tourists out in a boat on the lake. This is negligence if I've ever seen it.

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