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Silver Dollar City (SDC) Discussion Thread

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We are going on Wed 6/17, so I will let everyone know how the experience goes. Figure it will be a good test for my son before he goes back to work at SFSTL and has to wear a mask while working. At least for awhile.

 

I did see the pushback on FB and totally understand if some don'e want to go but I'm not sure everyone commenting there realizes they probably had to put that requirement in to get state/county approval to open

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Been monitoring the parks social media pages. Yeah the backlash has been beyond ridiculous. I've seen people literally post that they hope they go bankrupt and close over this! Sheesh it's one thing to disagree on something but really? Hoping for the park to shutter?

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I've said it before and I'll say it again. It's ridiculous that out of everything happening people have chosen MASKS to go batshit crazy over.

 

If we're stereotyping the 'Missouri' type people then shouldn't they be god loving Christians and do what is best for others?!?!

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I've said it before and I'll say it again. It's ridiculous that out of everything happening people have chosen MASKS to go batshit crazy over.

 

If we're stereotyping the 'Missouri' type people then shouldn't they be god loving Christians and do what is best for others?!?!

 

 

 

Of course they "should" but they don't. Unfortunately for those unaware that region of Missouri has always had an extremely militant, extremely right wing, the government should stay the hell away and I will take care of myself with my gun element to it. And they tend to cloak it in Christianity. Several years ago that a huge Neo-Nazi encampment was raided in the area. Now that is not to say by any means that most of the population of SW MO is like that, of course they are not! But there is no denying there is a higher concentration of that type of thinking in the Branson/Springfield area; always has been. Hence the ridiculous backlash against the park on FB over a mask requirement which everyone knows is temporary.

 

Most likely it is just a loudmouth minority spouting off, but it is still disturbing when you see people publicly hoping for financial ruin for any business. Talk about cutting your nose off to spite your face. That same element isn't always thrilled about outsiders coming in, however that is exactly what happens when your area depends on tourism, go figure.

 

And if anyone thinks I might be exaggerating, my Dad used to travel down there for business a few times a year and has a very Jewish last name. He actually had a few customers that would politely warn him not to stay at certain hotels or patronize certain restaurants because he was obviously Jewish. Crazy.

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I'm from the other side of the state and hypocrisy is just part of the culture here, but it's definitely more pronounced in the SW.

 

Worth noting: Branson has a confederate flag and apparel store, whose owner's father is literally the national director of the KKK.

 

As for SDC: I get the feeling reservations have been low as I've gotten a couple emails where the gist is 'spots still available'. But at the same time, I am actually trying to cancel two of our 5 spots for Saturday and have not been able to get through, they don't even put you on hold, just 'try again later'. Coupled with the FB comments it feels like they're getting swamped with this nonsense.

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I'm from the other side of the state and hypocrisy is just part of the culture here, but it's definitely more pronounced in the SW.

 

Worth noting: Branson has a confederate flag and apparel store, whose owner's father is literally the national director of the KKK.

 

As for SDC: I get the feeling reservations have been low as I've gotten a couple emails where the gist is 'spots still available'. But at the same time, I am actually trying to cancel two of our 5 spots for Saturday and have not been able to get through, they don't even put you on hold, just 'try again later'. Coupled with the FB comments it feels like they're getting swamped with this nonsense.

 

Or...ignoring it and hoping that it goes away. Avoiding the demands for season pass refunds is hurting Customer Service for patrons calling without mask issues. They need to get it together.

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I'm from the other side of the state and hypocrisy is just part of the culture here, but it's definitely more pronounced in the SW.

 

Worth noting: Branson has a confederate flag and apparel store, whose owner's father is literally the national director of the KKK.

 

As for SDC: I get the feeling reservations have been low as I've gotten a couple emails where the gist is 'spots still available'. But at the same time, I am actually trying to cancel two of our 5 spots for Saturday and have not been able to get through, they don't even put you on hold, just 'try again later'. Coupled with the FB comments it feels like they're getting swamped with this nonsense.

 

Yeah that's right, I had forgotten about that store, and it's in a highly visible spot if I recall, not tucked away. As far as how many reservations; when I bought tickets for 6/17 a week ago it actually had a number of how many spots were left (I believe 4412 at the time of my purchase) but of course I have no context on how many total they are allowing in.

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I believe that all the elevator has left to be considered done is the little theming structure on the top of it. And I must say, SDC certainly did a good job at making everything look like its been there for decades! The rockwork looked good on its own, but the moss and extra paint/stain details adds so much.

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Our trip yesterday went pretty good. The park has adjusted to the new procedures in place mostly as well as they can; there a couple little rough spots to iron out but overall the day was fine and actually better than I expected. I apologize in advance for the lack of pictures; Heat+hat+glasses+mask+heat+carrying all the bags+did I mention heat and I just got fed up with hauling the camera out so gave up on it pretty early.

 

We got there an hour before opening and I have to admit some alarm bells started going off at the number of people there. I had thought numbers would be much lower considering season pass only + reservation only + the incredible amount of mask bitching, but lot 2 was hopping and they went to at least one other lot later in the day. One nice benefit of the reservation system is SDC had more than normal parking trams lined up since they knew what to expect, so the crowds moved very quickly. You mask up in the parking lot then get a very quick temp check, then they give you a wristband to show you've been checked, then you ride the tram to the gate.

 

Park entry was normal, at least for me; I overheard a few nonspecific complaints later so not sure if they implemented something else. The one thing that was immediately apparent is lack of social distancing in walkways etc; there's signage etc but very few people were observing it. SDC's got a lot of bottlenecks and such so I get it's difficult, but most people weren't even making an attempt. I did see good mask discipline early on though, although this would change as the day went on.

 

The thing that surprised me most was how many rides/attractions were open. As far as I can tell, the only things that were closed were Marvel Cave, Grandfather's Mansion, and that one that I always forget the name of by the barn swing/Outlaw Run, the lumberjack thing where you pull yourself up by a rope. To me, all are reasonable to expect to be closed in this situation; I suppose there *could* be a way to do very small group cave tours but probably easier overall just to suspend them. All the rides have social distancing markers in the queues; some are plain painted blue dots, others have stickers with wording on them. Some stickers started peeling off the ground later in the day in places so that's going to be a bit of a headache for them to maintain I think. Almost all the rides have at least one hand sanitizer station; some have one at the beginning and end of queue. And most rides, the queue attendant will give you some sanitizer from a bottle they have; I don't know if it's technically mandatory but it felt that way. *Side note: bring skin moisturizer! Our hands were pretty raw by the end of the day from all the sanitizer

 

Most ride lines were reasonable. Many have the appearance of being longer than they are due to the distancing markers (although I'll return to this point in a bit) but on the other hand most rides have seating blocked out to increase distance so basically running at half capacity. And on the other other hand: no indoor shows were running, and not all the outdoor shows were running either; some live music here and there, and the SDC Citizens were still out and about (had a super brief chat with Terry Sanders, he was playing Colonel Parnell, and I may have shed a tiny little tear cause it was just so nice to see what feels like an old friend back doing what he loves), so none of those were soaking up guests from ride queues. As far as I can tell all the coasters except Time Traveler were running one train; one of the ops mentioned they had started Wildfire with two trains but quickly stopped for undisclosed reasons, and Wildfire did shut down completely a few hours before park close for mechanical issues. There were a lot of coaster issues today actually, I believe the only one that didn't shut down at any point for mechanicals is Thunderation.

 

Eating was well done; clear line distancing markers and indoor places have removed a lot of tables to give more room. Outdoors is more of a fend-for-yourself-for-seating, which is kind of normal but some outdoor seating has been removed as well, just didnt feel to as much of a degree as indoor. Most places have plexiglass shields near the checkout with a small window at the bottom for when you pay. A constant emphasis on preferring non-cash payment; a small snag is some places, particularly snack booths, didnt feel quite ready for it as their charge machines cord weren't quite long enough to easily use them through the shield window. The indoor places all had a dedicated staff member for cleaning tables and chairs immediately after the guest party left. I didn't personally observe outdoor seating being cleaned but I wasnt particularly looking out for it, if that makes sense; we ate primarily indoors to escape the heat.

 

Shopping... well if you know SDC shops then try imagining how you could even add the suggestion of social distancing. They basically did nothing at all on this front. Some shops had the plexiglass shield, and some distancing signage outside the store. I don't *blame* them, I honestly don't know what else they could do here short of policing how many people were in the store at a time but it stood out because of all the other work they've done in other areas.

 

The one real flaw of the day is, well, people. The social distancing markers in all the lines were largely disregarded; we observed them and more than once the people behind us not only crowded right up but asked why we weren't doing the same. Explaining the situation was basically met with "Oh." Mask discipline started out well but you could almost chart the decline over the course of the day. A few people doing the "I'll constantly drink/eat so I dont have to wear it" thing, some people 'wearing' their masks by keeping the loops on their ears but having the mask under their chins, some flat out just taking them off, and every variation you can imagine. I get that it's hot but this was part of the deal of reopening. I noticed very little enforcement from SDC staff, ride ops were pretty stringent but anywhere else the only staff I personally observed even making an attempt were the police security. I personally only observed one person actively refusing compliance and when push came to shove, the staff did make them put their mask on, but she pulled it right back off after getting off the ride. *shrug*

 

So overall a pretty good day albeit a hot one. Park doing a great job with a little room for improvement, which considering it was not only first day of operation but with a lot of new procedures to boot is reasonable. People doing an ok-ish job with a lot of room for improvement. Would I do it again? Yes, nothing was an immediate deal breaker. The one caveat is if we get a resurgence in cases I would absolutely NOT do it again; to repeat I don't blame SDC on this point but the overall general uncaring attitude of the guests is going to be problematic I fear.

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Chiselphane, thank you so much for the trip report! We are driving down from STL Tuesday evening and spending Wed at the park.

 

Were they selling the fast pass? Thinking with just one day I will most likely get them unless they are suspended right now?

 

And I saw an offhand comment on FB about a reservation time but could find nothing in our tickets or the website about having to show up at a reserved time, just the particular day. Do you (or anyone else) know anything about that?

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Fastpass/Trailblazer is not being offered at all, but they are honoring it if you've already purchased it beforehand. They did give out some one-shot paper fastpasses for some ride breakdowns, which someone graciously gifted to us as they were leaving that saved us a 90 minute posted wait on Powder Keg.

 

There is reservation time verbiage on the site but same as you, there was nothing specified on our actual reservation confirmation, we just showed up at opening. My feeling is it's them giving themselves the option to set times if needed, possibly staggering entry. My other feeling is that that option is probably going to be needed fairly soon, that initial bunch up at rope drop is not ideal right now.

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Did this park ever have a river rapids before? Is this a replacement?

 

Yes, Mystic River Falls is replacing the previous raft ride; Lost River of the Ozarks.

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Shopping... well if you know SDC shops then try imagining how you could even add the suggestion of social distancing. They basically did nothing at all on this front. Some shops had the plexiglass shield, and some distancing signage outside the store. I don't *blame* them, I honestly don't know what else they could do here short of policing how many people were in the store at a time but it stood out because of all the other work they've done in other areas.

 

They were limiting the number of shoppers in some shops. I had to wait outside of the new Clara Belle's Cinnamon Bread because the inside was at capacity. I didn't see lines outside of any other shops, but did notice signs outside of shops indication that social distancing is being observed and they may limit the number of people inside of the shop at a time.

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And I saw an offhand comment on FB about a reservation time but could find nothing in our tickets or the website about having to show up at a reserved time, just the particular day. Do you (or anyone else) know anything about that?

 

The new date specific single day tickets do not require a reservation.

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Shopping... well if you know SDC shops then try imagining how you could even add the suggestion of social distancing. They basically did nothing at all on this front. Some shops had the plexiglass shield, and some distancing signage outside the store. I don't *blame* them, I honestly don't know what else they could do here short of policing how many people were in the store at a time but it stood out because of all the other work they've done in other areas.

 

They were limiting the number of shoppers in some shops. I had to wait outside of the new Clara Belle's Cinnamon Bread because the inside was at capacity. I didn't see lines outside of any other shops, but did notice signs outside of shops indication that social distancing is being observed and they may limit the number of people inside of the shop at a time.

 

 

That's good to hear, I hope they get more consistent about it as I didn't see that happen a single time throughout the entire day.

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So we made the trip down Tuesday afternoon and went to the park on Wed.

 

Stopped and ate at Lamberts on the way down and I got to eat my first restaurant meal with real utensils and plates since March. We also rode the Branson Coaster and played putt putt; both places no masks required but social distancing in place and they were cleaning the carts and clubs after each use. Looked like most of the theaters will be starting up again as of July 1 and I have to say it is the first time ever I drove down 76 without the ridiculous amount of traffic that has become the norm there.

 

Our hotel had maybe 6 other cars there and it was weird with so few people in the hotel. Kept expecting to see the two creepy twins in their blue dresses at the end of the hallway.

 

Wednesday was SDC day, Chiselphane did such a great review, I will try to point out any differences I noticed.

 

The entry/exit was as expected. The temp check, health screening etc, etc. We arrived about 8:50 for a 9:30 open. We were given no specific time on our tickets and no one said anything at all. We were through and standing in front of TT by 9:05. The crowd level was very low pretty much all day but particularly first and last hours of the day. The employees told us they thought it was the lowest crowd since they opened and one of them thought it was probably because WW opened that day and drew some people away. Or it may have just been a lucky mid week attendance low. Most of the day there was never more that a station wait to maybe 20 min for the coasters. The exception being PK which we waited about 30 min for and got up to about 45 min or so by the afternoon. And at one point TT had about a 40 min wait but that didn't last all day. Oddly, OR was a walk on all day. My son did ride TT one last time on our way out, about 6:30 (7 pm park close) and said it was a walk on at that point.

 

Everything would have been a walk on all day if they had been able to run two trains. Every coaster except Fire in the Hole was running only one train, then add in the every other row thing and hourly cleaning and the waits built up a little bit. A couple of the ride ops told us that the one train was do entirely to low staffing. So, if they can get some staff hired and trained hopefully that will be better in a couple weeks. If the park had been more crowded the waits would have been a lot longer.

 

All the food we tried was pretty good quality and most place were open but certainly not all. Everything regarding food and shopping the same as the earlier trip report. Like Chisephane said most things open, including outdoor shows. Indoor shows obviously still closed.

 

We also got the hand sanitizer treatment from every single ride op. They tended to get you when you were trapped in the station waiting to board. However all the employees we encountered were friendly and doing their best.

 

They were working on MRF with a crane , mostly on the elevator lift. It was filled with water, could here it but not see much due to the work walls. And toward the end of the day they were having the crane pull boats up and put them where the lift should leave them. So it does seem that is the final obstacle to opening. I think it will be very soon.

 

As far as people following the rules. Most did observe the social distancing markers in the line. As pointed out before adherence to the mask rule deteriorated as the day progressed. Ride ops were enforcing the rule but employees outside the ride lines not so much. I mean there were lots of areas that are walkways where there really isn't anyone to do the enforcing. I did see what was obviously a supervisor pass a group of 5-6 twenty somethings without their masks on and she said nothing to them. I'm kind of guessing as long as most people have their masks on they were choosing to not start a scene with the small number that did not have them on outside the ride lines. My personal experience with the mask all day was that it was uncomfortably hot (and heat usually does not bother me); in other words annoying but doable. The only ride I had a problem with was PK, the mask kept slipping down on that one. Every ride op we ran into did require the masks stay on during the ride, so I am not sure on which of the "certain thrill rides" you didn't have to wear one. I did see several people wearing masks incorrectly, either below their nose or resting on their chin and not really covering the whole mouth. I cannot say if those people were doing it intentionally to buck the mask rule or just ignorant of the proper way to wear them. Maybe a little of both.

 

Now I did NOT put this in to start a whole debate on masks, just reporting what I observed happening the day we were there. It is really my belief that every business has the right to make the rules they feel comfortable with and the customers will have to decide if they are willing to comply or not and if not then don't patronize the business. I was absolutely stunned at the vitriol displayed on FB toward the mask rule, although I don't know why I was stunned, typical I guess.

 

Overall I agree the park was doing a pretty good job of trying to make this all work. I'm sure all the parks will go through a short learning curve as they reopen. And on a personal note, it was just so nice to get out and DO something!

 

If there are any specific questions that I didn't answer for anyone, feel free to ask away.

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Since I've all but cancelled my December Orlando trip at this point, I'm looking at a smaller, more relaxation based vacation in early November to Branson. So the question is: most of the Silver Dollar City rides are closed for the season by that point, right? Or are some still open weather depending?

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