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Silver Dollar City (SDC) Discussion Thread

P. 261: Arvest Bank announces 10 year sponsorship deal

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Yeah, for sure. Let's all continue to cheerlead government requirements to the point that when they're eventually not needed we'll still be required to wear them at the slightest hint of a new virus.

You know what's wild? In Asia people will voluntarily wear masks if they believe they can get someone else sick. Caring about the well-being of others - crazy ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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I'm not an anti-masker. I just hate the huge circle-jerk around the subject. I think it comes dangerously close to enabling any government to make masks mandatory for lesser flu outbreaks in circumstance where masks may not be needed. "Fuck it. They clearly enjoy wearing masks, so let's just go overkill and make them do it, anyway."

 

Also, I get it. Every country is better than the United States. It's a total shithole here with no good people.

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Man, Zach, what have we been talking about in PMs? Just gotta let it all roll off your back. We will never be understood for not buying in to the "sky is falling" hype. Get yourself to KI on a weekday and get some rides in...operations are great and it feels like normal times except the mask and actual space around you in lines. You'll feel better, I promise.

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I'd love to, but our last blast is at SDC before those fuckers cut my shoulder open and leave me down for 6 months.

 

6 months for a shoulder surgery? That stinks, anyone on here got a good HGH guy to help this man out a bit? Good luck with the recovery though.

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I'd love to, but our last blast is at SDC before those fuckers cut my shoulder open and leave me down for 6 months.

 

I need shoulder work. I'm not looking forward to the down time. I really wish I had done it first of the year but who knew what was coming. Best of luck with the procedure and rehab.

 

No idea how long I'll put it off.

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I'd love to, but our last blast is at SDC before those fuckers cut my shoulder open and leave me down for 6 months.

 

As much as not riding coasters for 6 months would suck, you couldn't pick a better time with most parks forcing mask on people.

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SILVER DOLLAR CITY/BRANSON REVIEW AND TR

(LONG)

****PART 1****

We spent a day at the park on Thursday, 07/16/2020 and we had an incredible time. We'd been to Silver Dollar City once before when Outlaw Run was new. During that visit, we only had a couple of hours and it was back when I cared more about getting credits and only enjoying "bigger and better" attractions, instead of enjoying it all. Here are some notes:

 

Note, that in the beginning of my TR I'll make some comparisons to one other park I went to this year where it was so depressing we left in two hours. This is "Park X." Granted, that was in the very beginning of parks re-opening, which is why I’ll cut them some slack and leave them nameless, even though I’ve heard not much has changed.

 

When operating rides, Park X had every other row closed, period. They were running one train operations. All of the ride operators behaved lethargically.

 

Silver Dollar City was also running one train operations. Crowds were light. They were placing parties together and leaving an empty row in between. For example, if you had a party of 4, they would load you in rows 1 and 2, while leaving row 3 empty and starting the next riders in row 4. If you had a party of 2, they would load you in row one, leave row two empty, and start the next riders in row 3. Being dynamic seemed to make people a lot happier than just closing every other row. That, and you could potentially load trains with more people.

 

Park X sanitized their trains once every cycle. They drenched the rows with a one-gallon pump sprayer. The ride operators would then come back around and barely touch the areas with a rag, so that by the time you got on the train there were drops and runs of strong smelling sanitizer.

 

Silver Dollar City sanitized their trains every hour. I was in line for this to happen once, on Outlaw Run. I really don't care about the process, but it seemed thorough. They had standard size handheld bottles set on the widespread mist setting, vs. the concentrated spray. The operators sprayed the lap bars and seats. They took the time to wipe off all the residue and they cycled the train empty to dry it off. By the time I took my seat it was bone dry and it did not smell of offensive chemicals to remind you of just how fucked things are.

The ride operators also make you sanitize your hands before every rider boarded. When they assigned you your row, they would give you a pump of hand sanitizer. It had a very faint pleasant smell, it dried quickly, and it was not sticky. This is a huge contrast from the sanitizer at Park X, which had an offensive smell and seemed cheap. Sanitizer bottles were near the exit of each ride and throughout the park.

Masks were required. Distance markers were present. Most guests complied. All staff complied.

 

We had ordered some kind of athletic masks with very breathable material from Amazon a few months ago. We could also tighten them and loosen them behind the ears, which was very convenient. I could crank the mask down on rides where it wouldn't move at all, and then loosen the mask on the brake run. I forgot it was on most of the time.

That said, I don't find masks fun. I don't find ways to make them a novelty. I don't pretend that they are badges of courage. I don't pat myself on the back for wearing them. I don't pretend I'm better than people who don't wear them. I just wear them for the reasons I'm supposed to. I’m neither a hater, nor a cheerleader.

The staff members we interacted with were incredible. Cast members and staff members would greet you when you passed them around the park and on the midways. I've never experienced staff that friendly, even at Knoebels and Dollywood. The water fountains were gone, and we mostly drink water. We had to ask about a dozen shops for ice water throughout the day. They were always really courteous, and they didn't act like we were an inconvenience to them. It is often that I don't find that to be the case at other parks.

The park was clean, and I don’t remember seeing a single piece of trash. The bathrooms were immaculate. They were very modern and tiled. They were definitely way more upscale than other park bathrooms. I never experienced an empty soap dispenser. Holiday World can hand their “Cleanest Park” award over to Silver Dollar City.

We split a chicken fajita skillet for lunch. The meat was tender and free of any fat or gristle. There's no reason not to be content with eating inside this park. It's nice to find a healthi'ER alternative with just meat and vegetables, instead of pizza, hot dogs, etc. I had my first experience with Cinnamon Bread. We grabbed some near the end of the day and it paired well with a Starbucks blonde roast. We had to stop ourselves from eating the whole loaf and we accidentally killed off about 70% of it. Luckily, it was steaming hot enough to make us eat it slow enough that we only burned our mouth a little…

The scenery is great. There's so much to look at when you take your time. The layout was challenging to figure out at first, which made for some good exploring. The signs are nice telling you where the rides are when you get closer. All of the rides seemed perfectly placed and I like how some of them are almost hidden. The new water ride placement, going toward the Barn Swing and Outlaw Run, allows you to look down the hill into a large portion of the rapids.

There were so many trees and a lot of water features. I usually always have to wear sunglasses outside. I didn't, because of my mask, and I never got blinded by the sun. It made the hot temperature very tolerable.

Even with one train operations, everything was manageable. When we first got to the park, we waited about 20 or so minutes for Time Traveler. We made sure to get there first. Later in the day we waited about 20 minutes for Wild Fire. We skipped other rides when they had lines any longer than that.

We played it smart and waited until later in the day to ride Powder Keg and Fire In the Hole, as their lines looked to be around an hour long. Luckily, as we’d been told, during the last couple of hours, everything was walk-on or only a couple train wait at most. Waiting out the attractions with long lines until later in the day paid off. We were able to have a nice leisurely time and ride plenty of rides without standing in line. It’s nice to get the exercise and walk around, instead of standing stagnant.

Edited by prozach626
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****PART 2****

Here's what rode:

Time Traveler: This ride is so fun and I honestly wasn’t even looking forward to it. Our first ride of the day was Time Traveler in the middle. It was so smooth and I unexpectedly enjoyed the hell out of it. Emily said it was the most fun new-for-us ride she's been on in a long time. That says something, considering last year we hit SFGAdv and Canada's Wonderland for the first time. We also rode once in the front and once in the back. The back-seat ride gave us the most insane stomach-drop/butterfly in our stomach feeling that I've had outside of Top-Thrill-Dragster.

Seriously, holy shit. I couldn't help but to yell at the top of my lungs to keep my insides from coming out! The rest of the ride was a blur. The drop was so intense that although it was awesome, we chose not to sit in the back again. We tried a front seat ride during our last of our three total rides, which was the most unpredictable without the insane first drop. I think I actually liked our middle seat ride the most. It seemed to give me just the right amount of forces and craziness, without being too unpredictable to enjoy. Both the front and the back were great, but they each made us need a rest in between going on other rides. It’s part of not being old, but not getting any younger, either. We haven’t been into marathoning rides in years, so it doesn’t bother us any.

Outlaw Run: I got five rides and Emily got four. It’s easily my favorite ride in the park. We’ve been on four RMC’s, being Outlaw Run, Goliath, Storm Chaser, and Steel Vengeance. The original layouts are just so much more fun and less awkward than the hybrids.

We only had to wait for one train one time. The first drop in the back seat is crazy, but it slams you down at the bottom of the hill, like hitting a pothole. I liked the second to last car better, and the front might have been my favorite. Emily is a front seat rider, so there’s no question as to what she preferred.

I rode solo in the front, with only two other people in the back row, during my last ride. It was a blast. My personal experience is that the difference between Outlaw Run and I-box hybrids is that the elements seem slightly more drawn out, which helps with the flow of the ride and makes them feel less abrasive to me. Like Goliath, but not as much, Outlaw run is short. Even despite that, it seems very complete and not needing more. How come people complain about the ride time for Orion being short, but not on their cherished RMC's? I love this ride. It’s nearly perfect and I can’t imagine how good of a night ride it is.

Thunderation: It was the only ride we found uncomfortable. We got a walk-on seat near the middle during the last couple hours. We were one and done. It’s very intense for a mine train and it has to be intimidating for new riders who’ve experienced other mine trains.

Powder Keg: How is this thing still so smooth? We had a one train wait in the back row near the end of the day. The launch is very fun and so is the layout. What's with the mess of concrete below the break run? Is that a reservoir for a water ride prior to Powder Keg?

Wildfire: We rode it twice. Our first ride in the middle of the day had about a 20 minute wait. Our last ride of the day was a one train wait, where everyone including us were waiting for the front. Emily and I got a front row ride with a completely empty train behind us on our last lap. She never used to like B&M loopers, and I’m not a huge fan, but she and I really liked Wildfire. Again, it’s a little short, but the ride length is tolerable because of it. I can’t remember being on a cobra roll that didn’t bite my ears a little, but this one did not. We had zero head banging, which is crazy for a B&M of this age. The way Wildfire and other Silver Dollar City coasters work with the terrain makes them all special.

Fire-In-The-Hole: Another quirky dark ride/coaster. We enjoy these. Emily didn't know about the water splash-down at the end, so that was a funny surprise for her. I think it was drained last time, or she/we just can’t remember. The props are interesting, but the ride moves too fast to figure out WTF is going on. The pitch-black sections were fun and disorienting.

Flooded Mine: This shooter is great. We didn't even know it existed during our last visit. I like dark rides in boats and I still Miss Scooby Doo at SFStl, because of that. The first gen shooters are great, too. Every target had an interactive prop and it seemed to be in decent shape. Does this ride plot have real history behind it? Black Diamond at Knoebels did, and it’s nice when rides add some local history to them… despite this often including tragic death…

The Train: This is one of the better trains. The commentary is funny. The train robbery was fine, if not a bit long just for our personal tastes. But, we're not really show people, so it was great for everyone else.

Pilgrim's Plunge: It was a good flume. A little too wet for our preferences, but it cooled us off and I kept my shoes dry by propping them on the sides of the boat.

I wanted to ride the barn swing, but we never got around to it.

The new water ride opened in the afternoon. It looked great, but we didn't want wet shoes. Emily only brought one pair of tennis shoes for our three-day trip to Branson, so she didn't want to soak them. We also heard that it was a two hour wait over the PA. We wouldn't wait that long for anything, being spoiled skip-the-line users, almost always. (Of note: The Trailblazer pass was not available.)

We enjoyed the hell out of our stay at Silver Dollar City. We were entertained all day. It helped that we left from 3-5 to swim at our resort, because it gave us a nice break to stay entertained for the last two hours. Other than that, we were at the park from open to close, 930-7. We usually always want to drink beer in the late afternoons/evenings at park. However, Silver Dollar City is entertaining enough where it's not necessary to cap off the day by drinking too much beer, like some of the corporate giants. It parallels Knoebels in that aspect for us.

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**** PART 3****

 

***The rest of this is about our stay overall in Branson. If you’re only here for the SDC details, you can skip this and not miss anything.***

 

Branson seems to be loaded with shady cheap hotels. We wanted to play it safe, so we tried to find a higher priced accommodation. It was difficult to find anything that wasn’t a condo or only had one bed with what we were looking for. The Mariott would have been our first choice, but it was booked solid. There was another hotel that fit the bill. We passed on that, because the pictures seemed like the rooms were a bit dated. When I called to ask if the rooms had been updated recently, the guy who answered the phones said he didn’t know, because he’d only been there a few years. Pass.

We ended up staying at the Welks resort. I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a peaceful getaway. It's about ten minutes from the water-front strip and the tourist trap strip. I couldn't believe how much we got for our $250/night stay. The room was huge, including a living-room, bedroom, kitchen, a hot tub, two fireplaces, and a large bathroom with one huge kick-ass shower that had two faucets and a also rain faucet.

The grounds were immaculate and the large indoor/outdoor pool area was very nice. They didn't care if you brought outside alcohol in, as long as it wasn’t glass. The only catch was that not coolers were allowed. Another bummer is that due to COVID you could only reserve one two-hour block per day. However, the silver lining was that there was plenty of room to swim and it was much quieter and more relaxing. Everything was spotless since they had their mandatory cleaning times in between blocks.

The only negative I can even say is that there wasn't much of a "mountain" view. Props to the resort for not focusing on that with their advertising or photoshopping/filtering pictures to make it look better. I could see the "mountains" a lot better during my morning runs, we just had a very limited view from our room. I'll say that at one point in the morning it was dreary out and the clouds rolled over the "mountains" and had really nice similarities to our PA trip a couple years ago.

This was our first stay in Branson, despite living four hours away. It just never seemed like our thing, just like Pigeon Forge. We didn't do anything on the tourist-trap strip, and we sure as hell didn't see any shows... Very few shows interest us, unless they’re related to animals. (Busch Gardens!)

We’ve never been on an alpine coaster, but we passed a couple up. They don't look exciting enough for us to wait in the long lines that we saw. Aside from not wanting to do any of these attractions, I will say that the people were packed in like sardines and there were little to no masks present. Even we didn't want to mask up and expose ourselves to that, and we're probably a little less enthused than most about the safety measures. A few laps after a couple beers on a Go-Kart track would have been nice, but Branson those areas were bat shit crazy.

All of the restaurants looked pretty 'meh.' We ate at a Mexican restaurant on the first night. It had more yelp reviews than most restaurants, but the food was just OK. We ate at the highest rated BBQ place, ‘Getting Based,’ two nights in a row. It was really good and they have a shit load of trophies throughout. BBQ isn't really our first choice, but we were impressed enough the first night that we wanted to play it safe and go back the last night of our three-night stay. We didn't want to chance going to a dud restaurant.

We were afraid that a lot of the restaurants wouldn't be too exciting, because of the family friendly/cater to everyone style environment. Even my drink with Bacardi 151 at the BBQ place was very watered down. On that note, stay away from the Moonshine tasting on the strip. In 2015 we went to Ol' Smokey in Gatlinburg. We expected more of the same. It wasn’t. The moonshine was like watered down Kool-Aid and booze. Gross.

The Branson area in general wasn't our scene, especially during these fucked up times. Our decision was made to play it a little more safe and go somewhere within a few hour drive, although our original plan was hopping on a plane and going to Sedona, AZ for a short stay. We mainly enjoyed relaxing and being away from the baby for a few nights. Oddly, patio time and watching TV our spacious room took center stage. It was just nice to get away. This time last year we would have been on our fourth trip out of five, so we enjoyed it as much as possible. Either way, the decision was a huge win, because of Silver Dollar City. Our last park was in August, 2019, since Emily was pregnant from September-May, which was all part of the plan. The combination of a baby and COVID really threw a wrench into our traveling and park lifestyle.

If we got COVID during this trip, we sure as hell got it from the BBQ joint. It was packed and no one was wearing masks, including the servers. We didn't really think about it until we left. We're less worried than most about COVID, but god damn... outside of Silver Dollar City, people gave no shits here to the point where it even put us on edge.

That's all for our first and last blast of the year. Better luck in 2021. This year blows.

 

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Pictures Don’t do Time Traveler Justice:

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Edited by prozach626
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Great report Zach! Glad to hear you're having a better time than at "Park X," which we all know what it was haha.

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Great report, thanks for typing it up and glad you had a good time.

 

This made me laugh way too hard... like something out of a sitcom.

 

When I called to ask if the rooms had been updated recently, the guy who answered the phones said he didn’t know, because he’d only been there a few years.

 

lol.

 

Glad you got to experience Cinnamon Bread, etc. Good to know about the moonshine place, we were going to go but parking was a shitshow the day we drove by so we just gave up. I also had no interest in the other stuff on the "strip" when we went.

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About the concrete on Powder Keg: you are correct. The ride previously on that land was Buzzsaw Falls, which was a prototype water-coaster hybrid thing. It started in the water then the back half was coaster. Next time you ride PK, take note of the two different types of track on the coaster. The track that has a "zig zag" pattern is the original track; the rest is what was put in when building Powder Keg. You can see one of the old Buzzsaw Falls boats as decoration on the roof of the PK queue building.

 

Glad you found a good resort to stay at! If you come to Branson again, a resort I'd like to recommend at least looking into is Still Waters Resort. It's down on the lake off of the main road (Indian Point Rd) to the park, so it's a short drive to SDC from there. My family and I stayed there in December 2012, so we didn't get to enjoy all the extra stuff that the resort has that's open in summer, but the two-bedroom condo we got was reasonably priced; the resort often has package deals that include tickets to SDC (which is what we did). (EDIT: They also have free shuttles between the resort and the park)

 

But all that stuff we didn't get to do because it wasn't summer? OMG. I've been itching to be able to go there in warmer weather, 'cause they have, like, 3 pools, mini-golf, various watercraft to take out on the lake (like paddleboats and stuff), and other stuff that I can't remember right now. But it all comes included with your room/suite, so if you come mostly for SDC but also want to do some fun stuff like mini-golf and what-not, you never have to go on the Strip if you don't want to (I haven't been on the Strip in several years; SDC has always been the priority of our visits).

 

Not surprised by your report of lack of masks in the city.... The other day, Branson had a city meeting to discuss whether or not to have a mandatory mask requirement for the city. The participation/public comments portion was... ridiculous. Some local reporter live-tweeted it and... yeah, again I'm not surprised you saw few masks in-city.

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Thanks!

 

That's interesting stuff about Buzzsaw Falls. I just did some more researching. I remembered something about S & S converting the ride from an older ride, but I didn't know what. Did the reservoir ever get filled for Powder Keg? The concept art shows water there with fountains jetting up.

 

I'm also curious about the themeing with the rear spike behind the launch area, with the broken track up top. It looks like the fake damaged areas are bolted onto a legitimate piece of track. Was this some kind of defective track that was decided to be used as themeing?

 

Powder Keg is neat on its own. The history makes it even more interesting.

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I'm also curious about the themeing with the rear spike behind the launch area, with the broken track up top. It looks like the fake damaged areas are bolted onto a legitimate piece of track. Was this some kind of defective track that was decided to be used as themeing?

 

Powder Keg is neat on its own. The history makes it even more interesting.

 

The maintenance crew once told me its actually functional as a safety measure in the event of a rollback.

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Not surprised by your report of lack of masks in the city.... The other day, Branson had a city meeting to discuss whether or not to have a mandatory mask requirement for the city. The participation/public comments portion was... ridiculous. Some local reporter live-tweeted it and... yeah, again I'm not surprised you saw few masks in-city.

 

In Branson, they Kansas City is as liberal of New York City, they even think Springfield is liberal

 

https://www.kansascity.com/news/state/missouri/article244274647.html

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Did the reservoir ever get filled for Powder Keg? The concept art shows water there with fountains jetting up.

 

No, sadly I've never seen it with any kind of water feature. I think it was planned, as the concept art showed, but I guess the idea got axed for some reason.

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Thanks for the report, Zach! Looking forward to my visit to SDC next week. It’ll be my first since Outlaw Run was new, too! Temps at the time were in the 40’s and the thing was barely making it though that last barrel roll...so riding it with temps in the 90’s should definitely be interesting.

 

Were ride ops allowing people to request certain rows?

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Great report Zach! I agree Silver Dollar City did an excellent job balancing safety and efficiency. It was quite shocking to go from high mask compliance at Silver Dollar City to zero masks anywhere on the strip.

 

Were ride ops allowing people to request certain rows?

 

Every ride except Thunderation allowed you to request/wait for a specific row. The crew at Thunderation was loading front to back, no exceptions.

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Great report, thanks for the write up. Glad you really enjoyed Outlaw Run, I was nervous you might be turned off if it was running a bit more intense than you remembered. That's a funny mention of the ride length re: Orion. Sounds like you had a nice place to stay! Happy to hear it was a well worth it trip.

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Were ride ops allowing people to request certain rows?

 

We asked a few times for specific rows and we didn't have any issues or push-back. We only asked when the rows we wanted weren't filled yet.

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I went to the soft opening for Mystic River Falls. Here are a few pictures below...

Sorry for the quality on a few of these as I didn't have my DSLR with me for this trip.

 

Overall the landscaping is very well thought out and beautiful. The combination of the real rocks and concrete work was very nicely done. The water features and shrubbery really top it off. Once it all grows in here in a few years this should recreate the "in the woods" experience the old Lost River ride had. (which I know people were fond of) There is a sort of half exposed mine shaft that leads to the tower drop and the only real negative in the design is they didn't recreate the cave finale that the old ride had. Other than that as for getting wet the water itself was lukewarm like pool water and the boats do move a lot quicker and toss you around more than the old ride. The lift is very interesting as it lifts and rotates you around to the slide drop. You are about the same height as the Barn Swing or the old Waterboggan ride. The drop itself is very gentile for those wondering. Overall very nicely done.

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Edited by sdcfan88
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