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Silver Dollar City (SDC) Discussion Thread

P. 261: Arvest Bank announces 10 year sponsorship deal

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12 hours ago, PKI Jizzman said:

Sorry last question, I am trying to find hours for the restaurants and food stands. Are they open certain hours or just until food runs out? I know I saw posts about some things selling out quickly.

It can be a bit of a pain.  Each has its' own schedule which afaik is not posted anywhere except on the restaurants themselves (and sometimes not even then!) because they can and do change hours daily.   You'd think the app would at least have restaurant hours, but no. Most were pretty good about advertising their closing time if it was before park closing.  It can feel almost random though.  Like last weekend, some places that were open on Saturday didn't open at all on Sunday, and vice versa.  

Seems more staffing that stock but as I had mentioned before, they had a bunch of ingredient shortages.   I understand but at the same time, almost every time that happened you wouldn't find out until after they handed you the food.  "Hey wasn't this supposed to have green onions on it?"  'Yes, sorry, we're out. '  Just seems to me it'd be better to tell you that when ordering.   We take that kind of thing in stride but some guests were pretty vocal about it, especially after waiting 30+ minutes in unshaded lines. 

Speaking of that, the food lines can get a bit chaotic on busy days, especially the stands as they don't really have queues so people just blob up wherever.   Tater Twist is a good example, if there's more than a few people waiting there's nowhere for a line to form that doesn't block a path leading to other areas of the park.

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Outlaw Run was holding an hour wait all day yesterday with one train and 20 minutes Trailblazer, Time Traveler was 2-3 hours stand by and 30 min with Trailblazer. 

Outlaw Run is a saint, who said this thing is rough? It's running like a dream! No different than my rides 6 years ago, what a beast.

Time Traveler was running in total darkness which was really cool although I think I'll appreciate the turning more in the daytime as a first time rider. The first drop is definitely one of the best in the world, wow is that fantastic. 

Here's why it's one train for TT: they have 3 trains. Train 1 and 2 were running fine. They decided to put train 3 to bed for the season and it's in parts right now. At some point train 2 had 'major issues' with the wheels and it's waiting on parts from Mack/Germany so here we are with 1 train. Guests are frustrated and disappointed, so are the ops. At a 10pm closing they were likely going to have to work until midnight or 1am since TT is only 16 riders per train. Ouch. 

We were only at the park 6pm-10pm and rode Outlaw once and TT 2x with Trailblazer. 

If you're going to the park without Trailblazer, keep a look out in the last 2 hours at the park - people leaving the park were just hanging their lanyards up at the ride exit and or just giving them away to anyone they saw. Folks can be pretty friendly down here! There's still plenty of jackasses though (many people seriously pissed about the slow lines for regular and Trailblazer) along with unruly kids who couldn't understand why one line moved and theirs didn't.  

Full day 2 today coming up!

 

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^Thanks for the report! Ouch about Time Traveler only being able to run one train, hope they're able to get it back up to two later in the year. We just booked flights to SGF yesterday to go during An Old Time Christmas.

I agree about Outlaw Run. We went last year for the first time in several years and it was running sooo well. We got there after dark on our first day and I forgot how big OR's drop was, it was terrifying falling through seemingly endless darkness. OR is better than like 90% of the steel RMCs in my opinion.

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A quick update before I do a report later:

We heard yesterday/Saturday was one of the busiest days in recent history so that explains things. Almost 30k people at SDC! Sunday today was much more manageable. Even still food sells out and they don't tell you until you've waited 30 minutes to get to the cashier. 

The cinnamon bread house only uses one cashier and they combined it with a Starbucks. We waited 30-40 minutes for cinnamon bread, because there's 1 person getting coffee, cashing you out, so you're just standing there holding your bread as it goes from warm to lukewarm to room temp. Please separate those who want coffee from those who just want to swiftly pick up a loaf and move on.

Time Traveler's line wasn't that bad yet they closed it off at 815, when the park closed at 9pm. That was a major bummer but Outlaw Run kept open until 9pm so the trip ended with 4x rides in 30 minutes. 

As beautiful as the park is, the rides are awesome, I have to say the park is slipping. The pumpkin coconut chicken curry had barely any flavor, the tater patch skillet was gross mush, the artist selling bird paintings upon further look was selling printed off framed photos not hand drawn art... 

SDC is still an elite American park but when I started to look at the details of things it's just not as amazing as it once was.

Oh and yeah one train ops on everything. Even Giant Barn Swing was only running one side! You really need Trailblazer if you are going on weekends. 

So I hope it's just a flukey 2021 visit but SDC really needs to focus on the details to contend for best park in America. 

 

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It's sad and frustrating because I know they can do better.  Sure, some of it's not really their fault, but some of it is.  The more we talked about it after our trip, the more the food situation was bugging us.  It really did suck to have to wait so long for subpar service.  

 

8 hours ago, PKI Jizzman said:

  Even still food sells out and they don't tell you until you've waited 30 minutes to get to the cashier. 

 

This!   This is frankly inexcusable.  I can put up with a lot, I can be understanding of staffing issues or what have you, but respect my time please. 

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The park was slipping on some of these issues even before the pandemic due to worker shortages in Branson. The pandemic has massively accelerated it. I'm frankly surprised they are still able to operate as well as they are considering how short staffed they are. The CEO has been on site a lot recently, I am sure they are developing a plan to address it. They need worker dormitories or something. 

 

They apparently sold off one of the trains for Time Traveler a while back... notice how Ride to Happiness uses the EXACT same trains? Not sure what the story is there, but perhaps with the material shortages Mack couldn't build another train for RTH and SDC was offered a ton for it. Now when one train has an issue, which is almost always the case, they have one train ops on their most popular ride. It was designed to operate with three trains but they barely ever ran all three after the first season, when it broke down constantly anyway. Most of the other rides barely run more than one train anymore either due to staff and material shortages. 

 

It's just a difficult time for them. Christmas is going to be a fiasco. I really, really, really want all the market disruptions to end so businesses can figure stuff out. 

 

I will say that the craftsmen on the main square have been delightful this Harvest fest, and the music has been good if you enjoy the style. The pumpkinfest area has been a hoot, even though it basically looks like a big Zumba class most of the time, lol. I'm not a fan of some of the music they play over the speakers during this event, but I get that they are trying to enforce a vibe in spite of it all. There's some kids-bop involved... 

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I hate reading stuff like this. I mean, I expect it with some parks, but when we see some of the top parks in the country having the same issues as regional SF/CF parks it just hurts.  Hoping this all gets sorted by next season.

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In a sense they have some of the same worker issues as CP, popular park but in a small town with  no where enough locals to fill what are essentially seasonal positions, even though the "season" is much longer than it used to be. They may have to do what CP does and try to recruit at colleges around the state and as mentioned have dorms. I mean the area would not be a bad place to spend a summer if you are a college kid, there is a ton to do on days off. It will be interesting to see how they handle Christmas when we are down there. I too hope they can figure it out by next summer..... (I was gonna add 'when things are back to normal' but I'm never saying that phrase again)

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On 10/2/2021 at 10:29 AM, Chiselphane said:

I'm torn because I would miss both rides but I can definitely see the reasoning, at least for FITH.    It's nearly 50 years old and while the ride system is fine (other than the audio issues(which really are disappointing especially if you are a long time fan and know what's supposed to happen and where)), I wouldn't be surprised in the least if a big problem is the building it's housed in; the 'backstage' views you get of it when walking to Outlaw Run aren't very pretty.    And FM is even older, with the addition of it being a water ride and the structural problems that that entails.   

Most of the FITH rumors have been along the lines of  'destroy then rebuild'.  FM feels more like the one that would go away and not be replaced.  And I'd miss both, whether missing the old version of FITH no matter how good a job they do on a new one, or FM in general.   But none of that would change my attendance or even overall feeling towards the park; I get there are business decisions that I am not going to be privy to, etc.   I get that people don't like change, especially if from the outside it appears to be needless change. 

It does make me wonder if SDC should give more info on why these changes would be made, or is it not worth the trouble because people would be upset either way.  To me it would make sense if they said something like "To 'fix' Fire in the Hole's show building, it would cost X dollars;  to rebuild it would cost Z dollars which includes safety improvements over the original structure, other benefits, etc etc" but to those would reflexively react to any change as negative, would putting out an explanation even matter, or even make things worse.

Age is just a number, even with theme park rides. If you keep them in shape they will essentially last forever. You could have said FITH was too old 20 years ago and been "right" in the eyes of most casual observers. FITH remains a popular ride though, even with it's bumpiness and lack of true care into it's appearance and ride experience. If it's track was replaced and the building was patched up, it would remain a popular ride for decades to come. FITH hit a spot that few rides do, and replacing it will be a tall order. Undoubtedly they'll try to do something flashy with the new ride that will look great in advertisements but cause it to break down constantly or restrict who can ride it. 

There are some major issues to address with the FITH structure though, including the mold and water rot issues that come from it's 1960's era water brake system. It would take a few million at least to upgrade it properly, and the ROI would not be immediately evident. I think focusing on immediate ROI is a terrible idea though, and it is part of what has led the park down it's current path. The park used to be viewed as a total experience from the second you stepped in to the second you stepped out. Now it's one flashy ride after another, many of which have constant technical problems, and even when they do work right it's a two hour wait. That wasn't supposed to be the SDC experience. There's nothing wrong with the occasional line, but now it's almost all you do. 

I wish SDC focused more on non-festival experiences and in keeping what they have going strong. Too many things in the park are falling apart. So many of the cute themed areas have been cleared out. I look back on photos from twenty or more years ago and the park was so much more full of life. It's not just the rides that are getting thrown away now when they get old - it's everything. There used to be a big Hatfield and McCoy water fountain with a big fake sock filter that looked hilarious and had a million photos taken of it back in the day. Just an example of things that disappear without a thought anymore. Don't get me started on the signage and stuff that used to be tacked to the walls everywhere. 

Anyway, enough griping. I am excited to see a potential new indoor coaster. The area they are working in is pretty small. By the time you factor in the train tracks and what I assume will be a necessary service/emergency road, there's not much more room than the current location. Will be interesting to see how they could squeeze a new modern coaster into a building with effects and everything. My hope is that it will start a trend, both within HFEC and parks at large and focusing on indoor attractions again. 

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Did you forget you log in a have to create another username? Just asking for authenticity sake since you joined today but I'm pretty confident there's been a shavethewhales around here a while! 

2 hours ago, Shavethewhales2 said:

Age is just a number, even with theme park rides. If you keep them in shape they will essentially last forever. You could have said FITH was too old 20 years ago and been "right" in the eyes of most casual observers. FITH remains a popular ride though, even with it's bumpiness and lack of true care into it's appearance and ride experience. If it's track was replaced and the building was patched up, it would remain a popular ride for decades to come. FITH hit a spot that few rides do, and replacing it will be a tall order. Undoubtedly they'll try to do something flashy with the new ride that will look great in advertisements but cause it to break down constantly or restrict who can ride it. 

There are some major issues to address with the FITH structure though, including the mold and water rot issues that come from it's 1960's era water brake system. It would take a few million at least to upgrade it properly, and the ROI would not be immediately evident. I think focusing on immediate ROI is a terrible idea though, and it is part of what has led the park down it's current path. The park used to be viewed as a total experience from the second you stepped in to the second you stepped out. Now it's one flashy ride after another, many of which have constant technical problems, and even when they do work right it's a two hour wait. That wasn't supposed to be the SDC experience. There's nothing wrong with the occasional line, but now it's almost all you do. 

I wish SDC focused more on non-festival experiences and in keeping what they have going strong. Too many things in the park are falling apart. So many of the cute themed areas have been cleared out. I look back on photos from twenty or more years ago and the park was so much more full of life. It's not just the rides that are getting thrown away now when they get old - it's everything. There used to be a big Hatfield and McCoy water fountain with a big fake sock filter that looked hilarious and had a million photos taken of it back in the day. Just an example of things that disappear without a thought anymore. Don't get me started on the signage and stuff that used to be tacked to the walls everywhere. 

Anyway, enough griping. I am excited to see a potential new indoor coaster. The area they are working in is pretty small. By the time you factor in the train tracks and what I assume will be a necessary service/emergency road, there's not much more room than the current location. Will be interesting to see how they could squeeze a new modern coaster into a building with effects and everything. My hope is that it will start a trend, both within HFEC and parks at large and focusing on indoor attractions again. 

 

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FITH was supremely creepy with very very little audio the whole ride. Extra extra creepy riding after our Lantern Tour where I learned more about the Bald Knobbers. Meanwhile Flooded Mine seemed to have numerous big effects around every turn and had good capacity! 

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There probably wasn't much of an advanced notice, but man, one train ops? That would be a complete no-go for me. I cannot stand one train operations even when the park is dead. It turns a station wait into a 10-15 minute wait very quickly. Add a busy park on top of it and you're basically paying to be herded around a small private area in the Ozark Mountains for the day, bonus a few minutes of fun. 

This pandemic has made life so much more complicated in so many ways. It is slowly teaching me to not worry about things out of my control. These operations are certainly unfortunate, but I am glad the park is still around to have unfortunate operations in the first place. Silver lining? 

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5 hours ago, bert425 said:

^ "Bald Knobbers" ???


creeeeepy

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Lol, the real Bald Knobbers were a post civil war vigilante group that roamed around the Ozarks. If you look them up on Wikipedia it references them as the theme to FITH but points out the ride and the stage show are historically inaccurate.

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14 hours ago, tinaalsgirl said:

They got rid of the sock fountain? Damn. That was one of my favorite pieces of decor there.

Yeah, that's been gone for a while now :(    

Another little thing:  The ghost trap hasn't worked in ages

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14 hours ago, tinaalsgirl said:

They got rid of the sock fountain? Damn. That was one of my favorite pieces of decor there.

Yeah, they actually got rid of it years ago when the area around Time Traveler was rebuilt, or maybe it was a year or two before that even... They also got rid of theming for the "shower" on the roof that appeared to pipe down to a water fountain across from the kettlecorn stand. 

 

17 hours ago, PKI Jizzman said:

Did you forget you log in a have to create another username? Just asking for authenticity sake since you joined today but I'm pretty confident there's been a shavethewhales around here a while! 

 

Lol, yeah. My old account was from back in like 2005 and I tried many times to get the password reset but I don't think I even have the email for it anymore. 

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11 minutes ago, Shavethewhales2 said:

Yeah, they actually got rid of it years ago when the area around Time Traveler was rebuilt, or maybe it was a year or two before that even... They also got rid of theming for the "shower" on the roof that appeared to pipe down to a water fountain across from the kettlecorn stand. 

 

Lol, yeah. My old account was from back in like 2005 and I tried many times to get the password reset but I don't think I even have the email for it anymore. 

Hah! Thanks for confirming and the info! 

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Made a quick visit this evening to snag a few night rides. I didn’t originally plan on visiting, but the app listed every ride including Mystic River Falls as a zero minute wait. Considering I haven’t experienced that ride yet, I couldn’t pass up such a short wait. In short, it did not disappoint. It’s a gorgeous ride and is incredibly fun if you enjoy water rides. If you don’t… well, you better avoid the thing. I’ve never gotten more drenched on a water ride before. The rapids did a good job at soaking my lower half and the splashdown at the end sent a massive wall of water over the seat backs that ensured I didn’t have a single dry spot left on me. Head to toe, I was completely soaked. It also seemed to be operating very well today. Lots of boats on the circuit and it didn’t appear to shut down the whole time I was there. The fact that few people were riding probably helped. 
 

Everything else went well too. I was able to get all coasters + MRF within 45 minutes of being in the park. Yes, all coasters were running one train, but they were often waiting for people to ride, so there is absolutely no need for multi train ops. A little note, it would appear that Powder Keg only has one train now. I noticed from the brake run when going by the maintenance shed that there were no other trains in there. Though, I know that they often do maintenance work to prepare for the Christmas season, so the other train (or trains) may be off getting worked on. I imagine the situation is similar at other coasters. 

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On 10/18/2021 at 2:24 PM, PKI Jizzman said:

FITH was supremely creepy with very very little audio the whole ride. Extra extra creepy riding after our Lantern Tour where I learned more about the Bald Knobbers.

Hah. It's neat when you learn little historical things about local history from parks. We looked up the Bald Knobbers when we saw the references around town, everywhere.

The only part of Outlaw Run we found uncomfortable was the pothole at the bottom of the drop in the back of the train. My lower back disapproves. Other than that, 10/10, right there with non-wheel-seat Beast and Screamin' Eagle.

One train opps on Time Traveler were probably not fun. But, I'll be the douche one-upper by saying last year were waited for one-train ops and every-other-row operations. Kill me...

Did you take a back row ride on it? The drop I had out of the station during one of our rides was the most insane stomach tickling drop I'd ever experienced. It even surpassed flyer pretzel loops, which I hate... (They legit scare me)

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have a couple questions for those familiar with the park.  I'm  in the St. Louis area, and a HORRIBLE pseudo-enthusiast who has never been to SDC.  I know...pretty ridiculous...  but here are my 2 main questions:

-The last few years as I've considered visiting multiple times, I've always wanted to come for the Christmas event.  All the lights and everything are in full swing from the start of the event, correct?  I'd hate to come for my first SDC Christmas experience and not have everything going because it's early/mid November.  I likely won't try this weekend because it looks like it will be too cold for all the coasters to run, but the first weekend warm enough, I'd like to take a crack at it.

-Which leads to my next question.  Is this the type of event that gets more and more crowded the closer it gets to Christmas?  This was the other reason I am thinking of going as soon as possible.

I'm really looking forward to experiencing this park for the first time, seeing the lights, eating as many different things as my stomach will allow, and riding these highly regarded coasters.  I am pretty averse to waiting in lines at this point, so will almost certainly get the Trailblazer pass.  Any insight from regulars on these questions would be greatly appreciated!

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They start putting up lights in June, lol. It's ready from day one, which has already past incidentally. Christmas is their biggest season, so they hit it hard. 

It shouldn't be too bad this weekend. They start shutting things at 40 degrees and a few rides can make it to 33 or 34 I think... There's always the mine and FITH, plus the shows, craftsmen, and the lights. There will be a bunch of American Coaster Enthusiasts at the park this weekend though, so maybe it is a good one to avoid, lol. 😆

Old Time Christmas is basically always crowded. The park will hit capacity every weekend unless the weather is really bad. Get there early, and try to get in a Friday or Monday if you are able. The good thing is that the crowd turns over throughout the day, so there's an early crowd that comes and does rides then leaves after the first tree lighting, and then another crowd that comes in as it is getting dark. Usually by the last hour of the night it gets surprisingly uncrowded though. 

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Hit the cinnamon bread as early as you can unless you want to wait 30+ minutes (we waited just outside of the door). We were excited for the food too, but do your best to see if the festival specific food is still available/in stock before you get in line. Twice we got in line, waited, only to be told the item was sold out. I'd say specifically avoid the Potato Patch by Time Traveler. Their skillet was mush, and did not seem fresh. We were so disappointed when we settled for that when the Pumpkin Tater Tumblers were sold out and what a waste of money. 

Try Outlaw Run in the front! The front car is so wide open, it's just incredible how freeing it is. 

American Plunge will soak you to the bone. 

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