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Photo TR: The Kiwis Do Texas Midwest 2013


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Cheers for the link on the front page TPR!

 

New Zealand, 1985: I'm an excited 7 year old kid. A Kiwi cereal company has randomly decided to include collector's cards in their cereal boxes showcasing amusement parks from around the world. I pull out the latest one - Shock Wave at Six Flags Over Texas, and it's immediately my favourite. "Wow," I think to myself, "Two loops!"

 

Flash forward to 2013: Needless to say I was far more disappointed that Shock Wave was closed than New Texas Giant. Don't get me wrong, NTAG looks absolutely amazing, but I'm really going to have to get on Shock Wave someday, somehow. Six Flags Over Texas do seem invested in the ride, which is a wonderful thing...and the last positive thing I have to say about this park.

 

Really, Six Flags, you've had a nightmare season with the NTAG accident, wouldn't it have been GOOD for you to have welcomed an enthusiastic group of PAYING roller coaster nerds like Theme Park Review with OPEN ARMS?! Apparently the park was too busy ripping apart their brand new Gerstlauer trains for litigious purposes. If it's Six Flags versus German engineering...all I can say is good luck Six Flags!!

 

Along with the closure of their best two rides throw in the blazing heat, mediocre operations, surly ride ops and inconsistent policies and that makes for an irritating day. What a shame - because the park really is beautiful, with a long history and some unique rides.

 

Thank the Intamin gods for Robb and Elissa. The last-minute side trip to Summer Adventures at Fair Park (i.e. the rides section at the State Fair of Texas) was so, so awesome. How can a small midway of rides outside fair time trump a huge corporate park? By being FUN!!! From the small but insane spinning coaster Jungle Twist to the old school Ghost Train to fun on the Flow Rider, Summer Adventures was a good time. And they treated us well. Everyone was so friendly, nice and welcoming - it made going back to Six Flags that night quite depressing. Even just a little consideration can go a long way, and we all left with good vibes.

 

I wanted to like Six Flags Over Texas so much. It reminded me in many ways of Six Flags Over Georgia. Lots of beauty, charm, history, great rides, promise for the future... I really do hope this season is a blip on their radar and they get their act together. Because I have no intention of going back until they do.

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The view from our hotel room...the bittersweet flagship park of the chain, Six Flags Over Texas.

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It was a swelteringly hot day, which didn't help our general mood, quite frankly.

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The queue for Judge Roy Scream is far removed from the rest of the park.

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I do love an old school out and back woodie, even if it's just for looks.

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The crowds are just rearing to get into the park today.

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These spray fans were very welcome!

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There is themeing all over Six Flags Over Texas - you can see and feel the history of the place.

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I do love the duel-loading station.

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"Ice to meet you!"

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TPR riders enjoying their reverse blast!

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TPR were allowed into the park early for first rides of the day on Mr. Freeze Reverse Blast.

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I enjoyed the reverse Mr. Freeze experience. Having done the forwards version I have to agree with the general consensus - it's great looking down from 200-plus feet in the air...

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The Gotham/pavement portion of the park.

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Another day, another Batman coaster. This...you won't find me complaining about!

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I was looking forward to Arrow's first ever mine train from 1966. It's old school, but I thought this was one of the best mine trains out there!

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We also gave some love to the Mini Mine Train and it's mean-spirited ride ops. Hands up TPR!

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Ian and I decided to change things up and try a flat ride.

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I do love a Troika! And this one had a cool name: Crazy Legs.

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There are numerous areas of the park that look like this, which is not a bad thing at all.

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We had to give the all-new 400-foot tall StarFlyer a whirl...

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We gave Pandemoniun a spin, not the first or last Gerstlauer creation we'd ride on this trip!

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We had fun queueing for Bill Cob's creation, Judge Roy Scream, or as we liked to call it, 'The Judge'.

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'The Judge' was also the name we gave the lovely ride op from Minnesota, who provided some of our best memories of the park. I could have listened to her accent all day!

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The Looney Tunes area of the park looked pretty good too.

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The Silver Star Carousel.

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Neil feels right at home in Mexico.

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Conquistador is the name of the Intamin Bounty swinging ship in this area. It's a good example of the nice themeing this park actually does have.

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Not a bad view at all, Six Flags!

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La Vibora was the park's Intamin Swiss Bob credit.

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I'm not sure if we overloaded the train, but we seemed to bounce off the track more than I would have preferred!

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We had to give the world's first ever log flume a go - El Aserradero!

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It was old school alright, and I will never pass up a log flume. I just wish the second flume was operating too.

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We checked out some merch...

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1980s hotness.

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Moving into the Texas portion of the park...

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NTAG dominates the area.

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Alas...

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It's a gorgeous looking ride...

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Nevermind, there's another great ride in this area of the park...

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Titan. Wow! I've been on Goliath at Six Flags Magic Mountain, and I had forgotten how powerful these Giovanola hypercoasters are. The helixes are mind-blowing...with some serious grey-out moments.

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The drops aren't half-bad either, and there's even a bit of air.

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Last credit we needed was Runaway Mountain, an indoor Premier coaster similar to a Hurricane or Windstorm in the dark, and not bad at all.

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Some of the history on display...how nice it would've been to visit this park in better days.

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One of the last attractions we tried was Yosemite Sam and the Gold River Adventure, an old school Arrow water dark ride, that just seemed broken down, dusty, and spoiled by rude, obnoxious ride ops.

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What a Sixtastic day!

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TPR are ready for some Summer Adventures! It was great to see downtown Dallas too.

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The all-new 500 foot Intamin observation tower that goes by the name Top of Texas Tower. Appropriate name!

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The views from up there were fantastic.

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See those two TINY little rides? Both made me fear for my life and thank the Intamin gods I made it off in one piece!

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Queueing for Jungle Twist, you really wouldn't know what's coming...

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Just imagine a tea cups ride on steroids. We're talking a ridiculous amount of spinning!

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There were also points when we rode this contraption next door that I didn't think I'd make it out alive. What a ride cycle! (Thanks Neil!!)

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What is an 'Island of Cats and Dogs'? Why, it's a show, of course!

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There were two other credits here...including this Windstorm coaster, which had an awesome and funny ride op spraying water by request - and boy did we need that sort of treatment today!

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Summer Adventures also had a log flume. Yay for another log flume credit.

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The Bubble House was a fantastic fun house with lots of tricks, a DJ, and plenty of soapy bubbles!

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Not to mention a clown to haunt your dreams.

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I loved the karaoke sing-a-long!

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The ride was also really good!

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Love this building too.

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The park had an amazing ghost train!

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This awesome ride op really got some TPR members by the jugular!

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Boogedy boogedy boo!!

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TPDave was somehow immune.

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Some TPR members dared to ride this crazy thing...

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A lot of TPR members also checked out the Flowrider, which the park ran for us at double capacity.

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We did go back to Six Flags for some night rides. Mr. Freeze was particularly good, but what can I say, I'd rather ride Shock Wave... Thanks nonetheless Robb and Elissa for totally saving today and making it awesome. I don't know how you did it, but you did!

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Neil has never screamed so much in his life! But...you know what, when you're up there, it's not so bad. Somehow, you end up enjoying the view the immense height offers and forget that you're hanging on for dear life by flimsy chains.

Edited by mattnz
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I have no idea what is happening here.

 

That would be a flyboard. If I would stop spending my money on admission tickets, bashes, and tours I would totally save up to buy one (and a jet-ski to go with it). The board itself is around $6,100 USD, the optional electronic hand throttle (so the jet-ski can go unmanned) is another $1,800 USD.

 

Hanno, when you get sick of wakeboarding buy this!

 

That's actually on my bucket list of things I want to try one day.. Not sure if i'm willing to spent the money to buy one.. (yet)

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The ride op on the Ghost Train was awesome. TPDave pulled me aside before we rode and said, "Don't tell Shawn, but there's scare actors on this ride." Throughout the entire ride I kept waiting for something to happen, but nothing did. I assumed that TPDave was just messing with me. As we came out of the last door I figured the ride was over. That's when the ride op showed up with the giant hand! It caught me off guard and actually scared me a little. Your picture of Michael and Colin getting scared is by far my favorite picture! Michael is freaking out! Great stuff.

 

I was going through some pictures last night and found one of you guys riding the mini mine train at SFOT. Enjoy!

 

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Whores

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^^ Thanks for the photo Thad! Awesome!

 

^ I was so tough on SFOT, but there were many fun aspects to our day there. If all the ride ops were like the Judge, I'd have had a much better day. Call it tough love!

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You know, I don't think you were too harsh. It was a veryyyy awkward day with the employees. Going through not having my lap bar being checked, the restraints stuck down on skull mountain, and the lesbian prison ward worker ride opp at the kiddie mine train... I would have said much much worse.

 

It was a six flags day, for sure.

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I'm going to remember that day mostly for the insane heat. I remember walking out of the air conditioned restaurant after lunch and it felt like being punched in the face. Summer Adventures was awesome. SFOT could learn a lesson from them.

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I'm in the same boat of people who really tried to like SFOT. Maybe part of it was the heat... maybe part of it was NTAG and Shockwave being closed. But I think it is safe to say most of it was operations. Summer Adventures was a blast and exceeded my expectations several times over!

 

That being said, I really want to go back to SFOT for NTAG and Shockwave. Next time I'll go in with an open mind and fingers crossed.

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There's no doubt that the operations and heat were what made SFOT a terrible day. I've never seen a park with so many inexperienced ride operators, especially at Titan when they went through the station when it broke down and told everyone why they were closed (the lapbar wouldn't lock in the last row and they called maintenance to get a temporary fix for it). I kind of want to say that Mt. Olympus may have been slightly better, but I don't know.

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Arkansas is far off the beaten path. It's one of those places I probably wouldn't visit were it not for TPR and my ongoing search for elusive credits. Having now visited, I can still tell you little about the place: I know it's the boyhood home of Bill Clinton, it's pretty, it has hot springs, it smells like a cross between cow dung and fertilizer - and it has a pretty decent amusement park.

 

We had a fairly brief stop at Magic Springs & Crystal Falls, since we were on our way to Silver Dollar City where our time was best maximised, but past experience told me that these out of the way parks often have more to offer than meets the eye.

 

I liked Magic Springs. I can see how the park might want to focus on their water park, but I thought the rides section had plenty to offer and I hope they keep it around and expand on it too. They had a Maurer Söhne SkyLoop for one - we've been on one of these crazy contraptions on the Gold Coast in Australia and it is definitely a thrilling ride experience, with some big Gs at the bottom of the drop and the odd sensation of hanging upside down at 150 feet with lapbars only. I was glad to see it still operating at Magic Springs.

 

The other coasters are pretty standard, from a non-eventful out and back woodie to a painful SLC and a better than average Arrow mine train, but if I was a local I'd take these rides over water slides any day. Coasters are just an altogether different experience, and with the park's decent flats - including a Zamperla Power Surge and an S&S Double Shot (two of my favourites), along with a log flume - and I see lots of room for them to do positive expansion rather than doing an 'Alabama Adventure' on us.

 

One last comment: the ride ops and staff here were SO friendly! Inquisitive, talkative and just really nice - the sort of people we always seem to encounter in the South. For example, a staff member, when we passed by their games stall said, "Thanks anyway, have a nice day!" when we turned them down. Very unlike the aggressive attitude you'd see at many other parks (hey Six Flags!).

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This photo has been seen before and will probably be seen again...until the world gets more female roller coaster enthusiasts!

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Welcome to Arkansas, a state I only recently learned how to pronounce.

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We received a very warm welcome to Magic Springs and were given souvenir cups (I still have mine).

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Five brand new credits awaited us at Magic Springs! Yay for open X-Coasters.

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We wandered through the water park to get to our first credit. Any park with a FlowRider has an asset on their hands.

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Some pretty cool slides in the water park.

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'Crystal Falls' looked quite tempting.

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Arkansas Twister, formerly of Boardwalk and Baseball in Florida.

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It was OK. A fairly decent out and back woodie, but not much airtime to be had...

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There was a small area for the little ones at Magic Springs.

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Cute carousel.

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Nice area of the park.

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The lake that sits in the middle of Magic Springs.

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Diamond Mine Run is the fancy name for the park's kiddie coaster.

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Yay! A Zamperla Power Surge! Great flat ride.

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Better still, an S&S Double Shot. This one went by the name of Dr. Dean's Rocket Machine.

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The very intimidating X-Coaster...

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There is something about vertical lift hills that manages to elicit screams of fear from riders.

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You don't see too many hands up on this ride.

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I do love an Arrow mine train, and this one was better than average.

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This mine train has really whored itself around - from Six Flags St. Louis to Dollywood to Magic Springs. But it feels like it's always been here, with the setting amid the trees.

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There was some kind of pirate show going on...

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Yay! First SLC of the trip!

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We tried every which way to brace ourselves - but it still kicked our asses!

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No caption required.

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Magic Springs has a couple of water rides, including this very wet shoot-the-chutes.

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There was a lot of shade at Magic Springs too, always a welcome component of any park.

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The giant wave pool seemed to attract most of the park's visitors today.

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Jesus-themed merch.

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Magic Mountain isn't the only park than can YOLO! Silver Dollar City up next - and I'll try to be more prompt with my updates. (Sorry Neil!)

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Lots of great pictures from Magic Springs! I didn't take a whole lot of pictures there, but I thought it was a really nice little park. Outside of SDC, they were probably the friendliest employees that we dealt with. Especially the crazy girl running the Arkansas Twister!

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Thanks everyone for following along with my TR and apologies for the delay between updates - it's been a busy few months.

 

I was quite ill in 2010 when we last visited Silver Dollar City with TPR, and it didn't stop me from having a great time. In fact, it was my favourite park of the trip back then - and I can say the same for our visit this time round.

 

Silver Dollar City just keeps getting better and better. There is something incredibly charming about the place - the beautiful setting, friendly service, working craftsmen, amazing food around every corner and unique rides all coming together to create a world-class park. In fact, along with Knoebel's, this is easily my favourite theme park in the world.

 

Outlaw Run is the crowning achievement of the park - and what an amazing ride it is! I would compare it to one of my other favourites, El Toro. It's equally insane - a smooth but intense, out of control, wild ride. The first drop is crazy, the airtime and those swooping turns absolutely stunning, and the double heartline roll into the brake run makes for a great finale. We had our first rides at night during an epic ERT session and you could see how good the coaster was by the reactions on the faces of the riders barrelling out of that last heartline roll.

 

Day two at the park saw patchy weather, and just like our visit to Knoebel's in 2011, it didn't affect our experience whatsoever. The park is too well run for that! We enjoyed a backstage tour of Fire in the Hole, and utilised the park's special Trailblazer passes to get on all the rides. Not that we needed or wanted to rush - this is a park you have to explore and, very importantly, eat your way around! Particular favourites of mine were the cinnamon bread (which is to DIE for!), the delicious skillets and kettle chips. The park also put on an amazing lunch for us. It was some the best food we had on the entire trip.

 

We didn't do the Marvel Cave tour this time, and due to flooding you couldn't do the round trip anyway, but I highly recommend it to visitors of the park. It is a totally unique experience and a wonderful break from the heat too.

 

I know I'm raving about Silver Dollar City, and I haven't even gotten to the other rides yet, so I'll let the photos do the rest of the talking...

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Welcome to Missouri!

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Day 2: On our way to the park we passed by poor old Ozark Wildcat, now SBNO since 2009.

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I don't have many photos from our first night at Silver Dollar City, but this one sure brings back memories. Night rides on Outlaw Run were totally epic! And how cool that our visit was on the park's very first midnight closing.

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The nicely-themed station.

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TPR ponchos are very in this season.

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It was great checking out the maintenance areas.

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Replacement wheels...

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Fire in the Hole has electrically powered sections and a series of drops, including a splash down finish. A real classic.

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We then headed straight back to Outlaw Run!

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Outlaw Run, like all the attractions at Silver Dollar City, is carefully themed. Riders are part of the law enforcement tasked to take control back from the outlaws. As explained to us at lunch, this bit of themeing at the entrance is there to advertise that "good guys always win".

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We kicked off the day with a backstage tour of Fire in the Hole, the park's fun coaster/dark ride hybrid.

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The coaster is quite hard to photograph from the pathways, but we got this nice peek of the heartline rolls

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If rain really does lubricate coaster track, I say bring it on!

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We were all amazed that the park managed to add the second train today - this was just after modifications were made, and they had only been running one train the previous night. We all cheered at this sight!

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Station themeing.

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TPR are ready to ride!

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No ERT for us today, but no matter, the Trailblazer passes got us on multiple times.

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The speedy lift hill.

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That drop...one of the best in the world without a doubt.

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That turn!

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A pic we took from the train later in the day. The trees have really grown in since Outlaw Run opened, making it seem even faster!

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Time to explore the rest of the park.

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There are all sorts of strange things to do at Silver Dollar City...like Elsie the Milk Cow.

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Random fun!

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The Giant Barn Swing is a well-themed S&S Screamin' Swing.

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I thought this was the Ozark Water Tree, but no - that's apparently a real tree that yields a continuous stream of water. I don't recall seeing it, which is typical of the park - they just have so much to see and do.

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I love this place!

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I love these rides - they're usually quite short, but so much fun.

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We wandered in here for another highlight of the day...

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Amen!

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Cinnamon bread with extra frosting... This is just so, SO good, it's hard to explain and hard to overrate.

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We didn't know about Grandfather's Mansion on our last visit, so were happy to find it this time.

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Something sure is up with Grandfather!

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They had some great tricks in here.

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Every park should have a fun house!

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Time to explore some more...

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It was fantastic! (Of course!)

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The park's suspension bridge.

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The smells at Silver Dollar City were just heavenly!

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Ah! Don't tempt me!

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Silver Dollar City has a lot of craftsmen demonstrations, such as wood carving.

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We had to sample some of the food from the cast-iron skillets.

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The weather started to clear up nicely for us, and it actually got pretty hot.

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Powder Keg was a fantastic, fun launched coaster - and as others on TPR have said, it's quite underrated!

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The launch is great, the airtime surprising, the second lift hill unique - all in all, great fun. I wish there were most coasters on the planet like this one!

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Like some of the other rides at Silver Dollar City, it was a little hard to photograph...

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We're ready for our blast in the wilderness!

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The park ran the ride exceptionally well on our visit, with fast dispatches, significantly reducing what looked like a long line.

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It was getting hot, so what better way to cool off than some water rides? (I don't have any decent photos of Tom & Huck's River Blast, but we were all surprised at how fun this was!)

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We managed to squash five adult men into our log on American Plunge - and got soaked!

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Lost River of the Ozarks has some interesting features, including a cool tunnel.

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The public seem to love rapids rides, and so do I!

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Lost River of the Ozarks was very popular with the crowds, but fortunately the Trailblazer passes saved the day yet again.

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It also has one of the best backdrops of any coaster in the world!

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It only has a couple of jolts (the corkscrew, as I recall, walloped my ears).

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I haven't forgotten about B&M's contribution to Silver Dollar City.

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Wildfire is a fun ride...and the first drop is particularly good, especially in the back, where your butt will not touch the seat the whole way down.

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Heading into the cobra roll.

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It was time for lunch, and WHAT a lunch we had. Thanks Silver Dollar City!

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After lunch we wandered over to the Grand Exposition area to watch TPR members embarrass themselves on the kiddie coaster.

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Some nice rides for the little ones too.

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It's a really beautiful area with lots of flat rides.

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But a credit's a credit, right?

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The park spends months covering their buildings with Christmas lights. This undoubtedly looks stunning at night!

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Finally, a shout out to one of the best Arrow mine trains in the world - Thunderation!

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The park had an enormous candy store.

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We brought quite a lot of candy from here!

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Sugary goodness.

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Is it time for more food yet?

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It's a shame the park doesn't run some of the cars backwards like they used to, but this is still a great ride. It picks up some really good speed, and even has (gasp!) airtime.

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We checked out Geyser Gulch.

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It's a really fun area for both kids and adults.

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There were two large buildings with plenty to explore, and lots and lots of balls!

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I loved the Americana store!

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We also rode the Flooded Mine, a shooting dark ride. Word has it that it may not be around for much longer, at least in its current form.

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Thanks Silver Dollar City for a truly wonderful day!

Edited by mattnz
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