In light of the most recent lawsuit that came across my news feed today, I'm writing to leave a glowing review of Bigfoot on the Strip. In all honesty, this isn't me censoring myself or anything. I actually had a really positive experience at this FEC and wrote a majority of this review a week or so ago.
"Give me a positive review...or else."
Bigfoot on the Strip is a very weird attraction. For the most part, it's your typical FEC with an arcade, mini golf, and random thrill rides. But then they have their flagship attraction, the 1.5 hour Bigfoot Expedition. That sounded incredibly corny and a complete tourist trap, so I sort of regret not trying it, but the temptation of Silver Dollar City was too much.
They missed the perfect tie-in with Jack Links here.
My sole reason for visiting was to experience the Bigfoot Action Tower, which contains two terrifying thrill rides- Gravity Bomb and Super Sling. A local New England casino (Foxwoods) had installed a slightly shorter version of the same tower and I absolutely loved it. The one negative was the cost. It costs $35 for one ride on each attraction. Meanwhile Bigfoot on the Strip offers both attractions for $24...and it's unlimited!
I actually split my visit into two parts. I stopped in for a few minutes on the way to Silver Dollar City to experience the view of the mountains in daylight, but then I returned in the evening since they were open until midnight. With almost non-existent lines, I was able to rack up about 15 rides on the drop tower and 7-8 rides on the saddle launch.
My favorite of the two attractions was Gravity Bomb. It really has everything you could want in a drop tower.
A mountain view? Check. Sound effects? Check. Minimalistic restraints? Check. An incredible, gut-wrenching, air-time filled drop? Check.
The drop tower had a lot of reride value because of those restraints. Since the restraints are a simple seatbelt (actually two seatbelts for redundancy), you can mix up the experience by staring at the ground a la Falcon's Fury, stare off to the side, or look directly at the moon. Actually the one bummer was the sound effects on rerides. For my first ride, the sound effects were incredible. But on rerides, they tipped off the exact moment when the drop would occur which sapped some of the thrill. Still this is about as fantastic as a drop tower can be. 10 out of 10
It's like a taller Larson drop tower with even less restrictive restraints.
Then there was the Super Sling. Stan Checketts is an absolute madman for designing this ride vehicle. If you thought RMCs had nothing to hold onto, wait until you see the Super Sling. It's just a saddle and you feel completely exposed. For my first ride, the operator had some fun with me. After securing me, he asked if I'd like a countdown. Before I could even answer, I was speeding towards the sky. Well played, well played.
The launch isn't the most forceful, but it doesn't have to be. The real thrill is the anticipation of the flip at the top. The flip is insane. Instead of being perfectly graceful, you feel the bungee cords shift you sideways and then you abruptly flip upside down in one of the most disorienting bits of hangtime out there. If the weight is unevenly distributed, you're basically guaranteed to get an extra flip or two on the descent. On some of my rides, I actually stalled upside down which generated some really weird forces.
Super Sling was the more popular of the two attractions, but even still, the queue line peaked at just 10 minutes. 9 out of 10
I never thought I'd be launched into the air on a saddle. But these are the things Stan Checketts thinks up.
The park also does try and maintain somewhat of a coherent theme. Every 30-40 minutes, they announce a random Bigfoot sighting over the PA system and this is accompanied by a little light show in the evening. And immediately after this announcement, they follow it up by requesting you to like them on Facebook and drop them a positive review on Yelp and/or Trip Advisor. In retrospect, that explains a bit more about the lawsuit...
Bigfoot on the Strip will never be a place I'll spend a whole day at. And to be honest, I don't think that's what the FEC expects either. But it is a place I'll always hit in a visit to Branson because of Super Sling and Gravity Bomb.
St. Louis is an awesome city. In all honesty, I think I had more fun at the City Museum than Six Flags St. Louis. That's not a knock on SFSTL (I had a good day there), but more a testament how quirky and awesome the museum is.
I don’t even know how to begin with Silver Dollar City except for saying it may be my new favorite park. As a big fan of Dollywood, I expected a similarly awesome park. It was apparent Silver Dollar City and Dollywood were owned by the same company. But my takeaway was that Silver Dollar City takes everything Dollywood does well and in many cases exceeds that already high bar.
After procrastinating around on the Branson strip, I finally decided to venture to Silver Dollar City to take advantage of the preview on my one day ticket. As I approached the parking lot, I scrambled to find a parking pass. I must have bought one. I always do. I kept looking but couldn’t find it. Then I found out why- free parking. This has to be one of the largest parks with free parking and I applaud them for it.
Silver Dollar City feels like a step back in time.
The park map was a newspaper. A freaking newspaper! No other park does that and it's awesome.
Since I’d have an unlimited Trailblazer the next day, my priority on my preview night was any attraction not covered on the Trailblazer (i.e. Flooded Mine) or restricted (i.e. Time Traveler). Anticipating a long wait at their newest attraction, my original plan was to hit Time Traveler at the end. However, it was only posting a 20 minute wait so I immediately made that my first stop.
The presentation of the coaster is outstanding. The oversized sign dominates the entry plaza and is absolutely mesmerizing. Thankfully I didn’t need to queue in the barren first floor, but the second floor had some solid theming with blueprints on the wall and ornate clocks hanging from the ceiling. Then you have the constant ticking sound that’s only interrupted by the gong of a dispatch. When that gong occurs, all eyes shift to the imposing vertical drop.
If you stare at Time Traveler's sign long enough, I'm pretty sure you could be hypnotized.
I wonder if Doc Brown's plans were this detailed.
Does anyone know what time it is? Time to ride!
Silver Dollar City assigns seats to maximize the coaster’s throughput, but on all my rides, my request to sit in the back car was granted. Once grouped, you proceed to the third floor where the theming becomes even more impressive. There are rotating gears on the ceiling (nerd points from an engineer) and this is the first opportunity to see those gorgeous ride vehicles. I love the openness of Mack restraints, but one odd thing here is how the restraints are automatically checked with the push of a button.
I don't know what's more gorgeous- the trains or the rotating gears.
I cannot emphasize how important it is to request the back car. The primary reason is the first drop. If you thought Thunderbolt’s drop out of the station was a wow moment, what does that make Time Traveler’s vertical, spinning plunge. Sideways ejector air is every bit as wild as it sounds and Time Traveler has the best drop in the back, no easy feat when there’s a RMC to contend with. The insanity is followed by a disorienting corkscrew that I don’t think I experienced forwards even once.
Before the first launch, the coaster does pause, but I think it’s necessary for the upcoming train to clear the block. This isn’t Lake Compounce; Silver Dollar City believes in multiple train operations. In terms of raw power, Time Traveler’s launch is pretty weak. However, if you’re lucky enough for your car to spin during the launch, you will feel high Gs akin to a tilt-a-whirl.
The vertical loop isn’t forceful, but it is disorienting. Much like the first inversion, I don’t think I once took this inversion forwards. That’s followed by a surprisingly wild S-hill combining ejector air with laterals. Then without having a moment to catch my breath, Time Traveler hurtled through an amazing zero-G roll with copious hang time and that’s followed by a tiny little pop of air entering the second “launch”.
I use launch lightly since it really is more of a speed boost. The finale has the non-inverting dive loop (or whatever it’s called) and these elements feel more like what you’d expect on a standard spinner. Once we hit the brake run, I was in complete awe. I expected Time Traveler to be good. But I was absolutely blown away how out-of-control the coaster felt despite the controlled spin.
If you ride in the back car, it’s an easy 10/10 type of ride. I immediately grabbed a second ride in the third car and the coaster felt noticeably less intense (still a lot of fun, but more like a 9/10 type of ride). So I’ll split the difference and say Time Traveler is a 9.5 out of 10.
If you ever wondered what sideways ejector air feels like, go ride Time Traveler.
Left, right, up, down? I had no clue which way I was going.
Since Thunderation was literally next door, I walked right onto the back row. The layout is really unique for a mine train. It’s almost entirely in the woods (except for the bit that opens up by Time Traveler) and the whole course is one downhill run. In some ways, the layout felt more like an alpine coaster than a mine train. This is one of those weird coasters that ends on the lift hill.
Or so I thought. As the train crept up the lift, I noticed a rather large drop off to my left. I couldn’t remember experiencing a drop that large, but maybe the perspective from the lift made it appear larger than it really was. Nope, there was a surprise final plunge after the lift that has to have been at least 70-80 feet tall. You’d be hard pressed to find a bigger drop on a mine train.
It can’t compete with the park’s larger coasters, but Thunderation is mostly smooth and a nice complimentary coaster in the park’s lineup. 6 out of 10
I'm guessing this used to be fully in the woods before Time Traveler came along?
Prior to visiting the park, I took a peek at the map, but I have to say, Silver Dollar City is one of the toughest parks to navigate for a first-timer. This is particularly true in the evening. Since they don’t seem to operate often in the evening, it appears they’ve forgone the typical amusement park lighting in favor of traditional lanterns to fit the theme.
As a result, I struggled to find Flooded Mine. After going down a corkscrew and going all the way round the mulberry bush, I waved the white flag and asked an employee for help. My struggles were rewarded with a complete walk-on. Flooded Mine’s ride system is very unique. I can’t think of another aquatic shooting dark ride and the way the guns are set-up makes me think this attraction was retrofit.
While there are definitely more high-tech shooting rides out there like Justice League, few are as well done as the Flooded Mine. I love shooters with physical sets and targets that respond to being shot, and Flooded Mine had both. It was a pretty long ride too! Any longer and I would have developed carpal tunnel like David Price. This was a hidden gem for me. 10 out of 10
I don't know what flooding a mine has to do with jail, but somehow the theme worked.
I'm guessing some guests came prepared with their own guns. This was Missouri after all.
I had waited long enough; it was time for Outlaw Run. I had intentionally waited for the sun to set, so my first ride would be in almost total darkness. Night rides are exceedingly rare on this coaster, but they’re considered one of the best coaster experiences out there. I was surprised to find absolutely no wait and walked right onto the second to back.
The first drop is exceptional and one of the best out there. I was completely ejected from my seat and felt like I was plunging into a black hole. This was exasperated by the pullout causing me to grey out a bit. Outlaw Run then rockets into this weird pseudo-inversion/turn thing. With RMC’s resume, I was actually shocked this element didn’t have air, but it still felt out-of-control.
Outlaw Run then rockets over two airtime hills with some really strong ejector air. The coaster then performs a Stengel dive underneath the lift and followed it with an unexpectedly large drop back into the forest (of course giving great air along the way). That’s followed by a high speed wave turn. I’m still amazed RMC can somehow completely eject a rider while they’re horizontal to the ground, yet they can.
Then there’s one last speedy ejector hill before the ride’s famous finale, the double barrel roll. From POVs, I always thought these barrel rolls were flat. In actuality they’re uphill. The result is ingenious. The first barrel roll is snappy while the second one has major hangtime. The second barrel roll was so slow that it always felt like the train would roll back during the inversion.
Outlaw Run is absolutely relentless. Yes it’s a bit short, but it’s one of those rare perfectly paced coasters without a single moment of dead track. Even the turns (for the most part) manage to provide crazy airtime. Then when you throw in the incredible setting, you really have a world-class ride. It immediately made its way into my top 5, wedging itself between Wildfire (Kolmarden’s that is) and El Toro.
I immediately grabbed a second ride up front. While fun, the back car is the place to ride Outlaw Run. It’s a crime not to experience the first drop and Stengel dive to their fullest effect. I know some have jokingly dubbed this coaster “Outlaw Rough” but those are the same people who call El Toro rough. Sure there are a few more bumps in the back row, but it’s still smoother than 90% of the wood coasters out there. 10 out of 10
Good luck getting any other photos of Outlaw Run, especially at night.
I had a half hour left and walked right onto the front row of Powder Keg and that launch hit me like a sack of bricks. I honestly think it was the best launch I’ve ever experienced outside of Intamin’s accelerator coasters. It was one of those launches so forceful that it caused my stomach to drop. What this taught me is Do-dodonpa’s launch has to be pure lunacy if I thought this about little Powder Keg.
The subsequent two camelbacks were massive and loaded with sustained ejector air. Then there’s a turnaround mixing airtime with laterals before speeding through the old Buzzsaw Falls track. Because Powder Keg takes this section significantly faster than Buzzsaw Falls ever did, the turns aren’t properly banked which results in some sustained laterals. And this all takes place in a dark, wooded setting.
The lift hill gives a reprieve from the action and a chance to take in the picturesque mountain view. The final plunge had a nice pop of air in the back and the final turnaround looked like a throwaway element, but it was anything but. The entry has another solid moment of airtime and that’s followed by some strong positive Gs. I immediately rerode it in the back and got another great ride.
I was expecting a family coaster with the 42” height requirement, but Powder Keg blew me away. I honestly liked it better than Storm Runner or even Top Thrill Dragster. It combines a forceful launch with a complete ride. I didn’t think any attraction would surprise me as much as Flooded Mine, but I was wrong, Powder Keg was the surprise hit of the trip. 9 out of 10
If this is intense, I really need to know how wild Do-dodonpa is. Thankfully I'll find out in 2 weeks!
With 10 minutes left, I struggled to find WildFire. After passing the correct path a few times, I finally found the big B&M and walked right onto the front row. WildFire is one of the most highly regarded B&M coasters out there, so I was shocked the inversions were relatively forceless. I thought enthusiasts needed a ride to be forceful to be fun? WildFire was fast and smooth.
What I found out the next day is that WildFire is absolutely a back seat ride because of the first drop. Unlike a majority of B&M loopers out there with curved drops, WildFire has a long, straight drop more akin to something you’d find on a hyper and it’s loaded with airtime. As an added nerd bonus, WildFire was my 600th coaster too. 8 out of 10
In retrospect, I can totally see the mountains in the background even at night.
I had just three hours at the park, but Silver Dollar City had already left one heck of an impression. So needless to say, I was excited to return 11.5 hours later. Actually it was closer to 11 hours since they opened the front gate about a half hour before the scheduled opening. Without any hesitation, I made my way to Time Traveler to beat the rush.
Unfortunately Time Traveler had some technical difficulties to start the day, but I was off the ride about 40 minutes after the official opening. I was again granted the back car, but the riders of car 2 decided to take the back instead when we reached the boarding platform. It’s still a good coaster up front, but I did miss experiencing the crazy air on the vertical drop and S-hill.
I think I have a new screensaver.
Afterwards I made my way over to the Grand Exposition area of the park. This is essentially Silver Dollar City’s version of Dollywood’s County Fair, except with a lot more trees. The only people who visit this section of the park are families, fans of spinning rides, or credit whores. Can you guess which group I fell into?
Of course the latter. I shamefully walked right onto the Grand Exposition Coaster. This was actually one of my priorities early in the day since it wasn’t part of the Trailblazer pass and I noticed it had queues reaching 30-40 minutes the day prior. That’s insane for a kiddie coaster! As far as the coaster, it was your standard Zamperla kiddie giving 3 laps. 2 out of 10
No shame...ok that's a lie. Maybe just a little shame.
I reclaimed some of my dignity for being in the Grand Exposition area by riding Electro Spin. This is one of those large diskos, but this one was noteworthy for its proximity to nearby trees. I’m pretty sure a taller rider could graze their arms against the leaves. Otherwise, this one had a comparable cycle time and speed to the others out there. 7 out of 10
For some reason I don't think Six Flags would have trees this close to an attraction.
Along with rides, Silver Dollar City is also well known for their shows and food. If I had an additional day, I probably would have checked out some of the shows, but I’m admittedly more of a ride person. What I couldn’t possibly skip though was the food.
I started with the sausage and potato skillet. For a late breakfast, it was a really heavy dish loaded with potatoes. It came out piping hot and tasted great. Also, I should probably state here that you will not find the obligatory cinnamon bread in this report. I would rather ride the worst SLC than eat sweets.
Who needs cinnamon bread?
I got a quick reride on the Flooded Mine before returning to Outlaw Run for a mini marathon. I believe I got 10 or so rides in a row, primarily in the back car. After experiencing the coaster in total darkness, it was interesting to whiz past all the trees and actually be able to admire the beautiful view cresting the lift. With each ride, I kept liking Outlaw Run more and more.
I also found it interesting that Outlaw Run never developed any sort of a queue during my visit. I’m guessing that never happens since this was a long weekend too. It was actually faster for me to use the regular entrance than to walk all the way around to the Trailblazer entrance, though the latter did give a nice view of the double barrel roll. Really that and the lift are the only two parts that can be seen offride.
If you know of any other spots to get shots of Outlaw Run, please let me know.
I especially like how Outlaw Run hides the inversions so those scared of inverting on a wooden coaster don't see it coming.
While leaving Wilson Farm, I hopped onto the Giant Barn Swing. With only one arm running (seems to be the norm for most screamin’ swings), the standard queue had a sizable wait that I bypassed. Despite explicit instructions not to touch our restraints, the girls next to me pulled their’s down and triggered one of the weirdest faults I’ve ever seen- a restraint being closed too much.
A quick reset and adherence to the instructions had us on our merry way. Like all screamin’ swings, the cycle felt far too short, but the max swings we did get had some decent airtime. I particularly liked staring down at Lost River of the Ozarks on the backswing. I was not expecting that added thrill. I can only imagine what the Giant Canyon Swing at Glenwood must be like. 7 out of 10
It's almost as if I've seen this before at Dollywood.
I’m from New England, so mid-90 degree heat isn’t exactly my friend. Therefore, I was ecstatic to skip another lengthy queue and climb aboard Lost River of the Ozarks. This river rapids was definitely the cure as I’m pretty sure it’s impossible to not come off this ride drenched.
There were at least 3 rapids that nailed 3/4 of the boat at once (the small drop off the lift and the two in the final tunnel). Then there were 4-5 others that weren’t exactly slouches either. Add in an unavoidable waterfall and I hope you have a lifeproof case for your phone. As an added bonus, Lost River is extremely well landscaped making it one of the best rapids rides out there. 9 out of 10
Resistance is futile.
You're coming off soaked. Just accept it.
My next stop was FireFall. While it was pretty good for a double shot tower, the launched S&S towers just don’t do it for me. That’s especially true after riding the crazy drop tower at Bigfoot so many times the day before. Launching above the building was cool and there were two nice pops of air, but this was a one and done for me. 6 out of 10
I really loved how FireFall rose out of the building. I do that all the time in Roller Coaster Tycoon.
Time Traveler had a posted 120 minute wait, so I thought it was the perfect time to use my single Trailblazer skip to reride it. Unlike earlier, I was able to get the back car and was treated to another fantastic ride. I’m really excited to see more of these extreme Mack spinners pop up. While I would love for an uncontrolled spin, I completely understand why they have it. Maybe an uncontrolled ride can be a perk at an enthusiast event much like the mythical trimless Voyage rides.
After a quick ride on Thunderation, I doubled back to WildFire. The night before, I thought WildFire was in the middle of the woods. I couldn’t have been more wrong. It’s strategically placed in an opening, which enables it to provide breathtaking views of the Ozarks. This really is one of the most photogenic coasters out there. Even if you miss the coaster, you have the gorgeous mountains to distract your eye.
Like Outlaw Run, WildFire never seemed to develop any sort of a queue. I think the ride’s location in an absolute dead end helps, but the operators are extremely efficient and I rarely saw the coaster stack.
Let's give this a whirl in the day.
That setting speaks for itself.
It's sort of easy to ignore the coaster in this shot. A shame because it's a pretty good coaster!
I was actually surprised this wasn't an overly forceful coaster, but it was a lot of fun.
I was still relatively damp from Lost River so I decided it was the perfect time to hit the park’s flume, American Plunge. Offride, I couldn’t help but notice how tall the final drop appeared so I was excited to check it out. The layout was a lot more expansive than I expected, as it wound through the forest and even included multiple tunnels.
But the highlight was definitely the final plunge. Not only was it tall, but it also had a little pop of air to boot. Then came the splash. And holy moly was it soaking. This wasn’t Ripsaw Falls wet, but it wasn’t too far behind. While most flumes repel the water outwards, American Falls sends the water straight up and back down into the boat. What a great flume! 9 out of 10
Why is it called American Plunge? Because 'Merica.
If you hoped to come off dry, that's as likely as Disney not releasing another Star Wars movie.
My stomach was rumbling, so I picked up a bag of pork rinds. At $5, this was quite the deal. The bag was equal in size to a bag of Lays at the store, but instead filled with freshly prepared goodies that can best be described as a potato chip crossed with bacon. It took an hour, but eventually that bag was completely emptied.
I had no shame eating the whole bag.
Other than Time Traveler, Powder Keg was the only other major coaster garnering a significant wait. The app said the queue peaked at about 40 minutes, but thanks to Trailblazer, I was able to get about 3 rides in that time span. Like Outlaw Run, Powder Keg is another incredibly difficult coaster to photograph since it also runs through the woods.
This has to be the oddest rollback track out there.
The last coaster (I know it depends who you talk to) was Fire in the Hole. I was sort of hoping they’d yell “Blazing Fury” as it dispatches to mirror how Blazing Fury’s ops yell “Fire in the Hole” before each dispatch, but instead they stuck to the ride’s name. The dark ride section is definitely dated, but it’s a charming attraction I’m glad the park has kept around.
The climax is without a doubt the final 3 plunges. The drops tracked as well as an Arrow helix, but the generous restraints prevented any pain. The second drop was forgettable, but the first one had a surprise pop of air and the last one included a splashdown, a fitting end to a coaster about fire. 6 out of 10
Fire in the Hole!
Silver Dollar City even has a fun house in Grandfather’s Mansion. Actually it’s more of a crooked house, but whatever you call it, it’s an interesting diversion and not something you’d expect from a larger corporate park like this. The strength of the attraction was the consistent theme throughout as it was a stark contrast to the fun houses that usually don’t give a rat’s booty about theming. 6 out of 10
I think they mean Grandma says "Stand erect."
The last major attraction I needed to hit was what started it all for the park, the Marvel Cave. As an added bonus, I booked a Lantern Tour because a) I heard they were cool and b) it allowed me to reserve a time instead of spending precious time queuing.
The tour guide I had was exceptional. He usually answered any of our questions. I say usually since we had one fellow in our group who basically had an orgasm anytime a history question was asked and he tried to answer it himself. This probably makes me a terrible human being, but I couldn’t help but chuckle when he hit his head on one of the narrow passageways after talking over the guide’s warning.
The tour lasted almost 90 minutes and I loved every moment. This was completely unlike any attraction I’ve ever experienced in a theme park and in many ways, it didn’t even feel like we were at Silver Dollar City. We were 500 feet below the ground appreciating a true natural wonder of the world.
And for you ride fans, they have you covered. There’s a cool inclined railway at the end of the attraction to return you to civilization. No trip to Silver Dollar City is complete without a tour of the Marvel Cave.
I have my cheap Chinese lantern (park's words) and am ready to go.
It's pretty easy to forget you're at a theme park at this point.
Marvel Cave is marvelous.
All you ride fans get this credit at the end.
After exiting, I grabbed a reride on Time Traveler since the queue had dropped to 20 minutes and then I fueled up on a delicious calzone from Crossroads. Admittedly I was already full, but I didn’t care. The calzone looked really good and it was.
I didn't really have room, but I made room.
To finish my day, I planned to make one last tour of the coasters, making a very prolonged stop at Outlaw Run. In the end I think I had almost 30 total rides on Outlaw Run. And I very well would have done more if park closing wasn’t a constraint.
A Golden Ticket award that was actually deserved.
With 20 minutes left, I decided to ditch Outlaw Run and try to get a night ride on Time Traveler. It was tough leaving Outlaw Run, but Time Traveler looked like it’d be pretty dark along the course. I reached the coaster at 9:47 only to find that the queue had already been closed for the night. One of the employees said they don’t like to keep rides open more than a half hour past closing, so this is something to keep in mind if you visit on a busier day.
Thankfully Thunderation was literally next door so I was able to get two last rides on this underrated mine train. I sort of am glad Time Traveler’s queue was closed since Thunderation was a really awesome night ride. The wooded setting was almost pitch black and the sense of speed, particularly in the back of the train, was exceptional. This really is one of the best mine trains out there.
When the clock struck 10, I was sad to leave Silver Dollar City. The park really succeeds in every way. It has a fantastic coaster collection anchored by two world-class coasters. Then it has some standout water rides, flat rides, and dark rides. Add in a wonderful cohesive theme, mouthwatering found, and Marvel Cave, and it’s apparent why Silver Dollar City is so highly regarded.
Great TR! Silver Dollar City is awesome, and I'm stoked to be back there in a few weeks. It's amazing that every single thing there is one of the best, if not THE best of their kind, be it rides, food, or pretty much anything you can think of.
1. Fury 325 | 2. Millennium Force | 3. New Texas Giant | 4. Outlaw Run | 5. Maverick | 6. Twisted Cyclone | 7. Iron Rattler | 8. The Voyage | 9. Goliath (SFGAm) | 10. Time Traveler
I really need to get out to Silver Dollar City at some point. After falling in love with Dollywood, I knew I'd love the charm of this park, but the stellar lineup of coasters is making the urge stronger with each addition to finally pull the trigger!
Thanks for sharing another excellent report!
Change the scheme, Alter the mood! Electrify the boys and girls if you would be so kind!
LiftThrill wrote:Great TR! Silver Dollar City is awesome, and I'm stoked to be back there in a few weeks. It's amazing that every single thing there is one of the best, if not THE best of their kind, be it rides, food, or pretty much anything you can think of.
Thanks! I agree Silver Dollar City may not have as many rides as the country's other major parks, but what they do have is exceptional.
jedimaster1227 wrote:I really need to get out to Silver Dollar City at some point. After falling in love with Dollywood, I knew I'd love the charm of this park, but the stellar lineup of coasters is making the urge stronger with each addition to finally pull the trigger!
Thanks for sharing another excellent report!
Thanks! I was *this* close to booking a trip to Branson last year, but held off one more year with rumors of a major new coaster. I'd say Time Traveler was certainly worth it.
thrillseeker4552 wrote:Excellent report! Silver Dollar City is very high on my "priority list" of new parks to visit, but my goodness it's in the middle of nowhere and seems difficult to get to. Same with Dollywood too.
Thanks! For Dollywood, I fly to Atlanta and drive four hours. The drive through the mountains is scenic and goes through the Smokies for almost half of it. Plus Atlanta is one of the cheapest airports for me.
With Silver Dollar City, I flew through Kansas City, which resulted in another 3.5-4 hour drive. But both parks are absolutely worth the hassle it takes to get there.
Worlds of Fun had a very tough act to follow. Really any park after Silver Dollar City had its work cut out for it and in many ways, Worlds of Fun reminded me of Dorney Park. I know Dorney is easy to make fun of, but I actually enjoy Dorney Park.
I was stunned Snoopy wasn't in the balloon.
Worlds of Fun was really well landscaped.
I visited during a heatwave, so I knew Oceans of Fun would be absolutely mobbed. Likewise, I knew if I was going to ride Worlds of Fun’s water rides, I had to hit them first. But instead I used early entry to queue for the coaster with the worst capacity, Spinning Dragons. Why does it always seem like these low capacity Gerstlauer spinners end up at major chains?
I sort of regret hitting the flume, but I wasn't going to wait an hour and this was basically the only ride that needed FastLane.
Spinning Dragons opened punctually at 10 am and I was on the first car. The layout was identical to SFNE’s Pandemonium, but there were two differences that stood out. First, this one had a persistent rattle noise throughout. I have to specify noise since the ride was perfectly smooth despite sounding like death.
The second difference was the first drop. Usually you either go down the first drop forwards or backwards on these Gerstlauer spinners. Somehow my car rotated 90 degrees after cresting the lift, so I experienced the drop sideways. The rest of the layout was the usually spinny goodness I’ve come to expect from these Gerstlauer spinners.
Later I noticed the queue was easily over a half hour, so I’m glad I knocked it out early, especially since the queue had almost no shade. On the bright side, the queue passed through a very well landscaped garden. 7 out of 10
Fun fact, this is the only US Gerstlauer spinner that wasn't renamed at some point.
Spinning Dragons spins, but I didn't see any dragons.
I then made my way to the coaster named in honor of the best football team in the NFL, Patriot. The invert was having some technical difficulties to start the day, but the park had it sorted out in short order. As the test trains cycled, it was hard not to notice the one-of-a-kind candy cane paint scheme. It absolutely pops!
Going in, I hadn’t heard too many positives about Patriot relative to the other B&M inverts. The lift offered unobstructed views of the wide open field adjacent to the park. With a view like that, you’d think Worlds of Fun is in the middle of nowhere, but nope, it’s mere minutes from a bustling downtown metropolis in Kansas City.
The first drop and loop were actually forceful! In many ways, it reminded me of the older B&M inverts. But then Patriot remembered it was a newer B&M invert for the middle section. The zero-G roll was taken a little too gracefully and then there’s a rather forgettable Immelmann, upward helix, and airtime hill that doesn’t offer any airtime.
As the Falcons found out in Super Bowl 51, the Patriots finish strong. The corkscrew caught me off-guard since it was a throwback to the snappy corkscrews of old and that’s followed by an intense little helix a la Silver Bullet. Last but not least, there’s an abrupt little airtime hill leading into the break run that gives bonafide airtime on an invert.
It probably is my least favorite B&M invert (almost forgot the B&M part and then I remembered SLCs exist) because of the lackluster middle section, but it’s still a good coaster that, at its best, does everything an invert should. 8 out of 10
Worlds of Fun is good to go if they lose a bet with Six Flags New England.
I love the candy cane paint scheme.
Zero-Gs are still B&M's best inversion.
If Patriot's middle was anything like its beginning and end, I think more people would be talking about this invert.
I was really intrigued to try Timber Wolf. From POVs, the layout actually looked to be pretty solid and I was hopeful the recent retracking would yield an enjoyable coaster. Yet as I entered the queue, there were multiple signs warning me about a rough (but perfectly safe) ride ahead.
The only other times I've seen a warning sign like this are at Mt. Olympus and Clementon. Not the best comp.
But in all honesty, I think Prowler needed this sign more.
Unfortunately, it was at this point I realized Worlds of Fun lagged behind the chain’s other parks with regards to operations. I thought they were slow at Patriot, but they were excruciatingly slow on Timber Wolf. I don’t think they started checking restraints until the previous train hit the brake run. Instead, the operators stood there howling (I wish I were kidding).
As a precaution, I started up front and I have to say, job well done Worlds of Fun. Timber Wolf was a really smooth coaster. Not Phoenix smooth or anything, but there was absolutely no jackhammering and it was reridable even in the back car. That’s a claim the park’s other wooden coaster couldn’t make.
Several trims probably helped in that regard, but the coaster still had 4-5 small pops of air plus a surprisingly strong moment of ejector air on the L-turn underneath the lift hill. Plus the relatively flat turns yielded some laterals too. The train barely crawled through the finale, but it's my understanding that part hasn’t been retracked recently so it’s probably for the better. 7 out of 10
Timber Wolf always appeared to have a decent layout.
Now it's pretty darn smooth. You can see all the fresh wood on the overbank that isn't really an overbank.
And it has solid airtime too.
Usually I skip S&S space shots, but Detonator looked really peculiar. It’s one of those S&S towers that stops about 2/3 of the way up the tower. I walked right on and was immediately impressed how the two towers dueled. That masked the launch, giving me a nice surprise.
Then came an amazing moment of airtime. The car freezes at the top and then is seemingly launched downwards with the force of a turbo drop. Compare that with the other space shots that seem to travel at a rate slower than gravity. I expected the ride to be over, but the car actually returned back to the top for a second (albeit weak) pop of air. Was this a double shot?
The return to ground took forever. The other tower was back on the ground almost immediately yet my tower took an extra minute or so to slowly descend back down. I thought that was odd. After the fact, I found out this was the first of its kind in the US and that makes sense that the prototype may have some quirks to it. I still prefer being dropped instead of launched, but Detonator does a launch about as well as you can. 7 out of 10
Snoopy looks like he's having the time of his life.
One of the highlights of Worlds of Fun is its rare flat ride collection. They have a classic enterprise, a Huss condor, and a Huss troika. I hit the latter after Detonator since it was loading and I hadn’t ridden one of these in years. Mustang Runner’s cycle was pretty short, but the ride came really close to giving some faint air as it reached its maximum height. 5 out of 10
One new and one old flat.
I have a question for locals- does the pathway between Detonator and Mamba always smell like a row of porta potties at a NASCAR race? Holy poop, literally! This pathway absolutely reeked and I wasn’t the only person holding their nose walking down it.
This is the path in question.
I eventually reached the fresh air of Mamba and struggled to find the queue. I saw a sign for Fast Lane, but not for the main entrance. After confusedly walking back and forth in the ride’s plaza, I realized the main entrance was shared with the FastLane entrance and unmarked.
Morgan hyper trains are already odd ducks. For one, they’re ridiculously oversized, a stark contrast to the minimalistic trains of B&M or Intamin mega coasters. Then Mamba had widely variable restraint heights. On some of my rides, the lowest setting of the lap bar was touching my lap. On other rides, I had several inches of space on the lowest setting.
While it lacks the intensity of the newer hypers, Mamba still dishes out floater airtime in droves. The two camelbacks on the outward leg are the highlights up front. In the back, the highlights are the progressively stronger floater from the oddly profiled first drop and abrupt pop of ejector off the brake run.
The MCBR did sap a considerable amount of speed, but each of the return hills still managed to give at least a small pop of air. I do wish the seats were cushioned since the rapidfire switch from negative to positive Gs was a bit rough on the back. I think I prefer Steel Force slightly since the MCBR doesn’t hit as hard, but it’s otherwise a comparable coaster. 8 out of 10
When was Steel Force relocated to Missouri?
Morgan first drops are profiled so weirdly and it really pays off in the back row.
Mamba slithers over the bunny hills.
Boomerang was the next coaster in my path. I was a little worried the shuttle coaster would have built up a bit of a queue, but it was completely empty. It was also closed. And from what I heard from locals, the coaster had been down all of Memorial Day weekend. Guess this was one credit I wouldn’t be getting. Or so I thought…
I didn't exactly shed a tear over this closure.
Boomerang’s closure would lead to me riding Prowler sooner. Or so I thought… As I approached the park’s GCI, I noticed a train parked on the lift hill and riders being evacuated. Uh oh, that didn’t look good. The employee stationed by the coaster said it would reopen shortly, but I was a bit pessimistic considering there was an evac going on.
Well that doesn't look promising.
I escaped the heat and grabbed lunch at Chickie’s & Pete’s. I had a longer reprieve than expected from the heat since there was just one employee working the counter. But the crab fries were well worth it.
Are there any Chickie's & Pete's outside of Cedar Fair parks?
I planned to make a second loop around the park, but I wanted to hover around Prowler to ensure I didn’t miss out on what many consider the park’s best coaster. Worlds of Fun’s new-for-2018 Nordic Chaser was nearby so I gave it a whirl. Despite its compact nature, this himalaya actually has some strong laterals. Then the humps came close to providing air.
However, the ride had one issue- the scolding hot seats. Since the ride had no cover, the seats were absolutely baking in the 100 degree heat. I came *this* close to skipping it after sitting down, but am glad I sucked it up. But I did notice a few kids scream in pain after sitting down. Hopefully they can add some shade since it’s otherwise a nice addition. 6 out of 10
Nordic Chaser also doubles as a griddle on hot summer days.
After my ride, I noticed Prowler cycling so I made my way over and walked right onto the front row. I was joined by a rather interesting companion who thought it was necessary to yell “I am the bar” every single time we experienced airtime. And he yelled that random statement a lot.
Almost every hill delivered a nice pop of air and the pacing was incredible. Prowler absolutely hauls and doesn’t have a single dead spot. Even though it’s essentially an out-and-back coaster, the wooded setting and banked turns kept me off-guard. Prowler had everything I could possibly want from a wooden coaster, but it had one unwanted addition- the smoothness or lack thereof.
I really wish I could have experienced Prowler in its opening year. I’m pretty sure Prowler would have been a top 10 wooden coaster for me back then. But in 2018, I felt like I was riding a jackhammer, a jackhammer traveling as fast as a car on the freeway. Thankfully Prowler has the original, heavily-padded Millennium Flyers to help compensate.
The back row was one and done for me. But I did really enjoy my front row rides despite the bumpiness; I just couldn’t marathon it. After they finish retracking Timber Wolf, I really hope Worlds of Fun gives Prowler the TLC that it deserves. Prowler could be a truly special coaster, but as it stands it’s an incredibly wild, but flawed wooden coaster and still probably the park’s best coaster. 8 out of 10
If Prowler is any indication, I really need to get out and ride Mystic Timbers ASAP.
One previously closed coaster reopened for me and wouldn’t you know, Boomerang was cycling, so I made my way over there where a decent sized line had started to form. About 10-15 minutes later, Boomerang opened. From posts on the park’s discussion board, apparently this boomerang runs as frequently as Lightning Rod, which is particularly baffling since it’s one of the newer ones and they’re usually pretty reliable.
The ride itself was about as smooth as a boomerang can be and delivered the usually intense ride. In some ways, it felt every more disorienting considering the 100 degree heat. 5 out of 10
The Vekoma gods have spoken.
After grabbing rerides on the coasters, I had two flats left to hit. The first was SteelHawk, which I was admittedly a bit fearful to ride. Was it the daunting height? No. It was the admittedly slim chance the ride could breakdown in midair causing me to miss my return flight home. But SteelHawk had me covered; it had already broken down.
I didn't get a picture of SteelHawk, so here's the park's really cool gift shop that sells merchandise from retired rides and attractions.
Last but not least was arguably the park’s most unique flat (and maybe their most unique ride), Cyclone Sam’s Cloudpoofer 2000. The name sounds like one of those convoluted “As Seen on TV” gadgets that never seem to work right and the queue line has a perfectly 1990s pre-show to amp riders up for the experience.
The ride was just a one cycle wait, but that was a 15 minute wait. I timed it and at the rate they were loading this attraction, it would have a maximum capacity of 160 riders per hour or 4 dispatches per hour. It’s a shame since this is easily the park’s best flat.
Worlds of Fun transformed an otherwise pedestrian wipeout into a memorable experience by enclosing it and adding random blacklight graphics on the side of the building. This setting amplified the side-splitting laterals these Chance Wipeouts are known for and there were even a few pops of air as well.
SFNE used to have an enclosed Wipeout as well in Joker’s Wildcard, but unfortunately it was retired and moved outside before I was able to ride it. Cyclone Sam’s was my redemption and other than the putrid capacity, it was one heck of a wild flat. 9 out of 10
This looks more like the entrance for a crooked house than a Chance Wipeout.
I think I'm going to have nightmares after seeing this.
It’s definitely not the best Cedar Fair park, but Worlds of Fun does have a respectable lineup of coasters to go with an interesting mix of flat rides. The biggest negative from my visit was that I encountered uncharacteristically slow operations for a Cedar Fair park. But overall Worlds of Fun does deserve to have the word “fun” in its name.
If you’ve heard of this place, it means one of two things. 1) You’re a local to the Kansas City area and a moderate credit whore or 2) you’re not local to the Kansas City area and an absolute credit whore. My visit speaks for itself which group I fall into.
Living near a huge metropolitan area in Boston, I’m pretty leery about rush hour traffic. Since I had an 8 pm flight, I left Worlds of Fun early enough to give myself buffer if I encountered the red lights of doom on the highway. In retrospect, it was a long weekend so such precautions probably weren’t necessary, but it gave me time for a quick stop at PowerPlay FEC.
The litmus test for a credit whore- have you heard of this place?
PowerPlay is basically a reincarnation of Jeepers. It’s a modern arcade with amusement park staples such as a carousel, tilt-a-whirl, bumper cars, laser tag, and last but not least, the Python Pit. But don’t let the modest height and speed fool you, it was actually a surprisingly enjoyable coaster.
Several of the Jeepers attractions are housed in separate rooms from the main arcade. This allows for a random mishmash of theming and effects to compliment the ride. I shamefully handed my card over and I got a solo ride on the park’s star attraction (for coaster enthusiasts). The layout was your standard Miler kiddie coaster.
As far as kiddie coasters go, the Miler ones are some of the smoothest out there, but the setting is what elevated this kiddie coaster. The track had chaser lights. The finale traveled through a darkened room complete with glowing trees and audio effects. PowerPlay put more effort into this coaster than Six Flags did with Skull Mountain! Plus it’s always terrifying to know that raising your hands will actually hit something (in this case, the ceiling). 4 out of 10
The operators were staring at me, so I took cover behind the Carousel.
Having already experienced one flat elevated by an indoor setting earlier in the day (Worlds of Fun’s Cyclone Sam’s), I decided to give the complex’s Tilt-a-Whirl a go. I was treated to another solo ride and what may be the best tilt-a-whirl out there. This one boasts a long cycle, so when you combine that with the ride’s placement in a darkened room with glow and laser effects, you have a recipe for a truly disorienting flat ride. 8 out of 10
Tilt-a-Whirl or a rave? Actually both!
I didn’t spend more than 15 minutes at PowerPlay and really that’s as much time as an enthusiast will need. I think most will grab the credit and run (or skip this place entirely to maintain their dignity), but fans of spinning rides should seriously consider trying their Tilt-a-Whirl as well.
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