Silver Dollar City, Branson, Missouri, USA
This is my first trip report in a long time, so bear with me here. I made my first visit to Branson last Saturday, and with some very good advice from a few folks on here, I had a truly fantastic weekend. I'll start on Friday.
I arrived in Branson on Friday evening, a little later than originally planned. But I only wanted to ride the drop ride at the Bigfoot entertainment center, which was a very short, easy trip. I arrived at Bigfoot at around 9:30 pm, so it was nice and dark in the area, and the tower was lit up well. Overall the complex looked pretty fun. I didn't do the slingshot ride, but the seatbelt-only drop tower was enough to lure me in. I admit, it was a little unnerving having only a seat belt on a 200' drop tower. And the drum chorus/audio track from "Down with the Sickness" was a nice touch as well. Fun ride to kick off the weekend.
Then Saturday, I had the entire day at Silver Dollar City. This was the first day of their Moonlight Madness festival, so they were open from 9:30 am until 10:00 pm. This would prove to be a long day filled with a LOT of rides. Since I was only there for one day, I splurged and got the all day Trailblazer pass. I'm certainly glad that I did it, as their system works really well. There weren't many people that had purchased it, so I was basically getting directly onto rides all day long.
As it turns out, the only rides that had lines were Time Traveler, American Plunge, Fire in the Hole, and Powder Keg. Wildfire and Outlaw Run were walk-ons the entire day. I thought that was kind of strange, for a Saturday in July. I'm not sure if everyone was at the water park for the 95-degree heat, or if those rides can just keep up with capacity. Either way, I'm glad I purchased the Trailblazer, if nothing else just to get a few rides on the log flume to cool off, and several rides on Time Traveler. Anyway, here's my thoughts on Silver Dollar City.
I started my day by going straight to this ride, as I'd heard that this line gets long. As it turns out, it didn't matter on this day with my Trailblazer pass. But it was definitely the longest line in the park most of the day, and I can see why. This thing was just pure fun. My first two rides were in row 5, and I noticed that even in the same seat, the ride is different each time. The vehicles' rotation must be a random program or something, but I was experiencing different moments in the ride in different ways every time. I think the best experience is in the back seat, if nothing else just to get the most out of that vertical drop out of the station. Overall this ride is just silly, wacky fun. I was laughing the entire time through every ride, and I think I got 8 rides on this throughout the day. Absolutely loved it, and I hope to see more rides like this at other parks.
After Time Traveler, I went right next door to Thunderation. I honestly didn't know much about this coaster, other than some people saying that it was a solid mine train coaster. But WOW this was definitely more than I bargained for. Thunderation has a really fun layout, and is definitely one of the fastest-paced mine train coasters I've been on. It's got a really cool helix, a solid (mandatory) tunnel, and a few good drops on it. Definitely one of the best mine train coasters out there, in my opinion.
Since I was on this side of the park, I figured I would knock out FireFall before heading over to the other coasters. This was a basic S&S shot tower, but the theming was really nice. I will say, I wasn't sure if I was going to be shot up or down, so that added a little excitement to it. But overall it's fine. Wish it was taller. :)
Fire in the Hole
I'm not sure if this is an identical ride to Blazing Fury at Dollywood, but it's certainly very close. Fun, but hokey.
Flying Barn Swing
Very fun S&S Swing. It also offered some views of the 2020 construction they're doing. Speaking of, does anyone know what's going in? They have a very large amount of space cleared for whatever it is.
Here we go. From the moment I saw the first snapshot of the double barrel-roll, this ride was on my list of "must rides." And I was excited to try out one of the earlier RMC's. So I admittedly had very high expectations for this when I went on my first ride. I rode near the back, and that first drop was just amazing... until we got to the bottom. The train hammered down really hard, which was not at all what I was expecting on an RMC, and I was very surprised to feel how shaky this thing is. It's a pretty chaotic layout, even though the ride isn't very long. But I left my first ride thinking that it was kind of rough. However, I rode it a few more times during the day, and as I became more familiar with the layout and tried different seats, it grew on me. And then there were those night rides. Holy smokes... the first drop into pitch black darkness is simply amazing, and that thing feels like it's simply out of control at night. I ended up riding this about 15 times, by the end of the day. What an amazing experience.
This ride was going down intermittently throughout the day, so I only got a few rides on it. But for being an aged Premier coaster, I thought this thing was pretty fun and unique. It's got a fun launch, and some neat hills that give some good views of the surrounding terrain.
Talk about a ride with a view. Similar to the other rides, this B&M drops down the hill-side. However this one is right on the edge of the hill looking way down toward the river, and the view from the lift/top of this ride is absolutely incredible. But it also is just an awesome ride in general, and is probably one of my favorite B&M's anywhere. The first drop is fantastic, and it's just really well-paced, and doesn't seem to have the B&M rattle that some others do. Really, really fun ride, and I got at least 12 rides on this as well.
American Plunge was a short but fun log flume, and provided just the right splash to get you wet but not soaked.
I rode the train, which had an entertaining stop in the middle where we caught up with some rustlers.
Electro Spin was a standard Disk-O coaster, but kind of fun.
I also rode the swinging ship, flooded mine, and flying swings.
I figured I would do the cave tour in the middle of the day, when it was especially hot outside. It turned out to be a good decision, as it was a nice cool 60 degrees below the surface. Really enjoyed the cave tour, and strongly recommend it to anyone who goes to the park. There's some really cool history, as well as just crazy stuff to see in Marvel Cave. It's a very impressive tour, even with the small passages that are pretty difficult for a 6'6" individual like myself to navigate.
I stopped and saw the Saloon Review show, which was quite entertaining. Unfortunately this was the only one that I saw in its entirety, but I did catch a few minutes of a few other outdoor shows, and everything I saw was pretty good. Also, I loved the outfits that the employees were wearing throughout the park. They do a great job of staying true to the theme.
I had two really great meals that day. The first was a pulled pork "fry bread," which is kind of like a doughy fried flatbread/pita kind of thing. But it was a very large portion, and very good value for the price. Dinner was more bbq, where I had a HUGE sausage link with pulled pork, slaw, and baked beans. Again, very good value for the money, and the food was really tasty. I had a hard time deciding what to eat, as just about everything looked really delicious.
Overall, I had an absolute blast at SDC. I was amazed at how many rides I managed to get, and it's just a wonderfully charming park. I only had a few complaints. The first one was pretty minor, and that's the fact that you can't really get good photos of the rides, as they're all kind of hidden from the midways. But my biggest issue was exiting the park. There's a pretty awful bottleneck in the Ozark store as you're leaving the park, with the queue lines for the trams spilling into the store. It was really chaotic, and there were a lot of really frustrated people just trying to get to their cars. But beyond that, I couldn't say more about the place. Definitely a park that I'll need to get back to again in the future. Now I'll end this trip report before I ramble on any more. Thanks to everyone who gave me advice for my trip! It was a big help.
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