Midwest Coaster Trip Part IV: Silver Dollar City & Celebration City

Associated parks:

The original plan for the last part of this coaster trip was to leave Dallas and head to Frontier City first and then over to Branson to do the two parks there all in a day. After I started thinking about it and planning driving times and such I realized it wouldn’t give me a whole lot of time to get to Branson and do both parks and I really didn’t want to miss out on Powder Keg. I thought if I got there late then the lines might be too long and I wouldn’t get to ride. So I finally decided on skipping Frontier City and head directly to Branson.

I was in Dallas for some refresher training and as luck would have it I got the late simulator for training and our sims usually ended at 2 a.m. On Wed. 8th of May or last sim got over at 1 a.m. and I was feeling great. So instead of going back and crashing for a couple of hours I decided to hit the road and see how far I could get before I got tired. After going back to the hotel and grabbing my stuff and checking out I hit the road out of Dallas just prior to 2 a.m. Seven hours later I found myself standing right next to the rope in Silver Dollar City singing to the National Anthem. Ya, I can’t believe I made it all the way there! As soon as the rope dropped, I took off for Powder Keg.

I took the first train of the day in the second seat. The transfer track on this thing is crazy looking as it slides the trains up into position to be launched. The voice that yells at you as you move into position is timed really well and it seems to catch people off guard. Then you slide forward into the launch position. Before you know it you are blasted into the hill right in front of you. This has great acceleration and that first hill is full of some beautiful airtime. The drop down is excellent and it sweeps you off to the right. Now that it has been a few days I am having trouble remembering the rest of the layout but I remember the whole ride being very quick and a lot of fun. The second lift is short and I wish it could have been another boost but the drop after the lift is nice and then a quick helix into the brakes. I came back later and rode in the back seat which I liked even better. Especially over the first hill. Powder Keg is a must if you are anywhere near Branson!

After my first ride on Powder Keg I headed over to Wildfire. I took a seat in the back for my first ride. This ride starts off with a really nice drop into an immelman and then into the loop. I like it when a coaster starts off with something other than a loop. After the loop you hit a nice cobra roll and then into the corkscrew. A nice helix to finish off and then a pop up into the brake run. I thought this was a really well done B&M and it had some great forces to it. I could have just ridden Powder Keg and Wildfire all day and been a happy man but then I would have missed out on an awesome Arrow coaster…

After my backseat ride on Wildfire I took a front seat ride and would recommend the front on this one. Then I went and got that back seat ride on Powder Key that I previously mentioned. After that I went to take a spin on Fire In The Hole. I had no real expectations for this ride and when it started I thought for sure it was the exact same ride as Blazing Fury at Dollywood. But as the ride progressed I’m not for certain if everything is the exact same. Anyone know for sure? The ride is nice and calm until the end and it gives you some great drops and then I got sprayed down pretty good at the end with the nice water splash that I wasn’t even expecting! Nice job with the surprise ending on this one. Fun ride and all the kids loved it.

I then headed off to ride the last coaster in the park Thunderation. On my way there I stopped to look at a little side shop that specialized in baseball stuff. I started talking to the guy that worked there and found out he is a veteran and we talked about the military. Found out that he has a son that lives in Salt Lake, which is where I grew up. He asked me what I was looking for and I said my son was turning 3 on Friday (same as Moosh) and that he loves cheering for the Cubbies. He always claps his hands and cheers, “Let’s go Tubbies.” He says Tubbies because he can’t say his C’s very well yet. At any rate the guy told me to pick out a bat and he carve whatever I wanted in it and he wouldn’t charge me for the carving. Sweeeeet! So I picked out a nice bat and had him carve my son’s name in the bat along with “Let’s go Cubbies.” Thanks for the present for my son! He loves it.

After that little pit stop I finally made it to Thunderation. This is a cool mine train because you can either sit forward or backward depending on which train car you decided to sit in. I chose to go forward in the front seat for my first ride. This mine train gets going right out of the chute. No lift hill anticipation here. The ride quickly picks up some nice speed and then you hit a nice double helix and finish it off by entering a tunnel. Out of the tunnel you take a huge diving turn down the side of the mountain and then back around until you finally come to the lift hill. I thought this was the end of the ride, but once you top off this lift you take a nice left turn and then do another diving turn down the side of the mountain and then back up into the station. This was by far the best mine train I have ever been on! I love PKI’s mine train, but this one was awesome. If you have ridden this mine train and think there is another one that is better, please let me know which one. This was the hidden treasure of the day. I went back and rode it facing backwards. It was a fun ride also, but I liked my front seat ride the best! Do not miss this awesome Arrow!

I decided to walk around the rest of the park just to see what else it had since I wasn’t pressed for time. Celebration City wouldn’t be open for a few more hours. Silver Dollar City has a great area for kids to play in. They have little nerf balls everywhere that you can shoot out of cannons, vacuum them up, send them up conveyors, or many other things. All the kids were having a wonderful time playing in this huge contraption.

I then went and took the train ride. It was nice and gave some good views of Powder Keg. I would suggest riding the train if you want some unique photos of Powder Keg.

I stopped into the blacksmith shop and started looking at the metal puzzles (brain teasers). The puzzles like the two horse shoes connected by a couple of chain links with a ring in the center. The puzzle is to figure out how to get the ring off. They had about six different kinds of these puzzles and they were selling them for 88 cents a piece. Along with coaster riding I also love all types of puzzles, so I bought all six different puzzles they had. 88 cents is a steal, especially at an amusement park!

I have to tip my hat to Silver Dollar City. Normally all I do is pay for a ticket and ride the coasters as much as possible and then leave. I ended up buying the bat and a Cubbies baseball for my son, the metal puzzles, plus I had an excellent calzone there. Silver Dollar City is a gorgeous park with tons to do and see besides just thrill rides and even though they only have four roller coasters, I would say they are high quality coasters and can beat out some parks I’ve been to with a lot more than four coasters. Yes, quantity is nice for us credit whores, but I will take quality any day over quantity!

I left Silver Dollar City a little early to head over to Celebration City. They opened at 3 p.m. and I got into their parking lot just before 2 p.m. I had now been up for about 26 hours and I needed a power nap. I slept for about 45 minutes and then went and got in line for my next park of the day. I was the first one into the park and I went to ride Jack Rabbit first but it was closed so I headed to Thunderbolt.

I only rode the Thunderbolt once and all I really remember is some wicked diving turns and a helix or two that wrapped you up like a pretzel. I got off this baby and headed towards what I hoped would be wood heaven.

Ozark Wildcat: All I could think about as I approached this ride was the pure coaster bliss of Thunderhead last year. I was hoping for a similar experience. I got right on this train and stayed there for 21 consecutive rides. My first ride was in the front and then every time after that I would jump into a different seat because there was hardly anyone riding. After riding in just about every seat the front for me was the best. It seemed to give more airtime than any other seat. This coaster is fantastic. It isn’t Thunderhead but it is still a wonderful GCI! The first spiraling drop gets this ride going and you get a nice pop of air in the front as you crest the top of the next turn. Then you curve around to the right again and get another piece of airtime as you quickly get thrown from a right upward turn to a diving left drop. A nice photo is shot at the bottom of this drop and then you go into the double speed bumps and get tossed into your lap bar twice in quick repetition. Then a nice left turn for a final hard right helix and one more hill for a last bit of air and then on into the brakes. I loved each ride I got on this masterpiece. You can marathon this thing if you get there right when the park opens! Thanks GCI for another outstanding piece of coaster perfection!

I headed back over to Jack Rabbit to see if it had opened yet and they just started to send the first riders of the day through. This is a crazy little ride. I would say a mouse on steroids. A couple of big drops and hard turns. Some bunny hops that painfully throw you into your lapbar. It was fun but I only took one spin on it.

Before I left I walked around to see the rest of the park and ran into the parks set of Flyers. I got on and tried my hardest to snap this puppy with no luck. Oh well the only ones I could ever do well were the PKI Flyers anyway. Still fun to try.

I left Celebration City a bit early also to try and get some more road out of the way for my final day of coaster riding. I had plans to hit SF St. Louis and Holiday World the next day. Finally, my first trip to the land of never ending Holidays!

Thanks for making it all the way through to the end!

Doug *** Edited 6/14/2005 3:55:27 AM UTC by S&SFAN*** *** Edited 6/14/2005 3:57:27 AM UTC by S&SFAN***

I'm anxious to get back to Celebration City to ride Ozark WIldcat again. When I rode Thunderhead last summer, I remember thinking I liked OW better (but it had been a year since I'd been on OW). So I'm curious to see what I think now. Regardless, both Thunderhead and Ozark Wilcat are excellent. For those that know, how is OW tracking two years later? Has it roughened up a bit?

-Matt in Iowa
Well Matt I didn't ride Ozark Wildcat two years ago but I thought it was running really smooth the whole time I was riding it.

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