SDC May 1 - May 3

Friday, May 3, 2013 12:38 AM

About a week and a half ago I started to get concerned that the spring season was slipping away and I had yet to make it to Silver Dollar City. I love the park and knowing Outlaw Run was being constructed I had bought a season pass during the winter while they were still cheap, but not really knowing how or when I would use it. Then after the new ride opened to what seemed like great acclaim, I decided sooner was better than later. I checked the operating calendar and picked this week, thinking Wednesday thru Friday some random week before school let out would be good. I booked a flight from Columbus to St. Louis then rented a car for the drive to Branson.

I usually stay at the Best Western closest to the park. I like it because they are close and provide convenient shuttle service throughout the day, right to the gate. I was pleased to see they had a major interior renovation over the winter, and it was much nicer.

Ok, my first day was yesterday, Wednesday May 1st. The shuttle dropped off the few of us at the gate and it was kind of jammin. I always keep in mind that SDC is well geared for the senior set, meaning the park can look busy but lines for rides can be short. I noticed there were a few school groups milling around too.

SDC has what amounts to a town square as you enter, and before the park opens there's a little show which culminates with the veterans in the crowd invited to march in formation to present and raise the U.S. flag. This always brings a tear to my eye, most of the men and women are likely WWII or Korean veterans and I always think of my dad.

Finally ten o'clock opening came, the ropes dropped and the crowd started down the hills into the park, me straight to Wilson's Farm for Outlaw Run. It's a little bit of a walk as the area is in the rear of the park, and I was so excited the whole way there. Finally I arrived and was immediately impressed (but not surprised) by the station, it's surroundings, and the detail applied to everything, everywhere. The theme is a stage coach ride and the station is the depot. There's an office with 26 clocks and luggage and cargo is stacked up everywhere bearing cute passenger names like Candice B. Fureal. (Good drag name)

After a short delay for testing they let us in for the first rides of the day, and I'll try my best to describe. I was nervous all of a sudden that the ride may be too aggressive or the train or restraint would be uncomfortable. I went for the very back seat for my first ride, I tend to like back seat rides and the steep drop visible through the trees looked tailor made. When I sat down I was pleased to find an extremely comfortable seat and a lap-only restraint that seated comfortably over my thighs and didn't push into my gut. (this is a concern of mine, more later.)

So, (and this is the part youve been waiting for, Blasterboy) the train releases to recorded western music and a gee-haw over the station system. A quick, slightly curved drop takes you directly to the speedy chain lift. In a matter of 15 seconds or so you're at the top for another dip and slight jog to the left. Then all hell breaks loose.
The first drop is amazing, and drops almost straight down even lower into a small valley. In the back the force is tremendous, and you feel like you're yanked over the edge. The pullout is ultra smooth and super fast and i believe it hits 68 mph there. The second hill begins with a curved rise into the first inversion, a very fast roll to the right- totally counter intuitive. It leaves the inversion with an equally confusing roll back to the left and the second drop is total air all the way to the left curve at the bottom. After that is a fast and furious succession of low-ish hills. The negative forces at the top of each are combined with a direction change or a curve that takes the train to a 90 degree bank. The most unique and totally "wrong" element is the wave, or wall climber hill. It's hard to describe, I think we've all seen it. But it's not right, it feels like an extreme negative g hill but on its side with the riders flung up and out to the right. Totally unheard of and bizarre, but the best thing? Smooth as butter. Scary butter, but butter. After an equally forceful bunny hop comes the grand finale, the double barrel roll. It's total heart line genius ending with a smooth drop-turn to the brake. Riders are left breathless, gasping, laughing, and cheering. Most are wondering, I'm sure, WTF just happened?

Everyone I spoke with agrees that the most impressive aspect of the ride is the fact that it's relentless. It never lets up, not for a nanosecond, and may be the first ride I've ever ridden that had no breather, not a single dead spot anywhere.

There was a down side to my first day Outlaw Run experience, and that was down time. That morning I managed two rides, then the ride went down. I overheard a ride op explain that the sensors throw alarms and the ride needs to be checked by a mechanic and re tested. It's a long process and happens frequently. So on a slow day with maybe only a hundred or so guests in line, waits could be a half hour or more. Most people left the line to move to another ride or show. I finally did too.

I hear the downtime there is an all too frequent occurrence. I also heard the park supplied their own control board and sensors lifted from the derelict Wildcat down the road. That might've been a mistake, I don't know. I hope the situation improves and soon, particularly since this weekend coaster enthusiasts from the U.S. and England are descending on the park this weekend.

Later trips back to that corner of the park met with mixed success. Sometimes up, sometimes down. I got my 3rd ride, then later my 4th. Finally during the last hour of the day the ride ran consistently and I managed 11 more rides .

Other rides that day included Fire in the Hole, Wildfire, and a couple flats. I was disappointed that my recent weight gain (since i quit smoking) kept me off the Barn Swing and sent me to the big boy seat on Wildfire. Powder Keg was down all day, but I may not have fit in it either. Gotta take care of that, and soon.

Day two, today, found the park a lot less busy, but that was because bad weather was expected. It came, rain along with cold. There was more downtime, but I managed several dry rides and several more in the rain. My New Favorite Ride on Earth was as good as yesterday if not better. We'll see what tomorrow brings, it's my last day and they say it could snow down here. Sheesh.

Thanks for reading.

Last edited by RCMAC, Friday, May 3, 2013 3:37 AM
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Friday, May 3, 2013 7:24 AM

Great trip report! I am pretty interested in going to SDC someday, and you gave me a decent idea of what the park is like in terms of crowd type, theming, and what to expect with the rides. I think your review of OR might be the first one I've read, though word of mouth has all been positive. Also I'd heard that Outlaw Run is filled with tricks that confound and please the riders, so good to hear the agreement on that. Wish I could get out there this year!!

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Friday, May 3, 2013 7:52 AM

RCMAC loves RMC's. Not surprising. You are lucky you got to ride that ride twice. It looks like my type of ride. Do you think it, Gatekeeper, or Iron Rattler will win the Golden Ticket for best new ride?

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Friday, May 3, 2013 8:30 AM

^^Thanks. A friend who is an OR fan as well encouraged me to write my TR, stating he too had trouble finding anything to read. After this weekend there's sure to be more, what with the coaster clubbers coming. Today, Friday, is rainy, cold sleety drizzle so far and I hope that doesn't ruin the party. I drive back to St Louis tomorrow, I'm not much for weekend crowds or club events.

And while I hope I did the ride justice I'm afraid there's not words enough to describe how great the park is. It's a true original and I prefer it over Dollywood in many ways. The setting is gorgeous, the shopping and craft demonstrations are amazing, the shows are good, and even busier than the rides with long lines to get into the theaters. The International festival is going on now and there's specialty food and acts from around the world. Extremely well done. Next up is Bluegrass Festival if I'm not mistaken which brings its own theme to the park, and buildings and theaters will transform overnight.

The food is amazing here, there's lots of places to choose from then pull up a chair or bench under the trees, and there's several buffet restaurants. New this year is a pizza place in a converted building with individual or larger handmade pizzas from the stone oven. Really good.

The cleverness and expanse of the homespun theming here is second to none, every ride, building, walkway, and theater is so cute and well done. Even the drinking fountains are hilarious contraptions.

The people here could not be friendlier and over the years I've made aquaintances that I'm so happy to see and visit with each time I come. Mostly retirees who love their jobs, each other, and their guests. Some of my friends here are working on 15 years at the park.

The artwork and crafted pieces are amazing, too. There's a bakery, a mill, a glass shop, a huge woodworking shop (beautiful handmade furniture sold next door), a candy store, a blacksmith, and a pottery each offering authentic workmanship and demonstrations for edutainment. There's pieces for everyone's taste, from country to contemporary, it's all beautiful.

There's a great train ride complete with a comedy bandit show and I know of no other park where you can tour a cavern. It's how SDC got it's start and is a must do, at least once. It's not too scary, but just challenging enough to make it fun.

Wow. Maybe I should go over today and apply at the publicity department, huh? Sorry to go on and on, but I love this park, and wish it was closer. Even before the best coaster on earth was built, it was tops on my list for theme, fun, and hospitality. I hope you all get to come here soon, I'll be sad to leave. I think I'm gonna come back in the fall for the National Harvest Festival (my favorite) then again for Christmas.

Last edited by RCMAC, Friday, May 3, 2013 8:33 AM
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Friday, May 3, 2013 8:48 AM

Hey Tyler. I do love RMC, but my experience is limited with only NTG as my other ride from that company. And I was lucky that I got to ride it many more times than twice, I hear the lines on weekends are horrendous.

I generally don't care who wins Golden Tickets, but OR might deserve it. Those honors are chosen by industry and fans, you see, so a lot of it depends on who and how many went where and on what day. I believe you'll find we don't hold much stock in things like that around here. It's a can o worms.

Hey by the way, thanks for voting up a comment I made back in 2009. That cracked me up. I know things can be slow around here sometimes, but damn! You must have all the time on earth to go digging.

Last edited by RCMAC, Friday, May 3, 2013 9:04 AM
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Friday, May 3, 2013 8:50 AM

Thanks for the report. It was awesome. OR turned up much better than I expected it to be. I still can't quite catch on to the wave element thing though. Which way are you out of your seat, up or to the right?

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Friday, May 3, 2013 9:02 AM

Both, up and to the right, but mainly to the right. Take a speed bump, turn it on its side then curve the ends to provide an upright entrance and exit. It's hard to describe, but the airtime and float down out of it is amazing. Theres a tree along side of it and for a second it feels like the tree is over your head. The ride is so fast through there it takes a couple of trips to know what's happening, but when you see it coming up its like "Holy crap! We can't do that!"

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Friday, May 3, 2013 10:06 AM

RCMAC said:

Hey Tyler. I do love RMC, but my experience is limited with only NTG as my other ride from that company. And I was lucky that I got to ride it many more times than twice, I hear the lines on weekends are horrendous.

I generally don't care who wins Golden Tickets, but OR might deserve it. Those honors are chosen by industry and fans, you see, so a lot of it depends on who and how many went where and on what day. I believe you'll find we don't hold much stock in things like that around here. It's a can o worms.

Hey by the way, thanks for voting up a comment I made back in 2009. That cracked me up. I know things can be slow around here sometimes, but damn! You must have all the time on earth to go digging.

There is some entertaining reading on this site, and if I see something that is vote up worthy, I vote it up. One time I was digging really far back and commented on something that was 9 years ago. Of course, that was a dumb thing to do, now that I look at it, but I do like to read back on old conversations.

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