Silver Dollar City, Branson, Missouri, USA
Arrived in Branson the previous night. Driving down the main drag (Route 76), The Simpsons was spot on. "It's like Las Vegas, if it were run by Ned Flanders." Traffic was bad but luckily my hotel's location provided a back route to SDC the next day.
Got to the park the next morning around 8:45, trammed in and bought my ticket. Enjoyed the live band playing before 9:30 rope drop. Headed downhill to the very back of the park, where the stagecoach awaits:
Outlaw Run. The entrance and queue is outstanding, and fits right in with the rest of the park. The ride is themed after a Western Missouri stagecoach line, with fun "safety tips" such as "don't startle the horses" and "in case of cold weather, don't wear tight pants". Even the cooling fans are encased in stagecoach-labeled crates. As for the ride. First train of the day, towards the middle. I had high expectations, and to be blunt, the first ride was a disappointment. But I would return, and be proven wrong. Very, VERY wrong. More to come....
Next was Fire In The Hole, one train wait. The story and scenery is a hoot, and this is a truly dark ride, at some points I couldn't even see my own hands. I didn't know about the splashdown, all good fun though, you do not get drenched. But glad I always keep my phone in a Ziploc bag on park outings! Nearby was Powder Keg. Brilliant name. The 0-60 launch is fine, but this ride's not all launch, there's a full course afterwards. Favorite element was the large sweeping turn before the mid-course lift hill. Rerode once, wait was under 15 minutes both times.
Returned to Outlaw Run, about a 25 minute wait with a fairly full queue, the line moves fast with efficient 2-train operation. Got in the very back row, up the lift hill we go (which goes under the ride's exit ramp) and....DEAR LORD. Amazing. Simply amazing. Looking at ride photos would prove I was left breathless, ride after ride.
There's a short pre-drop, then the train dips back up for the main drop. WOW. You get violently whipped down, closest comparison is probably El Toro, but the angle here is even steeper and due to the pre-drop you already have a bit of speed. This is now my favorite first drop on any coaster. And of course, my butt was definitely airborne -- the lap restraints are snug but I never felt stapled. From there, the ride never lets up, not even for a second. The twisting transitions in the middle are brilliantly intense. The "wave turn" (extended 90-degree overbank) is just absurd -- you're basically leaned on your side for a good second or two. And of course, the double barrel roll. By the end of the second one, my whole upper body was leaning downwards and you definitely feel like you will fall out. Oh, and the ride was smooth as butter. The old west was never this wild! -- wait, someone's already used that line? :-)
I'd describe the intensity as follows: Outlaw Run cranks the intensity dial to 10. Voyage cranks it to 11 and keeps cranking until the knob rips off. I'd personally place El Toro just a hair behind both, but Outlaw definitely belongs in this uppermost tier of woodies. Hopefully it can continue to deliver a smooth, relentless experience for years to come.
I did 3 more rides on Outlaw in the back (or near the back), the line was only getting shorter. Then did 1 ride in the very front. The visual of the double barrel roll from the front is wicked cool, but the forces just don't compare to a back seat ride.
Walking back towards the middle of the park, made my way to Wildfire. Nice floorless here -- the first loop is completely vertical and actually gives decent air. The last turn before the brake run really hugs the ground. Rerode this once too. Also the only coaster I've seen where "rusty brown colored track" actually fits the theme.
Back at the main plaza, veered right for Thunderation. So in my SFOT report, I annointed Runaway Mine Train best in class -- false start penalty. Definitely liked this one better. Beautiful terrain usage, lots of trees, in fact the lift hill doesn't come until 3/4 of the way through the ride. Nice helix, and tunnel, and just keeps picking up speed. This thing is fast! It was a walkon, so rode 2 more times.
Took a break for some food. Jumbo hot dog + chips, and a frozen lemonade. They aren't kidding when they say jumbo, it's a 1/3 lb hot dog that overflows the bun. Kettle chips were delicious too. Frozen lemonade hit the spot. And now, for something completely different.
Marvel Cave. This is not a ride. It's one of Missouri's natural caves & landmarks, and what SDC was originally built around. The deepest part is about 500 ft below the surface. I'd never toured a cave before, so I really enjoyed this. The first "Cathedral" room is HUGE and there's some nice waterfalls deeper within the cave. Most of the stairs are downward -- you go down to the bottom, then up partway before a cable train takes you back to the surface. The cave tour is free with park admission, with a group size of 50-60 per tour. Especially for first-time SDC visitors (such as myself) I'd definitely recommend it.
After exiting the cave, I found most rides shut down due to nearby thunderstorms, no rain in the park itself though. I wanted to ride Fire In The Hole again, but as an indoor attraction it had a huge line. Instead I did Flooded Mine, also indoors but only about a 15 minute wait. Target shooting except it's also a boat ride. No goofy laser blasters here -- the guns actually look like guns.
Thunderstorms were still nearby, it was about 6 PM. Decided to go back to Outlaw Run and wait things out. Smart move. It reopened around 6:30 and by then there weren't many people left in the queue. Between 6:30 and close (8 PM), I got 7 rides in, all towards the back of the train. Pure bliss....slight uptick in speed too vs. earlier in the day.
This was a great park to spend the 4th of July in. Excellent landscaping, and the western theming is top-notch, right down to the drinking fountains & mirrors in the restrooms. I got to ride far much more than I expected. I had to detour a fair amount on my trip route to fit SDC in, but I'm very happy I did!
Only one random note: There are no handstamps. To re-enter you'll need your ticket stub (or pass) so even if you only buy a 1-day ticket, hang onto it!Last edited by VTFanatic330, Saturday, July 6, 2013 12:25 AM
Thanks for the great trip report.
I have to agree with you - Outlaw Run is awesome, and its in such a nice park as well.
You did just get back from Texas didn't you? Do you prefer it to Iron Rattler?
I'm glad you got to SDC, its one of my favorite parks in the country and I think everyone should go.
I was there in the spring and rode Outlaw Run a dozen or so times and it quickly became my favorite roller coaster ever. I couldnt believe how much un-relenting fun they invented with that one. Blew my mind.
The week I was there the ride was experiencing quite a bit of downtime, with what they were saying was sensor problems. Is that still the case? I've heard they've been rather plagued with off and on trouble all summer.
I think a lot of visitors skip Marvel Cave, (granted, it's not for everybody) so I'm glad you got to experience it. To me it's well worth it. I'm always amazed when I get to the bottom of the first room and turn around to see how far down we've come. Awesome.
I've got one quarrel with you. SDC is one of the best food parks ever and if I had been with you we would NOT have been having hotdogs. They have delicious, inexpensive buffets, big skillet meals, home style breakfasts, and I'd even recommend the new pizza restaurant near Outlaw Run that features brick oven baked gourmet style personal sized pies. Festivals throughout the season also offer limited run meals and snacks that are well done.
No train? It's a little time consuming but so much fun. The actors and the conductors are hilarious, in a back-woods kind of way, natch.
Thanks for the report, my next trip is in October and I can't wait to get back there. Dollywood was last year's Christmas trip, I'm hoping to catch SDC's display this year.
Yeah, I'm coming back from Texas. Iron Rattler is fantastic -- and beats Outlaw in the floater air category -- but I enjoyed Outlaw more. It's action packed from start to finish. I've heard about some sensor issues but they seem to be more of a minor nuisance vs. a serious issue (i.e. closure for multi day periods).
About the hot dog, I was really craving one for some reason. I blame the holiday. The brick oven pizza looked excellent....and the corn on the cob at the BBQ stand....and the intoxicating aroma of cinnamon rolls....yeah. My bad. No wonder I was visited last night by the Ghosts of Brisket Past, Present, and Future.
Great trip report. Good job! From what I can see, they've got a lot more than you'd think - not just Outlaw Run. I've never been, and now (just because of this trip report) I wanna go. Thanks for posting this!
Oh, and one question - how many inversions does Outlaw Run have? I'm confused, 'cause rcdb.com said three, but from what I'm hearing, there's two...
Thanks! SDC is definitely more than meets the eye.
Re: Outlaw's inversions, the first "inversion" is a 153-degree overbank -- so nearly upside down but not quite.
Yeah, I've thought of it like this; 180-degrees or more is an inversion. Anything less isn't.
How do you bank more than 180 degrees?
Anything that's inverted is an inversion in my book.
360 degrees>180 degrees. 360 degrees=0 degrees. I'm sitting at 0 degrees right now. Does that mean I'm currently inverted?Last edited by Tyler Boes, Saturday, July 6, 2013 7:30 PM
Actually, Tyler's exactly following what I was getting at.
Anything over 180 is just the inverse in the opposite direction.
And I'd argue that anything over 90 is technically putting the bottom of the ride vehicle (and presumably your feet) over your head.
I just saw it as - for example - hammerhead turns (like on a lot of hypercoasters) or overbanked turns (Millennium Force), are above 90 but below 180. They're not inversions. That's just how I see it.
So the inclined loop on Mantis is not an inversion? lol
Look closely at a boomerang element, particularly on an inverted coaster like Invertigo or Raptor, and you'll see that it actually doesn't go completely upside down. The roll to the side starts to happen before the train hits the top of the arc. So, if we follow your example, boomerangs and sidewinders aren't inversions either.
I'm just messing with you by splitting hairs, but I agree that it just seems natural to consider a boomerang turn an inversion and a hammerhead or over bank curve not. Some of those curves are pretty severe, though, aren't they? It doesn't take much of a head turn to send your world upside down when going through one.
And as for Outlaw Run, get there someday, ride through that "inversion" at the top of the second hill and let us know how you see it then.Last edited by RCMAC, Saturday, July 6, 2013 10:21 PM
Fire in the hole!
A rehash of the ages old "what is a coaster" and "what is an inversion" debates merely days apart. Fascinating.
Inversion? "I'll know it when I see it." haha
Thanks for an incredible TR! I simply cannot wait to get to SDC and ride OR. Only been there once before, but it is hands down one of my favorite parks in the country. Every one of their rides is amazing, including their Arrow Mine Train. (and that's saying something!)
I really hope to make it there this summer. It will be a difficult trip. Have to decide whether to try and non-rev to Springfield through O'Hare (2 legs) or just 1 leg to K.C. and drive. But either way, I want to make this happen.
Would we be better off waiting for the fall, or is summer OK, crowd wise? When we went maybe 5 years ago I don't remember horrible crowds, but it was unbearably hot. We did something I've never done at a theme park before or since... go back to the hotel for a few hours to cool off.
Here's how I define each level of banking:
0 degrees, or 360, is unbanked.
1-90 degrees is banked.
91-135 degrees is overbanked.
136-180 degrees is inverted.
Oh, this is hard and I hate to say it, but I agree with the kid.
Lord, please forgive me.
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