We arrived in Springfield towards 10 and decided we would spend the night there because we didn't want to risk not finding a place to stay in Branson, and we were tired. After getting a room at a Super 8, we quickly fell asleep. We woke up later than we had planned the next morning, but managed to grab a quick lunch at McDonalds and continued our journey. I had to be back at school on Sunday night, which meant we would have about 3 hours of free time Sunday- not enough to validate a $45 price of admission. If we were going to get into SDC, we would have to do it Saturday. If the plan failed, we would have lost nothing because Celebration City wouldn't open 'till 3.
We got to SDC at around noon, took the trams to the entrance, and went up to the ticket booth. I like how you have the option of paying for a parking (the good spots) or using free lots which were further from the park. The park offers a tram service so we opted for the free parking. When we got to the gate we looked for the most compassionate looking employee in the ticket booth, and tried our luck. I guess I kind of had a gut feeling that we would be admitted, so I wasn't surprised that the woman in the booth didn't give us a second glance. Sweet Success. Having purchased our tickets, we entered the park.
Wow. The park itself looks beautiful. I love parks with hilly terrain and lots of trees, and Silver Dollar City looks stunning. I wish I didn't live in a state flatter than Calista Flockhart, but that just makes me appreciate parks like SFStl, SfoG, and SDC. The sights and smells put me in a good mood, and it got even better when Wildfire became visable through the trees. It didn't look crowded at first, but as we neared Wildfire an ugly looking line greeted us. Just as we were about to enter I heard an explosion and saw a train crest Powder Keg's first hill. I didn't want to risk missing out on PK in case it went down later, so we decided to do Wildfire later and get our Powder Keg credit.
The end of the line was hard to find because everywhere we looked, there were hordes of people. Eventually, we located a makeshift overflow line, and saddled in for a long wait. You can't really see much of the layout from the queue, so the ride would be a surprise. The ride broke down once while we were waiting, but after about 90 minutes we chose the last row, and we were off. This is a very unique ride, especially the incline transfer from the station to launch track. The seats were pretty comfortable, though the crew might as well have worked at Staples, because there they made it a point to make it a snug fit. After the unique transfer, the train slowly rolled forward, and I got ready for my first ride of the year.
I wasn't expecting too much, after all, the launch speed is only 53 mph, and the park was billing it as a family coaster, but the launch was far better than I would have imagined, and the airtime at the top of every hill seemed to last forever. It was bliss! Ejection at the apex of every hill, and nice floater air all the way down. There was airtime in places I wouldn't have expected airtime to be. The ride has excellent pacing, save for the lift, and I thought the finale could have been more "explosive", but this coaster went above and beyond all expectations I had for it. I would have to ride it again a few more times later just to make sure the first ride wasn't just an exception, and sure enough, the ride is even better in the front. If I had an orginized top 5, this ride would easily be in it, because IMO it was damn near perfect. I could only think of two steel coasters that I liked better. Silver Dollar City just earned another visit from me this year. 9.5/10
After we got off, we watched a few trains get launched from the observation area, and headed to Wildfire.
The line seemed under control from the outside, but the inside was crowded, so we waited about 45 minutes. There was two train operation, but the crew was stacking the trains pretty bad. No matter, I was still high off that Powder Keg ride so I didn't really care. The ride itself was typical B&M smooth, but much like Kraken (IMO), didn't really provide much forces. I got a nice pop of air on the first drop, and as the train was entering the brake run. I came into Silver Dollar City expecting Wildfire to be the main event, but Powder Keg was far more impressive. I did love the terrain Wildfire sat one, it made the ride a little more interesting. Not bad, but nothing special. We only rode thrice during our stay, and I thought the back was a little better. 6/10
After Wildfire we went over to Thunderation. I caught a glimpse of this ride as we were driving to the parking lot, and it looked really terrain oriented.
This ride was pretty much a walk on. I wasn't really a big fan of mine coasters, but this was a pretty unique coaster because it followed the terrain. The highlight of this ride was the ground hugging helix before the lift hill. Probably the best mine ride I've been on, but we only rode once. 5/10
After we got this credit out of the way, it was about 3:30, and the park closed at 6. We took the scenic route to Powder Keg and got two more rides in before the park closed. I could ride this coaster all day. We ended up with a grand total of 7 rides during our visit, but I knew it would be crowded so I wasn't dissapointed. I was just happy we were admitted. My buddies were tired so after the park closed we ate a Fuddruckers and checked out a hotel for the night. I had thoughts about going to Celebration City, but didn't want to go by myself, and also didn't agree with the high price of admission for what the park offers. Maybe next time... So, all in all, an excellent visit to SDC. On the way home the next day we stopped at SFSTl and I got my season pass, and took a quick lap on Boss, which was great. It turned out to be a really fun weekend, and I'm definately returning to Branson over the summer. Thanks for reading. :)
I am eager to give Powder Keg a try this summer. Did you ride ThuNderaTion backward or forward? I love that ride. It's much more interesting backward.
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