The Coasters of Branson, Missouri

cmingdayton's avatar

Last weekend, I took my first ever trip to Branson. My highly anticipated activities included riding my first ever alpine coaster, riding my first ever RMC, and traveling through time. Here is how everything shook out:

Friday: It took just over six hours to drive from Omaha, NE to Branson. After walking The Strip and settling into our hotel, my family and I headed to The Branson Coaster. This is the newer of the two alpine coasters in Branson. Pros for this coaster included short wait times, friendly staff, a nice ride, and your picture is taken on the ride. What I did not like about my experience was the speed of the rider in front of you can dictate your own speed. Basically, I had a slow-poke in front of me for the first half of the ride. Because this coaster has a lift hill mid ride, that provided more distance between the rider in front of me and myself, giving me the opportunity to ride brake-free for the second half of the course.

We immediately headed to The Runaway Mountain Coaster just a short drive away. Here, you had to fill out a waiver (We did not have to do this at The Branson Coaster) and the wait was substantially longer. However, the ride definitely made up for it! A five minute journey to the top of a mountain led to a full out race to the bottom. They space riders out at dispatch, so no slow-pokes to worry about. The ride was more scenic and more thrilling than its counterpart. Hence, if you had to choose between The Branson Coaster and The Runaway Mountain Coaster, my advice would be to go with The Runaway Mountain Coaster (as expected, prices at both were the same).

Saturday: Silver Dollar City. This park is neatly tucked away into mountainous, hilly, rocky terrain. What the park lacks in easy navigation is made up for in bountiful shade. Here is my take on the good stuff:

  • Time Traveler~ This coaster blew my mind! After a morning ride and a night ride, I declare this is the best ride/attraction in the park. In addition, this is my new number one coaster overall. The initial drop, fast launches, spinning, inversions, ride layout, and articulate theming are perfect and well worth a hefty wait.
  • Fire In the Hole~ This is a nicely themed, easy going, dark ride enclosed roller coaster. Expect a small splash at the end!
  • Outlaw Run~ I have to be honest; if there was any amount of disappointment during this trip, it would involve Outlaw Run. Being my first RMC, I was expecting something spectacular. When I got off, I was a little confused; it had felt just like a normal, intense, wooden roller coaster. Don't get me wrong, this is a solid 4/5, but from the ride I had, it is not anything more than that. Perhaps it was a fluke, I don't know. Drop and inversions were great, though.
  • Powder Keg~ This ride pleasantly surprised me by its quick launch and smoothness. A very fun ride and one that makes you want to ride again and again just to experience the launch over and over.
  • Thunderation~ Best way to describe Thunderation: mine train on steroids. I knew this somewhat going in, but told my non-roller coaster riding mother that the ride was mellow. Boy, did she scream and did my dad and I laugh. You clock some pretty good speed (48 mph) for a mine train. Very fun and very smooth.
  • Wildfire~ I believe this to be a hidden gem (ok, maybe not so hidden) in Silver Dollar City. It had a good drop, was fast and intense throughout the whole ride, forceful inversions, and a great capacity. In my opinion, this is the second best roller coaster in Silver Dollar City.

If you go to Silver Dollar City, make sure you tour Marvel Cave and get at least one ride on The Giant Barn Swing. This is the best amusement/theme park in Missouri.

Sunday: Something notable to mention is Bigfoot Fun Park. My family and I engaged in the eight dimension screen ride, mini-golf, and Gravity Bomb drop tower. If you are in Branson, you MUST do the Gravity Bomb drop tower. With only a seat belt across, you truly experience the quintessence of free falling. This puts other drop towers to shame. Definitely the most thrilling attraction of my time in Branson.

Branson is a great place to spend a couple of days letting your inner adrenaline junkie come out to play. With all Branson offers, you might be able to spend a week in the Ozarks. Thoughts and prayers to the families affected by the Duck boat tragedy; this event happened a day before we arrived in the city. Thanks for reading!

Cole Mingo

(AKA Barry Allen and Niles Crane amalgamated).

Bakeman31092's avatar

Nice report! It's funny that this pops up right now, because my wife's aunt owns a timeshare in Branson and just this week we've started talking about taking a family vacation together next summer. SDC is only 10 minutes from the resort, so I just started looking at their coaster lineup for the first time. Looks like they have a really nice collection. I'm also glad to hear that you think so highly of Wildfire, as it looked to me like the old-school, "snappy" B&Ms that I prefer.

ApolloAndy's avatar

I'm surprised that you didn't like Outlaw Run. When we were there a few years ago, it was easily our favorite of the trip. Night rides on that beast were incredible, even with the unnecessary rolls at the end.

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

I didn’t want to post a whole trip report but I just visited for the Christmas event and to check out Time Traveler.

First, it was very cold and barely reached the operating temp for most coasters. I think there was maybe 2 hours tops that Wildfire and Powder Keg operated and maybe an hour for Time Traveler.

Anyway, Time Traveler was a big hit with my whole party ... except me. It’s definitely a cool experience but just not my style of coaster. I ranked it somewhere between 3/4.

As for Outlaw Run, I wanted to ride it after having been on a bunch of new RMC’s this year.

I still rank this a 5/5. It is in the upper tier of RMC’s I’ve been on and unlike some others that felt tame after Steel Vengeance, I really still love this ride.

I don’t have any updates on other rides at the park but will say the park is beautiful at Christmas and I encourage anyone who can to check it out.

They are also very generous to coaster enthusiasts! I attended the ACE Coaster Christmas event for the 3rd time - which is also an event I would highly recommend.

Thunderation is probably the best mine train in the world. The entire ride is exciting from the time it leaves the station. Plus 2 underground tunnels. With the station at the top of the hill, they could have finished the ride with a lift hill, but instead they finished it with the biggest drop of the ride. They did take away a little from the ride with the tree removal for Time Traveler.

Last edited by super7*,

I would agree, ThuNderaTion is amongst the best, and especially with that last drop is everything Adventure Express tries to be. (Even though I love that ride, too) My first ride on it was when the trains had backward-facing seats and I chose one for my first ride. The seeming never ending spiral helix gave me a couple of white knuckles, even though I thought I knew what to expect. I miss those rear-facing seats.
I also agree that Time Traveler came along to spoil some of the ride’s mystery. When I was there in the spring I could only hope that over time the land down there will be allowed to reclaim itself with plenty of foliage. I have every reason to believe it should, unless TT’s area is purposefully kept clear to allow access and visual contact.

Bobbie1951's avatar

ApolloAndy said:

I'm surprised that you didn't like Outlaw Run. When we were there a few years ago, it was easily our favorite of the trip. Night rides on that beast were incredible, even with the unnecessary rolls at the end.

I too am surprised that he didn't have a higher opinion of Outlaw Run. When I went to SDC to check out Time Traveler in May I was once again struck by how phenomenally good Outlaw Run is. From the drop to the seriously overbanked turn to the double down to the wave turn to the bunny hills to the double barrel roll it never lets up. This is easily the best wooden coaster I've ever ridden with the exception of El Toro and possibly Lightning Rod. 5/5. Time Traveler gets 4.5/5 and Wild Fire gets 4. I didn't like ThuNderaTion at all but that's just me; I didn't like Carolina Goldrusher or Runaway Mine Train either.


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