TR: Silver Dollar City
After moving here in April, and struggling with jobs, finances, etc. in ways we hadn't expected, we finally (!) made it over to Silver Dollar City on Nov 5 for my son's birthday and the first day of their Christmas event.
It had been seven long years since I was last at SDC with my kids, who were 7 and 9 back then. (15 and 16 now, where has the time gone?) It was also my wife's first time ever at the park. Thanks to some volunteer work I do at the local school, were were able to get tickets for $10 each, which my mother graciously paid for so my son could have some fun for his bday. We packed food to eat and brought it along in a rolling backpack, which worked out great for us.
The weather was wonderful- lows in the 40's, highs in the 60's, dry and comfortable. Couldn't have asked for better.
After working at Disney for the last several years as a photographer, a lot of my experience was a bit colored from that. The first thing I noticed was facial hair on the guys! Mustaches, beards, and long hair on the men wasn't just permitted. It was common, and fit right in with the park. This continued as we went into the park- no security bag check. No one looking at our pack and examining what was inside of it. I knew the food was ok since I had emailed a few days previously to ask, but not having that check to walk through made it look much friendlier.
The whole park, in fact, overwhelmed with friendliness. Not because that's what was supposed to be done, but because you could tell that people were genuinely enjoying their jobs. It is a much more relaxed, laid back atmosphere from Disney, and it showed in the attitudes of their employees.
Anyways, on to the part you're probably interested in- the rides.
We started our day over at Powder Keg, and S&S launched coaster. There was no line since the park had just opened and we took 4 rides. Powder Keg wasn't here last time, with them having just closed Buzzsaw Falls at the time, which this replaced. In short, we loved this ride. A great launch, wonderful pops of airtime in the front and the back, and just a great fun ride. We commented to each other that it's been to long since we've been on real coasters, and it was good to ride again.
Next up was Wildfire, a B&M sort of floorless, but not quite. A fairly typical B&M style coaster, if a little on the short side. Smooth as expected and a lot of fun. I think we agreed that we preferred Powder Keg overall, but not by a whole lot.
We walked around for a bit, looking in shops, taking in sights, and just enjoying the park and it's beauty. It is an absolutely gorgeous park, and one easily enjoyed without taking a single ride.
We took a round on the train, which we enjoyed thoroughly. It's probably much better at night, when you can see all of the lights. Be warned, the Christian gospel message of Christmas is going to be told straight out here, as well as in many other places in the park. Being pastors, we very much enjoyed that, but if you're not into that, be prepared to see it at least a couple of times. It's not in your face or pushy at all, and can be fairly easily ignored if you so desire, but it is an important part of who the people around here are.
We then took a round on Fire in the Hole, a combination dark ride/ powered coaster with 2 small and 1 moderate drop near the end. The dark ride portion tells the story of the town that used to be in the area being burned by the Bald Knobbers, a local vigilante group that was active in the area for a short time. Entertaining and fun, and the drops are a hoot. they had the main water part off for the cold, but you still got splashed a little.
After this we saw their production of Dicken's Christas Carol. Absolutely, astoundingly fantastic. This alone wast more than worth the price of admission. Great actors, fantastic effects, wonderful storytelling, and a version all their own that was very entertaining. There is a reason that the lines for this get huge and people wait for a couple of shows to get in. I hate to say it, but this was better than any play/ drama/ production I saw at Disney.
Our last ride of the day was Thunderation, an arrow mine train. At one time they had part of the trains facing backwards, but they are all facing forwards now. It's a bit smoother than many of the arrow mine trains, and was fun- one of the better ones we've been on.
We didn't make it up to the other main area of rides. We waited for the barn giant swing at one point, but some goober messed around with the exit gate and jammed it, so they had to shut down while waiting for someone to come fix that. We'll catch it another time.
The Christmas lights and parade were very nice. Not at the same huge fashion that Disney's are- the parade was shorter, and it's a tree and the stores done in lights, not the whole entire backlot like at Disney. But it was very pretty, and very much fun. Enough so that we're hoping to find a way to get back before Christmas.
We also really enjoyed many of the shops and other entertainment in the park throughout the day. Smelling the food drove us a bit nuts as it looked and smelled fantastic. Watching the craftsmen work was also a lot of fun.
Overall SDC is a great park. So much so that my wife actually said she much preferred it to any of the Disney ones, and I would put it at least alongside. It's hard to say for sure just because the contrast was so remarkable in so many ways. But we loved the park and look forward to visiting it again.
Pictures are uploading now as I write this. You'll see them at
Awesome TR, and this TR makes me want to visit parks like SDC, Dollywood, and Holiday World a lot more :)
Looking at the pictures now, just awesome!
double post, whoops!
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What a great TR! You should do marketing for the park - I want to go now!
The pics you took were really nice too. Glad you and your family had a great time!
Nice TR. Sir Willow, what was it about Wildfire that was 'floorless-like' to you? Just looking at pics, Wildfire looks like an ordinary sitdown Beemer.
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Thanks for the great TR George. I'm glad you finally got to get back into the park and that your wife and family enjoyed it as well. I haven't looked at your photos yet, but I can just imagine how the park must look decked out with holiday lights if it's anything like Dollywood.
Laurie and I thoroughly enjoyed our visit last spring (during the bluegrass festival). I remember Thunderation was a great mine ride that very much reminded me of Adventure Express (I even recited "now you will pay" on the final lift). Wildfire was of course B&M smooth to the extent of being on the ho-hum side, while Powderkeg was an interesting one of a kind ride.
We're still in Orlando for a few more days and have limited internet access but hope to check out your photos next week. Hope you have a very happy Thanksgiving!
If you look at this picture of Wildfire:
And then compare it to a standard B&M floored train, like Kumba (not a great shot, but it'll give you the idea), then the difference should be pretty apparent.
Wildfire's seats are raised up, and the are much more open then a standard floored train. There is a floor there, but it's far enough below that your feet dangle and you have a much more open, free feeling, even if you can't see the track below you.
Fantastic trip report (as expected) for one of my favorite parks. I agree on quite a few of your opinions and will add some comments throughout...
> The whole park, in fact, overwhelmed with friendliness. Not
> because that's what was supposed to be done, but because
> you could tell that people were genuinely enjoying their
This was the first thing I noticed at the park on both of my trips, too. I actually made note of it through most of the region, but that's beside the point. I remember fondly ordering a milkshake from one of the ice cream shops and standing and talking to two of the teenage girls working there while I drank it as if we were old family friends. Really cool.
> Next up was Wildfire, a B&M sort of floorless, but not
> quite. A fairly typical B&M style coaster, if a little on
> the short side. Smooth as expected and a lot of fun. I
> think we agreed that we preferred Powder Keg overall, but
> not by a whole lot.
Funny...I don't remember Powder Keg at all other than enjoying it slightly more than Wildfire, too. However, I remember more about Wildfire including it being in one of the greatest settings of any coaster I've ridden. Love it.
> We walked around for a bit, looking in shops, taking in
> sights, and just enjoying the park and it's beauty. It is
> an absolutely gorgeous park, and one easily enjoyed without
> taking a single ride.
My parents have agreed to join me for a trip to Branson some time next year. My Mom pretty much won't ride anything there and my Dad will only ride a few, yet I think they will love the place. We did a family vacation to Dollywood 25 years ago and we still talk about it fondly, so this should be up there alley.
> Be warned, the Christian gospel message of
> Christmas is going to be told straight out here, as well as
> in many other places in the park. Being pastors, we very
> much enjoyed that, but if you're not into that, be prepared
> to see it at least a couple of times. It's not in your face
> or pushy at all, and can be fairly easily ignored if you so
> desire, but it is an important part of who the people
> around here are.
Again, this is something I picked up on, too. My last trip to the park was during the Southern Gospel Festival (it was the reason I went, actually). They play gospel over the loudspeakers throughout the park and pretty much every show is taken over by gospel. I was in line for Powder Keg behind a group of kids and one kid finally turned to another and asked what the song playing was. He explained there was a gospel festival going on and the other one said he never noticed, but wondered why the parking lot was so filled but the ride lines weren't too bad. Point? As you noted, the message is there but those not wanting to be hit over the head with it don't have to be.
> Our last ride of the day was Thunderation, an arrow mine
> train. At one time they had part of the trains facing
> backwards, but they are all facing forwards now. It's a bit
> smoother than many of the arrow mine trains, and was fun-
> one of the better ones we've been on.
I didn't realize they turned the rest of the train forwards. I don't ride backwards, so no big deal for me, but that was a pretty cool option and I thought it odd that SDC of all parks would do it. Not really a thrill ride park so just kinda odd to me.
> We also really enjoyed many of the shops and other
> entertainment in the park throughout the day. Smelling the
> food drove us a bit nuts as it looked and smelled
> fantastic. Watching the craftsmen work was also a lot of
> But we loved the park and look forward to
> visiting it again.
Again...exactly how I feel, too. :)
Thanks for posting the tr.
> Wildfire's seats are raised up, and the are much more open
> then a standard floored train. There is a floor there, but
> it's far enough below that your feet dangle and you have a
> much more open, free feeling, even if you can't see the
> track below you.
Wildfire's seating design essentially gives you the feel of a Floorless coaster, with none of the headache maintenance associated with the moving floors in the station area. With no zero car, the Floorless coaster experience really must be experienced in the front row, otherwise, the Wildfire design is the same.
Wow, the fall colors there are fantastic!
I have yet to attend a park where the climate calls for turning leaves, except Silverwood in Idaho, where I went in the summer.
That sounds like a fun park and one day I would like to hit a bunch of those parks in the middle of the country.