Attractions Removed From SDC

This page chronicles rides and attractions that have been removed from Silver Dollar City.

Rube Dugan’s Diving Bell

Back in the days when SDC’s own cast of characters played a more prominent role within the park, Rube Dugan was a star. In 1977, Rube got his very own attraction, dubbed ‘Rube Dugan’s Diving Bell’.
The ride itself was actually a massive motion simulator with all sorts of extra effects – a concept that was not only unheard of, but initially laughed at when it was first conceived. In fact, the story goes that concept was first pitched to Disney, but they wrote it off as impractical and costly – not able to be done for under $6 million. SDC took up the project and not only did it operate well and was a huge hit, but the whole project cost only $1.2 million.

The ride consisted of a 20 minute show, where riders felt as if they were on board a sub that was racing against the villain Eli Tolts who was in another submersible, to the bottom of lake silver where a treasure was to be found. Several ‘windows’, which were actually screens, provided guests views of what was apparently going on out side. Rocking motions, loads of filmed effects, and crazily enough, an effect where a rock appeared to be breaking into the sub, complete with water gushing in, made this ride extremely life-like. So many of the people I’ve talked to remember actually thinking the ride went underwater.
There were also two impressive special effects outside the ride, in view of the queue: Eli Tolts sub dipped underwater, and a diving bell was seen coming out of a “cave” at the wharf of the attraction, which also submerged in view of park guests.

Surprisingly, Rube Dugan was never seen during any of these shows. Rube’s nephew, ‘Junior Dugan’, was down stairs in the guest area, “piloting” the diving bell while actually hosting the show, while Rube himself shouted things down at him from above.

Rube Dugan’s Diving Bell was decommissioned in 1984 for several reasons. For starters, it was a low-capacity ride, but it’s location was prime, for a high-capacity ride, The Lost River Of The Ozarks. Unfortunately it wouldn’t have been cost-effective to put the river or the Diving Bell anywhere else. To this day many people plead for SDC’s management to bring back the Diving Bell, and for a while there we thought they would as the Rube Dugan character re-emerged at Geyser Gulch in the 2000 season, but nothing has ever happened toward that end, and it doesn’t seem like anything will anytime soon. One additional note, the Dugan name was re-introduced to the Riverfront area of the park in the 2011 season in the form of a merchandise shop along Lake Silver called the “Dugan Trading Company.”

Jim Owen’s Float Trip

A tranquil water ride, this log flume without the flume provided a pleasent trip down a scenic river and through a dark tunnel. While there were some special effects, not much happened on the Float Trip, making it a prime family ride.

The Float Trip was built in 1969, making it one of the earliest SDC rides, but it was decommissioned in 1980 so that The American Plunge could take its place at the beginning of the 1981 season.

That dark tunnel and scenic river is the same tunnel and river trough that the American Plunge uses today, to some extent. The river trough on the American Plunge leading out of the tunnel and around the whirlpool is from Jim Owen’s, but somewhere before the lift hill shack the trough used to divert off and wound back towards Powderkeg and around what is now WildFire’s overflow queue. Much of the trough is still completely intact and visible today. As you go over the bridge by WildFire just after going under the Plunge’s lift, you can look over the left side and see a fork in the trough where it enters what used to be the station for Jim Owen’s. I believe the overflow queue for the Plunge was either the station for Jim Owens or took the place of where the station was.
You can relive the Float Trip by checking out the old 8mm on-ride video posted to Our Video Section

Photo of the boat by Neato Coolville.

The Run-Away-Ore-Carts

A Molina and Son’s creation, the Run-Away-Ore-Carts was a cherished children’s roller coaster that operated from 1989 to 2004 in Tom Sawyer’s Landing where the smoking area is now. The ride stood around 10-15 feet high and had a small oval track with a curved first drop and a couple of dips. The trains were sent through 3 cycles for each ride.

Unfortunately, as with most coaster’s of it’s build, the Run-Away-Ore-Carts developed a brutal nature in it’s later years. Besides being terribly shaky and bouncy, children had a tendancy to crack their heads on the hard seat backs, but that didn’t stop most kids from running around for more. The ride was taken out after only 15 years of operation and was more or less replaced by the new Grand Exposition Roller Coaster.

BuzzSaw Falls

The world’s first Liquid coaster, Buzzsaw Falls was an instant hit with SDC crowds, despite being somewhat simplistic. The ride was a mere prototype, built mostly to test out the capabilities of the ride model, but it was fun, and it did hold quite a few fans. Buzzsaw Falls cost $7 million to build, but I suspect that some of the costs were split with the ride’s manufacturer, Premeir, as it was a prototype that they wanted to showcase.

After riders were situated on the individual 2-across, 10-seater boats, the boats immediately dipped out of the station with a small splash into a river trough. The boats made a 180 to the right and went through a small rapids section, before making another 180 to the left and hitting another rapids section and I believe some water jets. Next the boats were lifted out of the water onto a small lift hill, as a massive saw blade swooped out and narrowly missed them. From this point, the ride suddenly changed from being a boat ride to being a coaster, as the boats hurtled down a gradual slope into the woods and through a long, upwards-curved 270 degree turn that took the boat to the main lift. Going up the lift, riders were treated to spectacular views of the Ozarks, before the massive condo developements down by the lake. There wasn’t a whole lot of time for viewing scenery though, as the boats quickly mounted the lift, took a 90 degree turn to the left, and plunged down 60 feet of track into a splash pool. From there the boats coasted through the water back into the station.

Indeed, the ride was somewhat short and simple, but it proved what the coaster type could do very effectively. Why more than one other ride like it has never been built, I have never found out. I suppose they are too hard to theme, and most riders want either a water ride or a coaster, but not necessarily both.
The ride was dismantled at the end of 2004 for various reasons including but not limited to mechanical problems and low capacity issues. I kinda suspect the park never really wanted to keep the ride forever anyway, as it was just a simple prototype, but don’t hold me to that.
Powderkeg took Buzzsaw’s place in 2005, incorporating most of the old coaster track into the new ride. Some of the old 270 degree curve in the woods and the lift hill of Buzzsaw Falls remain in their original place on the new Powderkeg.

Quite a bit of Buzzsaw’s old river trough remains intact, just outside Powderkeg’s station (which, incidentally, was Buzzsaw’s station). A fitting tribute was given to Buzzsaw Falls when Powderkeg was built in that one of Buzzsaw’s boats and a large peice of old Buzzsaw track was placed on the roof of the queue house, apparently blasted there from the force of Powderkeg’s explosion.

ThrillRide has a very good review of the old ride complete with photos Here.

Sam’s Minin’ Shack

I don’t have much info on this ride, but I know that it opened with the park in 1960′s as some sort of fun house attraction featuring a tilted room. In 1968 the Shack was upgraded into GrandFather’s Mansion, which is still open today with the famous tilted room.

Tom Sawyer’s Landing

Tom Sawyer’s Landing was a massive play area situated right in the heart of the city. Added to the park in 1984, the play mecca featured rope towers and new rides with Becky’s Carousel as its center piece. Each horse on the carousel was hand carved in house by SDC craftsmen.
The most memorable aspect of the structure were the large rope nets upon which children (and grown-ups) bounced and climbed merrily for hours at a time.

In 1989, the Balloon Chase, a Ferris Wheel, and The Run-Away-Ore-Carts children’s roller coaster were all added to the Landing.

As time progressed, insurance issues piled up, and the structure started to deteriorate, SDC began to slowly work towards phasing out the Landing. In the late 90′s and early 2000′s, many of the slides and small nets used for entering the play structure were taken out and replaced with ‘crawl boxes’ to reduce the chance of injury. These ‘crawl boxes’ were not well received, being neither fun nor very handy to use for very many children at a time. One side of the rope courses was closed down, and more restrictions and attendants were placed on the other.
In 2005, the Run-Away-Ore-Carts was removed from the Landing due to it’s increasing roughness.

Finally, in 2008, most of the Landing was torn apart to make way for a new water ride in it’s place. As of this writing, that project remains in limbo, so half of the Landing is still standing. The new water ride will keep the old Tom and Huck theme alive, but it is unknown at this point what will happen to the rest of the Landing.

Huck Finn’s Hideaway

Huck Finn’s Hideaway was a true tree house, being essentially a large play house built several stories above the ground on stilts. The attraction was entered via a tiny spiral staircase built into a fake hollow tree. You then had to crawl on your hands and knees across a narrow bridge (there was netting) from the top of the hollow tree to the tree house.

The innards of the Tree House changed several times over the years. The attraction began its life as Herman the Hermit’s Tree House in 1970. The transition the the Huck Finn theme must have come somewhere around the time that Tom Sawyer’s Landing was added in 1984. At one time the tree house featured toy guns, trick mirrors, and an assortment of games, but these were deemed un-PC and replaced with a large musical squares game and a room where you could have your shadow ‘stuck’ to a wall.

You left the tree house by walking down a large staircase in the back, which passed through a small ‘cave’ at one point.

The tree house was closed down sometime in the mid 2000′s, approximately 2005 by my guess. There were many issues with the structure including it’s waning popularity, stability as it got older, no access to the disabled, and the fact that it was very difficult for adults to follow their children inside (also, fatter kids were out of luck as well, though it took them a lot longer to realize this). There being no reasonable solution to bring any sort of new use to the building, it was closed and left SBNO for several years. As of this writing, it has not yet been taken down. It was presumed to be scheduled for demolition in 2008/2009 as part of the new Landing Reconstruction featuring a new water ride. That project has since been postponed, so the entire area stands in limbo.

Wilderness Waterboggan

(Still gathering content for this section)

Assorted Minor Attractions:

 

  • Remote Control Boats on Lake Silver
  • Gandy Dancer
  • Upcharge Games (across from the Wilderness Waterboggan)
  • Ferris Wheel at Tom Sawyer’s Landing
  • Balloon Chase at Tom Sawyer’s Landing
  • Waterfall with Log-Rolling Pond