The Flooded Mine Celebrates 50 Seasons of Fun

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The Flooded Mine, one of the most unique and detailed attractions at Silver Dollar City, is celebrating it’s 50th season in 2017. It formally turns 50 in May of 2018, but that will be part of its 51st season. The ride has faithfully entertained generations of park guests – and thanks to the gentle, open nature of the ride many generations of park guests have been able to ride together throughout those years creating memories unparalleled to most other theme park experiences. The Flooded Mine opened in 1968, the same year the park started charging admission. It was originally just a leisurely boat ride through a labyrinth of highly themed rooms and caverns with plenty of vintage special effects. In 1990 the ride was spiced up with electronic guns and targets and the official name of the ride was changed to ‘The Great Shoot Out at the Flooded Mine’. It has stayed much the same over the years, though maintenance is constantly being done which occasionally involves refreshing a scene or switching out props. Last year one of the thematic towers that helped disguise the roof was taken down due to age.

 

It’s hard to express just how special The Flooded Mine is among the world of theme park rides and their patrons. Few rides outside of Orlando are so filled to the brim with such attentive detail, few rides allow the entire family to ride together (besides the train of course), and few rides make it to 50 seasons. It has certainly shown its age after so many years and so many millions of rides given, but while many guests often offer their ideas of how to refresh or rebuild the Mine for new generations, it’s hard to imagine that today’s penny-pinching market forces would produce the same level of immersion that we have taken for granted with The Flooded Mine. It is truly a gift from a past generation that cannot easily be surpassed without Disney or Universal-level money.

 

If you’re too far away to get a chance to experience the Flooded Mine in person, Erick Norlund has a good video from a couple seasons ago here on YouTube. Neatocoolville also has a nice video that shows some extra angles here on YouTube.

 

Here is a small curation of photos to celebrate how far the Mine has come. Unfortunately I don’t have a lot of photos of the interior since I’ve never had a good camera for taking photos in the dark.  Thanks to Austin Zamora for the first photo, which is from opening day 2017.

SDC Debuts New Teaser Site For 2018 Coaster Project

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It’s opening day at Silver Dollar City and the hype machine behind the new 2018 roller coaster project has turned up another gear. Park general manager Brad Thomas tweeted a photo earlier today of a new sign that has appeared in the ThuNderaTion queue line. In classic SDC humor, the sign tells visitors not to peek over the fence and provides a mysterious web address at the bottom. The /WildMountain? site redirects to a page inviting users to enter their contact details for a chance to hear the news about the ride firsthand as it breaks from the park itself (and of course to receive general news and ads from the park). This is a typical element of theme park marketing these days, following many other media hype campaigns that other parks have used for their new roller coasters. We have been told that the park plans a long and intriguing teaser campaign for the new coaster that will last until August when the new ride is finally revealed.

 

So what about the significance of the /WildMountain? web address? It is a matter of public record that HFEC has two unused trademarks that have been set aside specifically for roller coasters: “Time Traveler” and “Wild Mountain”. The address indicates the latter is being used, but the earlier concept pitches certainly indicated that they were exploring a creative theme involving phony time travelers. Which name is real and which is the red herring? Only time will tell.

 

Be sure to stop by the teaser site and sign up for the updates directly from the park!

Bigfoot Drop Tower Attraction is Now Vertical

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The long-awaited drop tower attraction on the 76 strip is showing much more visible signs of progress these days as the tower itself is now vertical and growing towards the sky. The attraction is called Bigfoot on the Strip and will include a 200 foot tall drop tower ride similar to the typical theme park attraction, a slingshot contraption that sends two riders over 200ft in the air, a glass elevator, and indoor play such as an arcade and a large themed play gym. The $10 million development was originally announced for last year, but construction did not get underway until last August. It looks like it will easily be ready in time for this summer vacation season.

The most recent details of the actual plans for the attraction are in this news article.

 

Forum member sanddunerider has shared with us these great photos of the progress:

New Chipotle-Inspired Restaurant Coming to SDC

A new restaurant is coming to Silver Dollar City in 2017 – Percy’s Southwest Grill. Percy’s will be setup in a construct-your-own-meal style similar to Chipotle and other popular Mexican-inspired restaurants. Customers will choose from several meal styles including nachos, tacos, burritos, salads and bowls before customizing to their taste from a selection of meats and vegetables. The move is part of The Year of Food and Crafts at SDC, which will include over 200 new food items throughout the park.

Unfortunately the new restaurant comes at the cost of sacrificing the much-beloved Mary’s Springhouse, which was known for pasta in bread bowls and fried chicken. Mary’s Springhouse was so named in honor of one of Silver Dollar City’s most influential founders, Mary Herschend. Fortunately there are still a few nods to her throughout the park, such as Hugo & Mary’s Carousel in Half-Dollar Holler.

It’s notable that the new restaurant is already being lauded by park patrons for offering a healthier menu versus the typical carb-heavy options the park has traditionally relied on. Perhaps this is the beginning of a new trend in park food for a new generation of guests. However I know for certain that of the 200 new food items for 2017 not all will fit into any sort of traditional diet. I’m looking forward to the custard treats and deep-fried bacon we sampled at last year’s Coaster Christmas!

Percy’s will be open March 15th for Spring Ride Days. I’m planning on being there the first weekend to try it out!

Get more details here on the official site.

Three Reasons To Visit Silver Dollar City Theme Park In 2017

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Theme parks can provide wonderful family experiences and create lasting memories. Silver Dollar City Theme Park, located near Branson, Missouri, is a park the entire family will enjoy due its numerous attractions, shows, shopping, demonstrations, and dining options.

 

1. Thrilling Rides and Attractions

The theme park boasts 16 adventurous, exciting family attractions for young and old alike ranging from roller coasters to water rides to a stunning cave and more. You aren’t going to find one of the tallest roller coasters in America here, but you are still going to have an excellent time. See below for an overview of some of the top rides and features of the park:

Marvel Cave - Take a tour of this breathtaking limestone cave and travel hundreds of feet below the surface

Thunderation - A wild, classic wooden roller coaster that travels almost 50 mph

Magnificent Wave Carousel - A swing carousel that sends you soaring 40 feet in the air

WildFire - An adrenaline-pumping, 66 mph roller coaster featuring soaring heights and multiple loops and drops

American Plunge - An exhilarating ride ending with a 5 story splashdown at 35 mph

Fire Fall - A high-thrill ride that drops you 8 stories in a matter of seconds

Fire in the Hole - A high-speed indoor roller coaster offering drops and surprises throughout the ride

Oak Trail School - An authentic 1800′s one room school

The park also features a large variety of smaller rides that are well-suited to little explorers.

 

2. Delicious Dining

Silver Dollar City features a host of unique, delicious dining opportunities to enjoy. Restaurant options include everything from full blown dinners to grab and go snacks.

Whether you are craving a home-style meal, burgers and fries, ribs, pizza, barbecue, ice cream, hot dogs, nachos, or delicious baked goods, there is award-winning food available throughout the park.

 

3. Shows

A diverse range of entertaining shows are offered at the park. Enjoy everything from live country, bluegrass, western, and gospel music to championship cloggers to the famous Harlem Globetrotters can be experienced. Visitors can also enjoy wild west shows, holiday specials, and barn dances.

All in all, when considering a visit to a theme park, Silver Dollar City deserves a spot at the top of your list. The rides, dining, and family fun will not disappoint and will make for an unforgettable experience.

 

Plans Revealed For New Branson Landing & Water Chute Site Attractions

Last month we pointed out the progress on the sale of the old “Cool-off” water chute attraction. The entity behind the purchase has been revealed as FACE Amusement Group, who already operates attractions in Branson’s sister city of Pigeon Forge, TN. Against all my personal speculation, it has been revealed that the new owners do in fact plan to construct Branson’s second mountain coaster on the site, dubbed simply “The Branson Coaster”. Construction is apparently already underway, and the new ride should open sometime this summer. A small photo of the blueprints for the site can be seen towards the bottom of this news article. Judging from the outline of the blueprints, the coaster will start by rolling out of the station and into a helix, before winding down the hillside to a mid-course lift-hill. The ride will wind down the hill once more until a second lifthill brings riders back to the station. The plans also show that the existing rental cottages and the Old Time Photo building will be saved and re-used somehow.

 

There could be a twist to distinguish this mountain coaster from the other independent mountain coaster already operating in Branson. In a quote for Branson Tri-Lakes News, Rusty Mabe stated that his company likes to give their own little twist to their attractions, and he promises that this coaster will be unique.

 

At the same time, FACE Amusement Group is also bringing three other new attractions to Branson, with several of them being placed in Branson Landing. There will be an arcade, a shooting interactive dark ride, and some sort of corn/mirror maze. The dark ride alone should pique some major interest for our readers as we have often compared Silver Dollar City’s classic dark rides with their newer counterparts in other parks. Perhaps a new dark ride on SDC’s doorstep will encourage SDC to invest in their existing dark rides more – or even better, add a new one.

 

Get more info on these developments here on Branson Tri-Lakes News.

Cool-Off Water Chute Being Torn Down, New Attraction on the Way

About two and a half years ago we noticed that the Cool-Off Water Chute attraction was up for sale. The Chute has been in operation since 1974 and is a classic example of Branson strip attractions from the era, but a new wave of modern attractions has rendered it obsolete.

 

According to the minutes of a recent Branson Planning Commission meeting, a new entity known as “RPM 7D, LLC” has purchased the slide property and is looking to build a new activity center on the site which could include a “downhill thrill ride” and possibly a slingshot style ride. This company apparently already owns and operates properties in other states, and has already applied to create an arcade at Branson Landing. Not much else was revealed about the potential attractions except for the clarification that it will all be outdoors in similar operation to the water slide.

 

Normally we would speculate that “downhill thrill ride” implies mountain coaster or alpine slide such as the recently opened Branson Mountain Coaster, but this property is pretty small for anything like that unless it was more compact and fairly short. The original propety listing included the two rental homes to the north of the chute, but it’s too early to say if they will be demolished to make room for this new attraction, or if they were even ultimately included in the sale. Perhaps a couple of short ziplines would fit, but compared to the over half dozen other zipline attractions in the area it would be a crowded market to enter.

 

In any case, this is a prime piece of real estate and it is exciting to know that another ride or two of some sort is on the way. We will be watching for more updates.

 

Clearing Continues On Apparent New Coaster Project

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Large scale clearing has continued at Silver Dollar City in preparation for what we can only assume is a major new roller coaster project. The clearing is now readily noticeable behind Echo Hollow and next to ThuNderaTion. The change in the scenery when riding TNT is drastic: the once hidden helix and swoop through the woods is now completely exposed on one side. As we noted back in May, a large cut was made into the hillside next to TNT’s lift hill, which is now occupied by construction office trailers. The clearing shows off the large expanse of land that was previously hidden in this area; easily enough for a large new coaster. The survey stakes that clearly state ‘CL Coaster’ and ‘CL support’ are still there.

 

On the other side of Echo Hollow the majority of the current action is taking place. New utility lines are being placed down the hill, and a large new excavation has been made on the East side of the amphitheater next to the concession stand that is nearly always closed. It’s speculated that this will be a new set of restrooms to replace the set being demolished on the other side. We will probably see the Echo Hollow entrance moved closer to this side as well.

 

It’s still not easy to photograph the construction from inside the park without breaking any rules (do NOT take a camera on any coasters), but here is what I was able to snap with my cellphone from the TNT queue and EH:

Branson Mountain Coaster Is Now Open

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The long awaited “mountain coaster” at the new Branson Mountain Adventure Park is now at least partially open for guests. The grand opening ceremony is set for August 12, but today the park announced on its facebook page that it is ready to start “soft opening” daily starting at noon tomorrow. Soft openings are actually common in the coaster world due to the need to train staff with a limited crowd of riders before the masses converge on it.

The new coaster has been dubbed “The Runaway” and includes nearly 5,000 feet of total track with over 3,000 of that being actual coasting descent. Unlike most roller coasters riders are actually able to leverage some control over their car by applying a brake if desired. The maximum speed is only 30 mph, but with the tiny open-air tandem-seating carts hurtling through the trees that speed will feel absolutely out of control.

The posted prices are $15 for the main “driver”, $10 for a second tandem seated rider, and then $10 for all re-rides on the same day. Tax not included. You can find the coaster by taking highway 165 south out of the main drag of Branson past Doc’s Hickory Roadhouse. The Adventure Park is next to Skyline Baptist Church.

Get more information here on the official site.

Original SDC Stagecoach Completes Tour, Will Return to Park This Fall

The original Silver Dollar City that was such a quintessential piece of the park during it’s early years was purchased some years ago by a man named Rick Hamby who grew up riding it. Since then he has taken it on multiple cross-state trips, using it not only to educate about the old west but to also spread the practice of good old fashioned pen pals and letter writing. At each stop on his trips he would hand out letters to the local school kids from other school kids in the Ozarks.

This year is the 15th time he’s made such a trip, but now it seems that he’s giving it up. The stagecoach is going to be returned to SDC this fall and will presumably be put on display outside of Outlaw Run, the stagecoach robbery-themed roller coaster at the park.

More details and a video are available on ky3.com

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