Silver Dollar City

 August 25th 2005

Drove from St. Louis to Silver Dollar City located in Branson MO.  Click on each picture to make it big, then back to return here.   For the videos, right click each link,  Save As to your hard drive, and then view them with Windows Media Player.  

We woke up early at 3am, and drove thru the morning arriving at about 09:00am.    All along the way, there are billboards for shows on the main strip of Branson.   It seems like everywhere you look, there is another billboard, and everyone has a show, over 30 of them.    You name it, and there's probably a show for it.   The good news, is that there is a new highway on the north side of Branson (465) that bypasses the main drag.   This new road leads right to the park.   In picture 2 is my dad at the main entrance.  I'm in picture 3. 

So we get into the park a little early at 09:45am, they open at 10am.  We walk around and see this guy working on wood for a cabin.  Boy, this definitely isn't like IOA back home.  We're in the middle of nowhere.    Acoustic guitars, banjos, and fiddles playing everywhere.  We walk into a wooden cabin from the 1800's, 2 rooms, some pictures of the people who lived in it years ago. There's a wooden stove in the middle of one room, and that's it.   No TV, no internet, nothing.     Boy, I couldn't live like that.  My dad went to the shows while I went on the coasters.  They have many shows, mostly playing fiddle music from the Ozark mountains.   This kind of music is everywhere in the park, you constantly hear it.  

Here we are just before the park opens.  The map actually makes the park look huge, when in fact, it's a very small park.   In picture 1 is everyone waiting just before the opening.  In picture 2 is someone who plays the crowd.   Right after I snapped this picture, they had a bunch of veterans march out, raise the flag up the pole, and the national anthem was sung.  Everyone took this very seriously and they were proud to do it.    In picture 3 is the "walking of the bulls" down the main pathway to the coasters.   On the map, it makes it seem like you have to run a mile to get to the back of the park, when in fact, it's at the bottom of the hill.  Wildfire is to the left at the bottom, and PowerKeg is not much farther.  I walked quickly down the hill, and boom, there was the sign for Powderkeg.       You can circle the entire park in about 10 minutes.  

Here is the sign to PowderKeg and a couple pictures of the ride.  So what is Powderkeg like?   Very fast and intense.  Sure, there are other launched coasters that go faster and higher, but Powderkeg is right up there with them.  The first couple hills give good air time.   You kinda pop up out of your seat going over them.  The banked turns are really something going that fast.   The entire train tilts to each side.   This is a really fun ride. (25 megs)

Here is an on ride POV of PowderKeg.   The video starts off just after the launch.   During the 2nd lift, I talk to a little girl who was riding next to me telling her she's doing great.   Right click the link and "Save As" to your hard drive.

Here is Wildfire.   In picture 2 is a neat glass display filled with green water and bubbles that rise to the top.  When the ride starts, there are tubes above the riders heads that turn red, and mist comes out of them, a neat effect.    Pictures 3 and 4 are the ride.  So what's Wildfire like?   It's fun.  There is no mid course brake, so the coaster goes non stop from beginning to end.  Here are the elements:  1st drop, dive loop (Immelmen), loop, cobra roll, corkscrew, and helix into the brakes.   The ride is fast paced, and never lets up.   Wildfire may not win many awards, and people don't talk much about it, but it is worth visiting. (16 megs) (14 megs)

Above are two POVs of Wildfire.   One in the front row, one in the back row.   Right click the link and "Save As" to your hard drive.

Here is my dad and myself on the train ride.   The train actually leaves the park, goes thru a forest, then returns.  In the 4th picture, the train has stopped and there is a "stick up."   The "ugly" guy talks with the train conductor, they tell some jokes talking about who's going to shoot who, then the "ugly" guy literally robs the train.   He tells everyone this is a "stick up" and asks for silver or gold (money).   He goes up to the train with a cup, and people put coins in it.   He makes funny faces and jokes along the way.  The conductor shoots the ugly guy in the butt and then the train continues back to the station.   The jokes are corny, but what do you expect for a family ride.    

Thunderation is a really cool train ride that goes really fast thru tunnels and the forest.   I was really impressed with this coaster. (18 megs) (9 megs) (16 megs) (11 megs)

Above are 4 POVs of Thunderation.   The train ride has a long lift hill in the middle of it, so I split up the videos.    The first two POVs are me riding in the 3rd row.   In the last two POVs, I'm in the 5th car which faces backwards. (46 megs)

Matt Hurless took my videos and make his own using music from Eric Johnson and mixing up the cut shots.   It turned out very well.  Right click the link and Save As to your hard drive. 

Impressions of Silver Dollar City.     It's different.    If you like fiddle music, this is your place.    If you like shopping for nick nacks, this is your place.   The park is lined with many shops, and places to get food.   After a few hours, the fiddle music will start to mess with your head, unless you really like it.   The entire park is under trees in the forest.   If you flew over it in an airplane, I bet you wouldn't see it below.   The people are nice and friendly.  Most of them are older folks, or parents with their kids.   I didn't see many teenagers in the park.   Then again, we went when school was in after the summer.  Silver Dollar City is worth a visit, and it's very different from most parks.

End of Report.   Thanks for reading. 

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