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News & Rumors

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SILVER DOLLAR CITY
& WHITEWATER BRANSON
Branson, MO
Herschend Family Entertainment Corp.

 

icon_STOPPark News - (5/12/2024) A little news was sent my way about operations at Silver Dollar City this week. The good news is that I’m told that Thunderation is open once again and all needed repairs have been completed. This is following the previous reports that it was closed when a storm caused some nearby trees to fall and hit the structure.
    The only downside to this story is that I was also told that as a preventative measure, quite a few other nearby trees have been removed or significantly trimmed from the proximity of the roller coaster, so the wild mine-train ride through the woods, isn’t quite as forested as it was previously. If you watch the video below shot just four years ago, you can see just how close a lot of those trees were to the track anyway, so I’m sure this was already a constant struggle for the park to handle on a regular basis.
    There is one more bit of bad news, as I’m told that since this event, the corporate office has sent down new guidelines to the park that as a precaution, operations on Thunderation and Outlaw Run will be suspended during rainfall. I don’t know if this is a temporary measure while perhaps they inspect the trees for any future problems, or if this is a new permanent change to how these rides operate. I’m told that prior to this change, only Powder Keg was closed in the rain, but after this latest change, now only Time Traveler and WildFire are still allowed to be open during rainfall.

 
    (5/3/2024) According to a report sent my way, I’m told that Thunderation at Silver Dollar City (Arrow Mine Train coaster) has been closed for the past week, and may actually be closed for an undetermined amount of time. According to our tipster, a bad storm passed through the area that caused at least three nearby trees to fall onto the coaster, causing damage to the structure. The length of the closure will depend upon the severity of the damage, so stay tuned while we wait to hear more.
 
    (1/1/2024) Huge crowds took to Silver Dollar City on Saturday to get their last rides in on the park’s Fire in the Hole attraction before it was shut down forever at the end of the night. The local news has posted several pictures of the crowds standing in long lines to take their last rides on this classic indoor roller coaster.
    I’ve got to say that Silver Dollar City has planned and handled this very well by constructing the replacement modern version of Fire in the Hole in a new (and more appropriate location) within the park in secret (mostly) for the past couple of years. This allowed as many people as possible to come to the park to take their last rides on the original, and minimizing the disruption of not having either version of the ride available, as the new ride is expected to be ready for guests in the Spring.

 

icon_STOP2024 - Fire in the Hole - (3/29/2024) Screamscape was invited to attend a special preview of the all new FIRE IN THE HOLE attraction at Silver Dollar City this week. While I wasn’t able to attend myself, I was able to send our good friend Randal out to give it a spin for us. This worked out great as Randal has also visited Silver Dollar City many times in the past and was very familiar with the original Fire version of Fire in the Hole, which this has now replaced. I’ve got his review of the ride below along with an official on-ride video provided by the park that mixed POV with Reverse POV footage of them riding, giving us our first look at the all new state-of-the-art dark ride/coaster experience.
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The new Fire In The Hole at Silver Dollar City does not disappoint. When the original ride was reaching the end of its service life, the park started making plans 10 years ago to build a new version and one of the first steps was to create the new Fireman's Landing. With the opening of the new Fire In The Hole, the area has been renamed the Fire District. Nearby the entrance are two new shops, Sadies Pretzel Cafe which features foot-long pretzel dogs and brats, pretzel sandwiches and of course, hand twisted pretzels. Around the corner is Flanders Dry Goods, which sells a variety of souvenirs based on Fire In The Hole, including for fans familiar with the ride, Red Flanders famous pants. An assortment of other items including candy, snow globes, t-shirts, stickers and magnets are among some of the new offerings. And an all-new live character, Sadie Flanders joins the cast of existing Silver Dollar Citizens. She'll be out and about at different times in the Fire District and near her Cafe and Flanders Dry Goods.
 
The ride itself is all new and glistening, but retains an almost identical layout, including the three drops the original ride was known for.  The storyline is the most improved new feature of the ride, with a clearer tale of the night the Baldknobbers set the town on fire. This is achieved through new dialogue from the characters inside the ride and with onboard audio. There are three main Baldknobbers characters now in the storyline; Patches, Bugs and Wiley. They are not as intimidating as the original Baldknobbers were for younger children and definitely give that bumbling, slapstick type of villain feel that the park was going for, but you still get the feeling that they are a bunch of trouble.
 
The drops are much more family friendly and smoother, but still fun and thrilling and have been enhanced. The Kinney Bridge has had its "collapse" restored so that when the train goes down the drop, the bridge appears to collapse. The second drop (the train scene) now makes sense in the story line, as a mischievous Baldknobber throws a switch and sends the rescue pumper train headed straight for it. The locomotive of the train actually looks like a locomotive now and steam bellows out, obscuring the second drop, adding to the thrills. The third and final splashdown drop makes sense now too, as the townsfolk send a charge to the water tower, blowing it up to put out the fire. Coming out of the splashdown as the pumper wagon train makes its way to the unloading platform, you see the Citizens of Silver Dollar City celebrating on a screen. Yes, this ride now uses a FEW screens on the ride, but there are only three, and they add to the experience and enhance it instead of being the sole focus.
 
Overall the ride is solid. My only complaint is that some of the dialogue leading between the fire scene of the cabin up to the Kinney Bridge is hard to hear. There's just a tad bit too much going on. Fans of the old ride will recall hearing the "Fire In The Hole Song" a couple of times during the ride. This is my only complaint. It is not present anywhere in the new ride. I think instead of ALL that dialogue on the track between the Cabin and the Kinney Bridge, they could play it for say about 5 seconds. There is some dialogue necessary to set up the scene as you come up on Kinney Bridge, but other than that, I'd personally love to hear the updated version of the song that was created for the ride in this area.
 
Other parks looking to recreate or update an older, beloved attraction should look to Silver Dollar City and the New Fire In The Hole for guidance. They kept the ride basically as it was and really enhanced it with today's available technology. If you're going to call a beloved ride a name that evokes the past and nostalgia, it needs to be that ride in feel and spirit. With this new version, fans of the old ride and new riders will all be hollering "Fire In The Hole" as they drop on the ride's last plunge. And that makes me very happy.

 
    (11/21/2023) Last week, the IAAPA Expo in Orlando was all about showing off the latest roller coaster train designs, which are taking things to an all new level. One that caught eyeballs on the show floor was the new Fire in the Hole trains from RMC, coming to the next-gen version of the ride opening at Silver Dollar City in 2024. The fairly open, but family friendly trains feature individual lap bars and an on-board audio system. 
 
    (8/25/2023) Screamscape sent out fine rep Randall out to Silver Dollar City to be on hand for the big announcement about the new Fire in the Hole coming in 2024. While on site he got to partake in a tour of the attraction under construction and sent back nearly 40 photos taken around and inside the new attraction. You can check them out in the four IG posts below.




 
    (8/17/2023) Silver Dollar City finally let the cat out of the bag this week and confirmed that an all new modern version of Fire In The Hole is coming to the park 2024. As expected, they also confirmed that the new version of the attraction will be going inside the massive building that has been under construction behind the existing Fireman’s Landing area. Oh… and based on what I’m told the pathway in front of the new Fire In The Hole will go down and link up with the existing Grand Exposition area, creating a new pathway loop across the Northern end of the park. The combined Fireman’s Landing with the new street behind it for Fire In The Hole will see the land rebranded as the Fire District.
    Now lets start things off right and scroll down to check out the big reveal video from Silver Dollar City for all the initial details about this $30 million new dark ride / family roller coaster attraction. While the goal is to still tell the same basic story as the classic version of Fire In The Hole but with everything modernized, including the all new roller coaster ride hardware itself from Rocky Mountain Construction. Based on the concept artwork, these family friendly trains look similar to RMC’s standard roller coaster train with individual lap bars, but with 3 rows of 2-seats across per car, and 2 car trains, for 12 riders at a time, just like the classic version of the attraction. According to what I’m told, RMC will be supplying the park with a total of five trains for the attraction as well.
    Just like the classic Fire In The Hole, the new version will also feature a total of three drops, including the famous splash-landing finale. Unlike the existing ride however, the trains on the new version will feature an on-board audio system to play the new custom soundtrack and enhance the ride’s new cutting-edge special effects across 14 iconic show scenes. One more fun feature of the new attraction is that the entire 5-story structure will now be a 100% temperature-controlled environment, ensuring a comfortable experience for riders inside, no matter how hot or cold the weather is outside. All said and done, the new Fire In The Hole will feature 1,512 feet of track, a top speed of 26mph and a ride-time of 2 minutes, 51 seconds.

 
   
(8/8/2023) A Screamscape reader visiting Silver Dollar City managed to snap a few photos of what appears to be the front facade for the big 2024 attraction… rumored to be a brand new version of Fire in the Hole. These glimpses came while riding the Fireman’s Flyers attraction.
 
    (7/15/2023) The latest teaser from Silver Dollar City has simply posted the date, August 14, 2023. Could this be the big announcement date, or perhaps they are getting ready to close the book on Fire in the Hole forever.

 
    (6/22/2023) Silver Dollar City appears to have begun a possible teaser campaign ffor their 2024 attraction, the long rumored modern replacement for Fire in the Hole. So far they’ve posted the blank cover of some kind of book a couple of times on social media, followed by a new update that had added to letters “V” and “N”.
    This has let to many guessing it could eventually say, “Volunteers Needed” as they prepare to announce the new attraction later this year, but a lot can happen between now and then. Stay tuned!


 
    (2/15/2023) Silver Dollar City’s big announcement was interesting… it wasn’t the announcement of what is new, but rather the retirement of what is leaving. Of course Screamscape readers have known this was coming for quite some time, and now Silver Dollar City has confirmed that the 2023 season will be the “Grand Finale” for their Fire in The Hole indoor roller coaster which has been running since 1972.
    What they don’t say is exactly what day Fire in the Hole will close for good, but I’d imagine you would have at least through the Summer season,  maybe longer, to get your last rides in on this classic ride before it is gone forever.
    Well, almost forever…
    As I’ve said, Screamscape readers have had a good idea of what is going on for quite some time. What is believed to be a modern replacement for Fire in the Hole has been under construction behind Fireman’s Landing for quite some time now. As we get closer to the actual closing day for Fire in the Hole, I imagine we’ll start to get hints about the upcoming announcement for this new generation version and what kind of surprises we can expect.
    At that point we’ll know just how far the park was willing to go with the redesign and answer all the “burning” questions, such as: will this be a true clone of the original, or will this version be built with a new name? How about new scenery? Will it keep the old classic look or be upgraded to feature more modern animatronics and effects? How about some real fire this time? How would riders feel about adding screens and/or projection mapped scenes or effects? Plus the name… I can only imagine it will be something similar to Fire in the Hole, but slightly different to help promote it in 2024 as the park’s next big thing. 
    Stay tuned for more details I guess. In the meantime, I guess I need to get myself out to Silver Dollar City if I can this year, as I know I’ve never had the chance to ride the original classic Fire in the Hole myself, only its Tennessee cousin, Blazing Fury at Dollywood.


 
    (12/26/2022) MidWestInfoGuide has posted some new pictures from Silver Dollar City this week showing off several loads of RMC style track that have arrived on site for the park’s new 2024 attraction project. To be located inside the massive new structure built up at the backside of Fireman’s Landing is expected to be a modern style replacement for the park’s Fire in the Hole dark ride coaster experience.
    RMC’s involvement isn’t a surprise however, as I believe RMC has been involved with providing new track pieces during off-season refurbishments to the existing Fire in the Hole and sister-ride, Blazing Fury at Dollywood, for the past several years.
 
    (10/20/22) As everyone has been waiting for Silver Dollar City to announce something to do with the long rumored Fire In the Hole 2 project, you’ll probably have to wait another year for that. While the structure for the new ride is built, I’m told that it is essentially empty inside still, so we should be looking to see the park open the new ride in 2024 rather than 2023. They will have to install at the track and ride systems, then add the huge assortment of scenic elements, then finish all the lighting and show programming of course, so there is still quite a bit to do between now and 2024.
 
    (5/28/22) MidWestInfoGuide is back, fresh from a trip to Silver Dollar City where they got some great pictures of the massive new attraction building going up at the park for 2023 behind Fireman’s Landing. The huge framework for the new structure is in place, and there is a picture showing off the inside of the structure with a red semi-trailer parked inside of it, giving you a fantastic sense of scale for how big the building is. They also noted what looks like a “splash pool” area in the back of the structure, and how the floor of the main building is lower than level of the entry building, which means guests may go down into the lower level once inside the queue.
    Once again, this does all fit in nicely with Screamscape’s long reported rumor that the park may be building a brand new modern replacement for their classic Fire in the Hole attraction and so far the clues seen here seem to follow along with that concept as well. As per the earlier rumor, the state of the original attraction structure was said to have reached the point that a complete replacement was the better solution rather than a long term closure to remove and rebuild on the original site. Plus moving the Fire Station themed attraction to Fireman Landing only makes sense, and the removal of the old attraction will eventually allow for something new to be added near Mystic River Falls.
    Other updates from their trip to the park include a look at the Bluegrass BBQ Festival as well as the special food now being offered for it.
 
    (12/13/21) It’s hard to see much in detail, but you can see a quick drive-by clip in the tweet below showing off the current construction taking place at the backside of Silver Dollar City, rumored to be for a new version of Fire in the Hole.

 
    (10/3/21) So what’s going on at Silver Dollar City for the 2022 season? Way back in February Screamscape reported that a large clearing was being made in an area behind Mystic River Falls and Fireman’s Landing, not far from the road that goes around behind the park. Back then we were told that excavators were on site and they seemed to be digging a good sized hole back there for something on this site, which formerly was a backstage parking lot. Jump ahead to the present and in the tweet below you can see that the entire area is now walled off from view, and a recent Google Maps aerial image shows the former parking lot entirely cleared out to make a very large new site for something special. The large building at the end of the cleared site would be Heritage Hall performance theater, so access to the site site will likely be through the Fireman’s Landing area, via crossing the train tracks.
    This brings me to the really interesting rumor about what may be going in here, and how it could be linked to another attraction that sits on the other side of Mystic River Falls from here. Yep, I’m talking about Fire in the Hole. While covering the various theme park news over the years, we’ve heard a lot about various upgrades and refurbishment projects that have been performed on Fire in the Hole’s sister coaster at Dollywood, which goes by the name Blazing Fury. The two rides were nearly identical, but I’ve always wondered why we never heard much about off-season work being done to Fire in the Hole. It turns out there is said to be a fairly good reason for this… because the structure that Fire in the Hole (the older of the pair, opening in 1972) sits in, is really not in the best of shape.
    Now don’t get me wrong… the attraction is not dangerous in any way. The ride is safe, the building isn’t in jeopardy of collapsing or anything remotely close to that. But much like how Dollywood has been taking steps over the years to preserve Blazing Fury for future generations to enjoy, I’m told that the years just haven’t been as kind of Fire in the Hole. After 49 years of riders taking on the journey, it sounds like the best way to preserve the Fire in the Hole experience for the future may be to actually tear it down and rebuild it from scratch.
    Nothing is confirmed of course, and this may be one of the wildest rumors of all time, but Screamscape is being told that Silver Dollar City has been looking to do just that several years now. Of course this comes along with a lot of “What If…?” questions… such as, if they are going to spend the money to do this, should they make it a faithful copy of the original? As the ride system will obviously have to be upgraded to something modern, so will other aspects like lighting, audio and other theatrical systems. Then what about the scenery? How much to keep, how much to upgrade, along with the various figures within, so they keep them old fashioned looking or upgrade them to look like modern figures and animatronics? What about the experience itself? Do you keep it the same, or perhaps add in some new tricks or entirely new scenes?
    So many options to choose from and so many questions to figure out.
    If this is true, one other factor comes into play, which is that 2022 will actually be the 50th Anniversary of Fire in the Hole. Do they celebrate it with the new ride, or give the old version one more season as a fitting send off for the 50th? Or what if the park could even offer the old and new version for the 50th Anniversary as a fun way to celebrate the passing of the torch.
    Again… this is all just rumor. For all we know the park could be building nothing more than a warehouse back there, but stay tuned! I think we may start to get hints about what is going on before too much longer. In the meantime, be sure to get your rides in on Fire in the Hole while you still can, just in case.

 
    (2/7/21) According to a few messages sent my way, I’m told that there is some kind of large new land clearing taking place at Silver Dollar City. Given the timeline this clearly isn’t something in the works for the 2021 season, but it could be our first hint at what the park may have planned for 2022. I’m told that a large clearing has been made somewhere behind the new Mystic River Falls and Fireman’s Landing areas that can be seen from the road as you pass the park back there. According to one post there is an area where they appear to be digging down deep for something, which would seem to indicate that this could be for some kind of new attraction.
    If anyone knows more or has the chance to pass by and snap a few photos, I’d love to see them for a future update.

 

icon_STOP???? - Outlaw Run Update - Wild Rumor - (4/9/2024) Consider this something more of a “Wild Rumor” for the time being, but according to an anonymous tipster, Silver Dollar City’s next coaster project may be may actually be a complete refurbishment or another existing park ride. In this case, the tipster points to Dollywood as an example, as the chain’s other RMC replaced the majority of the ride’s original RMC “Topper Track’ with I-Box style full-steel beam track instead.
    At the time, this was done to Lightning Rod because sections of the ride’s track were taking a bit of a beating, which was in-turn doing a number to the support system as well, so the choice was made to upgrade to the stronger I-Box track option. According to this new rumor, and many guest reports, Outlaw Run has been getting a bit rough despite their best efforts and now they may be considering a similar upgrade for it as well.
    Just something to keep in mind as a possibility in the not too distant future. Stay tuned!

 

???? - New Resort Hotel - Rumor - (10/26/22) The local news has reported that Silver Dollar City has just purchased the failed Indian Ridge housing development, which has been the subject of more than a few videos of the past couple years showing massive mansions built and then left to rot unsold on the property. Silver Dollar City bought almost 800 acres of property next to this in early 2021, which has long been rumored to be used to build a new mega-resort for the theme park in the same vein as the DreamMore Resort at Dollywood, and now SDC has bought up the remaining 26 acres that they did not buy previously.
 
    (2/4/22) You may recall two months ago I reported hearing that Silver Dollar City was purchasing a large plot of land a bit to the west of the theme park? As we reported at the time, this large land purchase was to clear the way for Silver Dollar City to follow in the footsteps of Dollywood and begin to build and operate their own Resorts.
    Today that rumor about a large land purchase was confirmed as the local news reports that Silver Dollar City had just acquired an 800-acre plot of land near a failed “Indian Ridge” resort community project. The “Indian Ridge” project has become famous not only for the plan’s failure, but because of a street where a number of large homes were built and abandoned and left to rot, giving this block a creepy apocalypse looking feel.
    Silver Dollar City has confirmed the land purchase, but also confirmed that the section of the property that contains the abandoned mansions is not part of the parcel that they purchased. The news article also confirms that Silver Dollar City LLC also owns ‘multiple parcels of property” between the theme park and this latest land purchase, which makes me wonder if they will have the ability to directly connect the theme park to this new property if given the chance. While the future intent of the property was not open for discussion, we have only to watch how the company has set a huge future masterplan of growth for future resort projects in Tennessee to get an idea of how they will transform the Silver Dollar City theme park into a true resort experience.
 
    (12/4/21) Screamscape sources have sent in a rather interesting update regarding the future of Silver Dollar City. Much like how we’ve been seeing plans for increased growth at sister park, Dollywood in Tennessee, the rumor is that SDC is preparing to build their very own resort complex.
    While I don’t know the exact site, I’m told that SDC’s parent company, Herschend, has purchased a large plot of land to the west of the theme park for this very reason. Currently the theme park only has a campground property to offer overnight accommodations with, but if the trend here works the same way as it did in Dollywood, adding an official resort to the theme park could be a huge success and possibly just the first of many such resorts to come in the future. While the terrain around the park definitely isn’t flat, this is also familiar terrain that Herschend is used to in their various developments and resort projects around the mountainous terrain that surrounds the Dollywood theme park.
    More on this rumor as it develops!

 

 

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Track Record

Silver Dollar City
Branson, MO

Abbreviation: SDC

Website

Newest Developments
2020 - Mystic River Falls

2018 - Time Traveler

2015 - Fireman’s Landing

2013 - Outlaw Run

2012 - Pinkerton Man

2011 - Half Dollar Hollar & Aloha River at Hula Hula Bay

2010 - Tom & Huck’s RiverBlast

2008 - Culinary Arts School

2007 - The Giant Swing


 

 
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