With cowboys roaming the streets, period artisans plying their crafts, musicians performing retro tunes, and other historic nods, Silver Dollar City in Branson, Mo. transports visitors back to the Ozark Mountains of the late 19th century. The charming theme park welcomes guests with the phrase, "You have a great past ahead of you." For 2018, it will put a spin on its era-shifting theme with the new attraction, Time Traveler. The unique ride will be the world's fastest, steepest, and tallest full-circuit spinning roller coaster.
Its train will leave the station, immediately plunge 100 feet at 90 degrees (that's straight down for the geometry-challenged), and hit 50 mph. That would be wacky enough, but Time Traveler's four-passenger cars will be spinning as they descend down the drop and throughout the ride. Along the way, it will navigate three inversions including a 95-foot tall vertical loop.
As coasters near the end of their route, they tend to lose a lot of their oomph. Time Traveler, however, will incorporate two mid-course, magnetically induced launches to keep the thrills on track. The first one will catapult the train from 0 to 47 mph, or nearly the same speed as the first drop, in three seconds. The second launch will accelerate the moving train from 30 to 45 mph in 3.5 seconds.
While the experience might sound unnerving – and it will certainly be thrilling – it should be accessible to more than hardened ride warriors. There are coasters that go much taller and faster and deliver considerably more intense G forces. The park is positioning Time Traveler as a family-friendly attraction – albeit at the upper end of the spectrum. But with a height limit of 51 inches, relatively young riders will be allowed to board it.
Using the hilly terrain of its mountainside setting and the two mid-ride launches, the coaster will forego a traditional chain-driven lift hill. It will have enough momentum to propel up and into the 100-foot-tall loading station.
According to Brad Thomas, president of Silver Dollar City Attractions, the indoor queue and load station will showcase the story of Charles Henry, a turn-of-the-century clockmaker and inventor who resides in Silver Dollar City and is captivated by the science fiction tales of Jules Verne. Gears, cogs, and other steampunk flourishes will adorn the building.
"The first level tells the story of Mr. Henry's time-keeping creations," says Thomas. "However, the second and third levels start revealing Charles' big dream of creating a contraption capable of time travel."
Among the park's other rides are Powder Keg, another launched coaster that hits a potent 64 mph, and Outlaw Run, the first wooden coaster to feature "topper" track. The groundbreaking track enables the ride to include inversions, a rarity for modern wooden coasters. Adding the novel Time Traveler to its ride mix, Silver Dollar City will enhance its reputation as a destination theme park for both ardent and more casual coaster fans.
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