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Silver Dollar City fights Fire with Fire
Fire in the Hole 2.0 coming in 2024
Did you know that tomorrow, August 16, is National Roller Coaster Day? Do your duty and go ride a ride. Check out my crazy marathon adventure for a past National Roller Coaster Day. In anticipation of the day, I’ve got some great coaster news for you.
Silver Dollar City, the delightful theme park in Branson, Missouri, is one of my happy places. Steeped in tradition, boasting an impressive collection of coasters and other attractions, offering some of parkdom’s best food, and infused with an infectious joie-de-vivre, it has been punching way above its weight class for years. It is also charmingly quirky.
Perhaps its most quirky attraction is Fire in the Hole. When the park announced in the spring that it would be closing the old-school indoor coaster, I and other fans lamented the loss. We can all take a collective sigh of relief. Yesterday, the park revealed that a more modern Fire in the Hole would replace the 51-year-old attraction. I was there for the occasion.
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“Fire in the Hole is so integral to the DNA of the park, we couldn’t ever let it go away,” Brad Thomas, SDC’s president, told me. “We knew we would have to handle the project very carefully.”
The coaster/family dark ride will include many of the original ride’s greatest hits, including poor Red Flanders, the forlorn character who lost his pants decades ago and never found them. It will also feature a splashdown finale. The new attraction, pegged at $30 million, represents the park’s largest investment to date.
Silver Dollar City is constructing an entirely new 5-story show building for Fire in the Hole. It is located behind Fireman’s Landing, which, with the addition of the new attraction, will be renamed the Fire District
While the 2.0 version will pay homage to the beloved ride that first opened in 1972, it will have a modern attraction design sensibility and incorporate newfangled goodies such as high-resolution onboard audio and fiber optics for a fuse effect. Among the attraction’s 14 scenes, it will include new ones, such as a collapsing bridge.
“It’s a big thing to keep the original ride’s character and atmosphere,” says Andy Westfall, senior director of strategic planning and development for Herschend Creative Studios. “It’s a legacy project–a classic story–and we want to carry it forward another 50 years.”
The coaster will be manufactured by Rocky Mountain Construction and will feature a modified version of its I-Box track. Because the family dark ride will not include inversions and not be as intense as the company’s usual hang-on-for-dear-life thrillers, the track will not need to bear as great a load and will be comparatively slimmer. Like the existing ride, the coaster will include powered inclines and gravity drops. The five trains will have onboard electric motors, and the track will be outfitted with a bus bar to provide power–an RMC first.
With more than 1,500 feet of track and clocking in at a little under three minutes, the park is claiming this will be the biggest indoor coaster in the Midwest. You can read more about the new Fire in the Hole in my article for IAAPA, the trade organization for parks, attractions, and themed entertainment.
If you go
Silver Dollar City offers yummy BBQ. But if you want extraordinary, award-winning BBQ goodness, consider heading over to the Branson Strip and indulging in Gettin’ Basted. Its brisket sandwich, served with onion straws, BBQ sauce, and a side of homemade chips, is to die for. It is the tenderest, most flavorful, most sublime smoked meat I’ve ever had.
One of Branson’s finest hotels is the lovely Chateau on the Lake. Located high on a hill overlooking Table Rock Lake and the Ozarks, it is far from the madding crowd of the Branson Strip. The rooms are nicely appointed, the dining is great, there is a full-service spa, and–woof!–it is dog friendly.
Have you ever been on Fire in the Hole? What do you think about the upcoming version of it?