Friday, June 10, 2016
SILVER DOLLAR CITY 2016
For the most part SDC has not changed from when we were here last fall for the Harvest and Craft Festival. But there, of course, are some noticeable changes.
First there has been a slight increase in admission price. Our two Senior Passes were a total of $191. The tickets for the Branson Bell are now $51 instead of $50, unless you have a season pass. Those tickets have gone up from $25 to $30 for the special cruises for season pass holders. What amusement park hasn’t raised its prices this year, or most years? Meals are up slightly too, making the 10% season pass discount a tiny bit more valuable, but not much.
How you get the passes has also been adjusted slightly. If you are getting a one day they have kiosks outside the gate you can do a self serve ticket purchase. Bigger amusement parks, like Universal Studios in Florida have had such kiosks for years, so I guess SDC is joining the ranks of the big boys.
You still have to go to the ticket booth to purchase season passes, if you haven’t already got them. But the lines are much shorter now.
The next thing we noticed was they seem to have a lot more international workers present. A good thing since they have more and more visitors from all over the world each year.
One more thing is different before you even get in the gate. Bag check, yep heightened security has come to the Ozarks, it saddens me to see the innocence disappear, but that is today’s way of life.
Of course inside there are the new for 2016 merchandise as you go through into the park.
Another change is the “refillable” mugs. While they still sell them they are only good for the season you purchased them in with one exception. If you purchased your mug prior to 2011 they still honor the “lifetime” refill for those mugs both glass and plastic. So if you are thinking about throwing away your old mugs you might want to reconsider that decision.
They also have a “value” pricing system on selling this year’s mugs. They are $13.99 for a single mug. Purchase two at the same time and the total will be $19.99. If you need more mugs purchased at the same time mugs 3 thru…. Are $7.99 each. So if you are traveling with a large group it would be wise for everyone to get their mugs at once and split the cost evenly. Refills are $1.63 for fountain drinks and $2.33 for specialty drinks (slightly less if you are purchasing other items at a stand that honors the season pass discount).
Luckily we still have our pre-2011 and had them with us. Although our mug says the refills are $1.75 they have simplified matters for the concessionaires and these mugs are also filled for the above prices
Just in case you are interested the bottled water sold there is Dasani and it is $1.99 a bottle. Or you can do as we do, fill your mug with water for free. Last year we got free ice water from places selling fountain drinks for free. Since this practice is common in most theme parks I imagine it is still available now too.
There are a few new concessions, like fried bread sandwiches to be had. A few of the merchandise shops have changed locations, and of course new shops, but for the most part the park is the same.
The hills are just as numerous and steep, but luckily this year we are both better able to climb them. No scooter rentals this trip. We didn’t check, but I heard someone mention the price of the rentals for both strollers and ecvs went up slightly this year. Again a normal thing for amusement parks.
On the subject of ecvs (electronic convenience vehicles) one thing we learned last year when I was in desperate need of one, if you know you are going to need one reserve it ahead of time, especially during the festivals. We arrived before park opening last year during the Harvest Festival, Gary dropped me at the gate and I went on in to get an ecv because we hadn’t brought ours with us. Huge mistake. They were already out of the first come first served ecvs. All they had were the pre-reserved ones. They said I could come back later in the day and they MIGHT have one that was turned back in or someone didn’t show up for a reserved one. I passed and just took it very slowly through the park.
Of course we were there this year for the Bluegrass and BBQ Festival there were some great bluegrass groups to watch.
One such group was the Willis Clan from TLC’s reality show The Willis Family. Only eleven of the twelve children were performing. The oldest daughter was not present.
During their second show on the first day we were in the audience really enjoying the show when a massive storm rolled through and as it did it took their sound system with them.
True troopers they are they still managed to entertain the audience without microphones.
We went back the next day to see the show again. They had changed it up a little bit, but not much. However, this time they had a sound system.
The rain continued on and off all week, which made us lazy and want to stay at the camper. Although we did go in and out of the park a few times. We only saw a few other shows, they were all very good.
Every day we went in we planned on going to the free show in Echo Hollow, every day just before the show was scheduled to start the skies would open up and pour until the show would be cancelled, then mysteriously the rain would stop. It was almost like the fates were laughing at us. Oh well, we were told it was the same show as last year and we saw it twice last season. So we were fine with spending the time at the camper listening to audio books and discussing the day’s events.
We did try some of the barbque at the Red Gold Hall, we weren’t impressed. It wasn’t bad, but we much prefer the good barbque we get at Massey’s in Okmulgee, Oklahoma or my homemade.
One tip, if you are planning on going to next year’s Bluegrass and BBQ event if you wait until late in the day to buy your BBQ your servings will tend to be larger, as in large enough to share because the vendors have to throw out all leftover food.
Gary purchased the BBQ sausage sandwich and instead of just one link on his sandwich the woman gave him all three that were left in the pan because she wanted to get things cleaned up so she could go home. If we had known she was going to do that we would have only ordered one sandwich and split all those sausages.
The season pass 10% food discount is good at this location during the festival.
All in all it felt good to be in back in the park at a slow easy pace enjoying the shows we wanted to see, eating a few different foods with both of us back in good health.
If you have never been to Silver Dollar City I recommend it to anyone who loves amusement parks.
Jan who has been going to Silver Dollar City for over 40 years away from OK