Branson, Missouri – Silver Dollar City, the award-winning theme park that’s always looking toward the future while honoring the past, made a huge splash today with its latest ride announcement. As part of a series of record-breaking, industry-changing attractions the park has introduced during the past decade, next spring Silver Dollar City will debut “Mystic River Falls,” an exhilarating ride that will literally take theme park water experiences to the next level. Here are the highlights of the much-anticipated attraction, proving once again that a 60-year-old theme park can teach an entire industry new tricks while setting an ever-higher standard for guest experiences:
Mystic River Falls, itself a $23 million investment, will be a river adventure that is themed to the history and legend of the great Marvel Cave, which was the catalyst for Silver Dollar City six decades ago.
- The adventure will last more than five minutes.
- Adventurers will ascend a more-than eight-story lift tower (82 feet, to be exact) in eight-passenger rafts, and will be exposed to the open air as their raft rotates during the climb.
- The rotation elevator lift of four platforms is unique to this ride and will be the only one like it in the world to go up so high.
- The rafts will connect to an elevated river channel suspended in the air 66 feet high and travel within the channel for 180 linear feet.
- Riders will splash through nearly a half-mile (2,100-foot) scenic journey, navigating hairpin turns, high tides and a hidden mine shaft.
- Racing down and through the ride’s queue building, adventurers will brave Mystic River Falls’ grand finale, dropping 4.5 stories to the wettest splashdown in the park’s 60-year history.
- This final feature will make Mystic River Falls the tallest raft ride drop in the Western Hemisphere.
Mystic River Falls will be the highlight of a new themed area of the park called Rivertown, which represents Silver Dollar City’s largest investment in its long history. The entire project will cost an estimated $30 million, even surpassing the investment made in Time Traveler, a ride that debuted in 2018 as the world’s fastest, steepest and tallest spinning roller coaster.
The attraction will open during Silver Dollar City’s diamond jubilee, celebrating 60 years of the Herschend family entertaining the millions of families who have made this Ozark Mountain park a favorite vacation tradition. And to think: It all started with a hole in the ground.
Marvel Cave in Branson was among the most popular “show caves” in the 1950s and 1960s, and the Herschends developed Silver Dollar City’s rides, entertainment, crafts and food offerings to keep visitors amused above ground before or after they went under the earth to explore the cave.
Mystic River Falls calls upon that rich history for its theming and backstory, intermingling fact and fiction to arrive at an attraction that celebrates the spirit of adventure that’s part of the culture of the Ozark Mountains. An underground body of water that seems to come from and go nowhere, “Mystic River,” truly appears on the park’s historical maps as discovered and documented by botanist S. Fred Prince in the late 1800s. For the new ride, guests will be transported back to the 1880s in a storyline that revolves around a fictional character named Pearl Brazen, an intrepid explorer who’s eager to take them on a bold quest to find the headwaters of Mystic River.
From the moment park guests enter Rivertown, they’ll be caught up in the high-spirited feelings of celebration and excitement, with even the ride’s queue line offering glimpses of the adventure ahead. Guests in the queue will watch as their predecessors drop down a mine shaft and into the falls, disappearing with a giant splash. From there, the rafts will whirl wildly as they dodge looming boulders.
From the very start, Silver Dollar City has followed a philosophy of building itself around nature rather than the other way around. That commitment to preservation has resulted in some interesting twists and turns in ride construction, but it also means that if a tree must be removed here, it’ll be replaced by two. Being good stewards of the environment is at the very core of what Silver Dollar City is about … and the new ride’s mine shaft pays tribute to Marvel Cave, which has always been home to endangered bats and rare salamanders. The park sees this as one more opportunity to teach its guests about the preservation and protection of the Ozark Mountains and all that lives here.
Besides a commitment to the environment, Silver Dollar City is also known for its culinary offerings, which elevate “park food” to an entirely new level. Along with Mystic River Falls, next year Silver Dollar City will open its newest dining venue, Rivertown Smokehouse, which promises to serve the tastiest barbecue this side of the Mississippi in a 450-seat establishment that will be the largest restaurant in the park. The park’s food and beverage team has been busy crafting its menu, developing delicious items that will include smoked turkey and “Pearl’s Cookie Butter Sammies.”
Silver Dollar City’s 60th anniversary celebration will launch on May 1, 2020, with Mystic River Falls opening shortly afterwards. Tours of Marvel Cave are still offered every day that the park is open, and guests who take the last trip of the day are treated to a “lantern tour” that allows them to see the cave as it was originally explored. This means that in 2020, it will be entirely possible for park guests to step into the past by exploring the cave and then look toward the future by experiencing a record-breaking, game-changing water ride that reminds them what the Herschend family and the team at Silver Dollar City have always known and on which they’ve built their stellar reputation: The greatest adventures always lie ahead.