For National Roller Coaster Day, Silver Dollar City officials unveiled its new $26 million roller coaster named Time Traveler.
Herschend Family Entertainment Corp.’s investment in the ride doubles that of the park’s most recently constructed coaster, Outlaw Run. Officials said Time Traveler is SDC’s largest project to date.
Features of the ride developed by Germany-based Mack Rides – currently involved with 10-20 other coasters worldwide – include 360-degree spinning cars as the coaster goes through three inversions and reaches 50.3 mph. It also has a 10-story, 90-degree drop after the coaster leaves the station. The Gekion Live Coaster in Tokyo, Japan, compares to the Time Traveler, said Duane Martin, founder of RollerCoasterDatabase.com, an online encyclopedia of coasters around the world. Operating since 2012, the Gekion is also a spinning coaster with a length of 984 feet.
Dennis Gordt, head of track development and simulation at Mack Rides, said the coaster is one of the largest he’s helped create. The largest Mack Rides has developed is in Gothenburg, Sweden. It’s called The Helix.
“This one is not much smaller,” Gordt said. Though, what made this coaster challenging was the topography, he added.
“We’ve made it very exciting. To get the chance to have such an elevated station and doing the vertical drop directly from the beginning makes it a unique piece,” he said.
In promotional efforts for the new coaster, SDC is releasing a branded Time Traveler ice cream product in partnership with Hiland Dairy, said SDC General Manager Brad Thomas, in a YouTube livestream of the reveal to members of the media Aug. 16. Park officials and several world-recognized experts in amusement parks were in attendance, including Martin.
He estimates he’s ridden around 700 different roller coasters – and the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, resident said he’ll return to ride Time Traveler.
Though there are roller coasters larger than Time Traveler, Martin confirmed the ride is the world’s tallest, full-circuit spinning coaster.
“There’s some really big roller coasters out there, but they don’t have spinning cars,” Martin said.
Expedition Everest at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, is known to be the world’s most expensive coaster at $100 million, Martin said.
“It’s going to always be Disney,” he said. “The reason is, you have the ride hardware cost and the whole attraction cost. The coaster is built within a 200-foot tall peak. And this is Disney. They don’t just say, ‘Make a thing that looks like a mountain.’ No, No. They say, ‘This is a replica of the top of Mount Everest.’”
Rumors of the new SDC ride, easily visible from the queue lines of Thunderation, floated about since April, when park officials confirmed a unique project was underway.
Consider the rest of the amusement park’s coasters. The Springfield Business Journal did a little of its own time traveling and took a look back at the park’s progress.
Fire In The Hole
Operating since 1972, Fire In The Hole is one of SDC’s oldest attractions, said Lisa Rau, director of publicity for the park. Its theme is centered on the history of the Ozarks and the old Bald Knobbers – a group of vigilantes in 1800s, who mostly sided with the North in the American Civil War. Though most of the ride is made up of scenery and is calm, it’s the three drops on the ride – Fire in the hole! – that allow it to be considered a roller coaster. SDC could not confirm the ride’s investment.
SDC’s first true coaster came in 1993. Its track layout is based on the shape of the terrain, reaching 48 mph while spiraling into an 81-foot drop into an underground tunnel. After 1994, some cars on the ride faced backwards, heightening the thrill, but after 2011, all were facing forward again due to safety concerns. SDC could not confirm the ride’s investment.
SDC introduced its first steel coaster, designed by European firm Ingenieurburo Stengel GmbH, in 2001. At $14 million, Wildfire has five inversions and a 155-foot drop, and travels up to 66 mph. Wildfire also has a theme – an 1880s Ozarks tale of inventor Horatio Harris, who was working on a flying machine. Wildfire was the name of its fuel, according to Martin’s RollerCoasterDatabase.com.
This coaster, also manufactured by Ingenieurburo Stengel GmbH, moves from 0 to 53 mph in just 2.8 seconds. The ride, open since 2005, has since been carrying 1,000 riders per hour dropping them from heights of 110 feet through a mountainous terrain. SDC could not confirm the ride’s investment.
When Outlaw Run opened in 2013, it made history. It was the first wooden coaster in the world with a 90-degree drop, according to Thomas. Designed by American engineer Alan Schilke, Outlaw Run still features the world’s first and only wooden double barrell roll, and the $13 million coaster was noted in the 2015 Guinness Book of World Records for being the second-fastest wooden coaster at 68 mph.
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