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SBJ Editor Eric Olson, right, interviews Silver Dollar City President Brad Thomas.
SBJ photo by Wes Hamilton
SBJ Editor Eric Olson, right, interviews Silver Dollar City President Brad Thomas.

Silver Dollar City seeks back-to-back attendance records

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With the addition of its $26 million Time Traveler roller coaster, Silver Dollar City is projecting another record year in attendance.

In a live interview this morning for Springfield Business Journal’s 12 People You Need to Know series, Silver Dollar City President Brad Thomas said attendance topped 2.1 million visitors last year. This year, park officials project 100,0000 more visitors.

“Those 100,000 incremental visits — and hopefully even more — definitely impact tourism in Branson,” he said in the interview with SBJ Editorial Director Eric Olson. “What a ride like this will do, not only for Branson but Silver Dollar City, is it helps raise the bar so that people will have exposure to us, have exposure to the fun of vacationing in the Ozarks.”

Thomas pointed to coverage of Time Traveler on NBC’s “Today” morning TV show, as well as USA Today and other national media reports.

“That’s exposure that has payoffs far beyond just the year of 2018,” he said.

Time Traveler opened March 14 to correspond with the first day of Silver Dollar City’s spring season. The ride features a 10-story, 90-degree drop and reaches 50.3 mph with three inversions and 360-degree spinning cars designed by Germany-based Mack Rides.

Contrary to some beliefs, Thomas said Time Traveler is “not a teacup on tracks” that constantly spins. Rather, the controlled spin system is less taxing on its riders, he said.

“They want rides that mom and dad can ride with the kids,” he said of Silver Dollar City’s customer base. “They want thrill, but they want fun.”

This morning, Thomas also announced plans to reward $500 bonuses to employees who worked at least 1,000 hours in 2017 and returned to the park for service this year. He said the bonuses would be awarded in May. During its peak season, Silver Dollar City has a couple thousand employees, he said.

“That is substantial, but it goes back to that strategy of rewarding those who are with us and trying to prevent the turnover,” Thomas said. “We have to be creative. We have to retain star employees.”

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