With an 8:30 scheduled departure time this morning from the hotel, our travel party began arriving at the deluxe continental breakfast by ones and twos between 7:30 and 8:00. Everybody needed to get a nutritious well-balanced sugar-filled breakfast to power them through our day at Silver Dollar City. After all, today is a big day – Marissa turns 11! Happy Birthday Marissa!
Before we left the hotel this morning, Stephanie and I presented each of the kids $50 to spend on whatever they wanted during our trip. Minutes later, we are ready to go but I notice Mallory has laid her $50 on top of the laptop. That is obviously not a good place to leave money, so we advised her to hide the money. She responded by putting it under the laptop. Great idea, Mallory! No thief would come into our room and move the laptop!
When we pulled into the Silver Dollar City parking lot, I was pleased to see that parking is free. That is something you don’t see at every theme park. We arrived well before it officially opened at 9:30. This gave us time to enter the park and get situated nearest to the rides we wanted to get on first, before they dropped the chains at the opening bell.
As a bonus of arriving before the park opening, we got to experience the Pledge of Allegiance, the raising of the flag, and the singing of the National Anthem. If you are not into patriotism, let’s be very clear – you will not enjoy your time at Silver Dollar City.
Once the park opened, we made a beeline for one of the roller coasters, the Wildfire. We were maybe second in line for the ride. For whatever reason, Mallory did not want to ride, and much to my surprise, both my Mom and Marissa did. This is completely out of character for Marissa and we were very proud of her for getting on this massive roller coaster. Our review: this was KK’s favorite ride. He loves it when the ride is so smooth.
From there, it was more and more rides. The Powder Keg was a close-by wooden roller coaster. Our review: nobody cared much for this one. Too rickety. “It feels like you are getting pushed down the stairs in a shopping card with one bad wheel.”
The Giant Barn Swing is essentially what the name implies. Stephanie, Miles and Mallory rode it while the rest of us took a breather. Our review: thumbs up. Later, KK and I rode it with Steph and Mallory. We like it when your rear separates from the seat.
Outlaw Run is the park’s newest roller coaster, opening in 2013. It is the second fastest wooden roller coaster in the world, and the first drop in the ride is the steepest in the world at 81 degrees. Our review: this was my favorite ride in the park. Mainly because of the corkscrew effect toward the end, which featured three inversions.
After all these rides, the crew was getting hungry. Would we be able to find anything deep fat fried at the park? Oh yes we would. Mallory and I bought some popcorn and the rest of our crew purchased some spiral taters on a stick. The taters are flash fried and then you can shake whatever topping you want on them. We ate everything but the stick.
Once we consumed our snack, our group split up. KK and PK went to see a Cajun music show and then some cloggers. (I should point out that on most years, on July 16, the park visitors would be clamoring for the indoor shows to escape the heat. But not this year. It is unseasonably cool, and the high temperature today was 79. Never broke a sweat today.)
We hit some of the old-time, traditional rides at the park including Fire In The Hole, Flooded Mine, and Thunderation. There was only one time all day when all five of us did not get on the same ride, and that was Thunderation. Through a quirk, I rode the train with Mallory and Marissa, then Stephanie and Miles got on when we got off. But their train never got to the station. Their ride got stuck (supposedly it lost air pressure) around 50 feet from finishing the ride. Everyone on the ride was stuck for about 15 minutes until the maintenance crew could come rescue everybody, car by car.
Miles tells a great story about a boy around 9 years old sitting two rows ahead of them. He screamed bloody murder the entire time, and when a passenger that was not on the train joked to them that they would be stuck there for a few hours, the wailing got even louder. As a result of their pain and suffering, we received the Silver Dollar City equivalent of a FastPass. A paper ticket that we could use at any ride today for immediate boarding. All we had to do was pick a ride and go in through the Exit, and hand the voucher to the attendant. That’s not awkward at all.
While we were waiting for our family to be released from the ride, I had the following conversation with Marissa:
Marissa: I hope they get unstuck soon.
Me: I do too.
Marissa: They have the money.
We departed the park around 4:00. KK and PK had left much earlier. Not only were we tired, we were hungry. We had never eaten a real meal at the park, instead munching on popcorn, taters, funnel cakes, and frozen lemonade. We drove back to the hotel and picked up KK and PK and took off for Hooks and Ladders in Hollister.
This pizza place was recommended to me by a local, and oh man oh man, we would give it the highest recommendation. When we arrived a little before 6:00, it was our party of 7 plus one other customer. And despite numerous offers by PK for her to join us at our table, she kept her distance.
Hooks and Ladders features a (Spoiler Alert) fire department theme. There was a fire truck parked out front, and the staff dress in firefighter pants.
We ordered a calzone as an appetizer, and three pizzas. Everything was outstanding. Great food, and considerably cheaper than our dinner last night at Danna’s BBQ.
When we left, the dining room was nearly packed and people were still coming in. The people of Hollister know and appreciate fine pizza.
After a stop at the grocery store for cake and ice cream, we had our birthday celebration for Marissa in our hotel room. I must say that our room had great acoustics for our rendition of Happy Birthday.
What goes better with cake and ice cream than swimming? Everyone changed and made their way downstairs to the pool. Did I mention it was unseasonably cool? The temperature in the swimming pool reflected that. Brrrr.
The absolute highlight of the day was KK and PK making their appearance at the pool. They made their way around the pool, held hands at the edge, and jumped in the pool together. I am pretty sure that every person at the pool enjoyed it as much as I did. Way to go parents – you are an inspiration!!