The tallest raft ride drop in the Western Hemisphere is coming to Silver Dollar City, after the park revealed plans to invest more than US$30m (€26.9m, £24.8m) into a number of new developments.
The US$23m (€20.6m, £19m) Mystic River Falls is the most significant part of the investment. Riders will travel almost half a mile in eight-person rafts, navigating hairpin turns, high tides and a hidden mine shaft during a five-minute journey. They will ascend an 82ft (25m) tall lift tower, rotating as they go through four platforms in the open air; then travel along a 66ft (20m) high and 180ft (55m) long elevated river channel, before they come to the grand finale – a 45ft (13.7m) drop to a wet splashdown.
Silver Dollar City said the proposed four-platform elevator lift tower is the only one of its kind in the world. Design and construction of the Mystic River Falls ride has been handled by Silver Dollar City, in partnership with RES Ride Engineers, Barr Engineering and Herschend Family Entertainment Corporate Development.
Mystic River Falls is set to be the highlight of a new 1880s-themed area of the park, called Rivertown. Within this area will be the Rivertown Smokehouse – the largest dining investment in the park's history. Here guests can sit among the 450 viewing seats along the banks of the Mystic River, enjoying BBQ food plus some new favourites. Silver Dollar City is investing US$4m (€3.6m, £3.3m) in this part of the park.
A historically-based, fictional character named Pearl Brazen has been created as part of a storyline set in the 1880s, in which intrepid explorer Brazen takes visitors on a quest to find the headwaters of the Mystic River.
Work has already begun on these developments, and Silver Dollar City hopes to open Mystic River Falls during Q2 2020. This will coincide with the park's 60th-anniversary celebrations, which formally begin in March 2020.
Before then, however, come Halloween and Christmas, both of which are subject to renewed investment plans by Silver Dollar City in 2019.
Q4 will see a Fall Harvest Festival, with a new concept called Pumpkin Nights, featuring more than 8,000 pumpkins, some live, some specially carved and illuminated. A black light dance party will keep the park open until 10pm on weekends, with some rides and attractions also open. During the day, a new acrobatic adventure called Cirque Eloize will perform, and there will be a new Makers' Market and autumn-themed food and drinks.
At Christmas, the park is adding an eight-storey special effects Christmas tree, combining colour, music and animated imagery to its An Old Time Christmas celebration, creating, says Silver Dollar City, an immersive experience called Joy on Town Square.