Launch - First Look November 2017


Rendering of “Time Traveler” features cars spinning on the train with the coaster’s ride station in the background (Credit: Silver Dollar City)

New Silver Dollar City Coaster Takes Riders on Trip
Through Time

by Keith Miller

A theme park styled after the American frontier of the 1880s will be home to a new, cutting-edge, custom-engineered steel roller coaster when Silver Dollar City (SDC) in Branson, Missouri, opens “Time Traveler” in spring 2018.

The ride will feature a 10-story, 90-degree drop, three inversions, and two linear synchronous motor (LSM) launches, but that’s not the $26 million coaster’s most celebrated feature. Each of the four cars on the ride’s three trains will continually spin 360 degrees during its journey around the coaster’s mountainous 3,020-foot-long circuit. Spinning cars are commonly found on smaller Wild Mouse-type rides, but not on large launched steel coasters. When SDC made the official announcement about “Time Traveler” in August, there was much excitement about the prospect of experiencing the coaster’s inversions in rotating cars. 

In fact, “Time Traveler” will set records for being the world’s tallest, fastest, and steepest full-circuit spinning coaster, and it will also be the first with a vertical loop and the first with three inversions—the other two inversions being a dive loop and a zero-gravity roll. Another tantalizing feature: After its trains depart the station, they immediately drop almost 100 feet straight down. “This has no clickety-clack up a lift,” says Brad Thomas, president of Silver Dollar City Attractions.

Although “Time Traveler” does feature spinning cars, the coaster’s designer, Mack Rides, developed what’s called “adjustable magnetic spin control.” During the high speeds and inversions, completely free-spinning cars could subject guests to some pretty fast rotations. SDC representatives became a little concerned about this after experiencing test rides on a free-spinning car attached to Mack Rides’ “Blue Fire Megacoaster” at Europa-Park in Rust, Germany. 

“After we’d done the test rides, we were concerned the spinning might be too high, so we designed something to reduce the spinning,” says Dennis Gordt, head of track development for Mack Rides. “We came up with the idea to include an onboard magnet so when the rotation starts to become too much, the magnetic force will increase and the spinning will be reduced, so it will be self-controlled and will never spin too much.”

What’s more, the park will be able to adjust the rate of spin on the cars to whatever degree it wishes. SDC wants the ride to appeal to families; its 51-inch height requirement will allow a lot of kids to ride, so being able to magnetically adjust the rate of spin will certainly help.

The coaster’s backstory involves a young scientist, inventor, and clockmaker named Charles Henry, his wife Anna, and 9-year-old daughter Emmaline. Henry is enthralled by the works of Jules Verne and is determined to build a machine that defies time. He creates “Time Traveler” and, with the help of his protégé daughter, invites people to experience its fast and whirling tour, which will leave riders wondering whether time is moving forward or backward.

But since time travel isn’t yet possible as far as we know, eager fans will have to wait until SDC opens in March for the 2018 season to give this intriguing new coaster a whirl.