Silver Dollar City's Time Traveler spins an amazing ride

March 13, 2018, 2:33 PM · Before the advent of DeLoreans, flux capacitors, and long stretches of well paved roads where drivers could easily reach and sustain 88 miles per hour, inventors had to be very creative in their attempts to become Time Travelers. One such case in point from the 1880’s is Charles Henry and his precocious daughter, two dreamers with a desire to improve the world by inventing a machine that would navigate both time and space.

Having recently inherited his family’s clock making factory, Mr. Henry became fascinated by the notion that every passing minute of time is simply one more opportunity to make the world a better place. If he could somehow invent a machine that could manipulate that passage of time, each moment could then be maximized for the best outcomes. Furthermore, it was his hope that if given the ability to learn firsthand from the mistakes of the past, humanity could apply that knowledge to help drive a better, brighter future for everyone. Propelled by the mantra "Dream Big – Do Good" and the youthful optimism of his unwaveringly supportive daughter, Charles Henry, the 29-year-old inventor and clock maker, set out to build a Time Machine.

Time Traveler entrance

Taking inspiration from inventors, thinkers, and the creative masterminds at MACK Rides (as well as a generous monetary contribution from the overwhelmingly supportive townspeople of Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri), Charles Henry went to work. After many stops and starts, Time Traveler, Mr. Henry’s invaluable contribution to society, was born (for those interested, here are the specs on the fastest, tallest, and steepest spinning coaster he created).

Time Traveler specs
Graphic courtesy Silver Dollar City

And today, March 13, 2018, the leaders of Silver Dollar City have opened their doors to select guests, allowing them to experience Mr. Henry’s amazing invention for the very first time. My oldest son, Jacob, and I were on hand to report back our findings to the Theme Park Insider faithful. Here is our on-ride video:

What did we think of Time Traveler? In a nutshell, it is a fun, one of a kind experience. From the brilliantly constructed, three-story load house that is built to take full advantage of the park’s sweeping terrain, to the exhilarating, 10-story, 90-degree vertical drop as the trains leave the station, to the innovative spinning ride vehicles, the three inversions, the two Linear Synchronous Motor (LSM) launches (one horizontal and one inclined), and the 14 points in the circuit when the track is passing over or under itself, Charles Henry’s invention is a delightful, whole-family attraction.

First drop on Time Traveler

Time Traveler offers a smooth ride that is quick and comfortable from loading to unloading, with decent speed and some sweeping moments of weightlessness. Furthermore, it is yet another coaster addition that complements Silver Dollar City’s hilly terrain and provides a unique adventure in an already amazing park. For riders worried about the spin of the vehicle, worry no longer. Rather than the free spin that comes from sitting off balanced on typical spinning coasters, the ride vehicles for Time Traveler control that spin and provide an exhilarating change of perspective without the whirling motion that can turn some visitors a deep shade of green.


If we have one minor quibble with this coaster, it would be the length of the ride. With just over 3,000 feet of track, no lift hill, and multiple launches, Time Traveler has riders back in the station in two very quick minutes. Knowing MACK Rides’ pedigree for building long, world-famous coasters like Blue Fire and (especially) Helix, coaster enthusiasts might be a tad disappointed if they are expecting a lengthier experience. However, the pacing of the ride and the placement of the elements provides a progression that feels right and left these two intrepid reporters wanting to hop right back in line and ride again.

Minor quibble aside, Time Traveler is innovative, thrilling, beautiful, and fun. It hits all the right notes resulting in a symphony of coaster elements that merge beautifully together to provide an immersive ride experience that will keep Silver Dollar City visitors coming back time after time after time.

Replies (12)

March 13, 2018 at 2:42 PM ·

This might be enough for me to sell my son for medical experimentation and make the journey to SDC! Terrific article, well written and leaving me wanting more-like the on-ride video that hasn't shown up yet. Mr. Rao, please write more!

March 13, 2018 at 3:07 PM ·

Ha! Thanks, Jim. You'd love SDC - when are you coming for a visit?

For anyone, let me know if you have any questions. I didn't go into a ton of detail on the specs because that info is so readily available on the web. But if you need more info, let me know.

March 13, 2018 at 6:35 PM ·

Thanks for coming to see us!!'

March 13, 2018 at 9:12 PM ·

Wow, didn't think they'd pull off the spinning cars so well but it looks amazingly smooth.

March 13, 2018 at 10:35 PM ·

I was very skeptical of this ride when it was announced and thought the combination of spinning, launches, and inversions might be too much for the average rider to handle. After seeing the ride in action and hearing some first-hand accounts of the experience, my thoughts have turned completely around. While it doesn't look like a top coaster, it does appear to be a very good ride that should fit nicely for those who want the thrill level but not the intensity of a B&M or RMC. Barring unforeseen circumstances, I'm looking forward to making my way to Silver Dollar City next year to check out Time Traveler, Outlaw Run, and the rest of the park for myself.

March 14, 2018 at 1:13 AM ·

Nice review! The ride does seem short but enjoyable. I have been lobbying for a trip to SDC for years (have family who live on the Lake of the Ozarks) but to no success. It will happen someday. The place looks like great fun.

March 14, 2018 at 6:59 AM ·

Good review. I like how you discussed the theme of the ride, rather than just focusing on the technology. Along with the graphics and videos one really gets a feel for the experience.

March 14, 2018 at 8:54 AM ·

Looks like Cobra's Curse on steroids. I was pretty impressed with BGT's spinning coaster, and throwing in a few inversions and launches can't hurt. The 90-degree drop doesn't look that intimidating, but I guess every coaster needs some type of gimmick to make a "biggest", "best", "first", or "only" claim.

Are the queue house and station well themed?

March 14, 2018 at 10:13 AM ·

Looks great. I love Dollywood, so I’m sure I’d enjoy Silver Dollar City as well. Great to see you’re back James.

March 14, 2018 at 11:55 AM ·

Nice report, James! And I love the video. Wish I could have made it to the preview (knowing that you're in Missouri and would be covering this for TPI, got myself invited through another source but couldn't go due to the excessively high airfare on short notice so am going to SDC next week, as I was able to get a better deal then.) While it's true that this coaster is modest in dimensions, I put it as #2 (after Steel Vengeance) on my list of most eagerly anticipated coasters of 2018 b/c it's so different. Being launched sideways must have been a blast!

What Russell said about its looking like Cobra's Curse on steroids cracked me up. I got to ride Cobra's Curse for the 1st time in December and hadn't expected much from the ride but it turned out to be surprisingly good. Back to Time Traveler - it would appear from one of the other videos I watched that the queue house is extremely well themed, with an amazing collection of clocks.

March 14, 2018 at 5:58 PM ·

Thanks everyone. Glad you liked the article. I had a lot of fun experiencing Time Traveler and I was hoping that fun would translate through the written word. Perhaps some of it has!

Anyway, the load station is themed with some really great narrative touches. There is one spot where you can even hear a conversation between Charles Henry and his daughter, Emmaline. There are clocks hanging from the rafters and watch gears as well. There is also an area of wall set aside for a chalkboard where presumably Mr. Henry developed the equations for his 1880’s version of the Flux Capacitor which we all know is what makes time travel possible. Apparently as you progress through the queue from level one to level three where the train leaves the station you can trace Charles Henry’s progression from clock maker to time traveler. I didn’t quite pick up that much story, but then I didn’t linger in the queue too long.

Incidentally, on opening day today, the wait for the ride escalated quickly to about 2.5 hours, and operators were having some trouble with all the new tech which caused for some long load times. Bigger riders (especially those that carry their weight in their midsection) were challenged somewhat by the seats (though they are far more comfortable than the seats in Outlaw Run), which also caused some slowdowns. So, definitely try the test seat outside if you are concerned.

Nothing about the ride is particularly daunting, it is very much a family thrill coaster, but it is a bit disorienting even with a somewhat controlled spin. I should mention that today I rode with a larger man beside me and the spin was more pronounced. Still not a teacup ride (speaking of tea cup rides, the SDC tea cup ride spins faster than any other!), but the spin was noticeably better - which I enjoyed.

And yes, Bobbie, launching sideways WAS awesome! And today I got to launch backwards, also very fun. That’s the best thing about Time Traveler - you get a slightly different ride every time. Very repeatable.

I’ll be headed back to the park tomorrow as well - so if you need me to check out anything else let me know!

March 19, 2018 at 7:12 AM ·

Great write-up, James. I had the pleasure of riding Time Traveler twice last Friday morning. It's definitely a unique coaster. I did get the chance to ride Cobra's Curse before and feel Time Traveler is a better ride. The inversions on this new ride put it over the top. I recommend a trip to Silver Dollar City to check it out. We tried out the park in 2014 for the first time and have wound up back in Branson every year since. This ride is great for balancing out the park, offsetting the trio of coasters (Outlaw Run, Powder Keg, and Wildfire) on the other side.

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