Author Topic: 2023 Crowds / Trip Reports  (Read 17036 times)

kbosch1

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Re: 2023 Crowds / Trip Reports
« Reply #60 on: October 02, 2023, 10:00:33 AM »
And the tram  situation was embarrassing. We waited over 15 minutes for one to take us to the park around noon. We walked back to our car at stop 2 around 8:45. Probably took us closer to 10 minutes because of the amount of people walking and my daughter loosing a sock. In that time, we never saw a tram or bus pass by us to go to stop 2 or 3. They were loading busses and trams when we headed down our vehicle but they never delivered any passengers. Took 5ish minutes to get settled in the car and pull off. Still no one had arrived via transportation. I hope they fix things before Christmas because it will be an absolute nightmare if they don’t improve it.

We saw the same thing on our last visit in August.  We got in line for a tram and waited over 20-30 mins before ever seeing one come down to stop 3.  We saw 1 or 2 hit Stop 2 during our wait.  I am not sure if they are planning it this way, or if they don't have workers, but for their 2 biggest festivals, hopefully they figure it out

sdcfan88

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Re: 2023 Crowds / Trip Reports
« Reply #61 on: October 05, 2023, 03:23:21 PM »
I have noticed that for a while too, I have suspicions this is the beginning of a "perk" gimmick to push preferred parking sales.
"Guests utilizing preferred parking also get expedited access to the park with faster tram routes!"
« Last Edit: October 07, 2023, 05:07:45 PM by sdcfan88 »

Duelist

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Re: 2023 Crowds / Trip Reports
« Reply #62 on: October 07, 2023, 04:58:46 PM »
And the tram  situation was embarrassing. We waited over 15 minutes for one to take us to the park around noon. We walked back to our car at stop 2 around 8:45. Probably took us closer to 10 minutes because of the amount of people walking and my daughter loosing a sock. In that time, we never saw a tram or bus pass by us to go to stop 2 or 3. They were loading busses and trams when we headed down our vehicle but they never delivered any passengers. Took 5ish minutes to get settled in the car and pull off. Still no one had arrived via transportation. I hope they fix things before Christmas because it will be an absolute nightmare if they don’t improve it.



We saw the same thing on our last visit in August.  We got in line for a tram and waited over 20-30 mins before ever seeing one come down to stop 3.  We saw 1 or 2 hit Stop 2 during our wait.  I am not sure if they are planning it this way, or if they don't have workers, but for their 2 biggest festivals, hopefully they figure it out

We were there this Thursday and Friday.  The trams arrived very quickly both days.  Also the line for food was getting long at the Riverside Smokehouse and they opened an additional serving line.  I wasn't even aware there was a different serving station to the right.  So they did great in our eyes those days.
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shavethewhales

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Re: 2023 Crowds / Trip Reports
« Reply #63 on: October 09, 2023, 08:44:52 AM »
Trams were pretty continuous on my last trip in August. I'm guessing it's just a typical issue of staffing and trams being down. I'm sure they are aware and will fix accordingly. Some days are just better than others with operational issues.


ThemeParkFan

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Re: 2023 Crowds / Trip Reports
« Reply #64 on: October 09, 2023, 09:33:33 PM »
Had a wonderful trip this weekend, my first of the year. I was on the fence for a variety of reasons to visit now or just wait until December, but I bit the bullet and ultimately I'm glad I did.

One of the big reasons I was hesitant was because I slipped on the ice in January, and had to have ankle surgery. It's been a long recovery process, and for much of the last year the ankle can only take so much before it needs to rest. Furthermore, it's been very sensitive to inclines and slopes-something SDC has more of than most any other park I can think of. I'm happy to say that I may have turned a corner, because at no point did my ankle give me any grief during (or after) my two days at SDC!

In terms of unambiguous improvements, I have to say, the parking lot redesign was much needed. Granted, I only parked near the new Stop 2, but the process of getting out of the lot especially has been streamlined for the better. Overall I felt the new lot is much more functional and fixes problems I hadn't even realized were problems. The aforementioned issue with trams was not one I experienced, and in fact I'd say they were among the best staffed I have EVER seen with trams. They had plenty running and were getting people to and from the park very quickly-I was actually very impressed with how smoothly everything ran. 

The park was slammed, so ultimately I didn't ride many of the coasters. At this point, I've done them all so many times that I'm just not willing to wait beyond a certain threshold, and that threshold was reached many times over during the last two days. As much as I love the original, more quaint areas of the park, on days like this weekend, pretty much everywhere was slammed, and it was quite clear that many of the older smaller structures and areas of the park (Bakery, Grist Mill, etc) were struggling to meet demand. To the park's credit, it seemed like the park was for the most part staffed appropriately to handle the crowds.

There is palpable enthusiasm for everything FITH at the moment, which is nice to see. I really hope they deliver with the new version, because it's clearly been embraced as a park signature by guests. By contrast, I am a bit concerned for the future of Flooded Mine, which also seems primed for an overhaul (basically none of the guns in my boat worked properly, in addition to the ride being visibly quite old in every respect), but pointedly has always seemed to me a distant second in the mind of the public when compared to to FITH, even before that ride's closure was announced. I must confess that while I appreciate that it's there, I don't know if I can really say I love it in the same way I love FITH, so perhaps I'm just projecting my own feelings and presuming to speak for everyone else on the topic here. But the fact that the ride on most days only gets a line around the time the train boards to me is pretty telling. They certainly could/should invest in a proper refresh and make the entrance to the ride more noticeable, but will they? I'm uncertain that they will.

It was quite cold on Saturday, and I didn't put enough thought into the weather when I packed, so it was quite chilly much of the day. Definitely my fault for failing to adequately prepare for the conditions. At least I wasn't one of the teens riding Mystic River Falls after the sun had gone down and it was 50 degrees (but it was fun to listen to them scream as they came to realize what a bad idea it was to go on that ride in those conditions).

Foodwise, new to me things I tried were the Pumpkin Whoopie Pie, the Pumpkin Chili, the Salted Caramel Chocolate Cheesecake Funnel Cake, the Sausage and Potato Skillet, and the chicken sandwich from Time Traveler's Stop. The whoopie pie was too sweet for me, but I really enjoyed everything else.

Entertainment-wise, I'm happy that I got to see the 50th Saloon Show and 'normal' train robbery (though I was a bit too far back to hear what was being said-they could stand to invest in better mics here), but the real surprise was walking by the Homestead and seeing Aunt Judy! For whatever reason, she is the one person I remember from my first visit to the park in 05, and so to me she IS Silver Dollar City in a way no one else quite matches. In my head she had retired (I'm fairly certain the last time I saw her was a few years before covid), so it was a pleasant surprise to see her there. And when she finished, I was in place for the Pickers. In my head, Danny had already retired during the summer season, so it was a shock to see him come out and perform with the group, but very much a positive one. He's going to be hard to replace-so much of the comedy and antics come from him and him alone. I also saw the new show at the Dockside, and I have mixed feelings-on one hand, it was nice to see something a bit more modern at the park, but the musicians didn't quite mesh with each other in the way they needed to for the music to really soar. I did notice at one point when I was over by the pottery store that I heard music that sounded distinctly louder and more modern than what I'm used to hearing at the City, and eventually it became clear that it was from this show. Not bad, per se, but an idea/group that could benefit from a little fine-tuning IMO.

One new-to-me happening was seeing them use the Shingle Saw on Saturday. Mostly I overheard this while watching the Pickers, and by the time I made it over, I had missed the demonstration. But I talked to the citizen over there, and she explained that it was the first time they had fired it up since 2019 (I had never seen or heard of this happening and was convinced it was just a static prop at this point). She encouraged me to come back at 3 where they would, if the machine cooperated, do the demo one last time. I didn't quite make it in time, but did get to hear some of the stories. I don't believe the Shingle Saw fired up for the 3:00 demo, and it appeared that there may have been an issue, because there were no signs of life at all yesterday. The citizen I had talked to recognized me and must have felt bad that I missed the demo, because she insisted I take a cedar shingle that had been cut from the saw for my closet, which is definitely the most unusual park souvenir I've ever received. I'm bummed that I missed seeing the shingle saw in action, but hey, I got a free shingle out of the experience at least!

I'm sure the pumpkins were expanded from last year, but it didn't really feel like it to me. Personally, I'm ready for them to change it up a little at this point. 

The Pathfinder, which shrunk in 2020 but then grew back a bit last year has shrunken a bit again. I don't much care for being directed to look up the seasonal menus through a QR code. Not something that's the doing of SDC here, as more and more parks just don't offer maps or brochures at all anymore, but disappointing for me as someone who likes to collect these things.

Overall it was a great visit and I'm so happy I visited! Hopefully the OTC visit will be just as enjoyable.

kbosch1

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Re: 2023 Crowds / Trip Reports
« Reply #65 on: October 10, 2023, 09:47:09 AM »
Great review TPF!!  We head down this week, and looking forward to it.

Pudgy Jones

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Re: 2023 Crowds / Trip Reports
« Reply #66 on: October 30, 2023, 10:09:33 AM »
Had a great trip to the city this weekend. The weather on Saturday was a bit rough, but it kept the crowds down. Every ride we wanted to ride was operating, and the lines were all walk-ons. I've gotten to the point where I'd rather visit the city on bad weather days because of the diminished crowds. Plus, the rain just adds another dimension to the park, particularly in the fall.

I felt like the city was firing on all cylinders this weekend. All of the crafters we expected to see were there, plus a few more. The old carousel barn, i.e. Cowboy Emporium, was full, whereas last year it felt empty. Our family loves this festival, and look forward to visiting with the craft vendors every year. We appreciate the fact that the PTB recognize that this is still important to some visitors to the park, and would love to see it expanded back to what it once was. We visited with 3 generations of family, and the park really offers something for every generation particularly during the craft festival.

As far as rides, ride operations seemed to be going very well. There was a 35 minute wait for FITH, and at one point they had to stop and add a 4th train. Lots of love is being shown to the ride in it's final days. Flooded Mine has had some updates including new uniforms for the inmates. The only ride ops issue I had was on our train ride. We were in car 1, and you could not hear Alfie and Ralphie at all in our car. Also, I did not ride TNT, but others in my group did, and they said it was REALLY rough.

We watched the saloon show, and it was great as always. We also watched Emily Flatness, and she's just a jewel. She will be a great addition to the Homestead Pickers. We got to visit a bit with Terry Sanders and some of his multiple personalities.

All in all, it was a great trip, and another weekend of family memories made in the city!

Pudgy Jones

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Re: 2023 Crowds / Trip Reports
« Reply #67 on: November 27, 2023, 09:32:42 AM »
I visited the city on Saturday, and was pleasantly surprised with the crowd size. Several citizens told me there were 22,000 through the park. I've been there when 29,000 came through on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. While I'm sure the PTB likes the big numbers, the smaller crowd made the visit much more pleasurable. We were able to ride a few rides, get food without waiting an excessive amount of time, and actually walk on the streets and in the stores!

I'm sure it must be a total crap shoot for the PTB to estimate crowd sizes, and make a determination about inventory needs, staffing, etc. The weather was great on Saturday, and I would have bet anything that it would have been terribly crowded. But, when compared to prior years on the same weekend, it was not.

mg

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Re: 2023 Crowds / Trip Reports
« Reply #68 on: November 27, 2023, 11:52:39 AM »
The traffic and parking lot upgrades seem to be doing a good job. We arrived just before 4 on Thanksgiving and were surprised to not hit traffic until the paid parking booths. It wasn't for lack of people arriving, the lots that you can see from the paid parking booths were already filling up.

shavethewhales

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Re: 2023 Crowds / Trip Reports
« Reply #69 on: November 27, 2023, 04:20:38 PM »
I've been told crowds in general have been lighter this year. Between the costs of inflation causing some to pull back on vacations, people waiting for next year since there hasn't been a new ride in awhile, and people scared of the crowds from previous years - it feels like the park has been fighting the headwinds lately.

2024 is shaping up to be a good year though. Once they get that resort going I think they will rise another notch in attendance since full fledged theme park resorts are very attractive for a lot of families.

Will be interesting to see the impact of the Vinita park in the long term though... but I guess they will cross that bridge when they come to it seeing as the Vinita park still has a lot to prove.

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Re: 2023 Crowds / Trip Reports
« Reply #70 on: November 28, 2023, 06:04:47 PM »
Will be interesting to see the impact of the Vinita park in the long term though... but I guess they will cross that bridge when they come to it seeing as the Vinita park still has a lot to prove.

There’s zero concern about the “Vinita park” within the ranks.  There’s little to zero chance that park ever gets built and especially not at the budget that they’re quoting. 
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Re: 2023 Crowds / Trip Reports
« Reply #71 on: December 03, 2023, 12:11:21 PM »
A few weeks ago we received a postcard in the mail from SDC offering 4 Bring A Friend passes for any day other than Saturday for $20 each and 4 Bring A Friend passes for Saturdays during OTC for $40 each.  I was really surprised to see them offer discount Saturday tickets seeing as how Saturdays can get insanely busy anyway.
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Zumwalta

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Re: 2023 Crowds / Trip Reports
« Reply #72 on: December 13, 2023, 11:58:58 AM »
The family is planning on visiting next week sometime. Is the park comparable to last year?

We are excited to ride the train into the woods to hear from Grandpa. Last year, listening in the wood chips area was neat, but it will be good to get back to tradition. My littlest wants to ride Fire in the Hole, and it would be their first and last chance on that particular ride. So many memories...

kbosch1

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Re: 2023 Crowds / Trip Reports
« Reply #73 on: December 13, 2023, 02:29:30 PM »
The family is planning on visiting next week sometime. Is the park comparable to last year?

We are excited to ride the train into the woods to hear from Grandpa. Last year, listening in the wood chips area was neat, but it will be good to get back to tradition. My littlest wants to ride Fire in the Hole, and it would be their first and last chance on that particular ride. So many memories...

We've been to OTC twice this year.  The train is running this year, and most days they have 2 trains going so the line moves pretty quick, no matter how long.  Crowds are are on point on Fridays and Saturdays, as most years.  I've seen some posts, recently, of slow days during the week.  FITH will have a LONG line too, but they are moving pretty quick.  We were just there Friday and the line was longer than the queue they have for it and it took less than 30 mins.  Most rides are relatively low wait times during OTC, it seems.  Just get there when the park opens (or even a littler sooner), and you'll be fine. 

sdcfan88

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Re: 2023 Crowds / Trip Reports
« Reply #74 on: December 13, 2023, 04:39:15 PM »
I'm gonna try to get one maybe two more trips in this year, definitely gonna pick a Monday for sure. That seems to be the best day if you don't wanna battle the crowds during this event.