Silver Dollar City officials offered the media a peek behind the scenes Tuesday where a new water ride is being built. It's set to open next summer.
Mystic River Falls will replace the Lost River of the Ozarks water ride and is named for Mystic River, which appears on the park's historical maps, according to SDC, "as discovered and documented by botanist S. Fred Prince in the late 1800s." To this day, the Mystic River flows in Marvel Cave, which was the catalyst for Silver Dollar City. The Herschend family started the park so tourists to Marvel Cave could have something to do while waiting for their tours.
The history and legend of Marvel Cave, will be the theme of the $23 million attraction. It will feature an 82-foot-tall lift tower, which park officials say is the only one like it in the world to go that high. Riders will ascend the more than eight-story tower as their rafts rotate.
The rafts will connect to an elevated river channel suspended 66 feet in the air and will travel on the channel for 180 feet.
The attraction will take riders down a waterfall that's 4.5 stories high. Park officials say it's the tallest raft ride drop in the Western Hemisphere.
Al Fandrey is an engineer and project manager with Barr Engineering, which is working with Ride Engineer Switzerland on the project. Fandrey's firm was part of the Lost River of the Ozarks build 35 years ago. He describes the ride as "world class. I mean, there's nothing gonna be faster that we're aware of in the world than this ride. The water flow is right there at the top," he said. "From a flow standpoint, it's really, really fast. The curves are going to be highly banked, and the boats are going to around that with a lot of spinning, and it's going to be quick, and then you're going to slow down and catch your breath, you're going to go up a huge lift, and you're not going to catch your breath again until you splash down."
Roman Rothe is technical director with Ride Engineer Switzerland, describes the ride this way: "It looks good," he said. "It's new. It has absolutely brand new elements. It's the highest chute in the Western Hemisphere, and the theming is absolutely great."
Mystic River Falls will be part of a new themed area of the park called Rivertown, which will also feature a new restaurant, Rivertown Smokehouse, with views of Mystic River. The theme of the new area will be a high-spirited celebration to represent Silver Dollar City's Diamond Jubilee.
A Fall Harvest Festival was also announced for this fall, which will feature Pumpkin Nights, with more than 8000 illuminated pumpkins, some as high as four stories. There will be extended hours during the festival, a nighttime black light dance party, a new Maker's Market and a new acrobatic show from Canada, Cirque Eloize.
An Old Time Christmas will have a new custom-engineered and designed eight-story, lighted, special effects Christmas tree.
Silver Dollar City's 60th Anniversary Diamond Jubilee will begin in March 2020 when the park opens. An Anniversary Celebration will launch the weekend of May 1.
The total investment in the new projects is $30 million, which Silver Dollar City officals said is the largest investment made during a one-year time frame in the history of the theme park.