Review: Silver Dollar City

2:08 PM

As a child, my parents used to love visiting Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri. We used to go once a year and ride all of the rides, explore our favorite shops, and ride the train. When I was offered the chance to try visiting Silver Dollar City as an adult, I knew I had to! My kids are currently 8 and 10 years old, so they're the perfect ages for a road trip to Branson.

We were excited for the opportunity to visit Silver Dollar City during An Old Time Christmas festival. This year, there's a huge new area called Christmas in Midtown. This was my husband's favorite part of Silver Dollar City! Christmas in Midtown features light displays that are nine stories high! With Christmas in Midtown and the beautiful SDC decorations, there are over 6.5 million Christmas lights at SDC this year.

Here's some more important information:
One of the nation’s most acclaimed Christmas festivals, profiled by USA Today, CNN Travel, The Travel Channel and Good Morning America, is even bigger and brighter this year with an all-new area:
  • NEW: Christmas in Midtown, a 70,000 sq. ft. area filled with new light displays 9 stories high, including 30 angels, animated reindeer pulling a sleigh, 3 light tunnels, two 40-foot long moving trains, dozens of stars and snowflakes, and a 50-foot tree, all created at Silver Dollar City. Christmas in Midtown, the largest single lighting expansion to date in the past 2 decades of the festival, adds 1.5 million new lights, bringing the park’s total to 6.5 million lights!
  • Rudolph’s Holly Jolly™ Christmas Light Parade, led by the most famous reindeer of all, features musical lighted floats with 200,000 lights accompanied by 33 costumed characters.
  • Rudolph’s Christmas Town, where kids can meet Rudolph™, Clarice™ and Bumble™, also includes activities from Reindeer Games to cookie decorating.
  • Two original musical productions present Broadway-style experiences, with elaborate sets and talented casts: It’s a Wonderful Life, adapted from the Frank Capra classic, and the acclaimed production A Dickens’ Christmas Carol.
  • The Christmas on Main Street light & sound show features the 5-Story Special Effects Christmas Tree with over 350,000 colorful LED lights.
  • Tinker Junior’s Toy Shop is an interactive show for kids featuring a 12-foot talking and singing Christmas tree.
  • Kids can meet Santa in Santa Claus Lane, illuminated in colorful lights.
  • Plus, the festival presents holiday shows, a musical Living Nativity, shows, rides, shopping and new Silver Dollar City dining specialties.

During An Old Time Christmas, Silver Dollar City is open Thursdays – Sundays, plus Wednesdays Nov. 22 and December 20, and open after Christmas Dec. 26-30.

If that's not enough to convince you to hop in the car right now, let me tell you a little bit more about our time at Silver Dollar City.

First off, parking is super convenient. After living in Taiwan for two years, parking lots never cease to impress me. We chose to walk from the parking lot to the entrance. It took less than ten minutes; however, there are free shuttles that will take you directly to the entrance. If you're concerned about elderly relatives who may struggle to walk, don't let this stop you from visiting. SDC is very conscious of the needs of the families who visit, so there are many options for getting into the park. 

When you first enter the park, you'll go through a large gift shop and visitor center area. This is also where you'll take a tour for Marvel Cave if you're interested in that. We were anxious to get to the rides, so we skipped the cave; however, it's a fun experience if you love nature and natural beauty. Make sure you plan ahead to give yourself extra time if you're interested in exploring Marvel Cave on your visit to Silver Dollar City.

Once through the gift shop, we had the chance to explore several little shops. They had everything from jewelry to leather Bible covers to jackets to hats. There were toy shops and candy shops and more. We love to wander, so we had a great time exploring these little areas on our way to our first ride.

Along the way, we stopped to watch a gentleman chopping logs. My boys were excited to see a "real life lumberjack!" He was taking round logs and making them square. He took the time to stop and answer questions for any guests who were curious about the process. This was one of the many highlights of visiting SDC. I loved how friendly the staff members were when it came to answering questions for guests.

We also stopped and had a funnel cake and shared a soda. There were plenty of seating areas throughout the park, so we never felt rushed or like we were standing on our feet all day. One thing I will note is that while SDC is a very family-friendly environment, the prices are fairly normal amusement park prices. Make sure you plan ahead for this if you're going to have a meal at the park. You can purchase a re-usable SDC cup that offers less expensive refills as one way to minimize your costs while inside the park. 

While some of the water rides at SDC were closed due to the cold weather, there were still roller coasters open, as well as plenty of rides for smaller children. Both of my sons liked that there were some smaller rides available. While they like roller coasters, sometimes it's fun to do something a little less high up!

Silver Dollar City also has a really fun area called Fireman's Landing. This was the highlight for both of my boys. They loved this area. There's a space called Firefighter's Fire Drill where kids can climb, play, and shoot foam balls. This is also a great chance for Mom and Dad to rest. One of the BEST things about this is that there's a special area for smaller guest with an employee to ensure only smaller kids enter that area. I really appreciated that because when my kiddos were younger, I often worried about them playing with bigger, faster children. This also ensured that the big kids were able to play without accidentally tripping over smaller kiddos.

One thing you absolutely have to check out is the train ride. This has always been my favorite part of Silver Dollar City. (If you're a fan of the program accompanying the train ride - no spoilers! - note that the program is different during the winter time!) 

My family really enjoyed our visit to Silver Dollar City and can't wait to go back again next year. If you're thinking of visiting, you can find out more information at

Have you visited SDC? What did you think?

*Author's note: My family was provided with complimentary guest passes to SDC in exchange for a fair and honest review. Opinions expressed within this post and all photos are my own.

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