Participants: Mom, Dad, 14-yr-old son, 3-yr-old daughter
Day 1: Arrived Branson in mid-afternoon and stopped at the Branson Tourism office, where we picked up the discounted Dixie Stampede tickets we had bought online (saved $10/ticket) and bought two-day Silver Dollar City passes for the price of one-day tickets. We were advised that we could save $109 by taking a timeshare presentation, but we passed. Our original plan was to go to SDC that afternoon, but it was raining, so we decided we’d go down to the Landing, A the Landing, we arrived during a dry spell and made it to Cantina Loredo. It is a very nice Mexican restaurant and I could see where some folks would love it, but only about half of the items we ate were especially good. The rest was between bland and just okay. While eating, we got a glimpse of the hourly water and fire display, which lasted about 2 minutes. We would have like to see it again, but opted against waiting an hour for 2 minutes of entertainment. Plus it was pouring when we left. Instead, we headed to Dick’s 5 & 10. It’s an old fashioned dime store with an eclectic mix of decorative, collectible and just fun items. We had a good time walking through, although we had to keep an eye on our 3-yr-old as some expensive, breakable items were within easy reach in the crowded aisles. It’s a neat place – brought back memories of what stores were like back in the 60’s.
Day 2: The forecast called for more rain, so we opted to go to SDC after 3 PM so we could go again on days 3 and 4 of our trip. We enjoyed our breakfast at our hotel – Boxcar Willies – then took a swim in their large indoor pool, which we had to ourselves. There was a whirlpool and sauna there also, which we didn’t use. I will post a review of the hotel next (highest rating for me due to the low price on Hotels.com). Late in the morning we went to the IMAX and saw Wild Safari. A nice way to kill an hour, although it wasn’t the most exciting film. We considered seeing a show instead, but the timing wasn’t right at any of them for us to make it to SDC by 3 (important because the park closed at 7). For lunch we went to the Hard Luck Diner. This was one of the highlights of our trip. I had read about it in TA, but forgot the waitstaff were all singers. They break from serving in rotation to sing a song karaoke style. The five servers were all very talented. The food was very good also. Even though it’s not my kind of music (show-tune / uplifting gospel type stuff) it was still fun and impossible not to appreciate the talent. Our waiter was Jason from American Idol (top 20 finish a couple years back). In the afternoon, we went to SDC and really enjoyed the rides. We stayed for the 7 PM Great American Country show, which again had very talented performers and again featured music I didn’t like and hokey humor. A very good show if you like country music, though, especially since it’s included with the entry price. We left half-way through with a lot of other people (little one’s bedtime).
Day 3: More SDC – they have great rides for little ones. Our little girl had about 10 rides she could go on. A couple were scary enough that she didn’t want to go back, but she still had a great time. The best thing about SDC is there are lots of little interesting side attractions, such as iron forging, candy making, glass blowing, woodworking, story telling and little musical groups. The old farm buildings, school house and church were also neat. We didn’t take the Marvel Cave tour this time, but we had in the past and it’s a nice alternative to the rides. By the way, the Powder Keg ride is the most breathtaking ride I’ve ever been on. We left mid-afternoon to go back to the room and clean up before the Dixie Stampede show, which was scheduled to start at 4:30. We arrived about 45 minutes ahead of time and found a seat in the “warm up” area, where we learned the warm up act wasn’t going to start until 4:40. So we had almost an hour to just sit there and wait. 3-yr-olds don’t enjoy this. The warm up act was a juggler and he was exceptionally talented and funny, too. As for the show, the food was very good, it was extremely cramped for eating and the entertainment was top-notch, with more country music (again, not my favorite, plus it appeared to be lip-synched - understandable for people riding horses). The show moved along very quickly - fast enough that you barely notice it’s kind of hokey. For me, the talent of the acts trumps the hokiness. My 14 yr old son had about the same attitude as me. Although he’s a vehement country music hater, he still appreciated the talent of the acts and enjoyed a few of them quite a bit. It was better than I expected and I’m glad we went. After the show, we went to Andy’s for frozen custard – excellent.
Day 4: SDC once again – hit all the rides we hadn’t seen the two days before. It was very hot, so the water rides were refreshing. Left for home mid-afternoon.
A great trip overall. Happy to answer any questions.