Fasten your seat belts and get ready for a wild ride. The new Time Traveler spinning coaster at Silver Dollar City made its public debut March 14, and will be luring roller coaster fans to the park near Branson throughout the season.

Time Traveler is not just another roller coaster. This one has coaster enthusiasts around the globe making plans to come to Missouri. The Time Traveler is hailed as the world's fastest, steepest and tallest complete-circuit spinning roller coaster. It's a ride like you've never had before. And each ride is unique, because of the spin.

Each four-passenger car offers a 360-degree spin that is controlled by the riders, so the experience will be different with every ride, every car, every time — no two rides alike.

The custom-designed ride is Silver Dollar City's biggest attraction to date, with an investment of $26 million. It's the latest addition to the 1880s-style theme park that was established by the Herschend family in 1960. Jack and Sherry Herschend, owners, were in the first car on the first ride on the March 13 preview day.

Silver Dollar City is the nation's largest family-owned themed attractions corporation, so it was only natural to turn to another family-owned business for the new ride. Founded in 1780 and in the family for eight generations, Mack Rides of Waldkirch, Germany, is known as one of the best coaster manufacturers in the world.

Brad Thomas, president of Silver Dollar City Attractions, said Silver Dollar City partnered with Mack Rides because of their long-standing reputation for delivering many of the best and most innovative rides in the entire industry.  

Christian von Elverfeldt, the CEO of Mack Rides, came to Branson for the Time Traveler debut. "The car is the most advanced roller coaster car in the industry," he said, "featuring a free-spinning rotation on a launched roller coaster. For the utmost comfort, an on-board magnetic brake limits the rotation speed to allow the most enjoyable ride experience."

That is the key to the family-friendly appeal of this record-breaking coaster, explained Thomas. “This coaster’s state-of-the-art controlled spin provides riders a unique thrill experience while still appealing to families.” Thomas was the initial advocate for delivering a ride like no other.

You can get a good sample of the ride by watching the videos posed on the Silver Dollar City website. Unlike most coasters that begin with a slow, clackety-clack ride to the top of a lift, Time Traveler’s thrills start at once. In the first seconds of the ride, the cars leave the station with a spin and immediately go into a 10-story drop, straight down. 

The track twists and loops, reaching heights of 100 feet, crossing over itself 14 times in total. Riders get not one launch, but two. The first goes from 0 to 47 mph in 3 seconds, and the second from 30 to 45 mph in 3.5 seconds. These high-speed launches give the effect of a “Time Machine.”   

“If you like rides, if you like unique experiences, and if you like thrills, you will love Time Traveler,” said Nick Breithaupt, of Silver Dollar City Attractions. “No matter which car you choose, your ride experience will be different every time.”

A nice footnote to the ride is the park's commitment to the environment. The track for the ride was designed to fit into the natural Ozarks landscape. For every tree that had to be removed, two or more trees were planted elsewhere in the park.

“Since Silver Dollar City’s opening day in 1960, guests have taken a journey back in time with unique and world-class experiences,” said Thomas. “We strive daily to continue that tradition through our rides, our festivals, our crafts and our food. That pursuit continues in 2018 with Time Traveler – a 'Revolutionary Coaster Ahead of Our Time'.”

I'm ready with my season pass to enjoy Time Traveler and the rest of the park to the fullest. See you there!

When you go:

Silver Dollar City opened part time on March 14, and will go to seven days a week on May 15. Be sure to check the online calendar for opening days and times. The first of six annual festivals is The Festival of Wonder, April 11 to 29.

For more information, visit www.silverdollarcity.com or call 800-831-4386.

For more information about the Branson area to use in planning your trip, visit www.explorebranson.com.