Spinning makes every ride different
To give you an idea of why the spinning makes the Time Traveler such a different kind of ride, let’s walk through the full two-minute experience, which is literally different every time.
Time Traveler tells the story of an 1880s clockmaker and his daughter, who decide to dabble into time travel. The waiting area is themed to look like his workshop, from which a couple flights of stairs lead up to the ride’s loading area.
The cars have two seats facing forward, and two facing back, with four cars in a train. Once they’re loaded two gates open, and as the cars begin to spin one by one, they’re dropped 10 stories straight to the bottom. Depending on which way you’re facing, you might watch the ground hurtling towards you, you might watch the loading area speed off into the distance, or you might have a nice panoramic view of the Ozarks.
From there it’s straight into a full roll and a sharp curve before coming to a complete stop. Catch your breath, make some small talk with the car behind you as you face each other, then get ready to have your face peeled back. From a dead stop, you’re thrust to 47 mph in three seconds, which if you’re facing forward feels sticking your head out a sunroof on the freeway. Seated backward, it feels a little like takeoff on one of those old lounge-seating Southwest Airlines planes.
Once you’ve been sufficiently catapulted, it’s onto three inversions: a dive loop, a zero-G roll, and the vertical loop. The first holds the cars upside down while going through a full loop, making a blur of sky, mountain, and steel track as you spin. The second corkscrews the cars around the track while going up a hill. If you’re facing forward, it’s a dizzying look at the sky and horizon. Facing back, depending on where you are in the car, you get to see all your fellow riders with their hair flying in all directions, speeding through zero-gravity. The final is a scenic loop at the very top of the ride, where the spins allow a 360-degree view of Silver Dollar City and Branson beyond.
To finish, you’ll hit a second launch: this one from 30 to 45 mph in 3.7 seconds, making it the only spinning coaster with two launches. Compare this to Kingda Ka -- which shoots from 0-128 mph in 3.5 seconds -- and it seems like racing a bicycle against a Ferrari. But the beauty of a spinning coaster is that the ride is literally different every time, so breakneck speeds aren’t the only attraction.
All the fun, none of the nausea
Despite the spinning, the drops, the inversions, and the launches the Time Traveler isn’t even a little bit nauseating. I was able to knock back a couple of fried chicken sandwiches and the special Time Traveler ice cream and not once did I feel it on the ride. The chairs are more comfortable than most airplane seats and hold you in place remarkably well the entire time. But perhaps the most important thing to know about Time Traveler is that it’s just fun, and you’ll find yourself screaming through a giant grin that’s impossible to wipe off until the ride stops.