Why you want a Silver Dollar City season pass instead of day tickets

I remember visiting Silver Dollar City as a teenager in 1984. Forty years later, I returned. Here is what I learned.

The late 1800s theme of Silver Dollar City is like stepping back in time, but so is the entire theme park experience. The first shock is that parking is free. Today, most theme parks charge more for parking your car than an entire theme park ticket would have cost just a few decades ago. You can, of course, pay for closer parking, but if you are showing up early, you’ll be parked right along the border of the first tier of pay parking, so keep that in mind. They also have shuttles (the “Welcome Wagons”) to take you to the front entrance, in case the five minute walk is too much for you.

When it comes to admission, the prices seemed kind of high. As of 2024, the ticket costs where:

  • Adult (12-64) – $89 (2-day for $109, 3-day for $119)
  • Child (4-11) – $79

There are significant savings when buying a 2-day or 3-day ticket, as expected.

Silver Dollar City also offers season passes (not “annual” passes). A season pass is good for going during that season (2024), so if you bought one three weeks before the end of the season, you’d only get to use it for those three weeks.

The 2024 Season Passes were priced as follows:

  • Diamond – $279
  • Gold – $219
  • Silver – $159

The entry-level $159 pass gives you “unlimited visits” and a 10% discount off food and beverages. It is clearly cheaper to buy this pass if you planned to visit two times during the year, but if you were just going to go a few days in a row, and that is all, a day ticket is cheaper. (Just keep in mind, if you ate $100 of food, the pass would save you $10 off that, so depending on your food habits, your break-even might come sooner.)

It is the $219 and $279 pass that interested me, because they come with bonus “Bring-A-Friend” tickets, each good for a specific date range. For example, the Gold pass gives a bonus ticket:

  • March 28-May 10
  • May 11-June 7
  • June 8-July 12
  • August 5-18
  • December 2-30 (but not on a Saturday)

For Diamond, you get those dates, plus…

  • August 22-September 16

…and, Diamond also includes access to their White Water water park, and includes two bonus tickets for that as well.

You can also buy discount tickets (only one per day) for $40 if you have Gold, or $20 if you have Diamond.

Why does this matter?

Let’s say Mom, Dad and Daughter are going to Silver Dollar City one day, and one day only. If they buy tickets, it would be:

  • Mom – $89
  • Dad – $89
  • Daughter – $78

That is $256 before taxes and service fees. The full price will be $280.50 with taxes ($20.50) and online service fee ($3.00).

A Gold pass is $219 and it lets you buy an extra ticket for $40. For a party of three, Dad could buy a $219 pass, then use a Bring-A-Friend ticket for Mom, and $40 ticket for Daughter, making it cost $269. That is not a savings for this one trip, but clearly would be after a second visit versus single day tickets.

However, the Diamond pass includes a floating Bring-A-Friend ticket that can be used any time during the season — which means Dad could buy the $279 Diamond pass, then use one Bring-a-Friend for Mom, and the bonus Bring-A-Friend for Daughter, getting them all in for $279 ($303.30 after $23.30 in tax, and $1.00 in fees).

That means that the price difference of buying individual tickets ($280.50) versus a Diamond pass ($303.30) is just $22.80! If you buy meals in the park, the 20% discount Diamond gives can easily recover that. A $50 meal saves $10 right there, plus the Diamond (and Gold) pass come with a refill mug that gives you free drinks that first day (or pay $10.99 extra to upgrade it to “free drinks any time you visit all year”). Wowza.

If you absolutely knew you will never be coming back to Silver Dollar City, and absolutely know you don’t be spending more than $105 or so on food for three all day, then day tickets may be cheaper. But once you have that 20% food discount, it makes every meal purchase feel that much better.

And, if you are the type that would have bought the “drink al day refill mug” anyway, that’s an $17.99 savings because you get one with the pass.

It’s a tremendously good deal. I had no intention to buy a season pass for Silver Dollar City, but once I did the math, it just made sense. Just sitting and eating twice saved more than the tiny price difference from day tickets to season pass!

And now it means a road trip weekend gets cheaper, since Dad has a season pass, and if the trip is during a different Bring-A-Friend time, Mom will get another free ticket, and Daughter can get in for just $20.

And, considering the high cost of the separate attractions all around Branson, Missouri ($27 just to go to the amazing Butterfly Palace), having a Silver Dollar City pass gives cheap access to live entertainment, rides, discounted food and more.

Hope this helps… Photos from Silver Dollar City will be coming to my Theme Parks gallery as soon as I have time to sort them.

Until then…

Recording restrictions at Silver Dollar City

“It is better to beg forgiveness, than ask permission.”

Grace Murray Hopper

Although there is logic to this famous quote, I prefer to follow the rules when I am at a theme park. Many rules are there for safety reasons, after all. Other rules are there just because that is what the owner wants on their property. Fair enough.

If you do a bit of searching, you will find countless tales of folks getting kicked out of parks — or even having their annual/season pass revoked — for rule breaking. Others, however, freely break rules and share their exploits on YouTube and never get caught.

A big rule that gets broken is “no video recording.” You can find many mainstream YouTubers that frequently share videos taken in attractions that have signs clearly posted saying “no video recording.” Sometimes these are recorded at special publicity events where influencers are invited, or at a special before or after hours “coaster party” where they allow it, but generally they are just rule breaking. And often they know it —they will even include clips of the signs that say “no video recording.” 😉

I have been documenting theme parks through digital photos and video since 1996. When I visit a new park, I reach out to them to get clarification on the photography and video restrictions. Before a recent trip to Silver Dollar City, I watched many YouTube videos taken on pretty much every ride in the park. But, I did not assume this was allowed.

I contactedthe park for clarification — specifically about RiverBlast, a boat/water ride they had which is a version of a ride that is being installed at Universal’s upcoming Epic Universe park.

Thank you for reaching out to us. We greatly appreciate the email.

Regarding your request, River Blast is considered a ride at the park, so cameras and selfie sticks are not permitted on the ride, along with chest mounts and wrist mounts.

We definitely encourage you to take photos and videos of our park in guest-accessible areas. Regarding our rides, recording and photography are permitted only on the Frisco Silver Dollar Line steam train (so long as you keep all parts of your body inside the train cars) and Flooded Mine (same as the steam train).

Monopods and selfie sticks are typically fine while walking around the park so long as they don’t interfere with other families enjoying their day at the park.

Please let me know if you have any other questions I can help you with.

Thank you!

Silver Dollar City Communications Manager

So there you go. The only two rides they allow recording on are the Frisco Silver Dollar Line steam train, and the Flooded Mine shooting gallery boat ride.

If you see other videos that were clearly recorded during normal public hours of the park, you are likely just seeing rule breakers 😉

The more you know…