Why 2017 is the Year of the Drop Tower Ride
We already unveiled our top ten most anticipated roller coasters for 2017 (and hopefully will be riding the number one coaster on our list next month). While 2017 is a weaker year for new coasters, it’s going to be a great year for another type of scream machine: the drop tower ride! Two of the nation’s largest regional parks are finally filling the drop tower void in their attraction lineup. A relatively unknown park is going to be put on the map and become a travel destination of thrill seekers for their unique addition. And one of the most popular drop rides is getting an unpopular makeover. Below is our list of new drop tower rides to check out in 2017.
Drop Line – Dollywood
Scheduled to open in May 2017, Drop Line is a 200-foot tall free-fall experience that will tower over Timber Canyon and provides an incredible view of the park before its exhilarating finish. The ride will claim the spot formerly occupied by Timber Tower, lifting Dollywood guests nearly 20 stories above the Canyon’s pool, before plummeting them back to the ground in a thrilling rush. This tower is a Skyfall model by Funtime and should provide incredible views of the majestic Smoky Mountains.
Haunted Mine Drop – Glenwood Caverns
The Haunted Mine Drop will surely be one of the most unique drop rides around when it opens in summer 2017. The loading platform is at the top of the tower rather than bottom, and the gondolas will drop 120 feet underground! Combine that with a haunted ghost theme and it looks like Glenwood Caverns has a real winner on their hands. The drop tower ride is being designed and built by Stan Checketts of S&S and Soaring Eagle zipline fame. Visitors reach Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, which is located on top of a mountain, by taking a gondola.
Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout! – Disney California Adventure
Disney California Adventure will transform its Tower of Terror attraction into Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout in time for the 2017 summer season. The quirky stars of the Marvel movies will be taking up residence in the Tower of Terror. Say goodbye to the retro The Twilight Zone theme and hello to the retro tunes favored by Star-Lord. Your mission will be to set the wrongly imprisoned Guardians free — if you can survive the stomach-churning drops of the ride’s finale. However, many Disney fans are upset the classic Twilight Zone theming is going away and that a Marvel themed ride doesn’t fit in with the park. Do you agree?
Hershey Triple Tower – HersheyPark
The Hershey Triple Tower is being called the United States’ first “choose-your-thrill” drop and launch tower complex. It will offer three different S&S built towers of varying sizes (and thrill levels): 80 feet, 131 feet, and 189 feet. Standing 189 feet tall, Hershey’s Tower seat 20 riders in a circular formation around the tower and will feature a traditional “double shot” up as well as a “turbo drop,” blasting riders down the tower at faster-than-freefall speeds. The two smaller towers are both S&S’s traditional “double shot” tower models. Expected to open in April 2017.
Ikaros – Gröna Lund
Grona Lund, located in Stockholm, Sweden, announced an all new drop tower for 2017, called Ikaros. It will be the second Intamin Sky Jump drop tower in the world (with the first being Falcon’s Fury at Busch Gardens Tampa) where at the top of the tower the seats rotate making you face straight down at the ground. The park still plans to open the enormous 312 ft., 90 degree free-fall ride in April of 2017.
Free Fall and Bounce Back Tower – Ferrari Land, PortAventura
The new Ferrari Land opening in 2017 at PortAventura in Spain will include two S&S tower rides. The stainless steel structures will resemble giant engine pistons. It sounds like one tower will slowly raise you to the top before free falling back to Earth, while the second tower will launch you from the ground into the sky and back down.
S&S Tower Rides in China
S&S is going to have a great year in 2017. They have at least five tower rides opening in China alone. Not much information is available on this but here are the towers that we know of:
- Happy Valley Chongqing, China – Space Shot and Turbo Drop
- Huayi Brothers Movie World, Suzhou, China – Combo Tower
- Sun Tzu Cultural Park, Shandong, China – Space Shot and Turbo Drop
- Wanda Harbin Amusement Park, Harbin, China – Space Shot and Turbo Drop
- Weihai Rio Carnival, Weihai, China – Space Shot and Turbo Drop
- TBA Park in Middle East – Combo Tower
- TBA Park in Southeast Asia – Combo Tower
What drop tower ride are you most looking forward to in 2017? How would you rank them?