In early June 2013 Busch Gardens Tampa Bay announced a brand new ride called Falcon’s Fury. First rumoured in 2011, the new drop tower ride at Busch Gardens Tampa was meant to debut in the spring of 2014 but manufacturing delays meant it did not open until September 2014.
It was built by the Swiss company, Intamin and assembled on the site of the former Sandstorm ride in the Timbuktu village area of the park. This area is now known as Pantopia.
Falcon’s Fury is an extreme drop tower style ride and at 335 feet (102 m) tall it is the tallest drop tower in Florida, twice the height of Doctor Doom’s Freefall at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. It is also significantly taller than the indoor 199 foot (61 m) Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
The name Falcon’s Fury comes from the sensation of diving vertically like a falcon. If you are sitting on one particular side of the structure you can see a Falcon’s Fury logo painted on the roof of a building as you ascend to the top of the tower.
The view from the top is amazing with views across the Tampa skyline, but not for long! Falcon’s Fury has a unique twist.
Before free falling 300 feet (91 m) for five to six seconds at speeds of up to 60 mph (100 kph), the riders are rotated into a face-down position. You then hang there for a random number of seconds as the tension builds before you are released.
You then get to see the ground rushing up towards you, as you descend sky-diver style. As you hurtle towards the ground, magnetic brakes bring you to a stop and you are then rotated back into a normal seating position.
The ride can take 32 guests at a time sat in eight groups of four, around the central tower and riders can expect to experience up to 3.5g during the descent. Total ride time is around 2 minutes.
Riders need to be at least 54 inches (137 cms) tall to ride. Maximum rider height is 77 inches (196 cms). There is a sample seat outside the ride where you can check whether you can fit.
Quick Queue is available on Falcon’s Fury.
Before you even think of it, no loose objects are allowed on the ride so do not be tempted to try and take your camera of mobile phone with you to grab a selfie.
There is a similar ride at Busch Gardens Williamsburg in Virginia. Called the Mach Tower, it is 246 feet tall and was built by Moser’s Rides but does not feature the face-down riding position. Instead riders are rotated around the tower for a 360 degree view of the park as they ascend to the top.