Skyscraper, Florida’s First Polercoaster

By James | Last updated May 9, 2024

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A new vertical roller coaster thrill ride, called the Skyscraper will be the anchor attraction at the new SKYPLEX entertainment complex being built a short distance away from the new Orlando Eye attraction at I-Drive 360 with an opening date of 2019.

It will be the tallest roller coaster in the world. Also being built is SkyFall that will also be the world’s tallest drop tower.

Skyscraper Roller Coaster

The Skyscraper will form part of a new 495,00 square foot (45 987 sq m) complex called SKYPLEX, on International Drive at the intersection with Sand Lake Road. At 500 feet (150 m) tall it beats the current holder, Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey which is 456 feet (139 m) tall.

Imagine a roller coaster wrapped around something like the Post Office Tower in London from ground level right up to the top.

The model is a “Polercoaster” where the track spirals up and then down around a central tower. The advantage of this style of roller coaster is that a lot of track and hence ride time can be built into a relatively small footprint, typically a 150 foot (46 m) diameter and once you reach the top, gravity takes over.

Riders start at the foot of the tower in eight passenger cars (two rows of four seats) and make their way to the top before descending back down to the bottom with a series of inside and outside loops, rolls, dives, corkscrews, inversions and speeds of up to 60 mph (96 kph).

This design of roller coaster has a capacity of between 850 and 1,600 passengers per hour. This compares favourably with something like the Incredible Hulk ride at Universal’s Islands of Adventure with a 1,920 passengers per hour capacity.

Designed by US Thrill Rides, Skyscraper was to be built by S&S Worldwide but in 2015 this was switched to Intamin. Track length will be around 5,200 feet (1,600 m) with seven inversions and a ride time of around 4 minutes. Height restriction will be 48 inches (122 cm).

SkyFall Drop Tower

In February 2015, Wallack Holdings, the developers of the SKYPLEX complex on International Drive, announced a second thrill ride to be integrated into the planned Skyscraper roller coaster tower.

Called SkyFall, it is being billed as the tallest drop ride in the world. The current record is held by Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom, also at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey at 415 feet (126 m). SkyFall will be 460 feet (140 m) tall.

Riders will be slowly lifted to the top of the tower and then after a few seconds wait will drop vertically at speeds of up to 90 mph (145 kph).

The track for SkyFall will be located inside the framework for the roller coaster so riders on both attractions will get glimpses of each other going up or down.

SkyFall’s record could soon be broken though as the proposed SkyRise Miami tower will be 990 feet (302 m), making it the tallest building in the state. It is planned to include a drop tower, SkyRise Drop, at 650 foot (198 m).