Drop tower could be next Busch Gardens thrill ride

8:36 PM, May 31, 2013   |    comments
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For over a year, coaster and theme park enthusiasts have speculated that Busch Gardens would add a drop tower in Tampa similar to the Mach Tower at Busch Gardens Williamsburg.
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Tampa, Florida -- A 300-foot drop tower could be the next thrill ride at Busch Gardens.

The theme park says it'll drop some "big news" on June 11, and two years ago, Busch Gardens Williamsburg added Mach Tower, a 246-foot tall thrill ride.

For over a year, coaster and theme park enthusiasts have speculated that Busch Gardens would add a drop tower in Tampa. In fact, the website ParkRumors.com reported that last year Busch Gardens filed a new trademark application for the name Desert Dive and has registered the domain name DesertDive.com. That's led some to speculate Desert Dive will be the name of the new attraction.

Closing this Sunday will be the ride Sandstorm, which opened in 1979. It's also believed that's where the park's new attraction will be located.

Dennis Speigel, the President of International Theme Park Services, a consulting company based in Ohio tells 10 News they have heard from multiple sources that the new attraction is indeed a drop tower.

Speigel says they're hearing the ride will be 260 to 300 feet tall, with 32 seats. He says it will reach speeds of up to 50 miles an hour during the drop.

Some speculate the ride will also have seats that tilt forward.

"When it halts for a moment at the top, you have a pause before you drop (and) it leans you out forward, kind of kicks you out looking down and then it does its drop," Speigel said.

Currently, the tallest ride at Busch Gardens is Sheikra which stands 200 feet tall.

But on Friday a Busch Gardens spokesperson would not confirm details of the new ride.

"We can't tell you anything quite yet, but we can tell you that we're dropping some big news on June 11 (and) you're going to want to come out and see it," Travis Claytor said.

10 News has also heard Busch Gardens may be looking at building a hotel in the near future.

Speigel says that's the trend in the theme park industry.

"It's something we're seeing all of the companies (do), they're all looking at ways to keep the guests on (their) property longer, extend their stay and you do that through hotels. So it does make sense and quite frankly it's something probably long overdue at the Tampa Busch property," Speigel said.

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