Theme parks

Opening of delayed Busch Gardens ride still not scheduled

Testing is still being conducted on Falcon's Fury, a 335-foot drop tower that was originally scheduled to open May 1 at Busch Gardens.
Testing is still being conducted on Falcon's Fury, a 335-foot drop tower that was originally scheduled to open May 1 at Busch Gardens.
Marjie Lambert / Miami Herald Staff

More than three months after its May 1 opening was canceled, Falcon’s Fury at Busch Gardens is still in the testing phase, its debut yet to be rescheduled, with nothing more specific than “late summer.”

Busch Gardens isn’t answering questions about the ride or the delay, but issued a statement saying that it has design elements that have never been attempted on a thrill ride. “Several technical challenges impacting the ride’s operating efficiency were discovered, and additional time is needed to resolve those challenges,” the statement said.

Earlier, Busch Gardens had said that the fabrication of key parts had been delayed, similarly citing first-of-their-kind elements.

At 335 feet, Falcon’s Fury will be the tallest freestanding drop tower in North America, according to Busch Gardens. As they rise, riders will sit in forward-facing seats connected in a ring around the tower. At the top, the seats will pivot so that riders are face down. Then the ride will drop them in a free fall that will hit 60 miles an hour before slowing.

The ride must undergo extensive testing, the ring of seats hauled up and dropped over and over hundreds — if not thousands — of times before the public can ride. “The safety of our guests and team members remains Busch Gardens’ top priority,” the statement said.

With the promised “late summer” opening, the ride will debut before Busch Gardens’ Halloween show, Howl-O-Scream, opens on Sept. 26, said Maria Pazmino, a park spokeswoman.

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