Specific Type: Reverse Freefall Coaster
When you think of speed and Australia you might think the Red Kangaroo. The Red Kangaroo’s powerful hind legs are capable of bursts of speed at almost 45 MPH, and the ability to take strides of almost 30 feet and heights of 10 feet. That is pretty impressive for the fastest land animal on the continent, but on the Gold Coast there is a different sort of “animal”. The Tower of Terror II, originally introduced as Tower of Terror, at Dreamworld has some mind boggling stats of its own. Tower of Terror was designed and built by Intamin to smash records, not just down under but around the world. The Tower of Terror was the first coaster to hit triple digits for speed, 100MPH. When it was built it was also the tallest coaster in the world at 377.3 feet tall, but the title was soon surpassed by what was Superman The Escape & is now Superman: Escape from Krypton at Six Flags Magic Mountain. These similar rides shared speed records including fastest accelerating coaster going from 0 - 100 mph in 7.0 seconds. The speed records were lost four years later to Dodonpa at Fuji-Q Highlands that bested the top speed and acceleration records.
The tower itself houses another record breaking thrill ride, The Giant Drop. The Giant Drop held the world record for tallest drop tower. It open just a year after The Tower of Terror and was also designed by Intamin. At 390 feet tall with a 377 foot drop it held the record for 14 years until Lex Luthor: Drop of Doom was added to Superman: Escape from Krypton in the same manner as the Giant Drop. After thrill seekers are hauled to the top of the tower they are dropped at an earth shattering 83.9 MPH all while experiencing 3.5 G’s.
This collection of world records can be accessed by passing thought a giant 36 foot tall skull’s mouth. As curious daredevils pass through the skull the explore a queue as they shuffle through a dark spiralling tunnel. The queue leads to a metal bridge that spans a model city, and then a stairway where a ride operator will manage the flow of guests. From there guests enter second and then a third waiting area before boarding the ride vehicle called an Escape Pod. These are single car vehicles and not typical trains. When the ride was launched as the Tower of Terror these vehicles faced forwards towards the tower. In 2011 when the ride was relaunched as Tower of Terror II the Escape Pods were turned around and upgraded. These new Escape Pods have a lower profile than the previous generation, and seat 14 riders. The vehicles are equipped with hydraulic lap bars that can be locked in any position unlike ratcheting lap bars and the front of the train is decorated with a row of spikes. The launch happens inside a tunnel and part of the transformation included extended that tunnel all the way to the end of the flat track.
Once guests finally make it through the labyrinth style queue to reach the Escape Pod the pulse starts to quicken and maybe life choices begin to be questioned. When this ride was the Tower of Terror guests would be looking down a long dark tunnel while they prepare for launch, but as the Tower of Terror II they have their backs to this tunnel. Suddenly the light drop and a light package of rotating lights begin to swirl along the tunnel. Without warning the guests are shot down the tunnel at a terrifying pace backwards. As soon as the Escape Pod leaves the tunnel into the bright sun it hits a 90 degree turn and starts its climb to the top of the tower. Before riders eyes adjust to from the dark to the bright they are already defeating gravity. Once the Escape Pod reaches nearly 330 feet in the air, with guest facing straight down, they experience an extreme 6.5 seconds of weightlessness. Now as gravity takes over riders have a great view of the Earth rushing back towards them, and the tunnel entrance looking very small. They storm into the tunnel with its lights still swirling around at terminal velocity. The magnetic brakes kick in and the Escape Pod is gently brought back to a halt and returned to the station. This down under ride flew sky high and delivers the most extreme ride on the continent.
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