Busch Gardens is adding a new ride, and it will have a redesigned area around it when it opens in the spring.
To mark the debut of Falcon's Fury, which the park says will be North America's tallest freestanding drop tower, it will remodel the current area, known as Timbuktu, into “Pantopia.”
According to a news release, the area “will boast elaborately-jeweled theming and feature thrilling rides and attractions, sensational new food and beverage options, exciting entertainment, shopping, a renovated indoor theater and more.”
Pantopia “will celebrate the spirit of animals, welcome adventurers from the four corners of the earth, explore ancient lore and display fantastic architecture,” Busch Gardens Park President Jim Dean said in the release. “Guests will find multiple portals and doorways and learn about the legends that have drawn journeyers from around the world to Pantopia.”
The area will retain current Timbuktu atttactions such as the Scorpion, Phoenix, Bush Flyers, Desert Runners and the Kiddie Train.
Other theme parks, including Busch Gardens Williamsburg, have drop towers. What will set Falcon's Fury apart is rotating the riders so they fall face down, like a parachutist on a free fall or a falcon on the hunt for aerial prey, before restoring them to a seated position before they land.
The ride will carry 32 passengers along the rim of a tower tall enough that it will be seen from downtown Tampa.
Then it will swing the passengers in their open-air restraints so they are face down for the descent that will reach forces of 3.5 g's, three and a half times the force of gravity.
The ride is set to open in late spring 2014.
Information from Tribune archives was used in this report.