Open main menu
The High Fall at Movie Park Germany
A drop tower at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk entitled the "Double Shot"

A drop tower or big drop is a type of amusement ride incorporating a central structure or tower. Drop towers vary in height, passenger capacity, lift type, and brake type. Many are custom-made, although there are some mass-produced designs. Riders experience free-fall initially, followed by rapid heavy deceleration.

With most drop towers, a gondola carrying riders is lifted to the top of a large vertical structure, then released to free-fall down the tower. Brakes activate to slow the gondola as it approaches the bottom of the ride. Some designs expand on this concept with features such as rotating gondolas, or several bounces before coming to rest.

Most drop towers require child riders to exceed a minimum height; limits vary widely depending upon the nature of the tower, with a 30-foot (9 m) tower for smaller children from 37 inches (95 cm) tall,[1] and a 115-foot (35 m) tower having a 51-inch (130 cm) restriction.[2]

Drop towers use a magnetic braking system to slow the carriage quickly and smoothly once it reaches the bottom of the tower. This system is fail-safe because magnets do not need to be powered by electricity or other sources; they work intrinsically by the laws of magnetism.

Drop tower designsEdit

Mass-produced tower rides include:

Tallest vertical drop towersEdit

Rank Name Park Location Drop height Structural height Manufacturer Record holder
1. Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom Six Flags Great Adventure Jackson, New Jersey, USA 415 feet (126 m) 456 feet (139 m) Intamin July 2014 – Present
2. Lex Luthor: Drop of Doom Six Flags Magic Mountain Valencia, California, USA 400 feet (120 m) 415 feet (126 m) Intamin July 2012 – July 2014
3. The Giant Drop Dreamworld Coomera, Queensland, Australia 377 feet (115 m) 390 feet (120 m) Intamin December 1998 – July 2012
4. Highlander Hansapark Sierksdorf, Germany 338 feet (103 m) 394 feet (120 m) Funtime
5. Blue Fall Sea Paradise Yokohama, Japan 328 feet (100 m) 351 feet (107 m) Intamin N/A
La Venganza del Enigma Parque Warner Madrid Madrid, Spain 328 feet (100 m) 377 feet (115 m) S&S Worldwide N/A
6. Donjon de l'Extrême Nigloland Dolancourt, France 312 feet (95 m) 345 feet (105 m) Funtime N/A
7. Falcon's Fury Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Tampa Bay, Florida, USA 310 feet (94 m) 335 feet (102 m) Intamin N/A
8. AtmosFear Liseberg Gothenburg, Sweden 300 feet (91 m) 381 feet (116 m) Intamin N/A
9. Hurakan Condor PortAventura Park Salou, Catalonia, Spain 283 feet (86 m) 330 feet (100 m) Intamin N/A
10. Drop Tower Kings Dominion Doswell, Virginia, USA 272 feet (83 m) 315 feet (96 m) Intamin N/A
11. Drop Tower Kings Island Mason, Ohio, USA 264 feet (80 m) 305 feet (93 m) Intamin N/A
Big Tower Beto Carrero World Penha, Santa Catarina, Brazil 264 feet (80 m) 328 feet (100 m) Intamin N/A

Other notable examplesEdit

Injuries and accidentsEdit

  • Following the Kentucky Kingdom (then-Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom) incident, all Intamin towers were temporarily closed and the Carowinds model was found to have stretched cables.[3]
  • On February 24, 2012, 14-year-old Gabriella Yukari Nichimura died in an accident at Hopi Hari, Vinhedo, São Paulo State, Brazil. She fell from the drop tower ride "La Tour Eiffel" suffering cranial trauma and died on the way to the hospital. Local police are investigating the accident.[needs update] Initial investigations suggested the possibility of mechanical failure in the restraint latch.[4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Ride with 95cm height requirement". Archived from the original on 2012-07-02. Retrieved 2012-07-08.
  2. ^ "Ride with 130cm height requirement". Archived from the original on 2016-04-03. Retrieved 2012-07-08.
  3. ^ "Carowinds Thrill Ride Closed for Inspection". (Wire Report). The Herald Online. June 22, 2007. Archived from the original on 2016-02-08. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
  4. ^ "Adolescente more após acidente em parque de diversões no interior de SP" [Teenager Dies after an Amusement Park Accident in the Interior of SP] (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2012-02-24.