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Best drop ride for a family fun center

Which drop ride should we install?  

21 members have voted

  1. 1. Which drop ride should we install?

    • Turbo Drop
    • Space Shot
    • Zamperla
    • ARM/Larson
    • Funtime
    • other (list below)

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Larson towers are the best towers on the market, not just for an FEC but for anyone. The only other thing that's even close to that level is an Intamin first gen.


How would you find an old first gen Intamin?

They're pretty hard to find since they don't make them anymore. I think you'd have to buy it off a park. They're a lot of fun, but they're also a lot of work.


I know you listed both a Space Shot and a Turbo Drop as options. Both are from S&S, and if you get an S&S Tower, you could alternate between Space Shot and Turbo Drop and have a Combo Tower. That'd be a lot of fun. And the Larson Towers are really good too.


My personal favorites are the Intamin 2nd Generation Towers, though that'd be quite a stand out addition to a Family Fun Center.

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^^ I completely agree, the Larson/ARM tower at Lake Winne literally made me feel as if i was going to die. I've stated before that i feel every park should have one. Larger parks should just get 3 or 4 of these instead of the biggins', 140 ft works with these models. Can't wait to ride the one at Knoebel's in two weeks.

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The only one operating in America is Demon Drop at Dorney Park. Of the modern rides though Larson towers are in a league of their own, even putting much larger and much more expensive Intamin and S&S rides to shame.

The Larson towers are great, but from what I've seen, the Fabri towers (Detinator at Thorpe Park, Mega drop, etc.) seem to be even better. As far as I know, it's basically the same size tower/gondola with the added bonus of being launched downward (similar to an S&S Turbo Drop).


While I've never been on one myself, this video makes the ride seem pretty impressive compared to the Larson model.


Finally, they also seem to be relatively affordable rides, as there's quite a few traveling versions at fairs. Seems like something a small park could afford.


Anyone here been on the Fabri towers?

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While I love the Larson/ARM drop towers, my personal favourite are S&S Double Shots such as Liberty Launch at Holiday World and Double Shot at Indiana Bech. They are basically 80-100 foot Space Shots but provide LOTS of airtime and are crazy fun. In particular, IB's second shot provides really intense airtime.

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My speculation as to why the main factors that contribute to the intensity of the ARM/Larson models, are as follows (in no particular order):


1: They use very powerful eddy current brakes. Not only does the rapid slowing down add some extra thrill, but this also means that a greater percentage of the tower's height can be used for free-fall. The Funtime drop tower looks promising, but one of its main advertising points is that it can assemble quickly without a large crane, which this is much more of an advantage for a traveling fair owner who has to take apart and put back together the ride every couple of weeks, as opposed to a permanent family fun center that would need to put it up once, possibly a few times over the course of a few decades for occasional major repairs. Combined with this and the fact that the tower is 230 feet tall, that may make it seem out of place and unnecessarily expensive for a family fun center.


2: The small ride vehicles minimize drag, thus allowing the ride to accelerate faster than a larger vehicle with higher capacity (and thus a higher surface area, thus a higher drag.) This is another reason why I suspect that Funtime's drop tower might not be quite as intense as the ARM/Larson model, but there's only one of those in existence traveling the German fair circuit while I live about three hours east of Niagara Falls, so I can't say for sure whether or not it's more intense.


3: Gravity only dropping--this is more specifically compared to S&S towers, which use compressed air. Since the compressed air chambers that the pistons are in aren't made a pure vacuum, there is noticeable drag slowing down the descent from a pure free-fall. The Fabbri drop tower shows promise in that it is launched down, but again I don't know of any that are in the continental United States for me to verify this.


I would also assume that given that you're a family fun center, you probably don't have a huge amount of funds. Without knowing the prices, I'd guess that Intamin and S&S are the most expensive, while ARM/Larson is one of the cheaper models. (It would be a good idea to validate this speculation by asking the prospective companies for a price quote.) However, S&S's Double Shot is generally only around 80 ft tall or so, and combining that with the less intense launches might actually be in your favor if you want the ride to cater to smaller, not-quite-so-brave guests. The name also properly describes its typical ride program, so providing two shots makes a more lengthy ride experience. However, it still uses compressed air. I just don't know enough about the Funtime and Fabbri models, so I'd say that they would still be in the running for consideration if I were in your position. I also don't know about the reliability of all the models. In short, the ARM/Larson drop tower is by far the most intense of them all (excluding the Fabbri and Funtime models, because I have no idea about them) and from an enthusiast's point of view that's what I'd recommend, which I do so vehemently. However, I'm also aware that the enthusiast is not the only opinion out there, so I'd think it would be best to call up all the prospective companies, ask for price quotes and ask them to see which of their drop towers are closest to your park so you can go out and visit them to try out the rides yourself and talk with the managers to see their own experiences.

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