Bottom's up to Falcon's Fury Busch Gardens makeover

If you’re a Tampa native or long-time resident of the Bay Area, chances are that anything related to Busch Gardens sparks a “been there, done that” attitude.

Not to say that the theme park, which has been a major Tampa trademark since the late 1950s, isn’t deserving of its stellar reputation and popularity; however, having visited so many times, I’ve recently struggled to find the “wow” factor while tourists gasp and rave about it.

But now, Tampa adrenaline junkies (such as myself) have something to be excited about — a slew of changes, including an addition of one of the most exceptional attractions to hit our local theme park in quite some time.

Brace yourself for that familiar stomach-sinking feeling that you probably hate and crave simultaneously, as you step onto North America’s tallest free-standing drop tower. Falcon’s Fury hits Busch Gardens on Thurs., May 1, 2014.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the term “drop tower,” imagine a platform which rises hundreds of feet into the air, and suddenly plummets downward.You may be familiar with this particular type of ride from Islands of Adventure’s infamous “Doctor Doom,” but Falcon’s Fury offers a quite different experience.

Aside from the unorthodox height, a few other features set this drop tower apart from the rest. Featuring 90-degree tilting seats, Falcon’s Fury faces riders straight down – an element which is brand new to drop tower history.  After rising up to a maximum of 335 feet., the drop tower free falls at about 60 mph for five seconds. As the attraction comes to an end, riders’ seats gradually swivel back to a horizontal position.
While they were at it, our friends at Busch Gardens decided to throw some more changes your way – the drop tower will be placed smack dab in the middle of what was formerly Timbuktu. Yes, I said formerly.

Timbuktu will be re-imagined and re-named “Pantopia” in welcoming of Falcon’s Fury, its feature attraction. According to the park, the new zone is “inspired by centuries of world travelers.”

A new look, additional rides and a renovated theater (now the Pantopia Theater) help complete the transformation which is currently in progress.

Let's not forget the brand new refreshment stands, one of which is sure to get the beer connoisseurs pretty hyped — it'll be dishing out craft beverages, and you'll need them to stay hydrated while you explore your new surroundings. 

The official opening of Pantopia and Falcon’s Fury is still a ways off – but keep in mind that if you purchase the $50 Weekday Ticket (a limited time offer which is good until Mon., May 5), you’ll be able to use it during the first few days of Falcon Fury’s debut.