March 19, 2003
Richmond, VA -- Paramount's Kings Dominion proudly announces the addition of the Drop Zone Stunt Tower, a 305-ft. attraction that slowly elevates riders over 27 stories, then drops them into a breathtaking freefall at speeds up to 72 m.p.h. The imposing attraction opens to the public when the park kicks off its 28th season on Saturday, March 22, 2003.
Named after the 1994 Paramount Pictures release, Drop Zone, about a U.S. Marshal (played by Wesley Snipes) on the trail of skydiving criminals, the Drop Zone Stunt Tower gives park guests the opportunity to experience freefall sensations previously reserved for skydivers and Hollywood stunt doubles.
"We're literally taking the thrill of freefall to new heights with our Drop Zone attraction," said Richard Zimmerman, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Paramount's Kings Dominion. "Drop Zone will be the tallest free fall experience anywhere in North America." Drop Zone at Paramount's Kings Dominion snatches the height record previously held by sister park Paramount's King's Island in Cincinnati, Ohio.
"It's hard to imagine the sensation of a freefall from a height nearly as tall as our Eiffel Tower replica," adds Zimmerman. Daring riders will plunge 272 feet at a rate of 106 feet per second before magnetic brakes engage and stop the ring of 56 seats encircling the tower structure.
Brave Drop Zone riders take their position in one of the 56 seats that encircle the huge tower. With their backs against the 305-ft. tower, riders are perched on a single seat with no cage or metal enclosure surrounding them. Anticipation builds as they face the crowd of on-lookers. Their feet dangle. Suspense mounts as the powerful shoulder harnesses lock into position.
Suddenly, the ascent begins. Riders slowly and smoothly climb toward the sky. As they approach the top of the tower, the upward motion slows. The lift comes to a stop 272 feet above the park. There is a momentary pause as the anxious riders catch their breath, take in the mile-wide panoramic view of central Virginia and peer down at the launch station nearly 300 feet below them. Without a sound or warning, the transport lift disengages from the tower and whoosh - the riders drop at 72 miles per hour. While it's over in an instant, it feels like an eternity as riders hold on tight and attempt to scream. Twenty-seven stories down, Drop Zone's silent magnetic braking system begins to slow the high-speed descent and safely return riders to a smooth landing at the base of the tower.
The Drop Zone Stunt Tower will be located in the center of the park on The Grove.