The featured attraction at Skyplex, a ride, dining, and retail district under construction in Orlando, will be the Skyscraper roller coaster. At 570 feet, it will be the tallest roller coaster in the world when it opens in 2019 according to the project's developers. But Skyplex will include other crazy-tall rides as well as other things to do, to eat, and to buy.
To be located on the city's main tourist corridor, Skyplex will be one of the key players among the many cool things to do along Orlando's International Drive. Let's run down the features you can expect at the new center.
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The highly unique ride will snake up a tower. Unlike most coasters it won't include a first drop to ground level, but will incorporate a series of inversions, drops, and other elements as the single-car trains make their way down the tower. If you are the least bit afraid of heights, turning upside down some 550 feet in the air could be a deal breaker -- or send you into a raging fit of crippling anxiety.
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SkyFall Drop Ride
In addition to the coaster, daredevils would be able to race down the side of the Skyscraper tower by boarding the SkyFall drop ride. At an announced height of 450 feet, it would be the tallest thrill ride of its kind in the world.
Drop rides are simple in concept: Passengers slowly ascend a tower, stew for a few nerve-wracking moments at the top, and then free fall down at a breathtaking speed until magnetic brakes kick in. Pictured is Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom at Six Flags Great Adventure, the current record-holder for drop rides.
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Details from the Skyplex folks are a bit sketchy on this (and other planned features for the complex), but they are calling this a "600-foot zipline attraction." Ziplines generally send passengers racing more or less horizontally in the air. I'd imagine that SkyFall would be more like a "controlled free fall" such as the SkyJump at the Stratosphere Tower in Las Vegas.
If I am correct, passengers would get into a body harness at the 600-foot level of the Skyscraper tower and jump off. Cables would control the speed of descent. Obviously not for the faint of heart (even more than the SkyFall drop ride and the Skyscraper coaster in my estimation), SkyFly would be one heck of a rush. The 870-foot Las Vegas SkyJump would be taller than its Orlando counterpart. But SkyFly would be the tallest ride in Florida.
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If the three crazy-tall rides get you all sweaty and anxious, you could chill out in the pools that will be located on top of the 10-story parking garage at Skyplex. Among the attractions in the mini water park will be a surfing ride. While details have not been released, it's likely that it will be some kind of FlowRider surfing attraction, such as the one pictured here at Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels, Texas. Riders on boogie boards will be able to ride a continuous wave.Continue to 5 of 7 below.
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The Top of the Tower
Complete wimps could avoid the thrill rides altogether, but still get striking views by taking glass elevators to the observation deck atop the tower. Details have not been revealed, but it's likely that the deck would include dining and retail options as well as a bar.
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At ground level, plans call for SkyPlaza, an open-air mall that would include dining, shopping, and entertainment options. The plaza would include a 10,000-square-foot Perkins Restaurant and Bakery -- the world's largest. SkyPlaza would be connected to the Skyscraper tower via a pedestrian bridge.
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Hotel and Other Stuff
Passengers would board the coaster indoors at the base of the tower. In addition to the ride, the base of the tower would include arcade games, simulator rides, and other attractions.
Developers say that a 350-room hotel is also on its way to the complex.
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