There’s always been something quite special about Drop Tower rides. Even the most “experienced” adrenaline junkies find it hard to prepare themselves for the sensation of freefall, which never seems to wear thin.
German showman Ewald Schneider knows this feeling all too well and has been cashing in on it since 1998 when he purchased his first travelling tower ride – The Power Tower. Following the great success of this 55meter tall drop ride, the Munich-based showman ordered a second tower which debuted in 2002 – Power Tower II. Both of these rides were manufactured by Maurer Sohne, with the second one measuring in at 66m tall and featuring a variable ride cycle where the gondola could be stopped and dropped from different heights. If you’re a fan of the fairground scene chances are you’ll have heard of PT2, or maybe even seen it when it’s visited London for Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland event.
Developments in the travelling Drop Tower world seemed to slow down in the mid-2000s, with Power Tower II therefore gaining a great reputation for being the best ride of its kind. This all changed, however, in 2013, when Australian-based rides manufacturer Funtime produced an 80m tall transportable tower that required no crane to build up. This ride, named Skyfall, offered a true freefall sensation with a magnetic braking system and really woke up the drop-ride industry. As the orders started flooding in, Schneider realised that he had to put his name back on the map as the owner of the best freefall ride. Enter The Hangover.
One can only assume that “The Hangover” means something else in Germany, otherwise this is a very bizzarre name for a ride. Perhaps Schneider is thinking of renaming Power Tower II to “The Piss Up”?! Anyway – it was in 2014 that Hangover was announced, with an impressive set of statistics to go with it. The ride was set to be manufactured by ABC Rides, with a drop height of 100m, making it the tallest travelling drop ride in the world. Naturally, the enthusiast community went ballistic and got very very excited. It sounded too good to be true…
..It was too good to be true. Sadly as time went by it became apparent that ABC Rides were no longer the manufacturer, and the height of the ride was shrinking too! We don’t know the exact reason for this, but judging by ABC’s portfolio they probably agreed to the project thinking it was a 10m tower they were building and not the 100m that Schneider wanted.
Perhaps 100m was just too much to ask from a ride that needs to be portable and not permanently anchored to the ground? But if we can’t have 100m, what can we have and still be the tallest in the world? Remember Funtime? They seem to know how to make 80m towers! That’ll do – “we’ll buy an 80m Funtime tower and shove a really tall crown on the top and pretend it’s 85m tall, job’s a good’un” – (Dramatic reconstruction of the conversation that must have occurred).
And here it is:
It’s a beast! The Hangover is the 6th Funtime Drop Tower to be built for the travelling scene, and the third of which to feature a rotating gondola. What made Power Tower II so successful was the versatile ride sequence. It wasn’t a true freefall, instead the gondola was permanently attached to the lifting ropes that allowed the riders to be stopped and dropped from pretty much any height. The worry that circulated surrounding The Hangover was that the ride, being a true freefall, would not be able to perform varied movements like it’s predecessor.
But this is Schneider we’re talking about! He won’t settle for second best. The Hangover features many surprises.
The Hangover will debut at the Dusseldorf Rheinkirmes on the 17th July 2015, but we will be visiting the following week to try it out for ourselves. A video showing the ride testing has been posted on YouTube and is shown below. To be honest we’re a little bit skeptical. Power Tower II was, and still is, an amazing ride experience – it’s more than just a drop, it’s almost a “show” in itself. Hangover has got a lot to live up to!
We’d love to hear your thoughts on this – have you ridden Power Tower II? Are you excited to see The Hangover?
All photos in this article are sourced from the official Hangover Facebook Page.