New Thrill Rides at Florida Theme Parks

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The revamped land of Pantopia with Falcon's Fury in the background.
The revamped land of Pantopia with Falcon’s Fury in the background.

Thrill rides, deep drops, and plunging slides seem to be the theme at Florida theme parks with three new rides opening this summer at Busch Gardens Tampa, Sea World Orlando’s Aquatica, and Wet ‘N Wild in Orlando.

Busch Gardens’ revamped land, Pantopia, will be the home for its newest attraction, Falcon’s Fury, a one-of-a-kind drop tower standing at 335 ft.that opens later this summer. At the rides’ highest point, riders will pivot 90 degrees in midair to a face-down dive position, an instant later they’ll plunge 60 mpg at 3.5 Gs straight down. The land of Pantopia celebrates the spirit of animals by welcoming adventurers from around the world as they explore ancient traditions, architecture and find portals and doorways leading them to learn about legends that draw guests to Pantopia. Tickets for Busch Gardens Tampa start at $65 for a weekday pass and $80 for any day (with a second visit free). For more information, visit, or

Ihu's Breakaway Falls  at Aquatica Orlando.
Ihu’s Breakaway Falls at Aquatica Orlando.

Ihu’s Breakaway Falls recently opened at Aquatica in SeaWorld Waterpark Orlando, the tallest, steepest, and only multi-drop tower slide in Orlando. Riders climb 126 steps to the top of the 8-story tower, which is about 80 ft., then step into one of three colorful breakaway boxes. When the doors close, riders cross their arms, give a thumbs up, and prepare for their drop—never knowing when the floor beneath them will disappear. While facing each other, riders watch as their fellow riders fall. Adding to the anticipation, the sound of a heartbeat plays in the background as riders wait for the floor to disappear. Once it does, riders drop 20-24 ft. per second, taking them into a spiraling speed slide, which ends in a final splashdown. Riders who can’t bear the fall from the breakaway boxes can still try the open slide—the steepest of the four slides is with a vertical 40 ft. drop. The orange slide is the longest at 420 ft. and dropping more than three stories high;. the green slide has the shortest drop at 28 ft.; the blue side is the steepest slide with a breakaway box; and the purple slide isn’t a drop slide but the open-aired slide is the steepest of the four. Rates for a single day ticket are $28, and an Annual Pass starts at $96. For more information, visit

Wet ‘N Wild Orlando unveils its newest attraction, the Aqua Drag Racer, on June 12. The Aqua Drag Racer, which stands six stories high, features four parallel racing lanes, and is Florida’s tallest and fastest water-based racing attraction. Guests take their place at a 65-ft.-high starting line and prepare for a plunge at high speeds while going through enclosed braided, twisting tunnels at 15 ft. per second. There are no brakes as families share the rush in a head-to-head racing competition.

In celebration of the grand opening on June 12, the first 500 guests to enter the park will be given a pass into the fast lane with a one-time Express Pass wristband. The park opens to the public at 9:30 a.m. For more information, visit