Theme Park Insider

Who's brave enough for the world's first underground drop ride?

July 31, 2017, 3:28 PM · Sure, you've probably been on drop rides before. Maybe a park like Disney spends a bunch of cash to encase the thing in a themed shell, such as on the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror or Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout. But all drop rides follow pretty much the same formula — haul you up into the air, then drop you back to the ground.

Until now.

Colorado's Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park has reversed the formula with its new Haunted Mine Drop, which opened today. This is the world's first underground drop ride, simulating the terrifying sensation of free falling in a mine shaft.

Okay, maybe not simulating... since you're pretty much actually dropping in a mine shaft. Industry veteran Stan Checketts built the 110-foot drop ride, which is set up by a themed introduction created by Creative Visions of St. Louis. Mining relics and video effects set the scene, leading up to a Pepper's Ghost illusion which tells the story of the mine's closing... and haunting.

"Not only is the building themed like an old mine, the ride drops down a shaft excavated out of solid rock the same way that a real mine shaft would be," Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park owner Steve Beckley said in a statement. "The temperature drops, and the earthy smell of the rock adds authenticity to the experience."

Here's a promo video from the park, covering today's opening, including comments from Checketts.

In 2013, Theme Park Insider's James Koehl visited Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park and reviewed the park's unique collection of thrill attractions.

Replies (19)

July 31, 2017 at 7:36 PM · Sounds pretty cool. Good idea.
July 31, 2017 at 8:45 PM · I agree with Grant, Grant, and Grant. I'm actually surprised I hadn't heard about this project or place before.
August 1, 2017 at 3:59 AM · Never heard of this place either. And according to their website, "A Release of Liability Waiver must be signed prior to enjoying all rides and attractions."

You gotta love a park that has a waiver!! :D

August 1, 2017 at 8:30 AM · I went down a rabbit hole on their website yesterday too. Pretty apparent the place got its start as a place to explore caves. A spelunking center is the kind of place I'd expect to sign a waiver before participating.
My guess is as they grew and added traditional theme park rides, they just naturally expanded their waiver policy. My feeling however is signing a waiver to ride a swing ride, or a roller coaster is a bit extreme. I didn't bother to read the entire document, but the fact that they want me to sign a waiver prior to doing just about anything in the park makes me question the quality of the attractions. I figure it's just one of those things that has always been around, but it put me off the experience as being a place I should automatically feel safe while enjoying myself.
I still love the idea of a drop ride into the depths of a cave with what seems to be sophisticated themeing.
August 1, 2017 at 10:22 AM · Rob's explanation sounds reasonable, but ya gotta admit that making people sign a waiver to ride roller coasters and drop rides is great hype: "Our rides are so extreme, you have to sign a waiver!"
August 1, 2017 at 10:52 AM · Drop ride looks pretty good. 110 feet in the dark I could handle; 400 + feet - i.e., Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom, which I reviewed for TPI a couple of years ago - would be too much. As to the waiver, although that's an unusual formality, the understanding at almost all parks is that it's ride at your own risk.
August 1, 2017 at 10:58 AM · This reminds me of the Geyser Mountain ride that was proposed for Disneyland years ago, which was another variation of the tower drop. Dropping down a mine shaft would definitely be a cool idea, a nice compliment to Big Thunder Mountain. But would it be feasible to dig such a deep shaft into the ground?
August 1, 2017 at 11:31 AM · This is about a 3-hour drive from my apartment, so I may just have to plan a visit!

Disfan - I'd imagine it would be a bit difficult at Disneyland and Disney World due to the high water table in those areas.

August 1, 2017 at 11:31 AM · It looks like a pretty small footprint. They could easily fit this in between Thunder Mountain and SWLand.
August 1, 2017 at 12:45 PM · There is talk that I might be there in about a week.

I have been at least twice, once is when I took Mr Koehl to the park. I have never been asked to sign a waver for the regular park experience. My guess would be that if you take an off the path tour of the caves, then you will need to sign a waiver.

August 1, 2017 at 12:45 PM · Jeff - take a look at their website. Practically every thing short of the shows required a waiver, which is apparently signed at the ticket sales area, then a wrist band is put on to prove the waiver has been signed.
August 1, 2017 at 12:45 PM · Well, that spoils all the fun.

Seriously, though, have fun Jeff! This place sounds amazing.

August 1, 2017 at 1:35 PM · I've heard Tony Baxter talk about plans for an underground drop ride in DL, oh what could have been.
August 1, 2017 at 2:43 PM · Question? With the insight of bringing uniqueness to an old ride concept by putting it underground, when other parks have trouble getting permits to build really tall roller coasters... could they instead partially put the roller coaster underground and get the same effect? It might be cool to have a roller coaster where half of it is inside and underground (and in the dark), and the other half out in the open like a normal roller coaster. And maybe at night, they'd switch the lights ON in the underground portion... giving the coaster a bit of yin/yang dark/light appeal.
August 1, 2017 at 3:16 PM · Michael - Alton Towers in the UK has done this. Their inverted coaster Nemesis is built very low to, and underground at some points due to the very strict height restrictions in the area. I've never ridden it, but it ranks very high with coaster enthusiasts due to all the visual near misses.
August 1, 2017 at 3:28 PM · I say YESSsssssss to this one !
:-)
(Which is very unusual for a thrill ride NON-enthousiast :-) )
August 2, 2017 at 2:52 AM · Yes Rob, Nemesis is almost hidden on the approach, its literally dug into the ground.
As you approach it, it's a bit like, that's it?...oh!
Its very good - one of my favourites in the my home country.
Also Thirteen at Alton Towers is inside and outside (although not very long). The 'twist' to this ride happens inside - not sure how its built though and if it's actually considered an 'inside' drop. (I just like riding the rides, I know very little about the technical)
Its certainly nothing like this mineshaft ride sounds!
August 2, 2017 at 10:17 AM · Oblivion at Alton Towers is also underground to the extent of having an underground tunnel due to the aforesaid zoning restrictions. Nemesis is a great ride. Thi3teen features the same sort of inside freefall drop as Verbolten at BGW.
August 3, 2017 at 4:27 PM · The waiver is for the alpine coaster. You are saying that you understand how to operate it and that you could get hurt if you jump out, etc. In theory if you don't brake you could hit someone hard.

My wife and I visited the park in June of this year and rode the alpine coaster as she has never had that experience before. It's a fun place, but there is not really much to do here if you are looking for a traditional theme park. They have a few zipline type of things, and I think a windstorm coaster, but it's not really a place to spend all day. We did this park, Casa Bonita, and Lakeside all in the same day very easily.

The trip up the mountain and the view are more interesting to me than the rides. It reminds me of the old "Guntown mountain" back before it went bankrupt a few times :)

That said, this attraction looks very cool and certainly unique!

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