Doctor Doom’s Fearfall is a freefall-type attraction at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Based on the archenemy of the Fantastic Four, Doctor Doom’s Fearfall draws guests into the Latveria Embassy where Doctor Doom intends to extract Fear Fuel to power a secret weapon, his Trans-thermal Fusion Dynamo. Using pneumatic power to thrust riders 150 feet into the sky, the attraction gives riders a tremendous thrill and a wonderful view of the surrounding area.
Opening: May 28, 1999
Location: Marvel Superhero Island
Ride type: Freefall
Manufacturer: S&S Worldwide (S&S Power at the time)
Model: Space Shot Tower (x2)
Seating Configuration: Four rows of four per tower
Attraction Height: 199 ft
Drop Height: 150 ft
Theoretical Hourly Ride Capacity: 720-960
Height Requirement: 52”
Queue Reservation Available: Yes
Single Rider Available: Yes
The technology used in Doctor Doom’s Fearfall is based on pneumatics and pulleys. The vehicle sits on a platform during loading and is lifted a few feet above the loading area during the pre-launch sequence. The vehicle is supported by cables that run to the top of the tower, over a set of pulleys, and attach to a piston. Suddenly, a burst of air forces the piston down, which forces the vehicle up. The vehicle reaches the apex of its ascent, and oscillates in mid-air for a few hops before returning to the ground.
According to concept art, the original technology was going to be much different than what lies there today. It seems the original candidate for the ride technology was Intamin’s First Generation Freefall. The ride sequence for Intamin’s Freefall model does not use pneumatics, but utilizes a lift, different tracks, and switches to provide the freefall sensation. In fact, in many ways, the technology is more similar to a roller coaster than today’s freefall attractions in the way it uses a full-circuit track design. This means that, much like a roller coaster, multiple vehicles could be on the track at one time, unlike most modern freefall models that utilize only one vehicle per tower.
On Intamin’s First Generation Freefall model, riders sit in a vehicle that includes a single row of four riders. The vehicle leaves the station backwards and connects to a lift tower. Once at the top of the lift tower, the vehicle rides forwards and connects to the L-shaped drop track. The vehicle then drops vertically, and after a brief moment of freefall, the vehicle swoops through the “L” so that riders are lying on their backs. This of course meant all positive g-forces were concentrated on rider’s backs, which can be intense and possibly uncomfortable. Nevertheless, the system’s installations proved to be very popular.
Interestingly, concept art has surfaced showing that Disney’s Imagineers also considered a model similar to Intamin’s First Generation Freefall for the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. Imagineers instead designed their own freefall attraction technology, which remains the only of its kind. S&S Power’s (now S&S Worldwide) Space Shot model debuted in 1996, and designers decided that Doctor Doom’s Fearfall would utilize this technology instead. Due to the slightly low hourly ride capacity of S&S Space Shot towers (relative to Orlando crowds), it was decided that two towers would be installed, doubling ride capacity.
Queue Part 1: The Extended Queue
Riders walk into the Latverian Embassy and, when the extended queue is open, turn left. After some switchbacks, riders see a pair of plaques on the wall: the Doombot Code of Ethics and a plaque about Doctor Doom. Across the room are three Doombots speaking with one another.
Queue Part 2: The Trans-thermal Fusion Dynamo
Riders continue into the next room, which is where riders would begin their experience when the extended queue is closed. Here, riders get their first glimpse of the Fusion Dynamo. Though the device is not explained, the Dynamo will be thoroughly explained in the next room.
Queue Part 3: The Holding Chamber
The largest room of all, the Holding Chamber is the next room of the queue and where riders will be spending most of their queuing time. Here, there are a few Doombots looming above riders facing a massive projection screen. The screen’s film informs riders about the Fusion Dynamo, the Tower of Doom, and their role in “The Big Picture.”
(System Message: “System Reset. Searching. Loading Default Propaganda Program.”)
(An SMPTE Universal Leader-type countdown begins. At the end of the countdown, the screen reads “Latveria, Land of Enchantment”.)
Narrator: “Latveria, a quaint, beautiful land, (explosion) torn asunder by the ravages of poverty and oppression. The spirit of the people perhaps the most tragic casualty of war, a war of epic proportions. Misguided do-gooders on every side determined to foil our leader’s great plan. But there was hope for the Latverian people, the only hope they ever had. A scientist, a genius, our leader, Doctor Victor Von Doom. His plan was to create an unimaginable device within the walls of his fortress, a peace-keeping device so incredibly powerful that it would destroy our country’s enemies once and for all. The brave citizens of Latveria immediately volunteered their services, each eager to serve their sovereign Lord and Ruler. The brave test subjects set off down the road to victory, preparing themselves for the dangerous extraction procedure for the time they advance, removing any hats, glasses, loose shoes, or any other articles that Doom commandeth. With the wealth of “Fear Energy”, Doctor Doom’s victory was certain. Upon reaching the Extraction Chamber, each test subject took the first available seat and thoroughly secured their own shoulder restraint. To ensure maximum extraction, Doom insisted that each volunteer keep his or her head against the Headrest throughout the procedure. Doctor Doom literally sucked the terror from his volunteers filling the reservoir with the potent, lethal substance. But Doom needed more power, he needed a fresh source of “Fear Energy”. Doom found it in the Land of Opportunity, America. And Doom knew the day would soon come where he would funnel the “Fear Energy” through his Fusion Dynamo and bring Peace to the Latverian people. (Doombot shocks Latverians and they cheer) And thus would Doctor Doom assume his rightful place as Supreme Ruler of the formerly Free World.”
(System Message: “Incoming Communication. Live Transmission. Routing Destination: Latverian Embassy.”)
Doom: “Like cattle to the slaughter, welcome. I am Doctor Victor Von Doom, Scientist, Statesman, and unchallenged ruler of Latveria and you, you are the final misshapen piece of the puzzle that will enable me to eliminate my sworn enemies, the accursed Fantastic Four, once and for all, and assume my rightful place as Supreme Ruler of the World. (Lightning Crash, Slam) Super Heroes, the Fantastic Four: Johnny Storm, the Human Torch; Ben Grimm, the Thing; Sue Storm, the Invisible Girl, and Reed Richards, Mr. Fantastic, whose ignorant meddling scarred my visage and made me the ravaged figure I am today. That cursed foe who despite his lesser intellect continually manages to thwart my inspired plans for World Domination, but NO LONGER! (Punch) (Crow’s caw) (Slam) Behold, my ultimate triumph, the most ingenious weapon ever conceived, fueled by the most powerful of sources, raw human FEAR! That’s where you play a role, your very terror enabling the All Powerful Doom to CRUSH the Fantastic Four once and for all! (Lightning Crash)”
Crowd: “All hail Doctor Doom.”
Subordinate: “My Liege, the Dynamo nears completion but we need more fuel.”
Doom: “And DOOM shall have it! Prepare the volunteers.”
Doombot: “Doctor Doom has created this educational program for your safety.”
(Title reads “Fear Extraction Training Program”, subtitled “Latverian Mandatory Re-Education Festival”)
(New title reads “The BIG Picture”)
Narrator: “Meet Leopold. Like every one of us, he has tasks and recreational activities that occupy his time. Going to school (Bell Rings), tending the fields, or paying homage to the Lord of Latveria, the All Powerful Doctor Doom! But Leopold, do you know what part you play in the Big Picture? Every one of us has a part to play in Doctor Doom’s Great Plan, an important part. And we all must be prepared when the Call of Doom rings out.”
Leopold: “Come on!”
Narrator: “If you’re a Serf or a Commoner, like Leopold here, your duty is actually fairly simple: take a ride on the Tower of Doom. But Leopold knows that safety comes first. So, he needs to learn the safety procedures. Leopold joins his very own four comrade groupings before approaching the tower. No More… No Less. When the doors open, Leopold and his new friends quickly enter the Launch Chamber and stow everything they own in the convenient Storage Compartment. Leopold knows better than to try and ride the Tower of Doom with hats, glasses, loose shoes, or any carry-ons whatsoever. He moves quickly to the first available seat and sits. Leopold knows that the shoulder restraint is his friend and pulls it down snuggly.”
Narrator: “Nah uh uh, sorry Leopold. You must keep your head against the Headrest at ALL TIMES.”
Leopold: “But how does this help Doctor Doom?”
Narrator: “Good question, Leopold. (Boom) The Tower of Doom creates fear, pure and simple, and Doctor Doom can use that Fear. The Fear Factories in your brain produce Fear, or what we technicians call “Fear Fuel.” Doctor Doom extracts that Fear from you and collects it along with the Fear of many, many others. Doctor Doom can then use this Fear to fuel his Fusion Dynamo, a Peace-Keeping Device that can destroy Latveria’s enemies forever. Oh no, we forgot all about Leopold. Ha ha ha! Well, that’s okay as long as you don’t forget what Leopold taught you: Packages (Loose Articles) Down, Sit Down, Restraint Bar Down, And Keep your Head against the Headrest (Keep Head Back). And that’s the Big Picture!”
(Title reads “The End”)
(New title reads “Fear Extraction Training Program”)
(System Message: “Incoming Communication. Live Transmission. Routing Source: Fearfall Chamber”)
Dr. Heind Redken: “(Clears throat) I am Doctor Heind Redken, Inventor of the Tower of Doom. She’s a beauty, isn’t she? (Giggles) I am so proud to be the sole creative force behind this…”
(Doom looms over Redken)
Redken: “All Hail Doctor Doom! Uh, no…I was just explaining that your tower’s operation…”
Doom: “Your timing is impeccable as I have just located my first test subject.”
Redken: “(Gulp) Where?”
(Restraint bar slams over Redken. Whoosh. Fear Fuel drips into tube. Boom. Thunk. Seat returns, empty.)
Doom: “I lay claim to the most powerful substance in the World: pure, undaunted Terror. Consider yourselves fortunate to be part of history in the making. (Laser Blast) Since you may not survive long enough to witness Doom’s Ultimate Triumph, perhaps a demonstration is in order. Even these few drops of Fear Fuel are powerful enough to ignite my Trans-thermal Fusion Dynamo. My enemies…the Fantastic Four! (Machine Energizing) The accursed Thing! (Kaboom!) The Invisible Girl! (Thunk!) The Human Torch! (Pow!) Mr. Fantastic… Reed Richards! (Machine Loses Power) (Click, Click) NO!!! Cursed Richards! You will pay for what you have done to me, and you will pay DEARLY! (Crash!) But I need more power. That’s where you come in, for when the unimaginable Fear is wrenched from your quivering body, I will have the power to erase the accursed Fantastic Four from the Earth (Crash) Forever.”
Queue Part 4: Extraction Chamber
A few feet beyond the Holding Chamber, riders are organized into groups of four and directed to a tower and respective loading bays at that tower. Each loading bay is designated as a number 1, 2, 3, or 4 (The stylized number 4 should be recognizable as the Fantastic Four’s logo). At the appointed loading bay, riders wait for the entry doors to open. Once they do, riders climb aboard the Tower of Doom and await their fate.
Ride Part 1: Pre-Launch
Riders are buckled in and checked by Doom’s minions. The vehicle hovers a few feet above the ground as Doom gives further instruction.
Doom: “You are the last and final piece of my plan. Your terror, sucked from the very marrow of your being, will fill my Fear Fuel Reservoir, and make me the most powerful man on Earth. Doombot! Ignore safety warnings and set for maximum extraction!”
Doombot: “Maximum extraction enabled.”
Doom: “Now, put your head against the headrest. I don’t want to miss a drop. Prepare to be terrorized.”
(Pause, then launch)
Ride Part 2: Post-Launch
Riders slowly return to the ground as Doom speaks again.
Doombot: “Fear Fuel exceeding expected levels.”
Doom: “You have served Doom well. Thanks to you weak mortals, I finally have the power I need to crush the Fantastic Four. The triumph of Doctor Doom is at hand! (maniacal laugh)”
- Riders exit down a flight of stairs into Kingpin’s Arcade. A (literal) hole in the wall leads to Cafe 4, which could act as a shortcut to The Incredible Hulk Coaster.
- The aforementioned flight of stairs is also the entrance to the single riders line. Doctor Doom’s Fearfall is one of the few attractions at Islands of Adventure to have a permanent single riders line, though a few more accept single riders at certain times of the year.
- Around the entrance of Doctor Doom’s Fearfall are painted imprints in the pavement. Some believe these are the imprints of the Fantastic Four, but it is likely meant to just be imprints of riders to intimidate those apprehensive about riding.
Preshow, pre-launch, and post-launch scripts © Universal.
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