Tower 2, German Fairs
Going to a German
fair and want somewhere to stay? Before you scour the worldwide web in
vain for an appropriate abode, may I be the first to recommend Ewald
Schneider’s Grand Hotel, an illustrious 13-story tower that can be
found in the cities of all great German fairs such as Düsseldorf,
Hanover and Stuttgart.
hotel is as prestigious as it is distinguished, and is the place
to be seen for society’s very most elite. Indeed, this hotel’s
guestbook must sound more like a rolecall from a film premiere with
guests such as Marylyn Monroe and David Beckham having chosen The Grand
as their residence of choice.
repute is further enforced by the fact that you’re guaranteed a
spectacular view of the vast German fair 200ft, and let’s be honest,
who could turn their nose up at that?
see I have a question from the sceptical young man on the back row...
“What’s the catch?”. Well, the catch is that this hotel has no
rooms at all, just a 66 meter high-speed elevator to – well, nowhere.
before you pack your holdall and two suitcases with towels and tuxedos,
I should perhaps use this opportunity to admit now that perhaps calling
The Grand a hotel is glossing over the truth somewhat.
the Grand Hotel, is infact an intricate overlay for Ewald
Schneider’s Maurer Söhne Power Tower,
his second from the German manufacturers ingeniously named... Power
looking for a luxurious night’s accommodation, Power Tower 2 will
disappoint. But if you’re looking for the world’s tallest
transportable freefall ride, congratulations, you’re at the right
If you want people
to notice your ride, historically the best way to go about this is to
change the skyline dramatically. With a slender silver-grey latticework
tower reflecting the sunlight like a 200ft long florescent lightbulb,
Power Tower 2 certainly wants to be noticed, and just to remove any
doubt of this, 10,000 lights on a 20ft sign alone broadcast ride stats
and generally begs for your attention.
Should you resist
the allure of Power Tower 2 by daylight, it is hard to ignore its call
after sundown. The entire tower is spectacularly lit with a rainbow of
lights stretching to the very peak, with the 32-seat florescent yellow
gondola lit by searchlight that follows its merry jaunt up and –
inevitably – down.
Power Tower 2 is fairly painless. The lobby area is decorated with tubs
of ferns, hanging baskets and all the other accessories that you’d
associate with a stay in an upmarket hotel. Yes, there is even a
bellhop, even though he is distracted by teasing the female passenger in
his lift on a colourful mural at the foot of the tower.
Having paid, token
in hand you climb a set of stairs to the foot of the tower, either side
of which the queue zig-zags the length of the platform. Queuing gives
you an opportunity to appreciate the attention to detail with regards to
the presentation of Power Tower 2. Bearing in mind that a backflash on a
tower ride seems a fairly academic decoration, it is nice to see
that Power Tower’s is one of the best I’ve ever seen. Whilst many
backflashes are a random mêlée of random butch/buxom characters doing
things that butch and buxom people do, it is nice to see Power Tower’s
backflash skims the line between classy and boisterous, with the ornate
backdrop of the hotel with famous guests such as former President
Clinton and Hugh Grant enjoying the stay as boisterous characters honour
the time-honoured tradition of a colourful and lively backdrop.
As expected from a
German fair, the loading of Power Tower is absolutely faultless. Each
length of queue either side of the tower holds 16 people behind a chain.
The moment the ride ends, instead of filtering down the queue through a
gate, the entire side of the queue drops down so that everyone can
follow a line on the floor to their seat. The result? A 32 seater ride
loaded in little over 20 seconds. Yes, this is an express elevator in
every conceivable way.
The gondola is a
32-seater octagon surrounding the tower. Each seat is a deep,
comfortable and fairly standard affair with a chunky overhead restraint
without the unnecessary seatbelt.
with the sound of some sonic lift call bell, you smoothly and briskly
ascend the tower before smoothly stopping over sixty metres in the air.
Suddenly, the hustle and bustle of the fair is suddenly viewed from a
completely different perspective. Giving enough time for the realisation
that there is no corridor lined with comfortable en-suite bedrooms at
the peak of this hotel, there’s obviously one way down.
Yep, you guessed
4 seconds later,
you’re at the bottom of the tower having dropped at around 46ft a
second before immediately bouncing all the way up the tower and back
down again. After some pitter-patter on the microphone, once again the
sonic call bell accompanies a brisk climb up to the peak of the tower.
190 feet up again,
a long pause leads into yet more high speed bounces up and down the
length of the tower, before again you settle just feet in front of the
queueline of waiting passengers below.
the excitable operator. Passengers answer to the positive, and are
cheekily booed by waiting passengers as the ride culminates with yet
another 190ft bunnyhop before settling back on terra firma, restraints
popping up and being promptly ushered off the ride.
In as many ways as
the ‘Grand Hotel’ fails as a hotel, Power Tower 2 fails as a
freefall, just not as spectacularly.
With the surprise
of launches, the suspense of being held at the top and 190ft drops,
Power Tower 2 really has the hallmarks of a great ride. But whilst most
tower rides excel in either the launch or the drop, Power Tower 2 just
sits somewhere in between, with neither the climb or the fall making
that much of an impression.
short-tempered friend, before you go trashing hotel rooms in a blind
rage, Power Tower 2 does have many strings to its bow. The presentation
of this ride is just about the best I’ve seen with a beautiful
backflash, excellent lighting, a great sound system (even from 190ft up)
and brilliant themed jingles.
In this respect,
like even the worst German fair ride, Power Tower 2 has a solid bedrock
of ‘fun’ on which the ride should build upon. It does, but if
you’re dealing with the currency of fun, you’ll get more for your
pound on other rides. Again, Power
Tower 2 sits awkwardly between the
town of Extreme and Fun; the kind of place you drive through to get to
Stay in the Grand
Hotel, take advantage of the mini bar and pinch the coat hangers, but
don’t expect to be tipping the porters and sending postcards
complimenting the stay. Power Tower 2 is simply a fairly good freefall
with a fairly fun atmosphere. Certainly suitable for the odd visit, but
not something to plan your holidays around.
MS 03 August 2004
At 200ft tall, it is
tall by any standards, let alone as a transportable ride
▪ Superbly presented,
excellent jingles, and excellent dialogue
▪ Good capacity, and good ride time
▪ Not a particularly
▪ Nor a very forceful