Falling for the Rocky Point Park Freefall (Part II)

Between the modifications that Intamin made to the ride while it was at Marriot’s Great America, and the additional safety retrofits Rocky Point Park added in 1988, chances of a major accident on the Freefall were slim to none.

Safety

The Freefall retained its popularity into the 1990s, and no matter where you were at Rocky Point, the ride was impossible to miss.

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As terrifying as it may have been to face the impending plunge…

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…the Freefall offered an inspiring view of the Narragansett Bay, the park. and Warwick Neck that was often too tempting to pass up.
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But just eight years after it had risen, the mighty Freefall fell under the weight of an auctioneer’s gavel in April 1996, being sold for $500,000 to Geauga Lake Amusement Park in Aurora, Ohio.  Sadly, when Rocky Point reopened for an abbreviated season as Family Fun Fair in the summer of 1996, the Freefall stood dormant in the night, only being visible by the illumination provided by a much smaller carnival slide that operated below it.

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By winter 1996, the Freefall was just another Rocky Point ride awaiting their own rides to new homes.

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The Freefall was eventually dismantled…

dismantle

…and shipped off to Geauga Lake where it reopened in 1997 as Mr. Hyde’s Nasty Fall.

Hyde poster

The themeing for the ride was unique for a Freefall ride, and distinctly original for any amusement park attraction.  Patrons entered a vintage movie theater with the name of the new ride on the marquee.

Mr. Hyde 1997

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While waiting in line, patrons were entertained (and by some point irritated) by the loop recording of Mr. Hyde – a voice actor, who in his best English accent, issued the rules and warnings in a sinister tone.  Among them was the directive to secure all loose items, “Because once they’re gone, they’re MINE!”

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But come 2005, Mr. Hyde transformed for the last time.  The ride was scrapped with parts reportedly going to Cedar Point Park’s (Sandusky, Ohio) Demon Drop, another Freefall ride.  The Demon Drop was relocated to Dorney Park (Allentown, PA) following the 2009 season and reopened in 2010.  It is now one of the oldest of its kind still in operation.

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So the question is: does Dorney’s Demon Drop still operate with parts once used in Rocky Point’s Freefall ride?

Sign

That aside, the Freefall, despite its short run at Rocky Point, will never be forgotten by its fans, including Sean McCarthy, who spent four days replicating the ride’s sign (below). Sean’s sign is about six-feet long, forever reminding viewers of that belly-busting plunge.

Sean

Photo credits:

coasterdad

lostmidway

Sean McCarthy

LaCross Family

Bill Fontes

shockedbywater

geaugalaketoday.com

Burt Clark

The Theme Park Page

cedarfair.com

Anita Cerri Ferla

You Must Be This Tall movie collection

Chicago Tribune

Providence Journal

greatamericasparks.com

NBC10

Paul F. Lynds

 

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