Bungee jumping USA Florida
Traditional bungee jumping is not available in Orlando, but bungee slingshots provide a similar sensation. (Photo: Karl Weatherly/Photodisc/Getty Images )
Bungee jumping is a thrill sport that involves the participant's ankle or a torso harness being attached to a bungee cord, the other end of which is attached to a bridge over a chasm, dam or similar high place. The full extension of the bungee cord is determined to be slightly less than the depth of the drop. Participants leap from the high place, free fall some of the drop, and then are arrested by the cord before hitting the bottom. Because of Orlando's location on the flat Central Florida plain, there are no crevasses or gorges over which flat bridges run, and no massive waterways dedicated to shipping of a size necessitating high bridges. Therefore, no traditional bungee jumping is available to enthusiasts living in or visiting the area. That said, the bungee slingshot - which is part of the bungee jumping family of experiences - is relatively well represented in the Orlando area.
The Bungee Slingshot
A bungee slingshot, also called a bungee rocket, is a vertical amusement ride. Essentially a massive catapult, two massive towers are permanently erected, from each of which a bungee cord is slung. The loose ends of the bungees are attached to a small capsule, which is tethered beside an elevated loading gondola. Riders are bolted into the capsule and, when released, are flung skyward more than 100 yards at speeds that exceed 100 mph. Other styles of slingshot use springs instead of bungee cords to generate the propulsive force. An inward-looking camera is mounted on the safety rail that is bolted down around the riders, and a DVD of the ride is available, usually at an extra charge. Several such videos have been uploaded to YouTube by riders.
The Slingshot on International Drive
The world's largest slingshot is at Magical Midway on International Drive in Orlando; upon release, riders travel almost 400 feet. The two towers are visible from Interstate 4, particularly at night when they are brilliantly illuminated, and a photograph taken from a distance is guaranteed to wow even the most stoic friend back home when you tell them that you took the ride. There are no age restrictions to ride the Slingshot on International Drive, although riders must be a minimum of 44 inches tall. The operators offer packages that feature reduced prices for more than one rider, and others that include DVDs and T-shirts.
The Slingshot Old Town Kissimmee
Old Town Kissimmee is an outdoor entertainment venue located on U.S. 192 approximately 18 miles from Orlando; it has 18 thrill rides, including a slingshot. This slingshot catapults riders 365 feet. According to The Other Orlando (theotherorlando.com), the cost of a ride at time of publication is $25, with a $20 charge for the DVD. An immediate second ride is offered at a reduced price. Old Town tends to be a tad under-populated during the daytime on weekdays, which can detract from the atmosphere. A regular classic car show is held every Wednesday evening that makes a great free additional attraction.
The Slingshot at the Annual Central Florida Fair
The Annual Central Florida Fair (centralfloridafair.com) - wrongly but almost universally called the 4-H fair - is held every year toward the end of February. The fairground rides aspect of the event is organized by Wade Shows (wadeshowsinc.com), and since 2008 it has owned a bungee slingshot. According to the manufacturers, Australian company Funtime (funtime.com.au), riders are launched at approximately 100 mph and propelled by more than 40 tons of force. The ride is only active for the duration of the fair.