Topple Tower

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Scale display model of a Topple Tower
Timber Tower at Dollywood in operation. This installation was enhanced with the use of water effects

A Topple Tower is an amusement ride designed in 2001 by van Orsouw Amusement Rides Design Service of Berghem, Netherlands , vanorsouwridesdesign.[1][2] The first design was rejected due to its difficult and heavy construction. After a re-design in 2002, a license agreement was closed, and the ride was produced in 2005 by Huss Maschinenfabrik GmbH, now HUSS Park Attractions. The first Topple Tower, El Volador, was placed in 2005 at Bellewaerde Park in Belgium.

Design and operation[edit]

The Topple Tower consists of a single 40-person circular gondola, centred on an 18-metre tower. Passengers sit in the gondola, facing outward. When the ride cycle is started, the gondola is raised towards the top of the tower, and begins to rotate at between 9 and 11 rpm. When the rotating gondola reaches the top of the tower, the tower itself begins to rock back and forth.

After the bankruptcy of the Huss Maschinenfabrik GmbH in July 2006, a lawsuit against the new Huss company, (Huss Park Attractions) was held in November 2008 at Düsseldorf court, in which the Design Company, van Orsouw Amusement Ride Design Service (van Orsouw ARDS) claimed all the rights of the design of the Topple Tower. There were rumours that van Orsouw ARDS was, in fact, a blind-trust company of another, until today unknown, Amusement Ride manufacturer. Following the conclusion of the trial, no noteworthy design activities of van Orsouw ARDS have been observed, though legally the company still exists. Future buyers of the Topple Tower, therefore, run the risk of the blind trust company becoming active again and resuming litigation.

A Topple Tower was purchased by Marineland of Canada in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. It was operated for a few seasons starting in 2007, but it was shut down in 2011 due to a structural crack and has not operated since.[3]


Ride Park Country Opened Closed Details
El Volador Bellewaerde Belgium
Operating First Topple Tower built.[4]
Timber Tower Dollywood United States
2011 Situated in middle of 5,100 square-foot pond.[5] Replaced with free fall for 2017 season.[6]
Crazy Crane Dragon Park Ha Long Vietnam Unknown Unknown Relocated from Walygator Parc.
Topple Tower Marineland of Canada Canada
2011 Standing but not operating for several years before removal.[7]
Tang'Or Walygator Parc France Unknown Closed Relocated to Dragon Park Ha Long


On June 16, 2007, the Topple Tower installation (known as Timber Tower) at Dollywood became stuck after a faulty safety sensor engaged. The tower was in an upright position with the gondola at the top. The safety system would not let operators override the sensor, leaving 40 passengers stranded on the ride, some for as many as 6 hours. As of the 2012 season, Dollywood has removed Timber Tower from the park, with a lawsuit between Huss and Dollywood resolved behind closed doors.[8] In 2017, Dollywood opened a new ride in place of Timber Tower called Drop Line.[9]


  1. ^ Patent Pending on November 13, 2002, under application number Patent Application WO/2003/041826, [1] Archived 2012-06-10 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Marineland opens up about Kiska". Niagara Falls Review. July 24, 2014. Archived from the original on August 15, 2017. Retrieved August 14, 2017.
  4. ^ "El Volador | Bellewaerde". Retrieved 2020-06-10.
  5. ^ "Dollywood shouts 'Timber' with new Timber Tower ride". 2005-07-06. Retrieved 2020-06-10.
  6. ^ Steele, Bruce C. "Dollywood announces Drop Line, new ride for 2017". Citizen Times. Retrieved 2020-06-10.
  7. ^ "Topple Tower ride at Marineland won't be open this year?". Niagara Falls Blog. 2012-05-15. Retrieved 2020-06-10.
  8. ^ | Knoxville, TN | TELL US YOUR STORY: Dollywood ride malfunction traps visitors[dead link]
  9. ^ "Drop Line". Dollywood. Retrieved October 8, 2018.

External links[edit]