Orlando Theme Park Begins Demolishing Controversial Attraction

in Theme Parks

Aerial view of Orlando

Credit: Visit Orlando

A controversial Orlando theme park attraction is set to begin demolition.

Orlando theme parks draw millions of tourists to the area each and every year. Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, and SeaWorld Orlando are the biggest, but there are still plenty of Guests who visit ICON Park Orlando and Fun Spot America, as well.

ICON Park Orlando
Credit: International Drive Orlando

Unfortunately, ICON Park was in the limelight for a tragic reason last spring, and the theme park is still picking up the pieces today. Last March, 14-year-old Tyre Sampson boarded the Orlando FreeFall at ICON Park Orlando and was tragically released from his seat. While Slingshot Group, the operators of the attraction, have denied many allegations in the lawsuit filed by Sampson’s family– which names more than a dozen defendants— ICON Park announced that the attraction would never open again.

For nearly a year, the Orlando FreeFall has remained intact at the amusement park with the seats fixated in the same spot. Samspon’s family, as well as thousands of protestors, have called for the ride to be demolished.

This week, that process will now begin.

Credit: ICON Park

Sampson’s father, Yarnell, told Fox 35 that this was a step in the right direction.

“I think they’re finally putting their money where their mouth is,” he said. “This is just a step towards the right direction, and I’m glad they finally realized they made a mistake, and they’re trying to fix it.”

Lawyer Michael Haggard gave a statement to the Orlando Sentinel, saying that the removal of the attraction does not replace the tragic loss that Nekia Dodd, Sampson’s mother, and family have had to endure.

“Ms. Dodd remains focused on real change in the oversight and operation of thrill rides and accountability by any party involved in failing to keep theme park guests safe,” Haggard said. “It is a part of Tyre’s legacy, a legacy that can never be stripped down.”

Orlando Aerial Photo
Credit: Visit Orlando

Trevor Arnold, an attorney representing Orlando Slingshot, said the hope is to have the ride completely deconstructed by the anniversary of Tyre Sampson’s tragic death, March 24.

“That activity is expected to continue into the following week because of the large size of the ride,” Arnold said in a statement. “We hope to have the ride fully deconstructed before the anniversary of Tyre Sampson’s tragic death, and we will continue to work in that direction and give timeline updates as they are available.”

Inside the Magic will keep you updated on this attraction and the latest coming out of its demolition.

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