Riders soar at Foxwoods Thrill Tower's official unveiling

Friends, from left, Aly Gwozdz and Shania Watts, both of Taunton, as well as Lex Corsa and Katie Morse, both of Milford, hold hands as they ride the Sky Drop on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017, at Foxwood's new Thrill Tower.  The 120-foot tower features a Sky Launch bungee ride and a Sky Drop ride; both are open and the official ribbon-cutting was Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
Friends, from left, Aly Gwozdz and Shania Watts, both of Taunton, as well as Lex Corsa and Katie Morse, both of Milford, hold hands as they ride the Sky Drop on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017, at Foxwood's new Thrill Tower. The 120-foot tower features a Sky Launch bungee ride and a Sky Drop ride; both are open and the official ribbon-cutting was Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)

Mashantucket — For Felix Rappaport, lunch Tuesday consisted of some chicken and a bowl of soup.

At no point, he said a couple of hours later, did he expect to lose any of it. Nor, it can be reported, did he.

Despite being Sky Dropped and Sky Launched, which involved free-falling 120 feet, a touch of weightlessness and what had to be some anticipatory anxiety, Rappaport, Foxwoods Resort Casino’s head honcho, maintained admirably.

So did Rodney Butler, the Mashantucket Pequot chairman, who opted for the premium Sky Launch experience, the one where you flip over while you’re returning to earth.

“It was very, very exciting,” Butler said. “I’d definitely do it again — just not today.”

The rides, which together constitute the Foxwoods Thrill Tower, have been operating since Sept. 1, the casino’s latest attempt to diversify its offerings. Tuesday’s official ribbon-cutting took place near the base of the tower, which rises outside Junior’s, a restaurant/bar in The Fox Tower.

Rappaport said the Thrill Tower is “emblematic of a new stage in Foxwoods’ master plan,” the first in a series of attractions “that will help transform Foxwoods from being gaming-centric to being a full-fledged resort.”

Crystal Whipple, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council secretary, and Jason Guyot, Foxwoods vice president of resort operations and development, rode Sky Drop with Rappaport and Butler. Slowly, the four, seated side by side, rose to the top of the tower.

Then they plunged down, a magnetic braking system halting their free fall.

Rappaport, Butler and Guyot moved onto Sky Launch, in which two riders at a time, seated back-to-back, are rocketed to the top of the tower and brought back down.

The rides are the brainchild of Stan Checketts, an amusement-ride innovator who got his start designing bungee towers. He founded S&S Worldwide, a manufacturer of amusement rides, in the 1990s and, with a partner, launched Soaring Eagle Inc. of Logan, Utah, in 2010.

Soaring Eagles’ rides are in place in resorts and amusement parks around the country.

The Foxwoods Thrill Tower operates from noon to midnight daily. Sky Drop admission is $15 and Sky Launch is $25. You can ride them both for $35.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

Katie Morse of Milford reacts as she rides the Sky Launch with Aly Gwozdz of Taunton on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017, at Foxwood's new Thrill Tower.  The 120-foot tower features a Sky Launch bungee ride and a Sky Drop ride; both are open and the official ribbon-cutting was held on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
Katie Morse of Milford reacts as she rides the Sky Launch with Aly Gwozdz of Taunton on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017, at Foxwood's new Thrill Tower. The 120-foot tower features a Sky Launch bungee ride and a Sky Drop ride; both are open and the official ribbon-cutting was held on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)

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