Tag Archives | universal orlando

New attractions at Universal Orlando

Universal Orlando has announced a new 3-D ride based on the movie “Despicable Me”.  The new Despicable Me ride will be an original story stet in a whole new story, and the whole audience gets transformed into ‘minions’, those little yellow helpers from the movie.  Guests will ride in an eight-passenger vehicle through the main character, Gru’s home, laboratory, and enter the training process to become ‘minions’.  The ride will replace the current Jimmy Neutron’s Nicktoon Blast attraction at the Universal Studios Park.

Also planned for next year is an update to the popular Amazing Adventures of Spider Man attraction.  The storyline will remain the same, but the ride will undergo some technical updates, and will be re-animated in high definition.  So, basically, it will be the Spider Man ride that we all love, just better!

Record Attendance Continues at Universal

Well, despite the terrible economic conditions in the U.S. and Florida, one Central Florida company is raking it in.  Ever since the opening last June of the popular Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal Orlando has been seeing record attendance numbers.  Just the first quarter of this year (January thru March) Universal Orlando saw an increase of 1.1 million visitors (combined total of Universal Studios and Universal’s Island of Adventures).  And, those visitors are buying plenty of souvenirs as well – merchandise sales skyrocketed to 156%!  Food and beverage sales are up 104% and ticket sales up 85%.  Universal’s total revenue nearly doubled for the quarter….to $309 million.

This is great news for the Central Florida tourist industry, but I do wonder if there is also an increase in International tourism, or if it’s mostly U.S. tourists…most people I know are reeling from the bad economy, and not spending unnecessarily.  But, I also know the Harry Potter fans are a die-hard group, so they may have been saving for this.  What do you think?

Mini-Golf coming to Universal

Universal Orlando will be adding a 36-hole mini golf course to its CityWalk area.  The entertainment capital is always looking for new ways to ensure guests have a great time, and mini golf is always great fun.  And, since this is Universal, you can expect the latest technology, along with creativity, to make the “Hollywood Drive-In Golf” the best putt-putt course around.  The two 18-hole courses will include interactive elements, special effects, and LED lighting so you can play after dark.  The course is inspired by the drive-in movie era, and is based on vintage horror flicks and old science fiction films.  Golfers will pass through a cemetery, under a giant spider, through a flying saucer, and into the lab of a haunted house.  The course is expected to open early next year.

Rip Ride Rockit Now Re-open!

Universal Studios Orlando has re-opened its Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit coaster after a long, sudden closure about 6 weeks ago.  There have been rumors flying around about the reason for the closure and there was even speculation that Universal might remove the ride altogether due to severe issues.

Since the re-opening on October 28th, guests are saying the trains are new, or refurbished, and the ride experience has been improved.  This is good news since this ride was considered to be too rough for some.  Universal has been very vague about the reasons behind the long closure, and when asked about the re-opening, all they said was “We are excited that Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit has re-opened after its maintenance period.”  Hmmmm, not much information there, but at least the ride is now open, and improved.  This innovative ride features cutting-edge technology and features three 1st-time maneuvers:  the Double Take, the world’s largest non-inverted loop; the Treble Clef, where guests burst through a building façade on track shaped like the music symbol; and the Jump Cut, a spiraling, negative-gravity move. Not only that, but riders get to choose their own music, and cameras capture the entire experience.  Guests can purchase the DVD and take home their own ‘music video’ of their experience.

What’s Happening with Rip Ride Rocket at Universal Orlando?

On September 16th Universal Orlando closed its second most popular attraction at Universal – Rip Ride Rocket. Surpassed only by the Forbidden Journey, the roller coaster closure has lead to waits of over an hour at Universals most popular attraction which is in Universal Orlando’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Fortunately the closure comes during Orlando’s slowest tourism season of the year.

The ride manufacturer had announced a major flaw in the roller coaster’s connection system of the ride’s trains which could lead to loss of life. Although Universal has denied this is the reason for the coaster’s closure; even saying they caught the problem and fixed it prior to the advisory being announced. Seems a bit fishy to me since this closure was not announced in advance, happened very suddenly and Universal will not comment on when this popular attraction may return.

Universal is calling it routine maintenance but typically routine maintenance does not take a month or longer. Coupled with the fact that they can confirm no date for the coaster’s return is troublesome. One has to wonder what Universal is keeping so secret.  A coaster that is just over a year old should not require such an extensive down time unless there are serious issues.  With the busy holiday periods quickly approaching, Universal Orlando has to be working as fast as they safely can for its return.

The roll out last year of Universal’s Hollywood Rip Ride Rocket was behind schedule and its eventual roll out was not smooth with multiple problems plaguing the launch.  If the coaster’s problems are not linked to the manufacturer’s recent advisory then one has to ask – what is wrong with Hollywood Rip Ride Rocket? Universal is still refusing to announce anything on the sudden unplanned closure other than routine maintenance issues. The problems may run deep and Universal has left its customers wondering what is wrong with Hollywood Rip Ride Rocket.