Theme Park, Amusement Park and Attractions Industry News

Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit

Originally scheduled to open in spring, Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, Universal Studios Orlando’s highly anticipated rollercoaster, finally opened in late August to the delight of park guests and operator alike. It was worth the wait, says Paul Ruben.

innovative attraction from Maurer Rides of Munich is the tallest, largest and fastest yet to use its X-Car ride vehicle. With seven pairs of X-Cars, each boasting 12 seats, the Rockit has an extraordinary high capacity of 1,850 passengers per hour. The ride also features America’s only conveyor belt coaster load platform, so that guests can board their cars without the vehicles ever coming to a complete stop. This allows a vehicle to leave the station every 23 seconds.

“Universal Orlando Resort is a place where you’re not only entertained, but also part of the entertainment,” explains Mike West, executive producer for Universal Creative. “Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit is a perfect fit for Universal Orlando because it puts guests in the director’s seat – they can customise their experience.”

<p>Passengers do this by choosing their own ride soundtrack from five genres on music, courtesy of an on-board sound system. The coaster is also the first with both on and off-board cameras to capture guests’ entire ride experience, which they can take home in the form of a music video.

Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit features 3,800ft of steel track, and starts with 165ft vertical lift (the world’s tallest), scaled in just 16.5 seconds. Of the six manoeuvres that follow, three have never been built before. These include the Double Take, the world’s largest non-inverted loop, preceded by a 65 mph drop from the 167ft lift, the Treble Clef, where guests burst through a building facade on track shaped like the music symbol, and the Jump Cut, a spiralling, negative-gravity move.

When they reach this point on the track, passengers feel like they are experiencing a corkscrew, without actually going upside down. Soaring 33ft above ground, they are turned at a 95-degree angle and fly over the waiting crowd at the load platform. Barrelling past the Blue Man Group theatre towards Universal CityWalk, the cars drop underground and emerge from a chasm near the entrance to Universal Studios. The final manoeuvre is an inclined loop called the Plot Twist, meaning it leans at an angle to the ground, and includes a 150-degree banking turn. Riders fly around a complete 360-degree turn before heading back to the station.

Bottom line? Rockit offers a smooth, fast, comfortable and, best of all, thrilling ride, enhanced by the musical soundtrack. Although Universal Studios has another coaster, the Mummy, it is hidden inside a building. With its unique profile, Rockit is an eye-catcher both in and outside the park, and that’s saying something at a resort that is not exactly poor on attractions.

While most coaster riders will select the first drop or a moment of negative gravity as the best part of the ride, West is taken by the music: “For me, the best part of the ride is the ability to have a completely different experience each time you ride depending on the song you pick. Each song provides a truly unique ride.”

In these dour economic times, the Rockit is expected to kick-start attendance at Universal Orlando Resort. “Any new attraction is good for our guests,” West notes, “and good for our business.”

Ride the ride, buy the DVD!

Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit is the first coaster featuring both on and off-board cameras to capture passenger’s entire ride experience, which they can then take home in the form of a “music video.” To make their music selection, riders use a touchpad (pictured left) inside the ride vehicle and choose from Classic Rock/Metal, Rap/Hip-Hop, Club/Electronica, Pop/Disco or Country, and then pick a song. Each seat is fitted with personal stereo speakers so guests can rock out to 90 decibels of music; yet never hear the songs playing for other riders. The music video available as guests leave the ride mixes on-board footage, music and special effects and is available in both DVD and e-mail formats to share with family and friends. It can also be ordered via the internet once park guests return home.

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