A ‘Fast & Furious’ Ride is Heading to Universal Studios Orlando
The Fast and Furious series has been a sleeping giant for Universal Pictures, growing from a modestly successful franchise into a cultural juggernaut over the course of a decade. And like other cultural juggernauts owned or licensed by Universal, the increasingly wacky adventures of Dominic Toretto and his family eventually jumped into the theme park realm. Fast and Furious: Supercharged made its debut at Universal Studios Hollywood earlier this year and it was just announced that the ride is heading to the studio’s Florida park. But it’s going to have to be very different and that is what has us interested.
The news was announced over at the Universal Orlando Resort blog and it’s the kind of thing that will be met with both excitement and melancholy by theme park and movie fans.
First, the exciting part. No one in the world makes theme park rides and attractions quite like Universal Studios. It’s not even a contest. They’ve out-Disneyed Disney in the theming and technology departments. It’s just plain unreal. Have you seen their Wizarding World of Harry Potter? It’s the work of mad men. It’s nuts. The Fast and Furious: Supercharged attraction at their California park is part of their iconic tram tour, a quick vignette in between actual behind-the-scenes glimpses at a working film studio. No such thing exists in Florida, so the new Supercharged could literally be anything. We’d put good money on it being similar to their Transformers and Spider-Man rides, which combine motion simulator technology with 3D projection. It’s impressive tech in any situation, but it feels like it was destined to recreate the cartoonish mayhem of a Fast and Furious adventure.
Although we expect the ride to make plenty of changes as it moves to a new coast, the basic set-up should remain the same. After all, Universal already shot an entire storyline involving Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Dwayne Johnson, and Tyrese Gibson leading riders on a dizzying high speed escape from Luke Evans’ Deckhard Shaw. There’s probably going to be some recycling.
And now we come to the melancholy part. In order to accommodate this new ride, Universal will be shutting down two of their oldest operating attractions. The Beetlejuice Graveyard Revue show and Disaster! (formerly Earthquake) will be closed. Park veterans will recognize the queue in the concept art below. Yep, that certainly looks like the exterior line for Disaster!, re-themed to fit in the Fast and Furious world.
This is the kind of thing that will only upset a small percentage of visitors (the hardcore fans) and we get it. A Fast and Furious ride will sell more tickets than a rock and roll show starring movie monsters. As cool as Disaster! is (and it’s a very well done update to the old Earthquake attraction), it was starting to show its age in a big way. This is a smart business move, even if it’s a punch right in the nostalgia. After all, the Jaws ride had to die to make way for Diagon Alley. This is the way of theme park.
No opening date has been set for the new Fast and Furious: Supercharged, but Disaster! and the Beetlejuice Graveyard Revue will permanently close on September 8, 2015. Universal is known for their quick turnaround on new attractions, so we’d guess that you could be riding alongside Dom and Letty by summer of 2017 at the latest.