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'Rockit' will roll 'em at Universal Orlando in 09

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Scott Powers | Sentinel Staff Writer
March 19, 2008

Universal Studios is about to build a new signature ride: a high-tech roller coaster full of lights, music, loops, twists and turns -- and a quick trip over the heads of people walking through the nearby CityWalk entertainment district.

The Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit is planned to be big, bright and brash enough to become the new visual symbol for the theme park when the coaster opens in about a year. Universal Orlando officials said Tuesday that it also will feature enough digital technology to appeal directly to what they refer to as the "YouTube culture."

Universal Orlando officials said the coaster will rise 167 feet into the air and feature numerous loops and corkscrew turns. Rockit -- the first big, outdoor thrill ride for Universal Studios -- is set to open in spring 2009.

It will provide another link in Universal Orlando's recent chain of big new attractions. An overhauled version of an old ride, renamed Disaster!, opened in January. The Simpsons Ride, a 3-D fantasy-simulation ride replacing the old Back to the Future, is set to open in a few weeks. And several still-undisclosed attractions are to open together in late 2009 as the "Wizarding World of Harry Potter" in Universal Studios' sister park, Islands of Adventure.

The flurry of activity follows a dormant period of nearly three years during which Universal offered no big new rides.

Although it will be the tallest coaster in Central Florida and one of the fastest in the state, the Rockit will be nowhere near the tallest or fastest in the amusement-park business. But like the Incredible Hulk in Islands of Adventure and several other Florida coasters, it aims to use innovation and novelty to make up for any lack of record-setting height or speed.

"We like to go for the best," said Mark Woodbury, president of Universal Parks & Resorts' creative division -- though Universal would not comment on the project's cost.

Rockit will offer high-energy video displays in the waiting line; high-intensity, color-changing LED lighting and digital audio and video effects during the ride; and various engineering innovations.


'A whole new level'

And unlike any of the other big roller coasters in Central Florida, Rockit will loom over its park's entrance and beyond. Universal plans to squeeze its track between the Jimmy Neutron's Nicktoon Blast ride and the Sharp Aquos Theatre, which houses the Blue Man Group show. From there the track would run along the boundary between Universal Studios and Universal's sound stages, then rise over the fence to twist over the sidewalks of CityWalk, outside the theme park -- a brightly lit, scream-filled advertisement for the park.

"We like to look at this as taking the thrill ride to a whole new level, both physically and figuratively," Woodbury said. "It's iconographic in its position. It's going to do some things no ride has done before. And it combines entry into the digital age with the ability to customize and personalize the ride for each rider."

That particular digital-age feature will allow riders to select their own music and create a music video of the ride. Afterward, a rider could download the video and use it on personal Web pages or video-sharing sites.

But the ride -- which Universal officials had referred to for months by the code name "Project Rumble" -- still draws principally on the basic thrills of a roller coaster: speed, height, loops, corkscrews, twists, turns and drops. Universal officials said Rockit would have several signature moves and a record-breaking loop, though they would not elaborate. The artist's rendering that they released shows the track climbing a 167-foot-tall peak, then corkscrewing downward, twisting eight times.


'It's a natural for us'

The ride's Internet-based theme digresses a bit from Universal Studios' original theme, which was all about "riding" the movies. But Universal officials insisted that the coaster will justify the inclusion of the word "Hollywood" in its name -- a term also adopted earlier this year by Walt Disney World when it renamed its rival movie-studio theme park.

"We've always fancied ourselves as embedded into the Hollywood culture with Universal. It's part of our essence. It's a natural for us," Woodbury said. "The name is very specific to the attributes of the ride. It combines creating your own movie, to customize it; that's the 'rip' part. You can download it to your personal site. And you ride it, of course. You have the 'Rockit' part, which combines the thrill and the music."

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http://www.orlandosentinel.com/business ... 6109.story

Looks like an amazing X-car to me, I can't wait to find out more!

Post March 19th, 2008, 10:41 am
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Wow, everything sounds reeeally great! [worship] I'm especially curious about the "customizing" part, but reading where it'll go through, the layout should be amazing, too!

Post March 19th, 2008, 11:02 am
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I love X-cars, and this one with all the audio and other effects should be awesome.

Post March 19th, 2008, 1:10 pm
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Post March 19th, 2008, 1:15 pm

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Sounds STUNNING! It's Universal, so you always expect something great but this does sound truly original. Being able to have your own video of the ride and everything sounds a really interesting idea! Plus, that lift hill looks VERY interesting on the artists rendering - i hope that is a giant 160 foot screen up the side of it..... [:D]

Post March 19th, 2008, 1:50 pm

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** sigh ** Not to be the pessimist here, but everyone should be prepared to please stand by for a 4-hour queue with re-plays of one dumb clip after another.


Post March 19th, 2008, 3:27 pm

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Post March 19th, 2008, 3:40 pm

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it looks fun, i'd love a layout, everybody, pester them for details! TO THE CHATROOM!

Post March 19th, 2008, 4:50 pm

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"Universal officials said Rockit would have several signature moves and a record-breaking loop, though they would not elaborate..."

Record breaking loop?!?!

Post March 19th, 2008, 5:44 pm

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^ Screamscape says that it will actually not invert at all. The "loop" would be the world's first non-inverting loop. Basically the track would twist around so that at the top of the "loop" the train would be right side up instead of upside down.

Post March 19th, 2008, 6:07 pm
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Post March 19th, 2008, 6:18 pm
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"The attraction was officially announced by Universal officials on March 19, 2008. Although they did not elaborate on many of the features of the attraction, they did point out some statistics. The roller coaster's lift hill will be 167 feet tall, making it the tallest in the Orlando area."

Taken from Wikipedia. They also confirmed it being a Maurer S�hne.

Post March 19th, 2008, 6:20 pm

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Haha when Jake and I were paired up for the contest last year I sent him an idea that was pretty much exactly a loop with the top flipped up. Radz

Post March 19th, 2008, 7:35 pm

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Looks like a mash between Rockin' Space Mountain and Hollywood Dream at USJ. Yet it looks really cool. Anyone else notice the two trains on the lift really close together?

Post March 19th, 2008, 8:22 pm

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USH really needs to get their first outdoor rollercoaster.

Post March 19th, 2008, 8:55 pm

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^Loop sounds like the one you did on that rocket coaster Garret.

Post March 19th, 2008, 9:14 pm
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Looks like an X-car to me. Can't wait, Since i'd love to return to orlando just to ride some coasters again ^_^

Post March 19th, 2008, 9:22 pm

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Originally posted by Jakizle

^Loop sounds like the one you did on that rocket coaster Garret.


Yea that is a pretty solid loop I made on that ride. I've gotta finish that one.

Post March 19th, 2008, 9:39 pm
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Sounds like it will be a really good addition and very innovative. Good stuff!

Post March 22nd, 2008, 1:04 pm

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I think we all have built that type of loop at one time or another. I know I have on 3 different tracks. Kind of nice to see something we do might actually get engineered into reality.

Post March 22nd, 2008, 2:22 pm

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i think it is either blurring for speed or there are two cars instead of one, like your normal x-car, i also noticed on the right there were two cars as well, anyone care to elaborate?

Post March 22nd, 2008, 2:27 pm

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Post May 19th, 2008, 3:07 pm

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http://www.screamscape.com/assets/image ... yout21.jpg

The layout of the new coaster.
Looks like it will go right next to where the blue man group walk way is. And a ways into the park as well.

Looks like 3! MCBR's, so capacity should actually be very good if they can load them quck enough. (last time i was at ioa, they were having trouble with loading hulk every day i was there. So we'll see how this works out, should be alright because of the small car.)


I wanna see rolling loading, that would be sweet.

Post December 10th, 2008, 6:15 pm

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Track has began to take shape in the New York section of the park! This is strait ahead of you as you walk in, in the very back.
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And the future station:
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Post December 11th, 2008, 8:42 pm

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first of all, those are some crazy supports, and second, I LOVE THAT TRACK SPINE!
So, my friend came up to me the other day and asked if I wanted a frozen banana, and I said no, but I want a normal banana later, so... yea.

- RIP Mitch Hedberg

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