As Universal Studios Orlando opens up new dark rides, its competitors in SeaWorld and Busch Gardens continue to produce new and exciting coasters. While it isn’t mandatory to build a new coaster, Universal Studios might wish to do so if they want to keep up with the demand for more thrilling theme park rides.
I’m not saying Universal Studios needs to put in a hyper-coaster right this moment. They have garnered themselves a reputation that SeaWorld and Busch Gardens can’t match. But they are missing out on the roller coaster crowd, as enthusiasts opt to ride newer coasters at the other parks.
You might be saying “Universal Studios does have coasters, it has three.” Yes, but aside from the Hulk none of these coasters are extremely memorable. Dragon Challenge doesn’t feature the infamous dueling trains, and Rip Ride Rockit isn’t the smoothest coaster on the planet. In fact, there is talk of removing Dragon Challenge permanently, as they look to expand the Harry Potter universe.
It’s hard to define what a coaster is at Universal. They’ve got numerous dark rides that disguise themselves as coasters. But to really see the bar high they need to add something spectacular.
One potential option is looking towards Universal Studios Japan and re-creating their Flying Dinosaur coaster, a flying coaster that would provide direct competition to SeaWorld’s Manta roller coaster. Not only is it a unique ride, but it’s something that will bring people to the park, as the ride is arguably the most popular at Universal Studios Japan.
The other option is building something completely from scratch, a new design that no other Universal Studios park has. Of course, the issue of space in the park becomes an issue, but given the massive amount of real estate Universal Studios Orlando has come across, it isn’t impossible something could be worked out.
We know Universal Studios is working on the Fast and Furious ride for 2018, but aren’t sure what the experience is going to be like. It’s possible they use the same premise as Disney’s Test Track. There is also a chance it could be an indoor coaster similar to Rockin Roller Coaster at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which unlike other Universal dark rides could feature inversions.
Universal Studios Orlando doesn’t need to build a massive hypercoaster or giga-coaster to stay above SeaWorld and Busch Gardens. But, if the rumors are true, something needs to replace Dragon Challenge. As with any new attraction opening, attendance will soar as a result of this coaster. Universal really can’t lose in this situation.
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