Monday, May 12, 2008

New 'Rockit' high-tech roller coaster coming to Universal Studios Orlando in 2009

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.

"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.
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.
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.

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.

A 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.

Source: Orlando Sentinal