Friday, May 29, 2009

Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit Begins Testing

Now that Manta is open and soaring high over at SeaWorld, it’s time for roller coasters aficionados to turn their attention to the other big attraction opening this summer, the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit (HRRR or “Rockit” for short). To the eye, this new coaster at Universal Studios might not seem as innovative as Manta, but it actually packs a wallop as big as its name with fun technological elements and never-before-attempted roller coaster maneuvers.

We’ve discussed in previous blogs how the HRRR will feature six special maneuvers, three of which have never been attempted with a coaster before. There’s the 17-story high vertical lift, a non-inverted loop (the world’s first), a spiraling negative gravity move, and much more, including a 95 degree angled swoop over the crowd as they wait in line for their turn.

Now, even more details are coming out about the Rockit’s unique design. Particularly important to the coaster is its ultra-maneuverable X-CAR passenger car, which allows the Rockit to have the moves of many different styles of coaster. Each will feature only a lap-bar restraint, which will leave the upper body less restricted, allowing for extra thrills during those crazy loops and drops.

In addition, the trains will reportedly never stop at the loading station thanks to a groundbreaking new loading area design. We’re not sure how it works, but plans dictate that the Rockit will dispatch a train roughly every 23 seconds.

And though plenty has been said about the technological elements of the Rockit, most probably aren’t appreciating how tech-equipped this ride really is. The HRRR has six on-board cameras and eight high speed special effects cameras for capturing each rider’s experience. Needless to say, that goes way beyond the one camera that most rides flash at you when you’re donning your goofiest expression of terror. With 54 special effects shots, guests will not only be able to see their ride in full, but they’ll even be able to produce their own unique ride video and buy a DVD of it, download it at home or onto their phone, and send it to their friends.

Moreover, the Rockit will feature a 55-watt on-board speaker system that will blast out one of 30 songs from 5 genres; the song choices will include both classic and contemporary artists.

Though the Rockit was originally set to open in spring of this year, the opening was delayed to summer due to what we hear were some difficulties constructing that sky-high lift. Since then, however, the ride’s been coming along swimmingly; all pieces of the track are in place, the trains have been placed on it, and they’ve already begun testing of the ride.

We’ve even heard whispers that the HRRR will be debuted on July 4, meaning that it will coincide with the park’s Independence Day celebrations and the last day of the Summer Concert Series (check out our blog on that here). If that’s true, then the 4th of July is sure to be filled with good times all around at Universal.

In the meantime, if you do happen to see the ride being tested out while you visit Universal and are surprised at how slow things are running, don’t fear – the ride’s speed will pick up significantly once it’s out of testing phase!

Crowds are sure to gather for the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit when it opens, so you’ll want to save time by getting your Universal Studios tickets well in advance from We’ll see you in line for this exciting new coaster!


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