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Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

p. 623 - New Epic Universe details, including Celestial Park!

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I sadly never got to experience this ride in person. Last time I was at Universal Studios was in 2009 for my birthday, but the day went horribly downhill when my boyfriend ended up getting sick on The Simpsons Ride. I tried to get him to ride Jaws with me, but he wasn't having it and we left the park early because he just wasn't feeling well.

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WESH 2 News Orlando posted a little article about Jaws' last day and Potter replacing it. I found it VERY interesting that the first comment is some random GP complaining that it's not fair that now you'll have to buy a two-day ticket to experience all of Potter.

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So today a bunch of us had the chance to send off Jaws by paying our last respects to the attraction. To be honest, it didn't hit me until the end of the evening during my last ride that I realized how much I really appreciated Jaws and what it was for the park. The attraction has aged quite well, and still held up without being lame. Innovative for its time, I have no doubt that the attraction could have lasted many more years if given the proper chance and technical upgrades, but that point is moot now.

 

And while the greater area that was once Amity is now set to be removed to make way for the second coming of a certain boy wizard, I believe that today's visit left me (and others whom I was with) with some fond memories and a bit of nostalgia that will carry on long after the lagoon has been drained and filled in.

 

So, in honor of this classic Universal attraction, I've compiled a comprehensive look at Jaws, as well as a detailed look at Amity, both captured throughout the course of January 2nd, 2012 from morning until the attractions final closure. I'll have some additional supplementary photos a little later, but I figured I'd give you the main stuff first!

 

Oh, and a special treat! How about you take a ride with me on one of the last Captain Jake Amity Boat Tours of Jaws' existence? This video was filmed at 7:45 pm on January 2nd, 2012, a mere fifteen minutes before the ride closed its doors and began serving its last riders ever!

 

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Despite the expectation that Jaws would be packed throughout the day, the first two hours of the day's operation were pretty empty.

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No foolin'?

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Our first Skipper Jacob wields his grenade launcher with pride!

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For those of you that don't know, this boathouse is actually the maintenance bay for the boats. Kind of cool that the boathouse is actually a boathouse!

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Yes, Disney can nail details... But it only took one ride on Jaws to see that the people behind this 22 year old attraction weren't leaving behind blank walls either.

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"Amity-6 to base?"

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Many people missed the signs, but there is a heck of a lot of foreshadowing in the attraction's environment.

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Farewell and adieu Gordon!

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"These things are actually loaded?!?!"

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Notice something fishy about this salvage shed? It once belonged to Quint, the crazy sailor from the film.

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Not sure anybody ever turned around besides me to look, but this is the backside (and exit) of Quint's shed.

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"Imagination is a blast!"

 

Sorry... Wrong ride.

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Somewhere across the inter webs, Guy is clasping his hands joyously smiling while staring at the flames.

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Subtle foreshadowing? I think so...

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Yeah, let's tender at the giant electrical station... It worked for Brody in Jaws 2, so it has to work for us, right?

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This scene was directly inspired by the finale of Jaws 2.

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"Weesa goin' home!"

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We were informed that the ride's water effects were on in full for the last day.

 

They weren't holding anything back today.

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I'm going to miss seeing this!

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"The shark still looks fake."

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The queue is another area with no shortage of hidden detail.

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It is still bigger than Ollivander's... ;-)

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I wonder if people took the time to see how much detail there was in Amity.

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Little known fact: This is the mayor of Amity's house. This is not really publicized considering the lack of popularity for this elected official after he refused to let Brody close the beaches, leading to the first deaths by shark in Amity.

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I could never quite figure out why this shoreside shack was leaning, but I always liked the look of the building.

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Ready to ride again?

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Looks like he's got an embolism in his left lobe. #sharkeology101

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Embolisms result in aquatic-based electrical combustion. #sharkeology101

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Park maps printed specifically for this date still listed Amity as it was seen here. As of today (1.3.2012), the entire area will be blotched out on park maps.

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I seriously hope they move this to somewhere else in the park like they did with the Delorean and the Back to the Future Train.

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Back in again!

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This would be the last time ever that we saw the line this short...

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There were some real comedic gems found in the queue video loop of Jaws, much there was in the Back to the Future queue.

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The videos added depth to the "friendly on the outside" feeling of Amity, building up the tone before letting guests onto the ride.

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I pray this loop gets saved in the eventual Blu-Ray release of Jaws (again, like Back to the Future: The Ride was).

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I was thinking the same thing.

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Minor hints in the queue lead you to believe that Amity has a history with shark problems.

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He's not singing.

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One of our group's last rides of the day (as a whole).

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They gave us Red, White & Blue beads to commemorate the date... Because it is always the Fourth of July in Amity!

 

Please note: As of today (1.3.2012), it is the first time in history that Amity has had to experience the Fifth of July...

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If you couldn't tell already, I'm really, really going to miss this sight!

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Some more details to appreciate!

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And of course, there's Chief Brody's house.

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All looks good here...

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Amity's own little church.

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A neat little system, the air blast from the sinking boat actually emits fog/smoke with it.

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I once remember seeing figures on how often this boat was raised only to sink again. I'm curious if anyone still knows.

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This can't be good!

Edited by jedimaster1227
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(Continued)

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Time to head back in!

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Universal did an incredible job of blurring "reality" with the story of what was featured in the "fictional" film.

 

The same kind of story delivery was used in the development and final execution of Jurassic Park at Islands of Adventure. The "island" is supposed to represent the "real" Jurassic Park, as in the one that was successfully opened and not the one seen as dramatized in the films and books.

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In Quint's shed, we find a life saver from the USS Indianapolis, the ship whose sinking he survived.

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In case you were wondering why they had a gas dock here... It is for the boat rentals.

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The water jets were on in full force for the last day of operation.

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Fire, water, rainbows, smoke and sun in one photo??? How is this even possible? Well, that's simple. Jaws has magic powers Harry Potter doesn't.

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In the last few years the bursting pipe effect worked incredibly.

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One last look at what was arguably Jaw's most amazing (and expensive) scene.

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Isn't that shark ever going to learn?

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One day I'll be a skipper with Captain Jake too!

 

Oh, wait...

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Time to look at some of the scenic beauty of Amity.

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You know what else the closing of Amity means? Delicious and refreshing Coca-Cola will be served in one less area of the Universal Orlando Resort! Wizard FAIL!

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It's the little things that count.

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I hear the Village Circle Hall has some pretty glorious thrones.

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Not sure if this side building used to house anything, but it also has some neat details.

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Per Tonne.

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This well was added to the area during Halloween Horror Nights XX's installation of the Orfanage house. It was never removed.

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The secondary queue building for Jaws was more often used by guests during Halloween Horror Nights than it was during general park operation.

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The same went for the outside queue which wound down to the end of lake near Amity's church.

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For Larry.

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It'll be strange not seeing this logo in the parks anymore.

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Universal Express was always great to use on Jaws, especially when the free system was still in place. I love the sign, by the way.

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This shelter was added to cover the distribution machines for the Fastpass-like Express Pass (free) system that was in place in the parks for a while.

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Time for the game of hidden tributes!

 

Bruce = Nickname for the mechanical version of Jaws used in the production of the film.

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Brody = Chief Martin Brody, Amity Police.

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Not a clue.

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This boat is actually a huge prop from the fourth Jaws film, Jaws: The Revenge.

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Just waiting to get out of dry dock.

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Amity had a certain humble atmosphere to it.

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Do you see what they did there?

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Lots of food and drink options in Amity.

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As well as clothing options...

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Which way should we go?

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Any better options from this side?

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Amity was truly dead during the day.

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Almost all of the game booths carried some sort of Americana theme, which played into the Amity atmosphere quite well.

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Jolly, jolly, jolly!

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No more fried chicken!

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It's always the 4th of July in Amity!

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I'm guessing you may never have noticed this, but when looking at San Francisco from Amity, the facade of Disaster looks to continue the theme and architectural style of Amity. Switching views, you'll notice that the brickwork and buildings look significantly more San Franciscan.

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(Concluded)

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The area offered two commemorative pressed pennies for your collection.

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Thematic continuity throughout.

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They had a nice postcard for sale in the Universal Studios Store, but I'm guessing those are now sold out.

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We came back to Amity that evening to find that the lines had significantly increased as the closing hour approached.

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And I really mean, it increased significantly.

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The queue had prints of scenes from the film as a part of the "JawsMovieArchives.com" Again with the mixing of "reality" and "fiction."

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The queue was packed filling almost all of the two queue buildings.

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Let me repeat... I pray they save this video loop for the Blu-Ray.

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We need this walk around character to roam the park with Doc Brown, ASAP!

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I'll miss Amity at night.

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As you can tell, it was very busy.

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I had honestly never seen the queue this full before.

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The secondary queue building, along with some often cut off sections of the main queue features some neat props from the original film.

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Again, for the love of Larry.

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Words can't possibly describe.

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I'm officially a Jaws Skipper now!

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This was the same artwork we had seen in pass holder emails and mailings, but it was nice to see people walking around wearing this in badge form.

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What are people gathered to photograph, you ask?

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The final closing of the doors to Captain Jake's Amity Boat Tours, otherwise known as Jaws.

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Forty eight commemorative tickets were given to guests during the day to invite them to ride on the final guest voyage of Jaws.

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I'm now two for two on Universal Studios Florida attraction closures, and while it is sad to see such great classics close, I am proud to have been able to document the area one last time, all the while riding a few more times to make my last experiences memorable ones.

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Moving on...

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Fin.

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C'est fini.

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That's all folks!

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Ironically, this caricature was found just outside of Amity's borders at Lombards in San Francisco... Not more else I can say.

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I never got to ride this ride, though it looks like it'd be enjoyable. More interestingly enough, my dad works for Veolia Water and designs water treatment plants and his specific branch built a treatment system for the water used for 'Jaws' about 8 years back. I didn't find this out until today.

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Was in the 3rd or 4th to last boat I believe; all of the skippers were tearing up after their last rides and hugging eachother, etc. Very emotional for all of them. -- It was awesome having a boatfull of crazies, I am glad I made the cutoff! I thought for sure I wasn't going to make it. Our boat was a riot everyone was really into it and we had a ton of fun.

Edited by anonymouscactus
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I do find it strange that during the day, when we could have ridden over and over and over again without any wait at all, no one showed up, but then the crowd got HUGE at night. Seriously, when the ride opened at 9am this morning, NO ONE was there! It was sad and tragic! But then they all crowded in at night for that one *final* *last* *ride.*

 

I don't quite "get" why so many people wanted to be on one of the "last boats", or why that's important. IMO, if you loved the ride, wouldn't you have wanted to be on MORE boats and ride it as much as you could?

 

I took two rides this morning, which IMO was plenty, and could have kept going if I wanted to.

 

I really like Jaws a lot, but I'm not willing to spend 60 minutes in line for it...even on the very last day!

 

--Robb "RIP Bruce...see you in Japan...at least I hope!" Alvey

Edited by robbalvey
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I really like Jaws a lot, but I'm not willing to spend 60 minutes in line for it...even on the very last day!

 

My thoughts exactly. Bring on the new credit...even if I don't know anything about Harry Potter.

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I really like Jaws a lot, but I'm not willing to spend 60 minutes in line for it...even on the very last day!

 

My thoughts exactly. Bring on the new credit...even if I don't know anything about Harry Potter.

Oh, I'm not saying that. I'd much rather have Jaws than anything Potter. I'd be more willing to wait 20 minutes for Jaws thsan FJ, for example. Wouldn't wait 60 minutes for either.

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Loving the photos of Jaws over the last few pages. I only rode Jaws once, way back in 2000 during my only trip to Florida. Interestingly the attractions I enjoyed the most at Universal were Jaws, Back to the Future and the Hitchcock experience, all of which I'll never get to experience again. Seeing the Photo TRs over the last few days have helped me relive the magic a little so thank you.

 

But for me Jaws was a strange ride. I remember when I went on it it was with my whole family. After the ride I thought it was a bit cheesy and lame. But over the years, when I look back at it, I realise just how much the ride stuck with me. The themeing was amazing. The ride, although still a bit cheesy, was a ton of fun and we laughed and smiled throughout the whole thing. The ride ops were so enthusiastic it was infectious. And really the special effects and the ride experience were quite good, no matter how fake the shark looked!

 

I'm not totally sad to see the ride go however, as everything must come to an end at some stage. However I'm not hugely enthusiastic about another Harry Potter ride replacing it. I've not had a chance to return to Orlando yet (hopefully I will in the next few years) so I've not had a chance to experience the WWHP so I'll reserve judgement until I do. But one thing I've noticed is that it's made for the fans of Harry Potter and not really as a way to introduce new fans. This worries me.

 

The one thing I remember about Universal was how most of the attractions gave a pretty good back-story, and even if they didn't you could still enjoy the ride as they didn't require previous knowledge to do so. I can understand how this could have been overlooked for the Harry Potter attractions as so many people have seen the movies and/or read the books. But still the vast majority of the population will not have read or seen a thing, or at the very least will not have total encyclopedic knowledge of the Harry Potter universe. From the ride-throughs of FJ that I've seen this could make for a very confusing ride. Why are we playing a game with balls, and hoops? Where did the spiders and dragon come from? Why is that tree moving? Yes the technology of the ride system is good, the movement of the seats and use of projections screens might be fun for a Harry Potter virgin but when they leave the ride they won't have a clue what just happened and will probably be asking questions, instead of talking about how much fun they just had.

 

See that was the beauty of Jaws. You didn't need to see any of the Jaws movies to enjoy the ride. It's almost as if Amity is a real place and the Jaws movies run along side it, rather than Amity existing because of the movies. It's simple, you go on a boat tour, you see some nice scenery, there might be a shark in the water, there is a shark in the water, you get attacked, you eventually escape with your life! Simple. Fun. Enjoyable. After the ride you can walk around a nicely themed seaside area and get your picture taken with the shark.

 

Now there's no reason why a similar process can't work with the new Harry Potter ride, but from the sounds of it they're once again trying to cram as much from the books and movies as they can into the ride, while at the same time adding a roller coaster element. The first time I read about the Gringotts bank in the Harry Potter books I immediately thought "This would make a great roller coaster!". In the books a normal trip to the underground Vaults is a roller coaster. Add a possible "rob the bank and escape" theme, throw in a few security "traps", a dragon, a giant, etc. and you have a ride right there. Harry and his friends don't even need to show up!

 

But I imagine that won't happen, especially if the leaked plans are to be believed. And that will be sad if true.

 

I'm still going to visit Orlando again sometime and I will go to Universal and IOA to give WWHP a go but I imagine, even for a wizard themed area, some of the old-school movie magic will be lost.

 

RIP Jaws. You've died of an electric shock so many times only to rise again, may you finally rest in piece!

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Thanks for that massive report Adam. I had really forgotten how awesome the queue/theming is on Jaws.

 

I think Jaws was one of the first rides I ever went on. I first went to Orlando when I was 4 and I remember being very scared! As I've gotten older, Jaws became more of a joke ride but I'll always have a soft spot for it.

 

I'm a HP fan girl, so anything HP related is fine by me!! Bring on Gringots!

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I was with my old friend Brian, who was visiting Universal Florida for the first time. He was very amused by how many attractions featured fire and explosions. Well, we rode Jaws, and he asked, "OK, how are they going to work fire and explosions into this ride?"

 

Then he saw this sign.

 

dsc02254_2.jpg

 

"Ah, the answer presents itself!"

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