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Universal reveals details on Islands of Adventure's new Seuss Sky Ride

2006-05-26

By Robert Niles: It's been six years already, but theme park fans are going to have to wait a few more days to welcome a new ride to Universal's Islands of Adventure. The High In The Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride will debut sometime in "mid June," according to sources at Universal. The ride will take visitors over, through and around the park's richly detailed Seuss Landing area, featuring show scenes and details from several Dr. Seuss books, including "Sneetches and Other Stories," "Oh, the Places You'll Go," and "Dr. Seuss's ABC's."

I spoke with ride designer Chris Lauren, of Universal Creative, yesterday and you can read the entire Q&A on our High In The Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride page.

Fans have been looking at the tracks running above Seuss Landing ever since the park opened, and Lauren revealed that the original concept, Sylvester McMonkey McBean's Very Unusual Driving Machines, featured individual cars in a "bumper car situation." Lauren didn't wouldn't cough up much detail when I pressed him on the issue, but I can't imagine how bumper cars, 10 feet in the air and on a linear track, could possibly work. Apparently, neither did Universal, because as we all know, the ride never opened.

The Seuss Trolley Train, however, will put riders in Mack power coaster tram vehicles for a more traditional-style tour of the area. The ride will feature two distinct tracks, each taking a different path around the land. Lauren said:

The land itself was always intended to be seen from above. A lot of the props and sets and set-ups for Seuss Landing were directed to the view from above there. And it's nice to see those realized. And even more thrilling to become a part of that. And I think what I noticed as I was going around, was just how much awareness people [on the ground] had of the train as it moved through the land. 'Cause most folks tend to focus right in front of them. But when the train went through, it has a real presence. It really energizes the space.

Readers' Opinions

From Joe Lane on May 27, 2006 at 9:50 AM
Universal mailed an elaborate media kit to coincide with the upcoming opening of, and let me get the full name right, The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride. Packed in an elaborate, star-covered box was a green ink-pad, a Seussian star stamp, and a book of Seuss-isms. Cute in its own right, if lacking in information about the ride.

The original Sylvester McMonkey McBean theme was derived from Dr. Seuss' The Sneetches story, about Sneetches whose bellies had stars upon thars, and plain-bellied Sneetches, who had no stars upon thars. And the inventor McBean makes money off both groups of Sneetches adding and removing stars until nobody knows who was who. It's a lesson in equality, and by the looks of the box and the gifts inside, it looks like at least stars might be a continuing theme, if not Sneetches alone.

A little piece of paper inside claims the grand opening to be held June 22nd.

From Erik Yates on May 27, 2006 at 4:49 PM
The rumor is that Passholder Previews will begin June 9th, with a soft opening some time shortly after that. As for the ride itself, there will be seven show scenes featuring a lot of Seuss characters from the Sneetches, to scenes from the Butter Battle. It will also pass through the Circus McGurkus Cafe Stupendous, where there is an organ stationed at. This organ has been used in the past for sing-alongs, but it is also rumored that it will feature either a person, or an animatronic to be added at a later date that plays said organ. The minimum height is also posted as being 34" inches, quelling any fears that this would be similar in restrictions to Pteradon Flyers which requires you to have a child under 54" inches to ride with you. For Universal fans, this is an exciting time for a ride that was long thought dead and scrapped.
From Gareth H on May 29, 2006 at 8:03 AM
Just renewed my annual pass so hopefully I'll make it for the passholder previews!
From Robert Niles on May 29, 2006 at 12:24 PM
Could someone who attends on the 9th please post some photos to the Sky Ride page? I'll post a video on the site, too, if someone wants to send one along. Thanks.
From Gareth H on May 29, 2006 at 4:25 PM
If you remind me a couple of days before I'll get the camera warmed up!! (Still & Video)

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