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Robert Niles
Editor

Universal closes Earthquake; 'Disaster' replacement to open in December

Published: November 5, 2007 at 5:00 PM

It looks like the Earthquake attraction at Universal Studios Florida, which already has lost much of its theming to the 1970s disaster flick, will lose that theming entirely.

Universal announced that today was the last day for the attraction, which opened with the park in 1990. The attraction had already had a middle show section cut and will now get a more complete make-over, as well as a new name.

The rehabbed ride will reopen in December with the new name "Disaster! A Major Motion Picture Ride . . . Starring You." In its press releasem Universal said the ride "will offer guests an all-new experience that combines the best, most dramatic elements of Earthquake with new blockbuster celebrity talent, new ride elements, new digital technologies, interactive components and a new storyline."

No specific opening date or ride specs yet.

Replies (15)

Iris Hernandez

Published: November 5, 2007 at 5:59 PM

Darn it Robert, you beat me to it...i just submitted this story to you like an hour ago. You did do a better job than me of course. Oh well....I personally think its a good move from Universal. I cant even remember the last time i got on that ride, and I go to Univeral a lot. Cant wait to see what they do with it.
steve lee

Published: November 5, 2007 at 6:48 PM

Is it just me, or does this sound like new preshows with the same ride?
Gareth H

Published: November 5, 2007 at 7:23 PM

Well I knew something was happening, I did say.
Ryan Traylor

Published: November 5, 2007 at 7:35 PM

"Earthquake" really only works at USH, disguising the ride as a "hot set". I went on the USF version back in 2001 and thought it was a complete disaster. (Pun intended)
Robert Niles
Editor

Published: November 5, 2007 at 8:12 PM

Steve,

Yep.

Maybe rejigger a few things in the ride. New pre-show with current star who Universal wants to hype. New storyline to try to make the ride more fresh to audience where almost no one remembers George Kennedy and Lorne Greene.

It's too quick a turn-around for anything major to the ride.

Scottland Jacobson

Published: November 5, 2007 at 8:38 PM

Heck - even a slight revamp could be fun. I always thought it was enjoyable seeing everything come crashing down from the tram. The three times I've ridden it I was always chosen to "man the sub" in the pre-show. It will be nice to see something new - even if it's only slightly changed.
Gareth H

Published: November 5, 2007 at 10:05 PM

Ah, I pulled the cord to make the Pillar collapse in the old show, 9 years ago on my honeymoon.

Memories eh.

Well anyway, they say it'll re-open by the december rush. They've had near 2 months to work on the pre shows and I did wonder why the pre show doors were bolted shut...

I doubt they'll do too much with the ride, thats the best part, its the pre shows I just got bored with. I went on EarthQuake more during HHN's than I have throughout the rest of the year, just because the Pre-Shows were closed.

Russell Meyer
Writer

Published: November 5, 2007 at 11:07 PM

I was at the park the past two days, and all the cast members would say was that the attraction was undergoing seasonal rehab. Considering that two other "big" attractions are down right now (Back to the Future/Simpsons and Fear Factor Live), they really need to get this attraction back up before the busy holiday crowds decend on the parks next month. It does sound like they're just going to change the opening room and perhaps pub one of their recent disaster movies (Poseidon come to mind). BTW, the building does still say "Earthquake" on the front, but obviously some gold letters can be changed pretty easily.
Eric Malone

Published: November 6, 2007 at 5:15 AM

Finally! I figured this place might get closed eventually, but not before Twister. No problem. I'm looking forward to seeing the new ride!
Danny Melillo

Published: November 6, 2007 at 5:33 AM

OMG, you beat screamscape.
Rob P

Published: November 6, 2007 at 8:45 AM

I have to say that we liked the original " Earthquake " but agree that a makeover is long overdue.

One element that always made me chuckle was when those "guests" that pushed and shoved their way to the front of the line had to move all the way down for the first part of the show only to find that the doors leading to the train were farther back and the rest of us always got on first.

Silly I know...........but I liked that bit most.( he he he)

Chris Walton

Published: November 6, 2007 at 10:31 AM

Well, there's our answer to what's next on the chopping block. Even thought technically it sound like almost the exact same ride.
Robert Niles
Editor

Published: November 6, 2007 at 1:16 PM

Honestly, I've often wondered why parks do not do this more often. A large part of the appeal of *theme* park attractions lies in their thematic connection to an entertainment property that engages the audience. (Movies, TV shows, music, books, etc.) When themes get stale (such as the movie Earthquake), why not change the ride to a different storyline?

I'm not talking about building generic attractions and slapping on a different coat of paint and new title every years. But why not build attractions in a way that elements can be swapped easily to accommodate a new storyline?

Earthquake fits that model. You can pretty substantially change this attraction with a new intro movie and modified middle show. They can reframe the final segment ride, allowing it to seem fresher with just a few new or altered effects.

Busch does a pretty good job of swapping 4D movies, for another example. (Even though I wish some of those movies were more entertaining.) We'll see how Disaster turns out, but I like the way Universal's handled this, so far, as a way to freshen an attraction with minimal downtime (and, I presume, capital investment).

Jordan Siegert

Published: November 6, 2007 at 5:37 PM

Now that this is all mentioned, on october 4th, i road it at halloween horror nights, and i noticed that the big tanker/Truck did not come at all, i wonder what that might be about, I asked one of the employees and he said they had issues with it, I tried to get him to tell me about the show but he wouldnt budge....
Gareth H

Published: November 6, 2007 at 6:55 PM

It dropped everytime I went there though HHN. It must've just had a tech prob when you went.

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