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That was a quick soft open... Universal makes it official with Rip, Ride, Rockit

By Robert Niles
Published: August 19, 2009 at 10:27 AM
The press release hit my in-box this morning. Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit at Universal Studios Florida is now open. Officially. No more "soft open" for the Maurer Söhne roller coaster.

Rip Ride Rockit at Universal Orlando
Image courtesy Universal

Interesting that there was no mention of a media day to create a publicity push for the new ride. Folks in the Orlando area and the southeast, you'll have to let the rest of us know if you see any additional advertising for the ride, or if Universal is continuing with its reduced media presence.

Also, as soon as someone's gotten the on-ride video from the coaster (which wasn't working during the soft open, as I understand), lemme know and I'll embed it here on TPI. (The only reason I ever care about media days is to get legal on-ride video of new rides, and if Universal's gonna have the lipstick cams on this one all the time, we can get that video whenever.)

Readers' Opinions

From Domenik Jost on August 19, 2009 at 11:13 AM
Well isn't that interesting. Yesterday I got to ride it and well, the ride was great but the features besides the lights were not working. They were still going around with clipboards trying to figure out if guests heard the music or no music. The music portion of the ride was not working at all. The on ride picture is not a good picture unless you are sitting in the last row of each car due to the angle being so harsh. (The camera for the ride picture is located on the ride where you speed through the building near Twister.) The on board video also not working but this was mentioned not to be working during soft opening but I doubt it is even working right now. The people movers that are supposed to speed up the loading process were also shut off still and not working. Universal yesterday did have the single rider line open which I would just like to note moves very very slow in comparison to other single rider lines.
All together I can't judge how great the ride is as an entire experience since the music and video portion were not working yet. The coaster on its own is a pretty fun ride, a bit more bumpy than I was expecting and the lap bars did not allow for nearly as much airtime as was expecting. I did not get lifted out of my seat the way I would consider air time to be but rather stayed snug to the seat. I do like the lap bars because they are very comfortable but it is different from what I am used to.
As of right now I can only give this ride a 6/10 because key features were not working. Hopefully next time I get to experience it the technical team will have fixed the bugs.

Tip: You can unlock extra songs by holding down the Rockit Logo on the Guest Interface Panel for 5 seconds. It will allow you to put in a number between 001-999. The only disadvantage to unlocking extra songs is that you will not be able to get an on-ride video because Universal only has the rights to sell the featured songs. If you have found any that you recognize and know please post it and share those findings with us.

From Gareth H on August 19, 2009 at 11:17 AM
Hidden song
902, Kermit the frog singing a love song.
I rode with it, very funny, not one I'll need to do again though.

I'd say keep watching Syd Vinyl's Facebook page for hints to hidden tracks.

From Anthony Murphy on August 19, 2009 at 11:25 AM
I would guess people have more or less seen how it works so maybe thats why there was no Media Day.

Still, I would think that they would have some kind of press thing since they spent so much money on it!

From Joshua Counsil on August 19, 2009 at 12:28 PM
I'm still against this ride, as I have been since day 1, but I'll give it a review on my upcoming trip.

Of course, that's assuming the wait is less than 90 minutes. Otherwise, pass.

How much is the ride affecting attendance at the park? What can I expect on September 3rd?

From Robert Niles on August 19, 2009 at 1:12 PM
I was talking with Jason Garcia at the Sentinel about the ride today, and he said that the ride was down for 50 minutes after it opened this morning, supposedly so they could add another train.

Huh? There's no modern coaster I know of that requires 50 minutes of downtime to bring a train on. Heck, at Disney, we could bring trains on Thunder without taking the ride down at all.

There's a reason why parks take time with employee previews and soft openings. And it's not just to test mechanics. It's to give ride ops staff time and experience running the ride with a live crowd. To learn to do things like bring a new train on in less than 50 minutes.

I'm shocked to see this ride officially open just four days after going to its first team member preview. Especially with elements such as the video and load platform not yet working.

You'd think that Universal Studios Florida, of all parks, would have some institutional memory about official openings before attractions are ready. There's no PR value in taking this risk. (And, as I mentioned, opening without a media day reduces the PR value substantially, as well.) It really makes me wonder if there was some other factor in play here, pressuring Universal to declare this ride open by a certain date. (Contracts?)

I have no idea about that, but this quick opening is so unusual for the theme park industry, that it makes me curious about what's going on here.

From 97.101.166.202 on August 19, 2009 at 2:25 PM
Awesome ride! Found out they opened today while driving on I-4 and noticing the change on the billboard... Waited 45 minutes to ride and it was unbelievable. The ride was smooth.... Glad to see Orlando finally getting a Cedar Point type coaster. I posted pictures from the day on theparkstop.com if you would like to see. Thanks.
From 72.188.124.3 on August 19, 2009 at 7:56 PM
I was actually right in front of Jason Garcia in line today, and about 35 minutes of that 50 minute closure was due to inclement weather.
From 67.8.24.123 on August 20, 2009 at 4:13 AM
Hi,

Just wanted to clarify something. The 50-minute delay (that's an estimate from a guest who was already waiting when I arrived) was not weather related. Universal said it was because they were swapping out trains on the track.

There was a second delay a little later (about a half hour) becuase of bad weather.

Hope that clears things up a bit.

-- Jason Garcia

From Jason Garcia on August 20, 2009 at 7:14 AM
Hi,

Just wanted to clarify something. The 50-minute delay (estimate comes from a guest who was already waiting to be let into the queue when I arrived) was not weather related. Universal said it was due to swapping trains on the tracks.

There was a second delay (about half an hour) a little later, after the ride had reopened. That was entirely due to bad weather.

Hope that helps clear things up.

Jason Garcia

From 72.188.124.3 on August 20, 2009 at 10:41 AM
Oh yes, there was a delay before the weather one, i remember that one, i just wasnt in line during it so i wasnt thinking of that one. and Jason, just to let you know in case you were wondering. i am NOT the loser who was right in front of you talking about how he was riding the hulk for five months or whatnot. just didnt want you to think that
From 72.153.132.173 on August 22, 2009 at 10:32 PM
All I have to say is one thing--The ride is awesome!!! Totally blew away my expectations. I was, in fact, there on the day it opened and actually endured the first delay and then the inclement weather delay. Well worth the wait. Very smooth, LOTS of air time and surprisingly very fast. The only thing was the first time I rode it, a song was already playing, so I wasn't able to choose what song I wanted. Also, the second time I rode it, my video capture worked, but there was no music playing at all. Minor tech kinks, but hey, the ride was still great! Video part was HILARIOUS!
From 67.162.162.36 on August 23, 2009 at 1:13 PM
I rode RRRockit this afternoon for the first time (front row seat). Here are the PROs and CONs:

PROs - Love the Maurer-Sohne X-cars. There are truly comfortable and the restraint can handle a big boned guy and still give me airtime too.

CONs - the trains wobble wayyy too much. Don't know if that's inherent in the train design or the track.

PRO: LOVE the lift. Love it, love it, love it. Flat on your back going straight up - more vertical than Sheikra's lift.

PRO: Intense positive Gs all over this ride. Like REALLY intense positive Gs and two big airtime pops (at least in the front row).

PRO: The loop with the barrel roll is a great element - smooth and fun.

PRO: there are many brakes on the ride and I'd heard the trims are too tight. Not today. True, we rode in a very light rain (just starting), but I thought the trims were mostly unobtrusive.

PRO: Lots of serpentine sinuous S curves. Lots of dives off high brake runs. Lots of angled helixes.

PRO: The sound system was great and I was able to program in my choice and it sounded immediately on the lift.

CON: the music choices are really old and lame.

CON: the video includes 4 short clips of you. The camera is centered for front row riders, but located on the side for other rows. What they should offer is a full forward POV of the ride and then a full ride capture of you riding.

CON: A 2.5 hour wait. Dispatch is supposed to take 30 seconds but they were averaging 1 dispatch per 2-2.5 minutes today.

CON: the ride is advertised as NOW OPEN. It should be advertised as a Technical Rehearsal. The ride went down several times yesterday and last night it required an all night fine tuning session by the tech staff. Therefore the pre-ride check today (which is supposed to begin at 3am) didn't begin until morning; so opening was delayed until 11am -- a time they announced and -- yes -- met. However, the space they set aside for people to line up was in direct hot sunlight when they have space outside the main entrance in full shade and with stansions holes in the pavement. A thoughtless management decision not to think of their customers.

PRO: Lots of misters in the outdoor queue past the main entrance. The indoor queue is less inviting (beware of stink bombs from nearby patrons). BUT JUST WHEN YOU'RE GETTING TIRED AND HUNGRY, they've positioned a snack cart in the queue. Perfect for a sugar rush from the frozen lemonade 20 minutes before you ride.

PRO: The loading team is already working efficiently. But they told us there was not a single rider queue available when we got into line, but 2.25 hours later as we were getting to the head of the line, single riders were suddenly allowed to fill that queue. It was really annoying to be treated so inconsistently.

BOTTOM LINE: A great coaster worth a 60 minute wait. My first chance to ride a X-coaster car was worth the 2.5 hours wait. If the trains are wobbly this much now, I'm afraid it may turn painful in a year. But at least there are no horsecollars and boxed ears!

Alan Jay Glueckman, Orlando

From 198.47.12.97 on August 24, 2009 at 1:04 PM
Universal has truely bungled the opening of this new coaster. I have been waiting all summer to ride this thing that was originally scheduled to open in the SPRING of 2009! Now that it is finally officially opened, it seems that it is down multiple times a day for "technical" reasons. They shouldn't have opened it to the public until they worked out the majority of the kinks.

I went yesterday (Sunday 8/23/09) and stood in line for 45 minutes outside the black gates waiting for them to start letting more people back in the actual ride line just to have them announce that the ride would be closed for the rest of the day due to technical problems.

I don't care about the stupid audio and video not working! I just want to ride the friggin roller coaster. How could their be mechanical problems after testing the thing ALL summer (have been there at least half a dozen times and seen them running emply cars)!

My annual passes run out September 1st, which means that next weekend is the last chance for me and my kids to ride this thing. If it's down when we go I'm going to raise wholly hell to their management!

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