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Jaws ride closing forever at Universal Orlando

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Published: December 2, 2011 at 12:42 PM
It’s official! The Jaws attraction at Universal Studios Florida is closing. Universal Orlando announced to its Facebook fans this morning that Jaws will officially close on January 2, 2012.

Now, the question is left, what could be put in the space that Jaws currently occupies? What new ride? Maybe Transformers? And with a new ride coming, what would the area around it be re-themed to?

Readers' Opinions

From Robert Niles on December 2, 2011 at 1:30 PM
I asked Thierry Coup of Universal Creative if Transformers would come to Orlando, and said no - it's too similar to the Spider-Man experience (though I think it's better). I also asked him what was next in Orlando - before I knew about the Spider-Man Jaws closure - and he totally evaded the question.
From Colton McLaughlin on December 2, 2011 at 1:10 PM
I hope it is a an area themed to a UNIVERSAL movie. No Transformers, and please leave the Wizarding World where it belongs, at IoA. I don't want Diagon Alley (as rumors have it) right next to New York.

I hope it is King Kong or an improved Jaws attraction. I'm very upset and at the same time, excited.

From Robert Niles on December 2, 2011 at 1:10 PM
My favorite silly rumor, so far? In effort to boost attendance, Universal closes Jaws to bring Harry Potter to Universal Studios Florida, too. :^)
From Dominick D on December 2, 2011 at 1:32 PM
It will most likely be Family Guy. You ask me why? Well, it has several JAWS references.

From Domenik Jost on December 2, 2011 at 1:17 PM
Robert - "before I knew about the Spider-Man closure"

don't start spreading those kind of rumors! It's just getting it's HD upgrade lol

Robert - "In effort to boost attendance, Universal closes Jaws to bring Harry Potter to Universal Studios Florida, too. :^)"

And it will be connected to Hogsmead with the Hogwarts Express! (Fine Print: 2 park ticket required for admission on Hogwarts Express)

From Robert Niles on December 2, 2011 at 1:33 PM
Fixed. Sorry. Hey, it's like 4 am here. :^)
From Jenny Rees on December 2, 2011 at 1:43 PM
I am so saddened by this news. Was hoping for my son to ride for the first time in October 2012. I love the Jaws ride. It was and still is one of the best movies ever made and Universal Orlando should try to retain some of the nostalgia of the classics. First Kong, now this. They should at least give more notice if a classic ride will close as I would have planned to holiday earlier in order to ride one last time. It's not easy just popping over from the UK.
From Joshua Counsil on December 2, 2011 at 1:50 PM
Dude... brutal. This is my favorite ride at the park. I'm all for new ideas, but Universal better have something incredible up their sleeves to replace this icon.
From 90.200.190.23 on December 2, 2011 at 2:15 PM
The Jaws ride was the reason i wanted to go to universal for the very first time years ago.I wish Universal had given Jaws the send off it deserved and had a year of events to send the old girl off instead of a month.This would have given people time to maybe come to Universal and ride it for one last time or maybe the first time.A sad day
From steve lee on December 2, 2011 at 2:35 PM
They really should have announced the new attraction when they let this out. Maybe some of the nerd-rage would be reduced if we at least knew what the master plan was. Until that info comes out (and it BETTER be good), I'll be over here nerd-raging. I also wish they had given more notice, since it's almost impossible for me to swing down there for a last ride before it's gone.

By the way, MASSIVE html fail in the article. None of the links seem to go anywhere...

From Jorge Arnoldson on December 2, 2011 at 2:28 PM
I love Jaws! But what to replace it with, that seems like a challenge... how about a popular video game franchise? I'm thinking Zelda or Mario. Disney better not take the rights to those!
From Dominick D on December 2, 2011 at 2:57 PM
I agree with Jorge. I want either Nintendo or Fox Animation Domination in here.
From travis traymoore on December 2, 2011 at 3:03 PM
first Kongfrontation now Jaws, what is the world coming too :(

but speaking of jaws closing...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10thnMMfWTw

From Daniel Etcheberry on December 2, 2011 at 3:45 PM
What a bad idea. It is a nice and iconic ride. The only version left will be in USH which is cheap. I just hope Universal comes with something so good that it will make me forget Jaws. Otherwise, it will be like changing a great ride like Back to the Future for a so-so ride like the Simpsons.
From Brandon Mendoza on December 2, 2011 at 3:46 PM
I would hope that they replace it with Jaws in an all new and updated form. Not 3D or anything like that, but something truly terrifying. Something unpredictable. As much as I hate how scared people get about sharks, spiders, and snakes, I would love to see a ride with truly terrifying effects that are randomized with these animals. No two rides are the same etc.

The "tour guides" on here remind me of the personal touch that the Jungle Cruise Skippers provide. Sad. =(

From Mark Fairleigh on December 2, 2011 at 4:07 PM
All I can say is truly sad. Its a classic and Amity is a famtastic area. I'll trust Universal to wow us, but I'm really saddened by this. Now I'm afraid for E.T.
From 201.52.150.107 on December 2, 2011 at 4:33 PM
Why Universal has to close down every single classic ride ?! It's impossible that the public dosen't care about them anymore. What's the fun in an Universal without Jaws, Kongfrontation, Back To The Future: The Ride and soon E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial ?! Man, I still remember the first time I went to those rides, and everytime I come down to Florida I want the thrill of those attractions. Sad to know that every year a part of my childhood goes away to a new and technologic ride. What's wrong with people interaction ?!
From Dominick D on December 2, 2011 at 4:49 PM
I wouldn't be afraid. Spielburg banned Universal from closing Florida's version, remember?
From Nick Markham on December 2, 2011 at 5:32 PM
I can't imagine Universal without Jaws, but I am sure Universal has something good planned.
From Andrew Carrieri on December 2, 2011 at 5:48 PM
If they were going to expand Harry Potter here (no chance), they could recreate Muggle London with the Dursley house and the train station.
This is probably far fetched, but maybe it is a Lord of the Rings land? I know the movies are about a decade old now but from what I understand, many wanted a LOTR land a few years ago before the Harry Potter announcement. Plus, with Disney's stunning Avatar announcement, it would not be too shocking.
From Deidre Dennis on December 2, 2011 at 8:22 PM
We always liked this ride and I'm so glad we will get to experience it in two weeks when we travel there. I'm sure they will come up with something fantastic in its place.

Why all the hate for a Harry Potter attraction on the west coast? So what if it's placed next to New York? Where I'm from our closest theme park is well over 1,000 miles away so when we get the chance to visit these places, the last thing I'm thinking about is the placement of the attractions in the park. I guess I would be happy for the folks who can't afford to travel that they would be able to experience these attractions.

From steve lee on December 2, 2011 at 8:54 PM
Why is everyone so quick to poo-poo the idea of it being a second Potter area in the Studio park? It makes a ton of sense from a business standpoint since it will encourage people to spend more money on a multi-park pass instead of just visiting Islands as a one day diversion from their Disney vacation.

Look at the timing. This morning Screamscape runs a story about "Phase 2" of Potter. Less than six hours later, we're told by Universal that an entire section of the Studios park will be closing, but we aren't told what the replacement is going to be.

Would it be a good idea? I don't know. But I don't think we can rule it out entirely.

From 64.12.116.72 on December 2, 2011 at 9:22 PM
I love jaws. I am sure whatever replaces it will be a rough ride or a coaster or simulator. Not interested in that. I am so down, jaws was one of my favorites. Jaws gone. Really Universal? Really!
From Rod Whitenack on December 2, 2011 at 9:32 PM
The most obvious and likely replacement for "Jaws" is "Transformers." I'm not necessarily happy about that because I'm not a "Transformers" fan, but I'm sure the ride is fun anyway. I wasn't a fan of Steven Sommers "Mummy" movies either, but I loved the ride. I would think Harry Potter would stay and expand in IOA, and I think Marvel Hero Island is will likely close for Harry Potter's expansion in the not too distant future.

Thank God, I got to ride "Jaws" plenty of times. It is a shame that another Universal "classic" ride is being trashed to make room for the latest thing. If I had my way, I'd like to see something along the lines of MGM's "Great Movie Ride" (but much, much better!) but traversing the history of Universal horror films from "The Phantom of the Opera" to "Frankenstein" and "Dracula" to the present. Maybe something like a "Famous Monsters of Universal Filmland" ride.

But my money is on "Transformers."

From Manny Barron on December 2, 2011 at 9:34 PM
I'll miss Jaws like a lot of people. Universal will be real busy with the Harry Potter attraction(s) at USH and Transformers, and in Florida with Despicable Me and now this new mystery attraction. It's a large chunk of real estate so something large can go in its place.

Not sure if Universal has a property that could fit here. Fast and Furious? Maybe, those movies are more popular than ever. My guess is they go the Dreamworks route and bring some of those popular brands to the park. How to Train your Dragon,Madagascar, and so on.

As for Jaws it is a bit of a fast send off. I remember back when Back to the Future was closing at USH in 2007 they announced months ahead of time the date of closure. This allowed people, like myself, to be there on the last operating day of the ride. It will be kind of weird without Jaws at the park.

From 74.82.64.144 on December 2, 2011 at 9:49 PM
Looking at Google Maps, Jaws and Harry Potter are not that close to each other. A train would cut right thru the middle of the backlot area.

I did notice on Google Maps that they are clearing a bunch of land just north of Jaws. Does that have anything to do with it?

From Tony Perkins on December 2, 2011 at 10:21 PM
What a shame! It looks like Universal is getting rid of its heritage attractions for only current properties. But does anyone think that Transformers or Despicable Me will hold up to the test of time like ET, King Kong or Jaws? Or even Back to the Future? Those were all classics that generations have seen and will continue to view. Jaws in particular is an important milestone in film history heralding the beginning of the summer blockbuster concept. And it's also a great ride with a fun story and interaction with the skipper. I'm very sad to hear this ride is going away when there are others that could go and not be missed.
From Aaron McMahon on December 2, 2011 at 11:12 PM
They're definitely up to something bigger than just Transformers... they could have fit it's show building in T2 or the old Hard Rock Cafe.

The land available from Amity, Jaws and the possible parking lots behind it could fit three new themed areas.

Considering Universal Parks have the Dreamworks Animation license and Florida still haven't done anything for Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon, all of which could support an E Ticket attraction and a highly themed environment. Also consider that the new lands need to fit in into the lagoon which Madagascar and Berk (Dragon)would.

From 122.125.43.33 on December 2, 2011 at 11:32 PM
If I was a betting man, and I am, I'd bet Jaws will be replaced with more Harry Potter and I'll bet that it will be the same attraction that USH will build in the future. I would also bet that it will be connected to Hogsmeade in IOA with some sort of transport. I don't want to lose any more money so I won't bet on what type of transport or what part of the Potterverse the attraction would be based on, but I'm betting money the attraction will be "wizardly" based.
Rob Sharpe
From steve lee on December 2, 2011 at 11:43 PM
Now that I've gotten over my nerd rage (thank goodness for unfiltered forums elsewhere), I think I can look at this with a little more balance.

Jaws is a great ride, but when's the last time you had to wait more than 10 minutes in the off-season? I can't remember the last time it wasn't a straight walk-on. Factor in how much the ride probably costs to operate (the boats, having a cast member on every ride vehicle, the pyro effects) and you have an attraction that probably costs more to operate than the crowds warrant. Factor into that the fact that the film is 36 years old (and I say that through gritted teeth, since it's easily my favorite film of all time) and you've got an attraction that's ripe for the chopping block.

Meanwhile, over at Islands you have a license to print money based on a themed area, some re-themed rides, and one new attraction. While we may think the idea is crass and myopic, it doesn't change the fact that Harry Potter has taken IOA from a has-been to a contender (and please understand that I love the park. But ten years without a new attraction is practically unsustainable in a market as competitive as Orlando). The suits see that Harry Potter money and they want more.

So while Robert scoffs at the Harry Potter rumor, I can't see a single reason (apart from the aforementioned myopic crassness) why they wouldn't want to double down with Potter attractions on both ends of Citiwalk. I don't think it's a great idea and I honestly think it messes with the whole theme of Studios, but when you're dealing with the money men, the money is going to win.

And here's the thing that they know - it doesn't ultimately matter what any of us think. We'll still go. Just like people who hate Avatar will still have to go to Animal Kingdom. Just like people who hate Harry Potter still went to Islands (and begrudgingly rode and enjoyed Forbidden Journey). This may not be the greatest long term plan for the parks, but this is still the same company that built Islands in a manner where true expansion was never a viable option.

As for Transformers, I think they're going to sit on that one. As Robert mentioned in the first response, the technology is basically Spider-Man 3.0. Just as Disney balks at adding Indiana Jones at DHS because of Dinosaur, Universal will balk at putting in two rides with such incredibly similar ride systems next-door to each other. They'll sit on it until they're good and ready to let Disney have the Marvel brand and they'll be able to make a faster conversion thanks to the current HD upgrades.

Going back to the train going through the backlot, I have to ask why that's a problem. What's getting filmed nowadays at USF that would really be disrupted by a train passing through? Now, I don't think we're talking about a train like at MK, with steam and loud whistles and all that. If I was planning this (and thank goodness I'm not), I'd make the train its own E-ticket attraction. It won't be a real train, of course. It's a ride vehicle. You don't have to worry about what it looks like backstage because there aren't any windows - all the "windows" will be HD monitors synchronized to show our journey from whatever will be at USF over to Hogsmeade at IOA. Yes, in my entirely made up version of the entirely made up train, the whole thing is nothing more than a modified next-gen version of the old 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride. Onboard, you'll think you're traveling through tunnels and over bridges and it's all magical and OY watch out for those Dementors. Outside, you're in a slow moving vehicle chugging past an employee parking lot and a building holding Halloween Horror Nights props.

So to sum up for those of you who skimmed this (and why on earth wouldn't you skim this? What are you, some sort of masochist?):

1. Jaws had to go. Lack of interest trumps history.
2. I think the Harry Potter rumor is true.
3. I think Transformers will eventually replace Spidey.
4. I should never be allowed to design attractions.

I would be perfectly happy being completely and utterly wrong about 2 and 3 (feel free to debate my points, preferably with a better argument than "but I want this"). Ultimately, though, I think the temptation to double dip the Harry Potter crowd is going to prove too strong (hey, it worked for the WB with those last two movies, didn't it?).

EDITED TO ADD - I actually really like Aaron's suggestion about making a Dreamworks area to rival Disney's Pixar area (actually, I couldn't care less about Kung Fu Panda or Madagascar, but if a How to Train Your Dragon area was in the works I'd drive down and help them disassemble sharks next week). But would that become animation overkill when combined with Shrek and Despicable Me? I know it's silly for me to say that would be overkill when I just finished making an argument for two Harry Potter areas, but I think the Potter argument is overkill-proof because of the almighty dollar.

From steve lee on December 2, 2011 at 11:58 PM
Wow. I really need to lay off the caffeine.
From Jesse Key on December 3, 2011 at 12:44 AM
The Jaws ride was the ride I most wanted to ride at Universal (I've never been) so it is kind of sad to me that it is going. It makes me want to go to Universal less. Hopefully they come out with something awesome to replace it with.
From Aaron McMahon on December 3, 2011 at 1:18 AM
the reasons I don't buy the Jaws being replace by Potter:

1. JK Rowling has complete creative control and veto power over Potterland and I don't think she'd be crazy over a new section in a different park in between MIB and San Fransisco. She also is able to terminate the contract after 10 years for whatever reason mean universal would be really hedging their bets risking re theming two large areas in two parks.

2. There's plenty of stuff to bulldoze next to the existing WWOHP for phase 2: Sinbad, the employee parking lot, several sound stages that lay vacated most of the year. That would be much more cost effective and sensible than using Jaws.

From Caroline Davis on December 3, 2011 at 2:45 AM
Someone at Universal likes Twister.

So glad I did a day there last month and rode Jaws.

There's been a lot of major news recently, I hope what they announce isn't going to be disappointing.

From 195.93.21.74 on December 3, 2011 at 10:12 AM
Seriously they close an iconic ride like Jaws, which is one of the things that made Universal Studios, and they continue to keep Twister open???

Mad decision if you ask me. Last time I was in Orlando in Sept/Oct 2009, the ride was still hugely popular and we had a 30 minute-ish wait on a weekday whereas Twister had about 10 people in it when we got around to that later in the day.

Seriously the Jaws ride IS Universal Studios. Ask anyone about Universal Studios and even the people who've never been will mention Jaws. And it's an actual Universal property as well. Once it goes, what are Universal left with that is actually from one of their own films? The Mummy Ride, for a studio park thats pretty poor showing. All the other attractions will belong to someone else!

Whatever is planned to replace it had better be bloody good.

From 184.1.42.153 on December 3, 2011 at 11:00 AM
This will have to compete with Avatar at Animal Kingdom. It has to be hugh maybe something very secretive. Harry Potter Vs Fantasyland. Avatar Vs What. Star Trek, Fast and Furious. It's a mystery.
From Nick Orlando on December 3, 2011 at 5:56 PM
The rumor mill from USF employees is that Jaws WILL be replaced with Harry Potter (along with Sinbad). They all believe that a transport system will connect the two parks (Hogwarts express), and that guests will need a multi-park ticket in order to visit both sections.

Now this is just what the rumors are from a few people I know that work at various locations at USF and IOA. None of these individuals work for the creative department, so take this source with a grain of salt. I do think it is interesting that they all heard pretty much the same rumor.

From steve lee on December 3, 2011 at 7:10 PM
Well I'll go ahead and tag on the extra part of the rumor - Diagon Alley in Studios, with a Gringott's bank vault coaster style ride as the e-ticket.
From Manny Rodriguez on December 4, 2011 at 1:18 AM
I could see hp taking over the hard rock the margtritaville and all that stuff they could pit something really cool between that o

Also I don't think that ioa and us thing will work out just keep the two parks separate i don't see any point in having one part of the studios potter if your gonna put potter there then just change the whole park jaws becomes I don't know a tour of the mermanlake in hpgof twister becomes wizard training rip ride becomes gringots shrek becomes I will leave it at that

From 108.75.52.12 on December 4, 2011 at 2:46 PM
why would they replace jaws ride is the only classic ride left why could they replace et ride
From Damon Hatton on December 4, 2011 at 3:16 PM
SOS - Save Our Shark!!!
From Anthony Murphy on December 4, 2011 at 9:48 PM
I think its too bad that USO is closing yet another iconic ride. I know it was a bit unreliable, but it was still a pretty good ride.

As for what to replace it with, does it actually "touch" IOA? I am trying to see if maybe they give the land to IOA for Harry Potter land. I am having a hard time imagining the setup there. I would be more interested in seeing how large the attraction actually was.

Than again, Universal could change their mind.

From steve lee on December 4, 2011 at 10:05 PM
Screamscape seems to have my back on the Potter rumors. I guess I need to send Lance a Christmas card this year.
From 98.70.79.80 on December 5, 2011 at 1:19 AM
Please, close Terminator! Put something better there! They did also tear down the original Hard Rock Cafe building a few weeks ago, so there's lots of room there now. From what I can tell, it backs up to the kids area at USF and some of the sounds stages. Hopefully good new things are coming!
From 173.66.204.173 on December 7, 2011 at 7:20 AM
SO unhappy that they are getting rid of Jaws!!!! I love Jaws. Scared the crap out of me as a kid, and i have been fascinated ever since. From the first time I was able to go to a US, the only thing I had really wanted to see was the Jaws ride.

I also miss the Alfred Hitchcock. They could have kept most of that as a walk through museum type piece.

I like HP just fine, but does it need to take over everything? Awful.

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