Theme Park Insider

The day the lights went out at Universal

September 30, 2016, 11:32 AM · A power outage affected part of Universal Studios Florida this morning, closing attractions and knocking out registers in shops and restaurants across the park.

Firefighters were called to help evacuate guests stranded in elevators in the Transformers and Men in Black Alien Attack buildings. (Spoiler alert: The ride vehicles on Transformers go in an elevator shaft at two points in that attraction.) Everyone got out safely and power now has been restored to the park.

The Simpsons Ride and Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts remained in operation throughout the morning, according to an Orlando Sentinel report. But the outage affected operations throughout pretty much the rest of the park. (Islands of Adventure and the rest of the resort were not affected.) Universal Orlando spokesperson Tom Schroder told the Sentinel that the problem was internal to Universal. No injuries or other serious incidents were reported.

Power outages in theme parks not directly related to weather are rare, but not unheard of. (I remember a couple when I worked at Walt Disney World.) Were you at Universal this morning? Have you ever been caught in a park without power? Tell us your stories in the comments.

Replies (10)

September 30, 2016 at 11:44 AM · Sounds like all of those screens blew a fuse. ??????
September 30, 2016 at 12:11 PM · At what point does "customer service" kick in? How much of the park has to be closed, and for how long, before options like refunds or access to another park in the resort is made available?
September 30, 2016 at 12:28 PM · Chad - Just give out Free Butterbeer to all.. No one will complain after that..

I sent a Tweet to Universal that Hulk Smashed Power Grid...
(They liked it)..

September 30, 2016 at 9:20 PM · Chad H, Universal did allow all guests access to Island of Adventure regardless of their tickets during the outage.
September 30, 2016 at 11:25 PM · I once was at Disneyland Paris during a thunderstorm. I was waiting at Pirates of the Caribbean and just when I arrived at the boarding platform, a lightning strike hit the power supply for the ride. Emergency power kicked in pretty much immediately, so the lights stayed on, but apparently there was not enough power to keep the water pumps running and so water started to flow down from the upper parts of the ride building and the water level started to rise so that the boats didn't stay on the transport belt at the boarding platform and just floated away. We were walked out of the ride through an emergency exit. At that moment, it wasn't yet raining and since most rides in that part of the park (Adventureland /Fantasyland) were closed due to the power outage, I decided to walk the Alice in Wonderland Labyrinth. Just when I was pretty much in the middle of it, it started to pour really hard, so I ran for the little castle of the Queen of Hearts in the center of the Labyrinth for shelter. There I stood huddled together with many other visitors until the rain let up a little. :-)
October 1, 2016 at 5:23 AM · The free access to IofA was smart.
October 1, 2016 at 5:33 AM · I got a free ticket out of it. They were still letting people in without telling them about the power outage, we only found out as we got to a ride.
October 1, 2016 at 6:49 PM · Do remember a trip to Disneyland years back with the power going out on Pirates so had to have our boat pushed back to get to the exits. Interesting time.
October 2, 2016 at 12:44 PM · I've never had an experience where the entire park lost power, but I've had multiple experiences where a ride was having technical issues and I ended up getting stuck for an excruciatingly long period of time. Two particular examples come to mind.

The first was a couple years ago on The Great Movie Ride. Our vehicle literally stopped 3 times at 3 scenes in a row. First the Raiders of the Lost Ark scene, then the Tarzan scene, then the Casablanca scene. In total, we must have been stuck for at least an hour. The upside: my family sat in the front row, so we had a pretty nice conversation with our tour guide. At one point she even let me and my sister perform our own rendition of Small World for everyone else on the vehicle. The downside: even though the ride vehicles stopped working, the animatronics didn't. Humphrey Boggart's final farewell to his girlfriend at the end of Casablanca is now perminately engraved into my brain. And Tarzan. Holy crap, Tarzan. At all 3 places where we stopped we were within perfect hearing range of Tarzan's iconic yell. And it got old pretty quickly. If I had to hear that scream one more time, I probably would've gone on a psychotic rampage. Thankfully, they were able to fix it and we were able to finish the ride, but man was I happy to be back in broad daylight.

The second instance actually happened last year. This time on the Rip Ride Rockit. When we reached the brake run right before the little grassy area that passes right by CityWalk, the ride suddenly stopped. I looked around me, and all the other coaster trains seemed to be stopped, too. Again, we must have been stuck for about an hour (probably a little less) and the sun was really beating down on us. I think something also might have been wrong with the safety restraint on the kid right in front of me; he was screaming in pain the whole time and his dad kept trying to get it off of him. He was begging for my help, but he could only speak in some foreign language I couldn't understand and I really couldn't really do much from where I was. I was relieved to finally see some ride attendants letting off the people on the coaster trains below us, who worked their way up to where we were. They let us off, attended to the little kid, took us down a flight of stairs (thank god we stopped at a brake run) and gave us all fresh (and cold) bottles of water.

October 4, 2016 at 11:13 AM · I was in Magic Kingdom when Main Street and Tommorrowland lost power. Only Frontierland had power which was ironic. Back then it was more carefree times. I'm surprised there was not a mass panic with people thinking it was an attack like what happened at Disney Springs last winter after a guy threw a chair in Bongos. Great job by Universal for keeping everything under control

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