The metal detectors went up this morning at
the Incredible Hulk Coaster in Islands of Adventure and Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit at Universal Studios Florida. (Update: Reports from readers on Twitter earlier this morning said that the detectors were going up on Hulk, but Universal is not testing this system on that ride.) Earlier this year, Universal team members began insisting that visitors show that they'd emptied their pockets before they'd be allowed to proceed through the queue to boarding on these coasters.
Metal detectors right at the entrance of the Rockit. pic.twitter.com/E1GQnmy68L— Magic City Mayhem (@MagicCityMayhem) March 25, 2015
Universal provides lockers at its roller coasters, which are free for use for a limited period. That amount of time changes, but is based on the current wait time for the coasters so that visitors should have enough time to wait, board, and ride before their free time expires.
Several years ago, Universal changed the timing on its dueling Bolliger & Mabillard inverted coasters, Dragon Challenge, so that the two trains would no longer "duel" by passing closely past one another at several points during the ride. That change was prompted by several incidents where loose objects fell from riders' pockets and struck other riders on the trains.
Some Universal fans said that they would welcome the new metal detectors if it allowed Universal to return the "dueling" element to Dragon Challenge. However, there are no metal detectors for screening fans on that coaster at this time.
Good. Can we get metal detectors on Dragons now to restore the dueling?— Parkscope (@Parkscope) March 25, 2015
Update: I asked Universal spokesman Tom Schroder about the Dragon Challenge question and he emailed this: "Our test is about making sure we like the way the metal detectors are helping us to enhance our safety program and making sure we are happy with the resulting guest experience. We want to make sure we get this right before rolling it out. If the test is successful, our plan is to use metal detection at several of our coasters. That's all I have to share for now."
As I mention in the comments, falling debris has been a problem at other parks, too. Will other parks follow Universal's lead? Or is this an overreaction to a limited problem? What do you think? Tell us in the comments.
Another Update: Universal removed the metal detectors this afternoon, but team members said that tests might resume at some point in the future.
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This is an overreaction to an issue. In Sept of 2014, during a family reunion, some members of my wife's family and I went to USH. We put our bags in the provided lockers. Free lockers are a great resource to guests - a perfect place to store larger belongings like purses, bags, etc during the ride.
But it's the next step that really bugged me. I was asked to remove my wallet from my buttoned back pocket and place it in a locker. Long story short there was a civil back and forth discussion, that in the end I felt if they were going to be that adamant about I wouldn't ride the attraction. The rest of my family enjoyed the attraction.
There are plenty of other similar attractions across the world that don't require extreme "safety" measure. Even Disney doesn't have similar requirements for the same attractions - Space Mountain in DL you need to put stuff in the pocket, at TDL you can set it on the floor. I even witnessed a guest coming off Space Mountain at TDL with a large character balloon!
This is the risk involved with building coasters that travel above guest pathways. It looks cool, but falling objects can end up in the way of and even hitting other guests, unless the parks install nets or shields to catch the debris. Say what you will about Six Flags building roller coasters in empty parking lots (and we have)!, but no one's getting hit by flying debris there.
Rockit has a vertical lift, which elevates the risk of objects falling onto other passengers on the coaster train. That's a risk on any coaster where gravity and centrifugal forces push debris toward others on the train. Vertical lifts seem to me to be most susceptible to this, as on most other coasters, those forces tend to push debris away from the train. Of course, on a dueling coaster, if the force pushes the debris toward riders on the other train, then you've still got the problem.
That said, I think that people ought to be able to keep their personal belongings in zippered pockets or money belts, whether those contents trip a metal detector or not.
So the target market for Rockit is someone young and hipster enough to enjoy the theme, but not so pierced as to set off the metal detector?— Theme Park Insider (@ThemePark) March 25, 2015
I'm confused. If we can't carry metal objects with us at all times at Universal, how will we defend ourselves from the sharknado?— Theme Park Insider (@ThemePark) March 25, 2015
Unfortunately, this is yet another byproduct of our litigious society. If someone were to be hit by any type of object, there'd be a lawyer whose ready to take Universal for what they're worth. And since it would be nigh impossible to identify the person whose item actually hit someone, the company would receive blame. In the end, having such a greedy legal system prevents us from having nice luxuries.
Suffice to say I am not a fan of lockers unless they have keys....
Unfortunately for me, I would rather the metal detector at this point, reduces the chances of getting hit by any type of potential flying object that some individual feels entitled to operate while the ride is in motion, then looses control of said object.....
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