Universal Orlando Installs Metal Detectors at Rip, Ride, Rockit
Universal Orlando this morning installed metal detectors in the queue for one of its roller coasters — the latest escalation in its ongoing effort to keep riders from bringing loose objects onto the rides.
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.
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.
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 a joke. What next? Only visitors in underwear allowed that nobody can sneak in a wallet?
I almost got hit in the face by some flying coins some idiot had in his pocket on Rockit. Totally support this move.
It's sad that guests not follow rules.
I always wear shorts or pants with zippers to avoid having to pay. I wonder if they will take that into consideration
If it gets to the stage where you have to endure airport-style security just to ride a coaster that's going to suck a whole lot of the pleasure out of the experience....
Why does it always seem like Universal Studios is the only theme park with this sort of problem? First the mandatory locker usage, then the employees enforcing at the gates, now metal detectors. Why isn’t this an issue at a more coaster heavy establishment such as Busch Gardens just an hour down the road?
David - it's already at that stage with Rip Ride Rockit.
Ryan - that's my impression of Universal every time I've been. I don't feel welcome or encouraged to stay, which is a shame as I'd really like to enjoy the amazing experiences they have on offer. This simply isn't a big issue anywhere else.
I've seen far more stuff drop from Manta at SeaWorld Orlando than from any other coaster, including a cell phone that shattered on the pavement about three yards in front of me, once.
I ride coasters at Universal virtually every week and have never had someone ask me about a wallet in my pocket so that does seem odd. Considering where Rip Rockit is located it seems a team member may have been hit with something in the back lot area reently. And with the guest being injured shortly ago on Dragon Challenge this seems more a CYA issue dictated by a lawyer than anything else. It really should be a non issue as the wait for the ride is dictated by the number of people in line not a quick walk through a metal detector.
Let the jokes begin:
It does seem a little like overkill. Are they going to allow people with sealed pockets to keep things in them? Because if not that seems like a seriously unnecessary inconvenience.
No outside bottled water ... Metal detectors ... Universal in Orlando is running quite the little police state
Six Flags and Cedar Fair are the king of roller coasters, yet Universal has a problem. Still, the free lockers are a good bonus that more parks should provide.
While the lockers are cool and all, I honestly try to avoid using them as much as I possibly can. Getting stuff in and out of those things can be a tedious process, especially when they're crowded with people.
They want people to use the lockers so that when the wait times change, they have to pay for the locker, it is free money for universal!!! I have used lockers 3 times at UO and have had to pay all three times!!
That's what comes from stupid, pig headed guests who refuse to follow the rules.
I recently went to Vegas and they refused to allow a guest on the NYNY roller coaster who had a phone in his pocket. So its not just Universal who is trying to fight this problem.
While the lockers are a brilliant idea, I personally try to avoid them as much as possible. They can be pretty tedious...especially when there's a huge crowd. I always prefer to either leave my things with anyone in my party who isn't going, or take extra precautions if i'm bringing my carry-on items: make sure they're not in the pocket facing the outside; drive them deeper into my pocket; and make sure the safety restraints close up the openings of the pockets. But that's just me. I hope roller coasters don't get airport level of security. Even though I'm a Disney buff, and though I often give them crud for often trying to only appeal to the hip, young people and making every new ride into a motion simulator,I love Universal and I don't want their awesome coasters to be ruined by people who weren't careful enough with their belongings.
I understand why people wouldn't want to leave thier wallets in a locker, but that's the benefit of having magic band technology. I feel like Universal is going to adopt a system like that if things flying out of people's pockets is such an issue. The zippered pocket should be fine, but if those people take thier phone out on the ride and it flies into someone else's face that would be a big problem.
What kind of people are visiting Universal these days?! Single day tickets are priced high enough, so I guess Universal needs to raise multi day and season pass prices higher to keep the riffraff out. Seems to work for Disney.
@TH, they actually dropped the water bottle thing, it was just a temporary test.
This idea makes total sense to me everyone. Since I've been there before and went on those rides, it makes sense. Don't say that this is ridicoulous because Universal doesn't want to be blamed or sued from the decision people made to leave their smallest belongings in their pockets. When going on these rides and if you are one of these kind of people and lost your cell phone, wallet, etc. How would you feel? One time when I was going on Rip Ride Rockit there was a party that had to go back to their locker to put thier small belonings away even though they done this ride before with their items in their pockets. So respect of what Universal are trying to do for everyone's safety- to avoid people losing their belongings.
"Rifraff " has nothing to do with economics. Some of the worst kids out there are spoiled brats with rich parents. Never understand why people assume that wealthy equals good behavior.
Rode it today and was actually one of the first riders of the day and the staff was very nice about emptying your pockets before the ride began. It wasn't much of a problem having to go through the metal detectors since being one of the first on the ride but when it gets into the peak season on a busy ride feel like it will cause a lot of stress and longer waits for the ride.
In late January, we were at Universal Florida. We had just gotten to the end of the line for Gringotts, and my wife got pulled aside because someone earlier saw her put our park cards in one of those small body purses/wallets (that is wrapped around her shoulder/waist like a backpack and is under her zipped up jacket) and refused to let us ride until we did something about it. A lot of bickering back and forth. It had money and other valuables, so she wasn't going to just leave it to the side (and I dont think they were going to let her do that, saying she needed to go back and put it in a locker), so she stepped aside as the rest of us rode. Ugh. It was very infuriating. A lanyard or a waving unzipped jacket would cause more harm. I know safety is a must, but sometimes the rules get unreasonable and the lack of good solutions for dealing with "infractions" just create a lot of unhappy campers.
Was on RRR a few weeks ago as a single party... The biggest problem is having to stand in line for two hours with nothing to do since my phone was in the locker. By the time I got done riding the ride, the free time on the locker had run out, and I had to get an attendant to let me back in, because my money was in the locker, and I couldn't pay to open it. They need to work on their wait times.. especially since they changed the ride to allow ExpressPasses. There were people riding it repeatedly in the Express Pass queue, while the regular ride line barely moved. Fun ride, not worth standing there for two hours without anything to do...
One of the problems with Universal's lockers is the fingerprint recognition system, (assuming they still use it). Last time we were there we experienced multiple times when it failed to recognise the print for some time before finally allowing us into our own locker. On one occasion however it refused to open at all and we had to call in a Universal employee to open if for us, only she demanded proof of who were were BEFORE she opened the locker - difficult with all our possessions inside the locker! We told her exactly what was inside and she begrudgingly opened it for us but wouldn't let us have the contents until we could prove they were ours and we were the people who those possessions belonged to... Since my passport was at the hotel the only proof was hoping that somewhere on the camera was a picture of either my wife or I - since we mostly take pics of things other than each other that wasn't easy. Eventually we managed to find a picture of us on the camera and she reluctantly let us have our own possessions.
Riffraff = disreputable persons. People,
Maybe we should not bring anything into the park at all. Maybe we need some sort of magic band that let's us gain admission into parks or rides and lets us pay for things. It would be like visiting another world! It's fun to think of what we might get to discuss next.
We are annual passholders at Universal and first encountered this issue over the Christmas holidays. My son didn't want to leave his phone in the locker and he had a zippered pocket on his pants that he intended to put the phone into when he boarded the ride. Believe me, my son is going to be careful with his phone and make sure it's secure on the ride. He had a phone fly out of his pocket on The Tower of Terror, slip down between the seat and the wall of the ride and smash to smithereens on the basement floor God only knows how many feet below. He's not about to let that happen again.The attendant was so confrontational and nasty - right from the start - that my son ended up refusing to ride.
I've had passes now for ten years. I carry my cell phone in my pocket and wallet. There's never been a situation where either of them fell out. You are sitting on your wallet and the harness is so tight nothing can come out. A ridiculous overkill.
that seems a bit over the top, but I've almost caught a camera in the face from some jerk in front of me who felt the need to take photos on a moving roller coaster. At least he lost his camera, so I hope it was an expensive one.
I hope I'm still able to wear my gopro on the secure harness, I understand safety is first and foremost but this is taking it a bit to the limit. Rip ride rocket has enough problems without adding to it I think it has broken down every time I've been on it
No doubt there are a handful of people every day riding Hulk or RRR that feel entitled to a damn selfie. And can you 100% guarantee that your gopro camera on a secure harness will be just that, 100% guaranteed secure? I have no doubt you are technically adept at operating your equipment, but what about every other individual who claims the same?
I can definetely understand Universal's position. But where they kinda lose me is when they have to be real sticklers about the whole thing; for example one of the above comments where someone mentioned that they wouldn't let his wife on to Gringotts because of her carry-on items, even though she had them concealed. I get what Universal's trying to do, and it's got some good intentions behind it, but there is such thing as going overboard.
I think the difference at Disney is that their coasters don't go over guest pathways. Rock'Rollercoaster is entirely enclosed away from guests completely. Whereas RNRR and the adult go over many pathways.
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