Universal Executive Joins Fans, Roasts Fast & Furious Ride

November 17, 2021, 7:25 PM · The senior creative leader for Universal Studios' theme parks said out loud at the IAAPA Expo today what many fans have been saying about Universal Studios Florida's Fast & Furious attraction.

The moment came near the end of Bob Rogers' annual Legends panel, which this year celebrated Islands of Adventure's The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man. (Look for our coverage later tonight. Update: Here it is.) When Rogers asked each panelist to name their biggest mistake - and how they got out of it - Thierry Coup, Senior VP and Chief Creative Officer at Universal Creative, paused for a long moment before offering his answer.

"I wish I had [pause] stopped [pause] our senior management from building the Fast & Furious attraction."

After the room of several hundred expo attendees erupted in laughter, whistles and applause, Coup added, "It's a good attraction, but it's not what it should be."

Fast & Furious Supercharged began as the final element on Universal Studios Hollywood's Studio Tour. The encounter originally was set up by FBI agents interrupting the tour's video to tell riders to be on the look out for Fast & Furious character Dominic Toretto, who was believed to be hiding in the area. The set-up provided an intriguing transition for visitors from watching and learning how movies are made into participating in a movie moment themselves.

The Fast & Furious IP also includes many people of color in its cast, creating representation not always found in major theme park attractions. The fresh focus and look of the encounter, coupled with the fact that it gave the Studio Tour a high-energy finale that it long had lacked, helped make Fast & Furious Supercharged a hit in southern California.

But when Universal brought the attraction to Florida to replace Disaster! (which had replaced the Earthquake encounter previously duped from Hollywood's Studio Tour), it bombed. Robbed of the context that helped make the encounter work in Hollywood, Orlando-area fans routinely trashed Fast & Furious: Supercharged, which remains one of lowest-rated - if not the worst-rated - attraction among visitors to Universal Orlando.

But theme park managers typically don't throw their attractions under the [party] bus like Coup did today. I suspect that will entice many theme park fans to intensify speculation that Fast & Furious Supercharged might be speeding toward the next available exit.

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Replies (5)

November 18, 2021 at 4:03 AM

I'm wondering what they are going to do to improve the ride without flattening the whole thing and start from scratch. Kudo's for the honest response.

November 18, 2021 at 2:56 PM

I've got to agree with O T -- good on him for speaking honestly. Hopefully it's a stepping point for Universal's upper management and creative teams to listen to the front-line managers and employees and do what THEY know will work.

I'm all for diverse casts and inclusion. The Lieutenant at Disneyland's Galaxy's Edge is brilliant at his job, as is the person playing Vi. But the end product has to work, and this just didn't work there. Also didn't help that it was screen-based.

After growing up near Universal Studios Hollywood, and having watched the A-TEAM, Miami Vice, and then WaterWorld Stunt Shows, I love that interaction between the cast and guests, and you just don't get that from screen-based attractions (except maybe the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor or Turtle Talk with Crush, which at least have live performers behind the images). Which Disney is prone to fall to as well now.

I KNOW that not all attractions can (or should) involve live actors, but this type of attraction just gets old. At least with dark rides, you know that you'll be dealing with animatronics. But if I want to watch a Fast & Furious movie, I could save a LOT of money by just going to a theater (or Netflix) to watch one.

November 18, 2021 at 4:21 PM

It's always better to just come out and admit it. One of the best things about that Disney Imagineering series was them acknowledging stuff from the Imagination redo to flat out saying "Superstar Limo is probably the worst ride in our history."

It was just a bad idea, it worked okay for a tour but not a stand-alone attraction. Yes I enjoyed Disaster and miss it but in any case, this was just a bad execution of a poor idea and hopefully this means it's finally dumped for something (anything) else.

November 18, 2021 at 11:36 PM

The pre-show is a huge part of the attraction. I don't get all the hate. Not my favorite ride, but we still enjoy it. Should be 3D and the CGI needs a lot of work, but people take life too seriously.

November 20, 2021 at 7:32 PM

I broke down and finally rode it for the first time last week. I didn't hate it. Having very low expectations helped. I did hate the dance party scene. What were they thinking with that one? But the queue was very good and the pre-shows got a few chuckles from the audience. Given this is Universal's biggest movie franchise, I wouldn't be surprised if they tried a take two on an attraction or land for F&F.

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