Specific Type: Steel, LIM-launched, Shuttle / Continuous-Circuit, Rotating
Amusement parks and motion pictures; both forms of entertainment that grew in popularity in the early twentieth century to become components of modern day pop culture. The parallels in these two pastimes were visible, and it was only natural that they would cross paths eventually. The credit for finally uniting the two industries goes to Walt Disney, the man who took the amusement park in a different direction in 1955 when he founded Disneyland and thus brought about the modern theme park. Disney's characters found their way into his little world in Anaheim, California, in rides such as Alice in Wonderland and It's a Small World. The opening of Disneyland spurred on competition from rival film studio Universal, and that company came to Hollywood in 1964 with their movie studios theme park Universal Studios. However, Disney opened the second resort park in 1971 with Walt Disney World near Orlando, Florida. These were the first of the theme parks that movie studios would invest in, others being the secondUniversal Studios park in Orlando in 1990, followed by Paramount and then Warner Brothers theme parks soon after. At these parks, guests could become absorbed in movies brought to life through the use of mechanical rides; rides that are enhanced by accompanying storylines already familiar to guests. This idea of cross-marketing would come full-circle around the turn of the millennium when stories popularized by rides at these theme parks would begin to inspire movies, turning the tables on the traditional.
Up until 2004, however, the two original Universal Studios parks in America were still without a major thrill ride that could
match the excitement of a hit flick with high-speed action that, in itself, would prove a major attraction. The wait would be well worth it though, as proven when the two parks announced plans for new roller coaster experiences to take the idea of immersing adventure-seekers in a movie to a new level entirely. Taking their themes from Universal's 1999 and 2001 summer blockbuster hits entitled the Mummy and the Mummy Returns, the two new rides would combine dark ride and roller coaster with launches, twister layouts, and sensory effects along with way to overwhelm riders with the experiences. Both rides would be named Revenge of the Mummy and would follow similar movie-based storylines. Perhaps most appreciated was the Universal Studios Hollywood coaster, being that the park had gone without a coaster in its forty years and lacked an adjacent thrill ride paradise like Universal Studios Florida's neighboring Islands of Adventure. And after all, what more appropriate location could a new superstar coaster have than Hollywood, California?
Along with forty-million-dollar price tags, the Revenge of the Mummy coasters came at the expense of existing rides. Rather than construct new buildings for the attractions, Universal retired outdated occupants, and for Universal Studios Hollywood that meant the removal of a family-geared E.T.-themed attraction. Due to the fact that the California version took over a smaller building than Orlando's ride, fitting a high-speed launched coaster's 1,800-foot layout between standing walls was made all the more difficult, but made for an even more compact and twisted layout. At the end of the design process, the two rides would distinguish themselves with entirely different layouts to go along with the Mummy storyline. Manufactured by Premier Rides, Revenge of the Mummy utilizes technologies that Premier is known for such as linear induction motors to launch riders into the ride's action twice during the experience. The ride is also packed with other surprises intended to keep riders on the edge of the individual cars' four-abreast seats, including pyrotechnic effects, holographic effects, and othermechanical surprises. The only way to truly discover what the coaster has in store is to take a ride on the Mummy's unpredictable rails.
Universal Studios Hollywood thrill-seekers find the cream-colored building that houses Revenge of the Mummy and step in line. Soon, they move into the darkness of the building's confines and are taken to the site of an archaeological dig as they navigate through the queue. The line winds to the left and guests waiting get the chance to interact with the intricate theming. While they venture deeper into the building, visitors are filled in on the story of Imhotep and his mummily curse. In the event of a solar eclipse, Imhotep's curse should be feared, and an eclipse is just what occurs as future riders enter the station area. Loading onto mine cars, sixteen future victims of the curse sit in a tiered setup of four rows and push lap restraints into place. Moving out of the station and into the first scene, Imhotep himself greets passengers to inform them of their fate. Making ninety-degree left and then right turns, the black track snakes through the darkness. An archaeologist from the dig site cautions riders that the curse is a thing of reality, but the car keeps on moving forward. Imhotep is back in the next room to show riders the reward of following him, and the consequences of not heeding his advice. Passengers, however, exit the room with a quick right-hand L-turn and all seems safe at first. But then, a band of ferocious mummies invades the room and the car is launched forward into the blackness ahead.
Reaching forty miles per hour, the LIMs send the car on its way, through a left-hand banked turnaround, meandering then to the right and through a left curve just shy of 270 degrees. More clockwise action ensues, then the track climbs a short way and the ride slows down. Around a left L-turn, the car enters a small room and encounters a dead end. Suddenly, the room is flooded with beetles. Before the bugs can swarm on riders, the second launch propels the coaster safely out of the room, but now on a chaotic twister course in reverse. The second high-speed portion of the layout starts out with a short drop, left turn, and then a second drop. Traveling in reverse, first-time riders are unsure of exactly what to expect next. After some twisting motion, a final turnaround brings the coaster to a halt. Encircling riders, fire and smoke effects shoot up to provide a final show of visuals while a turntable rotates the car 180 degrees to face forward again. Finally, the car comes to a stop back in the station and passengers exit the ride, having survived Imhotep's curse and two minutes of ride time.
Revenge of the Mummy has brought Universal Studios Hollywood not only its first coaster but also a major step up in the evolution of themed experiences for anyone ready to be mummified.
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