The Incredible Hulk Coaster Closes At Universal Studios' Islands Of Adventure

Today Universal Studios' Islands of Adventure officially closed The Incredible Hulk Coaster, one of the rides that was part of the Universal Orlando Resort park when it first opened on May 28th 1999. The ride will go through a major make-over, which includes new ride vehicles, new themeing and more.

The Incredible Hulk Coaster Closes

The rollercoaster ride, which is part of Marvel Super Hero Island alongside Doctor Doom's Fearfall, Storm Force Accelatron and The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man. When Disney acquired Marvel in August 2009, many fans wondered how long would Marvel rides continue in Universal's Orlando theme park. We heard soon after that Universal owns rights to certain Marvel characters in theme parks east of the Mississippi as long as they chose to renew and refresh the attractions.

And while there have been rumors of Disney trying to reacquire the theme park rights for Disney World, it appears Universal has no plans to let the rights lapse. Universal refurbished The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man in 2013, which included re-mastering the entire ride film in high definition, replacing the projectors with digital equipment and updating the effects.

And now Universal has shut down The Incredible Hulk coaster, which will also undergo a major make-over. The updated ride would include new ride vehicles, a fresh storyline, and an overall greater experience for the guests. What that means we don't yet know as Universal has not revealed any more at this time. Its not expected that the ride will include any of the Marvel Cinematic Universe versions of the characters as Universal seems to only have rights to the comic/cartoon versions of the superheroes.

The Incredible Hulk coaster was the first to feature the Bolliger & Mabillard launch system, with an initial indoor launch that thrusted riders through a gamma-ray accelerator at 40mph in approximately two seconds, upwards of 110 feet into the air. The rollercoaster was also the first to feature a "launched lift hill" as opposed to a conventional chain lift or horizontal launch track.

The 3,700-foot-long ride features seven inversions and a top speed of 67 miles per hour. The coaster was one of the best in the world when it opened in 1999, ranking #3 on Mitch Hawker's Best Roller Coaster Poll. But the once mighty coaster has not faired well over time — In 2013, the same coaster was ranked 66 in the world of steel coasters.

Also the ride queue which somehow once looked cool in the late 1990's has looked sad for years. Riders would  enter the science laboratory of Dr. Bruce Banner including cheesy looking props including the generator, the gamma core and the towers of power. I'm expecting this whole queue experience will be completely redone.

Screamscape has been reporting on rumors of the Incredible Hulk Coaster's overhaul for months before the official announcement. Here they now theorize on the extent of the overhaul:

Apparently the refurbishment may be much  more involved that previously thought. This may not be a case of a new launch system, new trains and new paint... we may actually be seeing a complete replacement of the entire coaster, track piece by piece, support by support, where Hulk will be rebuilt as a brand new ride. Say nothing of the fact that while Universal would only say that the coaster will return with the same "Incredible" personality... they did not actually confirm it will return with the same name, or the same theme... which matches up with some older rumors as well.

It has since been confirmed that the new coaster will retain the Incredible Hulk theme. The new Incredible Hulk Coaster is expected to open in Summer 2016.