The Incredible Hulk Coaster Closes

Virtual reality has been on the verge of making a mainstream breakthrough for a few years now and the theme park industry is has been trying to stay ahead of the curve. Six Flags recently converted a number of its aging roller coasters so guests can wear VR headsets as they ride, creating the illusion that they are experiencing something completely different. Now, the Orlando Informer is reporting that Universal Studios is experimenting with VR, offering guests a chance to wear headsets and experience an Incredible Hulk-themed simulation. If you’re a Universal regular, this may make your ears perk up. After all, Islands of Adventure’s beloved Incredible Hulk roller coaster is at the tail end of a massive refurbishment. Here’s how the Orlando Informer describes the experience, which was being tested in a location across the park from the roller coaster:

The virtual reality demonstration is very short, but is immersive all 360 degrees you can look. The first scene takes place in a laboratory (presumably located within the state-of-the-art military research compound the ride’s redesigned queue is set in). Upon looking around, guests see plenty tones of green in what appears to be Gamma experiments and possibly the Gamma core itself.

The second scene takes place in a virtual version of the redesigned ride’s launch tube, known as the Gamma accelerator. This scene makes the guest feel as if they have been harnessed into the coaster and are being launched. It is designed very similarly to the concept art previously shared by Universal. A new voice and audio track replaces the ride’s famous “I think this time… it’s going to work!” Shortly after launching, the virtual experience fades to white into the next scene. The third and final scene seems to be the longest, featuring a variety of 3D renderings of the coaster operating.

Interestingly, the article goes on to note that there are no plans to make the Hulk coaster into a VR experience. Rather, this test seems to be part of a study to see how guests react to the technology and whether or not it will be utilized in future attractions. As someone who has decidedly mixed feelings on VR being incorporated into roller coasters, I can’t help but breathe a sigh of relief. The Hulk offers too many great views to be experienced through a VR headset.

the secret life of pets

Although it hasn’t been official announced or confirmed, Universal has heavily indicated that an attraction based on The Secret Life of Pets will come to the theme parks if the movie performs well. In the meantime, Universal Studios Florida has already begun laying the groundwork. The Animal Actors on Location! show and the nightly Cinematic Spectacular show will now include exclusive footage from the upcoming film. And then there’s the photo booth that will insert characters from the film into your picture and, of course, all of the new merchandise based around the film. In other words, your admission to the park now comes with a whole bunch of extra marketing for a movie that the owners of said park really, really, really want you to see.

Meanwhile, Universal has filed plans to build another new hotel on its Florida property and Parkscope thinks it could be called the “Aventura Hotel” and feature a Mediterranean and Spanish theme. The size of the land set aside for the project also suggests that this will be a high-rise hotel, a first for a resort that has otherwise focused on more spread-out, thematic hotels.

While Universal Studios has been rapidly expanding on both coasts, Disney has been working on ambitious projects of its own. First up in Pandora: The World of Avatar, the new land coming to the Animal Kingdom park in Florida. We knew that Disney Imagineers have been utilizing brand new technology to bring James Cameron’s film to life, but the video above does a fine job of running down some of the jaw-dropping things you can expect to see. Specifically, plants that will react to your presence and allow for interactive experiences.

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