The new Disaster! ride at Universals Studios Orlando Florida has proven to be a disaster itself. The new ride was originally intended to open around Christmas time but because of technical difficulties it did not open. The ride finally opened today almost a month after it was scheduled to open originally.
The ride received a lot of hype prior to opening. Disaster! was to replace the long running Earthquake ride and pre-show. After riding Disaster! during the soft opening earlier this last week the new ride is an updated version of Earthquake.
Universals is trying to sale the public on the idea that this ride will be great giving little information about the actual ride online or in their commercials for the new ride. If you have seen the commercials it looks like it will be similar to the old ride but much more advanced and with whole new segments and effects. Well they do have some new things but not enough that it should be considered a new ride. When Disney world closes a ride to refurbish it they don’t reopen it with a big grand opening and change the name. The Carousel of Progress doesn’t become the ride showing a more current future they just call it Carousel of Progress, occasionally as with the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror they name something like the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 4 and explain the difference between the previous versions.
So how has Universals updated Earthquake? Well in typical Universals fashion of taking you into as many rooms before letting you on the actual ride you go into a room and a few audience members are asked to participate in some scenes of a new movie along with the rest of the people as background actors. Then you go into another room where Christopher Walken talks about his new movie and decides to let everyone be a part of it.
Then you go into the same room that they used for Earthquake with the same stuff on stage as the original earthquake with a revamped show. You only have 5 minutes to film 6 scenes for the movie and they use the actors they pre-selected for 5 of these scenes. The final scene they film is of the entire audience waving their hands in front of their face like they smell something really bad which is not what they are really filming for.
Next you go on the same tram from Earthquake. The same thing happens but you are being filmed and there is a director telling you how to react to what is happening. As you return to the ride you see a trailer of the movie they are making and they have added the scenes they shoot of the audience members and on the tram. The scene you were supposed to smell something bad you are actually being attacked by a swarm of bugs.
While it is a neat update and drops the stuff about the old Earthquake film that few people remember it does not deserve to be called a new ride. It also would be nice if they allowed you to film the trailer you are in and is surprising they don’t even try to sale it to you after, as that seems to be the kind of thing Universals does.