Home » 3 Retired Universal Orlando Attractions That Received a Worthy Replacement (and 3 That Did NOT)

    3 Retired Universal Orlando Attractions That Received a Worthy Replacement (and 3 That Did NOT)

    Jaws Ride Universal Studios Orlando

    In recent years, Universal Orlando has truly been bringing their A-game when it comes to introducing brand new attractions into their theme parks. While some attractions simply fill a vacant space within the park, oftentimes a new attraction will take over the show building or footprint of another. These ‘replacements’ are typically met with considerable apprehension throughout construction before their grand opening allows riders to experience an attraction that far exceeds its predecessor.

    However, not every change is for the better, and every once in a while an attraction comes along that leaves park-goers with that lingering “eh..” feeling. 

    Here are three Universal Orlando attractions that received a worthy replacement…

    1. Jaws: The Ride (now Wizarding World’s Diagon Alley/Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts)

    Jaws Ride Universal Studios Orlando
    Image: Universal

    One of Universal Orlando’s most iconic opening day attractions, Jaws, proudly held its place within the parks until its unfortunate closing in 2012. The ride was (and still is) generally considered to be an all-around fan-favorite attraction, as guests embarked on a boat tour through Amity Island, accompanied by a skipper.

    However, such is the sad truth when it comes to theme park attractions, nothing lasts forever and it’s fair to say that when tearing down such a beloved ride, your best bet can only be to replace it with another property that is even more beloved by the masses. Enter the Wizarding World’s Diagon Alley, part of one of Universal Orlando’s most successful and profitable expansions. While Diagon Alley itself is a spectacle, this themed land also plays host to the Escape From Gringotts attraction, an indoor roller coaster that utilizes screens to take audiences on a heart-pounding race through Gringotts Bank.

    2. Dragon Challenge/Dueling Dragons (now Hagrid’s Magical Creature Motorbike Adventure)

    Dueling Dragons Universal Studios Orlando
    Image: Universal

    Having stood strong over in Islands of Adventure since 1999, Dragon Challenge (formerly known as Dueling Dragons) saw two intertwined coasters ‘duel’ as the two would operate simultaneously as though going head to head. After a couple of incidents which saw the ride begin to launch separately, Dragon Challenge, unfortunately, lost its gimmicky appeal, before 2017 saw the attraction reach the end of its service life.

    2019 then welcomed the incredibly popular Hagrid’s Magic Creature Motorbike Adventure, which uses innovative technology to create a truly magical coaster worthy of its place within the Wizarding World. Dueling Dragons’ long history in the parks certainly made it a shame to see it go, however, its unique replacement is now one of Universal’s most sought-after attractions. 

    3. Kongfrontation (now Revenge of The Mummy)

    Kongfrontation Universal Studios Orlando
    Image: Universal

    As another of Universal Studio’s opening day attractions, Kongfrontation most certainly holds a special place in the hearts of many. Guests would board a tram to be ‘evacuated’ from Manhattan Island, before coming face to face with King Kong in all of his practical, animatronic glory. Unfortunately, these animatronics proved to be both a gift and a curse as the ride was plagued with technical issues on an almost daily basis.

    Its 2002 closure thus opened the door to one of Universal’s best beloved thrill rides, Revenge of the Mummy, Kongfrontation’s more-than-worthy successor. Complete with its iconic pre-show video, 2004 saw the grand opening of Revenge of the Mummy, with the indoor coaster still standing today as a must-do for many guests which, in an ever-evolving landscape of groundbreaking attractions, truly speaks volumes. 

    And now for three attractions whose successors were a little bit disappointing…

    1. Disaster! A Major Motion Picture Ride… Starring You! (now Fast and Furious: Supercharged!)

    Disaster! Earthquake Universal Studios Orlando
    Image: Universal 

    A rewatch of a full POV of Disaster! showcases how this ride was truly a sign of the times – a 20-30 minute experience that lets guests in on the little-known ‘secrets’ behind creating real movie magic, before giving them the opportunity to star in their very own disaster movie. Having taken over from Universal’s Earthquake! Attraction in 2008, Disaster! stood for less than 8 years before it was replaced by one of Universal’s major IPs, the Fast & Furious franchise.

    For many, Fast & Furious: Supercharged falls short in a number of areas, with one key complaint being that it offers very little in the way of innovation, and is incredibly similar to Skull Island: Reign of Kong over in Islands of Adventure, which had opened just two years prior to Fast &Furious: Supercharged. While Disaster! had certainly dwindled into becoming one of Universal’s more outdated and lesser-loved attractions as time went on, it offered a unique, interactive experience, therefore many argue that there could have been a much greater use of the space than the Fast & Furious: Supercharged motion simulator bus ride. 

    2. Back to the Future (now The Simpsons Ride)

    Back to the Future Universal Studios Orlando
    Image: Universal

    Closing back in 2003 to make way for its animated successor, Back to the Future offered the same nostalgic blast from the past as the beloved movies do, with the ride actually acting as a mini-sequel to Back to the Future Part III. This motion simulator attraction first opened back in 1991, as riders are invited to volunteer to take part in Doc Brown’s latest time travel experiment.

    While The Simpsons Ride is by no means a bad replacement, some feel as though that it’s little more than an overlay for what was an already fantastic attraction. Despite the understandable need to continue refreshing attractions within the park, one could argue that, given the love that still surrounds the film’s story and characters, Back to the Future (with a little refurbishment) could still have been a popular attraction to this day.

    3. Twister… Ride It Out (now Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon)

    Twister Ride it Out Universal Orlando
    Image: Universal

    Twister had most certainly had its hay day having first debuted in Universal Studios in 1998, so news of its closing came as very little surprise to many and for some, was even welcomed. Twister stayed true to Universal’s movie studio roots, as its intricately detailed queue saw Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt invite riders to experience the true power of a Twister through a theatre style attraction.

    Therefore, Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon was a somewhat anticlimactic replacement. Having opened in 2017, Race Through New York certainly offers a fun ride experience as you race the Late Night host through various New York landmarks, However, the general consensus amongst park fans is that it doesn’t, unfortunately, provide anything overly exciting or new and is largely reminiscent of a number of other attractions that already reside in Universal, having drawn many comparisons to Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, in particular, upon opening. 

    Which ride do you consider to be Universal’s best replacement? Are there any rides that you feel should have been left as they were?