Since the opening of each Universal park, some rides have been overhauled, changed, or even completely removed. For longtime fans, losing some park favorites results in a fond nostalgia that never quite goes away. Let’s take some time to reminisce about things that once were.
1. Dueling Dragons/Dragon Challenge
Starting the list strong is a relatively recent ride closure of the Dragon Challenge roller coaster in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Once a part of the Lost Continent area as Dueling Dragons, the coaster was rethemed in 2010 to fit the new area. The attraction was retired in 2017 and cleared to make room for Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure.
Another attraction that was uprooted by the introduction of Harry Potter is the iconic Jaws attraction that was removed in 2012 to make way for the new Diagon Alley expansion in Universal Studios Orlando. The ride featured animatronic sharks and impressive sets, but was difficult to maintain. Unfortunately, many of the effects did not work as intended through many of the boat rides and was met with mixed reviews. However, none can deny the nostalgia the iconic ride held and the loss of the attraction still has many fans wishing Universal would return Jaws to the parks in the future.
For those willing to make the trip, this attraction remains open in Universal Studios Japan and has a cameo on the tram tour in Universal Studios Hollywood.
3. Twister… Ride it Out
Twister opened in the park in 1998, replacing Ghostbusters Spooktacular. It was an attraction that utilized special effects to immerse the audience in a realistic twister scene. In 2015, the attraction was permanently closed to be replaced with Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon.
4. Earthquake: The Big One
Earthquake was another simulated disaster ride in Universal Studios Florida. In 2007, the attraction was refurbished and changed to Disaster!: A Major Motion Picture Ride to step away from the original film the ride was based on due to declining audience familiarity with the franchise. In 2015, the ride was closed permanently and replaced by Fast and Furious: Supercharged three years later.
5. Back to the Future: The Ride
This ride was a motion simulator that opened in 1991 in Orlando, 1993 in Hollywood, and 2001 in Japan. Riders would board a Delorean of their own and chase Biff Tannen through various time periods in a high-speed mission. The ride closed in 2007 and was replaced by The Simpsons Ride, but die-hard fans can still catch a glimpse of Doc Brown in some of the replacement ride’s queue videos or wandering around the park occasionally, and the Delorean and Jules Verne Time Train are still on display near Central Park.
These rides were once some of the most popular attractions in the parks, but with time, fewer and fewer guests expressed an interest in them. To keep up with changing times, Universal frequently adds new attractions and renovates old ones, but a few gems unfortunately get lost in the shuffle. The five mentioned today are just a few of Universal’s retired attractions, but there are still many more to discuss! What attraction do you miss the most?
So, what are you waiting for? Vote for which retired Universal attraction you miss the most in our poll below. We will share the results here soon, on Theme Park Tourist. Happy Voting!