FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail

4. You may not need a park ticket to ride it... sometimes...

Image: Universal

Rumors abound that in Epic Universe, Universal is looking to redefine some of the "rules" we're used to seeing in a theme park. For sure, a major one is that each of the park's four IP lands will be accessed by its own portal, and allegedly, Universal is interested in the ability to shift admission turnstiles to those portals. At least in theory, that's for the very intriguing proposition that once the park's normal operating hours conclude in the evening, each of the four portals can be powered down and gated off leaving the massive, central hub area open to the public – yes, even those without a park ticket! – till the wee hours of the morning.

When you think about it, it makes sense. The new "South Complex" taking shape around Epic Universe will be a bus ride away from the existing CityWalk retail and dining district, meaning Epic Universe day guests – and those staying at the three on-site hotels already under construction for the South Complex – will need a place to eat, shop, dance, and play once the park closes. Given that this massive hub is packed with quick service, full service, snack, and bar-style dining outlets, retail spaces, water shows, and programmable pockets, it really could end up being an attraction in its own right and a playground for guests staying on-site in the Helios Grand, Stella Nova, and Terra Luna hotels.

Image: Universal

Likewise, Epic Universe is strategically located very near to the tourist-packed International Drive district and the Orange County Convention Center. At least in theory, that will mean that when conventions let out and families flock back to International Drive in the evening, Epic Universe's hub could shift into a "CityWalk South," absorbing thousands and thousands of guests into Universal's property. Indeed, Universal’s CEO Jeff Shell confirmed as recently as December 2022 that the park will be an “experiment” in many ways as it relates to its flexible operations.

Though the park is still far from having an operational model decided, it’s possible that when the Hub is open, Universal will continue to operate the Constellation Carousel and Starfall Racers at a pay-per-ride rate. Theoretically, the Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit coaster back at Universal Studios Florida was purposefully constructed with the same capability (with the ability to route guests to it from CityWalk rather than through the park). There, the pay-per-ride plan was never put into action. But in an Individual Lightning Lane world, guests may not balk at paying $15 per person to ride Starfall Racers after the park has closed! We’ll see…

5. It’s manufactured by a Universal Orlando newcomer

Image: Mack Rides

Like most parks, Universal Orlando’s feature coasters from several high profile manufacturers, each bringing their unique specialty and personality to the parks –? Intamin – VelociCoaster and Hagrid’s Motorbike Adventure. Given Intamin’s experience in launched, dueling coasters and their clear partnership with Universal, many suspected they’d be behind Starfall Racers. But, nope!

Starfall Racers is instead being manufactured by Mack Rides (pronounced “Mock”) of Germany. Owners of Germany’s Europa Park (which serves as the firm’s showplace and testing ground), Mack has a very extensive history in the industry, and has created well over 150 coasters in its time.

Image: Mack Rides, Europa Park

Their portfolio includes dozens of simple wild mouse coasters, plus custom water coasters (including SeaWorld’s Journey to Atlantis), family coasters (including both Universal Studios Hollywood’s Flight of the Hippogriff and Disney World’s Slinky Dog Dash), specialty inverted powered coasters (like Universal Beijing’s Jurassic Flyers and Europa Park’s Arthur) plus very large and renowned launched rides like Europa Park’s Blue Fire and Silver Dollar City’s Time Traveler. (Those last two are the POV videos to watch if you want to see what Mack is capable of.)

Just given our few shots of the track for Starfall Racers, it’s clear that Mack’s specialty for launches, weightless, graceful rides will translate beautifully to this ride, and that the mix of high-thrill and almost poetic, dance-like layouts that Mack develops will add a unique new mix to Universal Orlando’s coaster collection.

6. It has some tricks up its sleeve

Image: Universal

Based on site plans for Epic Universe, Orlando ParkStop created the above layout showing just how complex and intertwined the two tracks of Starfall Racers are expected to be. Their sources suggest that each of the two tracks will reach heights of about 140 feet, traveling along over 4,700 feet of track – both statistics being comparable to VelociCoaster.

It appears that the two tracks will have a number of exhilarating features, beginning with twin launches that will accelerate the trains into a first act where they’ll dance alongside each other on parallel, parabolic arcs before breaking apart and spiraling away from one another in mirrored out-and-back layouts. For this first half of the ride, the trains will be visibly racing, completing identical (but flipped) courses as they dive over hills all the way out to the edge of the park, then back toward the hub. That’ll lead to the two tracks visibly “dueling” in a sweeping turn along the park’s hub – sure to be a big photo moment.

Image: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, via Orlando ParkStop

They’ll then realign and accelerate through a second high speed launch, reaching the coasters’ top speed. That second launch will send both trains into the ride’s signature moment – a new track element patented by Mack that will send the two trains spiraling around one another in orchestrated zero-G rolls. (Can we recommend calling it a "cosmic roll"?)

The cool thing is that in this second half – beginning with the newly-patented maneuver – the trains will cease their parallel race and instead begin a process that might best be described as dancing. For the rest of the ride, sweeping turns and hills will see the two trains alternate sides, crossing over one another back and forth as they soar through the skies like twin comets. Don’t get us wrong – it’ll be high-speed, high-thrill, and a whole lot of fun… but it’ll also be somewhat beautiful, graceful, and harmonious – words you may not always equate with multi-launch roller coasters! And that brings us to coolest part…

7. We can see what it’ll be like to ride…

Having analyzed the site plans, support structure blueprints, and current construction (which is well underway), AmusementInsider has created what’s shaping up to be a ridiculously accurate digital recreation of Starfall Racers – with its parallel, mirrored, racing first half, and its poetic, interchanging, “dancing” second half.

You can watch Amusement Insider’s full digital recreation above (with the point-of-view simulation itself beginning at about 1:15. As you can see, not only will Starfall Racers have the length, height, and speed of Velocicoaster, but it’ll have a significant capacity boost thanks to the double tracks, sending pairs of trains through the 90 second ride together.

There’s no doubt that E-Ticket dark rides themed to MarioKart, The Wizarding World, and Universal Monsters will be top tier headliners for Universal Epic Universe when it opens in 2025… but in that unique way that only Universal can manage, the park will also be balanced with a world-class coaster collection with Starfall Racers as its crown jewel. A sort of “spiritual rebirth” of Dueling Dragons, this cutting edge, 21st century mix of race, duel, and dance is shaping up to be one of the best coasters in Orlando – and maybe the country.

Are you excited for Starfall Racers? Or will you leave this thrill ride to the pros and stick to the Constellation Carousel? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

 
FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail

Comments

I think the sides for this dueling coaster will be called Corona and Crescent.

Add new comment

About Theme Park Tourist

Theme Park Tourist is one of the web’s leading sources of essential information and entertaining articles about theme parks in Orlando and beyond.

We are one of the world’s largest theme park guide sites, hosting detailed guides to more than 80 theme parks around the globe.

Find Out More About Us...

Plan Your Trip

Our theme park guides contain reviews and ratings of rides, restaurants and hotels at more than 80 theme parks worldwide.

You can even print them.

Start Planning Now...