Universal Studios Florida has closed its Jaws attraction, which had been in place at the park since its opening day in 1990.
The surrounding Amity area of the park has also closed permanently, and is widely expected to be replaced by a new land based on London as seen in the Harry Potter movies. Universal Studios Florida hosted a special event to mark the demise of Jaws, which suffered serious technical problems early in its lifetime but ultimately proved to be a lasting success.
Based on the classic Steven Spielberg movie, Jaws offered its first rides in May 1990. Inspired by the Jaws segment that can still be seen in Universal Studios Hollywood's famous backlot tour, it saw guests terrorized by an animatronic shark.
Along with a number of other attractions at Universal Studios Florida, Jaws suffered from persistent breakdowns during its first two years of operations. Eventually, the ride was almost completely rebuilt, with two major scenes (including one in which the shark bit the boat holding riders) being replaced. It reopened in 1993 and subsequently performed much more reliably. A similar version of Jaws remains in place at Universal Studios Japan.
A video capturing the ride experience of Jaws for posterity was posted to Inside the Magic to mark the ride's closure, and is embedded below:
Universal Studios Florida is yet to confirm the nature of Jaws' replacement, but there have been persistent rumors that a Harry Potter land is on the cards. This would enable the Universal Orlando Resort to further exploit the success of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at neighboring Islands of Adventure, encouraging guests to buy tickets for both theme parks.
The rumors were further strengthened last week, with the apparent leaking of concept art for a new roller coaster based around Gringotts Bank. This would include a number of recognizable scenes from the Harry Potter movies, employing 3D projection technology to bring them to life.
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