Theme park coaster crazies are buzzing that 2009 will be their year in Orlando. With Universal Orlando set to open its big Harry Potter attraction at Islands of Adventure, rivals need to keep up. Sea World is quietly building its second coaster and Walt Disney World is talking about giving its 33-year Space Mountain an overhaul like one done on its sibling at Disneyland, according to respected theme park blogger Jim Hill.
One sure thing: Universal Studios Florida will open its Hollywood Rip, Ride Rockit in 2009. Sounds like Disney's Rock n' Roller coaster, but it's much different. You choose the musical background and compose a video of yourself thanks to speakers and cameras built in to each seat.
The steel coaster will be the first around here from Mauer Sohne, a German firm that invented a coaster car that does new stunts using only a lap bar to keep occupants safely in place. The lift hill is straight-up vertical, followed by a 65-mph ride of highly banked turns, six near-misses and the world's tallest non-inverted loop. That means the track twists the coaster through some 360s while barreling around a huge loop.