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NEW UNIVERSAL RIDE A HIT

It's too late to salvage the summer, but Universal Orlando on Wednesday officially opened the flashy Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit coaster at Universal Studios Florida. The $45 million thrill ride is two months late with features like an onboard video recording system still running intermittently and a moving sidewalk to speed loading that's not working yet. But the 90-decibel speakers at each seat can be custom-programed to play selections from Motley Crue to Montgomery Gentry. "Since we started technical rehearsals Saturday, guests rated this as good as any coaster as is, so we decided to open it," said spokesman Tom Shroder.The experience begins with a straight-up-and-straight-down lift hill that launches trains at 65 mph through a noninverted loop without passengers being turned upside down. Universal Orlando reported a 16 percent attendance drop and 11 percent revenue dip in the first half of 2009. The trend continued in July thanks to the economy and lack of a new attraction to match a 2008 boost from the Simpsons Ride.

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