Islands of Adventure's Incredible Hulk roller coasters closes for extended rehab

Posted | Contributed by Jeff

Universal Studios’ Islands of Adventure officially closed The Incredible Hulk Coaster, one of the rides that was part of the Universal Orlando Resort park when it first opened on May 28th 1999. The ride will go through a major make-over, which includes new ride vehicles, new themeing and more.

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Jeff's avatar

The article identifies the launch system as something that B&M did, but I don't think that was actually the case. I mean, when it comes down to it, there's really nothing particularly exotic about any of it, and I'm not even sure if the trains themselves needed to vastly different from the usual B&M chassis.

I have to wonder if the now standard electromagnetic launch systems would be more efficient.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

You are correct Jeff, the launch system was subcontracted out to another company. I had heard Premier Rides before, but a recent Universal book gave a more accurate answer: MTS Systems from Minnesota. They were involved with Universal for Islands of Adventure when they manufactured the ride system for Cat in the Hat and a modified version of that the year after for Men in Black: Alien Attack. They also built Jaws at Universal Studios Japan.

Given that a LSM system is a frictionless system, you would save a lot of money in maintenance just by not having all those tires to replace and inspect.

rollergator's avatar

I don't see it as a coincidence that this comes up so quickly on the heels of Thunderbird at HW. Seems like B&M might now view the launch system as a proven concept they're willing to integrate with their exceptional product line....

You still have Zoidberg.... You ALL have Zoidberg! (V) (;,,;) (V)

LostKause's avatar

That's what I was thinking, Gator. With Thunderbird's launch system proven to work, it's a no-brainer that such a launch will be added to HULK.

I just hope they keep the dialogue, "I think this time it's going to work."

If a switch to LSM launch is true, I wonder if it will still have the wonderful "stutter" feeling, and/or a more intense (but shorter time wise) launch (acceleration)? What were the limitations of a friction launch that don't exist with a LSM launch?

Side note: that site which shall not be named had a recent drive by of the B&M plant showing tons of track for Mako and Valravn, and made no mention of any other track sightings. If this nearly year long down time is to include major track replacement, as rumored, wouldn't that track need to be fabricated by now? Assuming Valravn has an installation deadline of feb-mar, for a May opening, and that track is mostly done, wouldn't Surfer, I mean Hulk, need to be in almost the same state of completion?

Does that pour water on the total track redo-rumor? Or is there still plenty of time for that?

Last edited by CreditWh0re,
Tommytheduck's avatar

CW raises a good point. (Am I allowed to use his/her name in a thread about Universal?)

Floorless conversion with the new (for B+M) launch system and restraints seems to make sense. Some of the track around the water and near the end looks to be pretty rusted out, but re-tracking the entire ride seems a little ambitious. And who knows what the water and elements have done to some of the supports. Perhaps some are in need of replacement as well.

I have always loved the Hulk coaster. It's been one of my favorite B+M designs, but it's been a while since I've ridden it, and I've heard it is aging rather poorly. So who knows? Whatever they have planned will be good, no doubt.

Oh, and LostKause, if they don't keep the original dialogue, I know where they can get one that says "We're losing control!"

Last edited by Tommytheduck,
Jeff's avatar

The thing that I've disliked about Hulk for most of the years it has been around has been the sloppy bushings in the guide wheels. I can't explain it, it's like they've never been replaced. At any time (though I haven't been on it since probably 2011), you could sit in the back row and watch each individual car ahead of you laterally shift around, and that translates to head banging. I don't get that, as presumably the same people maintain the dragon coasters, with similar bogies.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

delan's avatar

I have witnessed said shimmy. And while the Incredible Hulk has the greatest pre-MCBR segment of any looping coaster, the shifting drives me crazy.

Agreed. And after the MCBR? Ugh. And that turn over the entrance that leads to a flat spin, or something, is just painful.
I bet I can count on one hand my total number of rides on Hulk, in all my visits to IOA. I pretty much don't like it.

It is visually stunning, and as delan said, it's got an amazing first half run. I could have the ride end at the MCBR and be totally thrilled with it, but then that's my failing, not a fault of the ride or design. Eager to see exactly what is done with this ride (assumed Floorless conversion, theme change, launch mod, queue redesign, and/or track replacement).

Am I correct in my belief that there has been NO rumour as to layout change? Only rumours of track replacement? I'm actually a bit surprised at how little we actually "know" about this project. (or maybe I'm just behind on my gossip).

rollergator's avatar

LostKause said:

I just hope they keep the dialogue, "I think this time it's going to work."

It's a B&M, they pretty much *know* it's going to work... ;~)

Vater's avatar

Bummer. I'm guessing my dad's art will be removed if it's undergoing a themeing rehab.

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