Universal Studios 1st time since 1997 & a night at Scarywood

Sunday, February 21, 2016 8:46 PM

This was my first trip to Universal Studios since 1997 and my first day at any Florida amusement/theme park since 1999. I have been a little out of the loop with the amusement industry as of late mainly because I have not had the money to go on a major trip and have instead focused more on my passion of climbing mountains which is a lot cheaper. With that said I have still managed to spend atleast one day at an amusement park every year of my life since I was nine years old that being 1997. This April I made the big move to Wyoming from Massachusetts for my first professional job. In October I drove all the way to Silverwood or should I say Scarywood in Idaho to make sure I had atleast one day at a park this year. Since I spent such a short time in that park I figured I would add it to the end of this trip report. Anyways I had two days to spend in parks during this trip to Florida. Busch Gardens was a given, and I ultimately decided for Universal Studios over Islands of Adventure because the Incredible Hulk roller coaster was under modifications. If I had gone to IOA without riding the Incredible Hulk I would almost have to go back to the park again just for it.

December 27th, 2015

I started the day off with one of the few rides that remained from my trip back in 1997. It was smart to venture to this attraction first because the technology behind it is far behind the more modern attractions. The acting is really what still makes this attraction worth while. I strongly feel that this was probably my final time ever "on" this attraction since it's a high candidate to be the parks next attraction to hit the dust.

Men in Black
I was really looking forward to this. This was probably the most televised ride in the park. With this attraction and with all the other attractions throughout the day I used the single rider line. The single rider line got me to the attraction the fastest, but on the downside not all of the themeing was experienced. I remember the discovery channel show "Extreme rides 2001" and all of the theming that went behind this attraction. With the single rider line this was all missed. The high capacity of this attraction and other rides and attractions in the park was an absolute work of art. I can't remember any Six Flags or Cedar Fair park ECT where the ride operators would actually tell you that you only have 15 seconds to board the ride. Even the theming got into it. You were essentially yelled at to enter the ride vehicle quickly. As for the ride itself, it was an unbelievable show of technology. More on it later.

Shrek 4-d
I wasn't sure exactly what the 4-d meant, but soon found out. This was basically exactly like the Terminator attraction, but the seats moved and water came out as spit. This attraction was essentially another super capacity one and another that made Terminator seem more obsolete.

Revenge of the Mummy
The theming at this park was incredible. Their was a moment when I serisouly wondered if the skyline I was seeing was downtown Orlando or an incredible job of theming by Universal Studios. The line between theme park and amusement park can be grayish. The way I look at it is this: if the park thinks to themeselves" hey lets build a 400 ft roller coaster...,oh I wonder what kind of themeing can we add to it?" or " The Spiderman comic is intriging what sort of attraction would fit it?" What comes first the thrill or the theming? To me this makes the difference. Universal Studios is a true theme park where the theming comes first. This is what makes ranking the Revenge of the Mummy ride so difficult to compare to other major roller coasters that I have been on. If you took out all of the theming it wouldn't be much more than a kiddie or maybe a junior coaster., but the theming is on another level than you would find at any "amusement park."

Hollywood Rip Ride Rocket
I suppose that if their is an exception to the the themepark vs. amusement park rule I just posted it would be this ride. This ride started off on very bad grounds with me. In 2009 the unthinkable happened, I lost my glasses on El Toro at SFGADV thanks to not rotating my glasses case properly before my final ride with buttoned cargo pants. Before my next major trip to an amusement park in 2010 I visited two malls to find zipper cargo pants which made it impossible to loose anything. You can call them roller coaster pants if you want. Back to this day, the single rider line was closed when I first tried to enter so I was forced in the normal line. Then came something I have never seen before deep inside a park...a metal detector. The ride attendees would not let me continue even after I showed them that is was basically impossible for me to lose anything with zipper cargo pants. This made me absolutely furios! I basically made a fool out of the employeess. After being forced out of the line I went towards another ride on the Revenge of the Mummy, but it also had it's single rider entrance closed. This made me walk back towards the Rip Ride Rocket and sure enouth after putting my so called loose articles inside a locker the single rider line was open. In total I actually saved time; So who am I to complain? The ride was mediocre at best. It was a little bumpy and the excessive use of mid course brakes meant high capacity, but no momentum to the ride itself. This was the one ride in park where high capacity actually backfired.

It's awesome how Universal can have a ride in it's children area actually appeal to someone who has been on 400 ft roller coastes. E.T. was one of the children rides in the park, but the theming was so intense that it appeals to those of all ages. I don't understand why this attraction is generally not considered a roller coaster. It has all the attributes of a rollercoaster just with a theme that appeals to most everyone.

Simpons Ride
This ride brought back memories of my 1997 trip to this park and my ride on Back to the Future. I remember waiting in an incredibly long line back then. This wait ended up being short and that was because of the magic of the single rider line. The total wait was probably 20 minutes compared to 90 minutes if I took the normal line. This is one of my favorite rides in the park. The technology might be second to a couple other rides at the park, but the story is the best. Who doesn't know the Simpsons?

Revenge of the Mummy
I was going towards the Transformers ride, but sure enough the ride was down so instead went for a reride on the Revenge of the Mummy. On my first ride I was lucky enough to get a front seat, and this time I was lucky enough for a back seat. In the back seat I could literlly "feel" the theming more than the front. The fire and many of the props were not as apparent in the front. I think for a real full experience of this attraction you have to ride both the front and the back.

Harry Potter
Like I said earlier I have been a little out of the loop with the amusement/theme park industry as of late. I have not read any of the Harry Potter books or seen any of the movies. I really had no idea what I was in for. This attraction was incredible! I knew of the Spiderman attraction at the IOA park and had no idea if it had been duplicated or not. Without ever riding Spiderman this felt like it may have been an upgrade. It felt like a roller coaster, simulator and dark ride all in one. wow just wow did it feel real.

The ride had now opened back up. The Harry Potter ride was impressive, but for some reason I preferred the Transformers ride. When I was towards the end of the line I saw people boarding trains that looked just like the Spiderman attraction that I had seen on tv. Once on the ride this attraction blew me away! It felt incrediblly real and the special effects were out of this world!

Men in Black
I got two more rides in. I remember the travel and discovery channel shows saying that the guns are actually more accurate from farther away because the infared is a cone that comes out of the gun. It really didn't seem to work though. How far is too far? Should I aim for aliens that are a full 50 yards away or will nothing respond then because their technically involved with the pair of cars infront? Their has to some real secret to this attraction. Of my three total rides it always seemed like one person would score ten times what anyone else scored. What is it?

Hollywood Rip Ride Rocket
I got two more rides in. I'm used to ending the day/ night on the star attraction, but what is strange about this park is that the best ride is not a roller coaster. This roller coaster wouldn't even make my all time top 20. Two more rides was enough.

The Harry Potter ride and the Simpsons ride were both impressive, but this thing takes it as the parks premiere attraction. I got two more rides in to end the night. The one downfall with a high tech ride like this is that the more times you ride it the less impressive it becomes. On my first ride I was blown away. On my third ride I was impressed, but not nearly as much as my first ride.

The park has changed a lot since my prior trip in 1997. It seems like half of the attractions back then are now gone. In particular RIP nickelodeon studios. The park has added a major roller coaster, but still the main draw is the heavily themed attractions. I still have not been to the Islands of Adventure park, but I feel like ever since that park opened it was far more modern that the original park. Ever since then the original park has upgraded and now the two parks have switched places. It's the Islands of Adventure park now making its comeback. I'm definitey glad that I picked Universal studios over Islands of Adventure this time

Last edited by Eric Hossfield, Sunday, February 21, 2016 9:28 PM

1.SV 2.El Toro 3.MF 4.I-305 5.Kumba
6.STR@SFNE 7.Voyage 8.X2 9.Storm Chaser 10. Wicked Cyclone

Sunday, February 21, 2016 8:48 PM

Living in Wyoming it was now late October and I had a huge urge to get to some park this year. So I drove all the way to the painhandle of Idaho for a night at Silverwood or should I say Scarywood.

October 17th, 2015
The halloween theming at the park was absolutely outstanding. The only other park I can compare this to is Canobie Lake Park in New Hampshire. There is no comparison between the two, this park had its halloween theming inescapable. To move from point A to point B in the park one couldn't avoid the heavy halloween theme. I recall trying to walk towards certain attractions and actually getting lost because I figured there was no way this was a normal walkway it must be some separate Halloween attraction.

Timber Terror
This was my first ride of the night and of the year. During Scarywood the park turns this roller coaster completely backwards. I have never ridden an entire roller coaster backwards before. Sure Batman and Robin the Chiller, Wicked Twister and Goliath at SFNE have their moments, but this was the entire ride! This new experience for me was amazing. This was certainly one of the best rides I rode in 2015.

It's well known in the roller coaster enthusiast world that bigger isn't always better. Pound for pound or should I say foot high for foot high this might be the best roller coaster I have ever been on. It's only a little over a 100 ft high, but it blows every other pure wooden rollercoaster (AKA minus El Toro) I have ever been on out of the water. It was absolutely beautiful. An out of control sensation of my dreams. It was rough like a wooden roller coaster is suppose to be, but not so much that it ruined the experience. The Air time also was outstanding.

As others have said it's historical significance is really the only thing worth mentioning.

One ride on Tremors wasn't enough. I ended my night with one final ride on it. It was just as beautiful as the first. I should point out that the ride operators at the park were fantastic with their hustling. I have never seen ride operators try so hard to keep the capacity up.

Last edited by Eric Hossfield, Monday, February 22, 2016 10:21 PM

1.SV 2.El Toro 3.MF 4.I-305 5.Kumba
6.STR@SFNE 7.Voyage 8.X2 9.Storm Chaser 10. Wicked Cyclone


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