New Rides & Attractions - Full-Throttle Fun - August 2018


Attractions for guests who feel the need, the need for speed

by Juanita Chavarro Arias and Juliana Gilling


Fast & Furious – Supercharged

Universal Orlando Resort
Orlando, Florida

Dom, Letty, Hobbs, Tej, Roman, and Mia are reunited in this full-throttle ride at Universal Studios Florida at Universal Orlando Resort. Based on Universal Studios’ blockbuster film franchise, “Fast & Furious – Supercharged” invites guests to party with the street-racing crew before making a quick getaway. An unassuming garage conceals an array of flash cars from the films, Letty’s Turbo Truck, and actual movie props, which provide eye candy along the queue line. Guests are treated to video calls from Tej and Mia as they make their way into the photo-lined “Family Room.” The high-tech “War Room” is manned by Jamie, a live actor playing a nervous techie who is charged with getting guests to the race after-party. 

“Pretty dope party buses” with pumping music and lights await to whisk people away. But the celebrations culminate in an FBI raid and the arrival of “Fast & Furious” nemesis Owen Shaw. “Every living soul on this vehicle is in serious danger; other than that, enjoy the ride,” quips Hobbs. It’s up to the “Fast & Furious” stars to get partygoers (including a protected witness) to safety, dodging flamethrowers, flipping cars, and rockets during a high-speed chase. 

Highly immersive visuals surround the moving party buses, allowing guests to virtually ride alongside Dom Toretto’s team. As the vehicles react, “the action you’re seeing, you’re actually feeling,” says Thierry Coup, senior vice president of Universal Creative, in a behind-the-scenes video. “‘Fast & Furious’ is an epic adventure—it’s perfect for a theme park ride,” says Mark Woodbury, vice chairman, Universal Parks & Resorts, and president, Universal Creative.


Sébastien Loeb Racing Xperience

Poitiers, France

Nine-time World Rally Championship winner Sébastien Loeb stars in Futuroscope’s new, adrenaline-fueled racing experience. Fans become Loeb’s co-drivers as he embarks on a race against time to save people from a toxic chemical spill by delivering an antidote. 

“This is the world’s first 5D virtual reality attraction on such an epic scale,” according to Laure Mosseron, marketing and communications director at Futuroscope. The park teamed up with Sébastien Loeb Racing and FrayMédia to create the 6.5 million euro attraction. It combines 108 HTC Vive VR headsets, a custom 6K film from FrayMédia, a six degrees of freedom (6DOF) motion simulation system from Ellip6, and 3D audio. The virtual reality (VR) headsets give guests a 360-degree view from inside the car’s cockpit: “We wanted you to feel that Sébastien Loeb is really next to you,” says Mosseron. 

The result is an exhilarating joyride in Loeb’s Peugeot 208 WRX, which accelerates from 0-100 kph in 1.08 seconds. Loeb expertly steers guests across different terrains for nearly three minutes. Sensory effects including wind, water, and smoke add to the authentic rally car experience. Other companies involved in the project included BCBG, MacGuff, and XXII.

A 700-square-meter pre-show area gives guests an opportunity to discover more about the real life of a racing team and see Loeb’s championship trophies.


The Great Lego Race

Legoland Florida Resort
Winter Haven, Florida

When guests sporting VR headsets take off in “The Great Lego Race’s” four-person ride vehicles at Legoland Florida Resort, they’re transported from Winter Haven, Florida, to the starting line of a virtual race track. In this animated Lego world, they’re surrounded by cheering Lego Minifigures in the stands and jeered by opponents representing Team Pharaoh, Pirate, Surfer, Trendy, and Wizard. With the flash of the green light, guests find themselves racing through brick-built settings, including a desert, forest, and volcano, competing against vehicles ranging from a dragon-themed car to a rocket-powered windsurfing rig.

“It’s a way for us to be able to bring to life the way that kids play at home. They mash up different Lego sets and create these really wacky racecars,” says Brittany Williams, public relations manager at Legoland Florida Resort. “[Through the ride,] they can race against these characters that they know and love in a world that we could truly only bring to life through virtual reality.”

“The Great Lego Race,” a reimagining of the “Project X” roller coaster, kept the previous ride’s 1,312-foot track and opened as a new VR roller coaster experience on March 23, 2018.

The development of “The Great Lego Race” was a collaborative process spanning two and a half years. Merlin Magic Making, the global creative and delivery division of Legoland parent company Merlin Entertainments Group, worked with Mack Rides, the roller coaster’s manufacturer, and Mack’s VR Coaster subsidiary, which provided the technology synchronizing the virtual visuals with the roller coaster’s movements. 

Figment Productions created the 360-degree animation that authentically represents The LEGO Group’s vision for a digital environment that could be built out of real Lego bricks. Gillian Smith, vice president of marketing and sales at Legoland Florida Resort, says if one were to build the world featured in the ride’s animation, it would take about 500 million bricks and fill an entire tennis court.

Keith Carr, project director for the Americas at Merlin Magic Making, says he still notices new details with every ride. He cites the coaster’s solid infrastructure and maneuverability as reasons it was chosen for the incorporation of VR technology.

“It’s a fantastic coaster to begin with, but the VR overlay gives it that next notch,” he says. “The guests are constantly engaged throughout the entire attraction, which is what we want. It’s an opportunity for children to really experience a VR coaster.”