Universal Orlando Resort (Orlando, FL) has seen amazing attractions come and go since their first theme park, Universal Studios, opened in June of 1990. Islands of Adventure, which opened in May 1999. Both parks have evolved significantly, but over many of the parks adventures a common theme can be found.
Over the 27 years of operation favorites like Jaws, Earthquake, and Back to the Future have disappeared, while new thrills like the Jurassic Park River Ride, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey have emerged. All of these exciting experiences share a common problem: It was a perfectly normal day until something went horribly wrong . . .
The small town Amity setting of “Jaws” lent itself to allow Universal to not only create an exciting thrill ride but also a small seashore summer vacation region of the new theme park. The tranquil, casual atmosphere gave no hint of the danger that lurked nearby. Sharks were a thing of the past, operating a simple boat tour seemed like a no-risk venture. . .and then something went horribly wrong . . .
Though the spotlight was cast on the magic of movie effects, the main attraction of Earthquake was the subway quake experience. A mundane metro ride brought to an abrupt halt as the ground begins to shake and total disaster unfolds.
3. Back to the Future the Ride
Back to the Future the Ride may have emerged as a challenge from George Lucas, who bragging about Star Tours to Steve Spielberg. The result was a massive movie based adventure. What starts out as a visit to the Institute of Future Technology to volunteer for to test a new time travelling DeLorean, instead Biff Tannen traps Doc Brown. The result: that perfectly normal visit turns into a adventure through time to track down Biff.
4. Terminator 2 3D
A special tour of Cyberdyne Systems and preview of their new T-70 soldiers is disrupted by John and Sarah Conner. After Sarah interrupts a pre-show discussion, visitors are ushered into the main auditorium. During unveiling of T-70 soldiers, John and Sarah attack with help of motorcycle riding T2 unit (as portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger and a stunt double). A perfectly normal demonstration turns into an all-out battle for the future.
What would have been a perfectly normal sky tram excursion across Manhattan goes horribly wrong when King Kong interrupts the journey. In Kongfrontation, the escaped ape wreaks havoc on helicopters and the city below as the tram, filled with guests, attempts to make it past.
When Islands of Adventure opened in 1999, the recipe for turning a normal event into disaster made its way into the new Orlando theme park as well.
6. Jurassic Park River Adventure
The main attraction on the Jurassic Park “island” is the River Adventure– an informative, calm boat ride showcasing the diverse dinosaurs displayed at the pre-historic park. However, this river ride ends up off course when the boat is bumped by a wayward parasaurolophus. What was a perfectly normal river tour turns into chaos as guest encounter dangerous dinosaurs and ultimately come face to face with towering T-Rex.
7. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
When the wizarding world welcomed muggles in to tour Hogwarts castle, it seemed like an exciting opportunity. However a perfectly normal day goes horribly wrong as the tour is disrupted by dementors. Things get worse as the meandering muggles narrowly escape giant spiders, a womping willow and fire breathing dragon.
As seen in these 7 examples from Universal Orlando Resort, disaster can be fun. With the tragic turn of events none of these adventures would hold any real excitement.