Universal Orlando Shocks Fans as Parks Prepare for Hurricane and Horror Nights

in Universal Orlando

Universal Orlando Resort Annual Passholders (Guests) posing outside Universal Studios Florida

Credit: Universal

Universal Orlando Resort is tied with Walt Disney World for being the most popular theme park in Orlando.

With a third park opening up in summer of 2025, Epic Universe, the park is undergoing several changes and has seen a steady increase in attendance over the last few years. According to recent reports, Universal Orlando has seen almost more guests than Disney World, an amount which is sure to rise over the course of the next couple of years.

Universal Orlando Resort globe with Universal's Islands of Adventure in the background. Photo by Aditya Vyas on Unsplash
Credit: Aditya Vyas on Unsplash

As Walt Disney World begins to host the Disney100 celebrations, EPCOT is still under a park-wide construction zone, Animal Kingdom is expected to announce the closure of Dinosaur! any time now, Hollywood Studios is surviving off the crowds from Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, and Magic Kingdom just opened TRON Lightcycle / Run earlier this year.

Related: Florida Theme Park Announces Closure Following Hurricane Evacuation Order

Thankfully, the park reservation system and park-hopping rules will be ending early next year, but as the Splash Mountain retheme remains a point of contention among fans, it remains to be seen if it will draw more crowds or not when Tiana’s Bayou Adventure opens next year. The park also kicked off the Halloween season, with Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party already selling out several nights.

Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Pluto, and Goofy for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party
Credit: Disney

Halloween Horror Nights Is Around the Corner

In comparison, Universal Orlando is gearing up to start its busiest time of year with Halloween Horror Nights, which starts on September 1 and will run through November 3. This year’s event will feature 10 distinct haunted houses, including:

  • The Exorcist: Believer
  • Chucky: Ultimate Kill Count
  • Universal Monsters: Unmasked
  • Stranger Things 4
  • The Last of Us
  • Dr. Oddfellow’s Twisted Origins
  • Dueling Dragons: Choose Thy Fate
  • YETI: Campground Kills
  • The Darkest Deal
  • Bleed for the Blood Moon
multi-day halloween horror nights
Credit: Universal Orlando Resort

There will also be five exciting and horrifying scare zones:

  • Dr. Oddfellow’s Collection of Horrors
  • Dark Zodiac
  • Jungle of Doom: Expedition Horror
  • Vamp ’69: Summer of Blood
  • Shipyard 32: Horrors Unhinged

However, as opening day nears for the resort, so does Hurricane Idalia, which is expected to intensify into a Category 3 hurricane before it makes landfall. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has declared a state of emergency and Florida residents are being urged to evacuate ahead of the storm’s arrival. While Orlando is typically considered a safe area, hurricanes still bring a heavy amount of rain and flooding to the city and surrounding areas.

Related: What To Do During a Hurricane at Disney World

If you have a trip planned for Walt Disney World or Universal Orlando, you can rest assured knowing that both parks are built to withstand the winds and rain that hurricanes brings and are considered some of the safest places in the state to be. However, if you’re planning to visit Universal, there’s one other important thing to be aware of.

Latest Change Has Fans Confused

When you first enter Universal Studios, you’re immediately greeted by Minions and the sprawl of the New York area of the park. Just beyond the park’s gates lies the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, a towering red coaster featuring pulsing lights and screams of delighted riders. The attraction just recently underwent scheduled refurbishment and maintenance, reopening to the park a couple weeks ago.

Universal Studios Rip Ride Rockit at Universal Orlando Resort
Credit: Partiu Disney Parks

What makes the attraction so unique, however, is the fact that each rider is able to pick from a selection of songs to listen to as they swoop and glide across the tracks. Each rider is video recorded to their selected song and you can watch and/or purchase your ride video at the end. Riders can pick from the following categories:

  • Classic Rock/Metal
  • Pop/Disco
  • Country
  • Rap/Hip-hop
  • Club/Electronica

Previously, each category also provided five different songs to pick from, including “Bring Me to Life,” “Intergalactic,” “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” “That’s the Way (I Like It),” and “Pump It,” along with a “secret menu” list that guests can access. Unfortunately, it was just revealed by the Orlando Informer that guests riding Rip Ride Rockit will now only have a single song to choose from in each category.

 

The official Universal Orlando X account seemingly confirmed this, replying to a question asking about the change up with

“Hi there. The time has come for Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit to welcome new music to the coaster experience, while saying goodbye to the former songs. We can’t wait for our fans to enjoy a new beat to this great attraction.”

Many comments are hopeful that the drastic change is temporary, making way for an entirely new list of offered songs for riders to choose from, especially since the secret list is apparently still available. Overall, reactions have been mixed, with many lamenting the loss of so many songs and others excited about the new additions. Others, like @leavesonthelawn, suggested that an “Easy win would have been loading up a load of temporary Halloween songs for the season.”

While this is certainly a strange decision by Universal, we can only hope that it means better things and an all-new setlist is on the way for the iconic coaster ahead of the park’s busiest season.

What was your favorite song to listen to on Rip Ride Rockit? Let us know in the comments below!

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