Disney Coaster Locking Mechanism “Fails”, Guest Confusion Incites Panic

in Walt Disney World

Rock 'N' Roller Coaster Gets Stuck

Credit: Manny Goulart

Many Disney attractions tend to break down at times. When guests visit Disney World, you may see an attraction have to close at some point during your visit, temporarily. This could be because of a maintenance issue, and Disney quickly works to resolve the issue.

Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith electric guitar prop
Credit: Disney

Rock’ n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith is one of Disney World’s most intense rollercoasters. Blasting off at 60 miles per hour, the indoor coaster takes you through crazy fast highways, giant doughnuts, and other fun objects as Aerosmith music blasts away in your super-stretch limo. I mean, backstage passes are always a plus!

Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, debuted in 1999, making the coaster around 22 years old. Although the attraction is a classic, some guests sometimes note that the interior design of glow-in-the-dark facades mixed with an Aerosmith soundtrack seems quite dated (albeit others like myself find the tunes to be classic). It is not breaking news that since ’99, Disney has created many more attractions with much stronger technology and innovations, and it is very likely that if Imagineering were given the budget to update the attraction, that they would do a fantastic job. We have seen this repeatedly with classic rides such as Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ The Great Movie Ride becoming Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway.

A group of people riding Walt Disney World's Rock 'n' Roller Coaster
Credit: Disney

The coaster has constantly had closure issues throughout the year. We have even seen the ride shut down for five days in a row. The attraction became temporarily unavailable with no notice, leading this reporter to believe the issue was technical and unplanned. However, for an attraction to go down for five days likely means that the coaster’s problem was not a simple fix.

A couple of months ago, we reported that Rock’ n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith had been closed for three days straight. The shutdown is not planned, and the coaster will be running once again once all maintenance issues are cleared.

The coaster recently underwent a massive refurbishment, and this is not the first time the ride has shut down since it reopened, which shows the coaster has deeper maintenance issues that have not yet been fixed.

Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith has become controversial of late, with many believing that the coaster should be rethemed due to Steven Tyler’s lawsuit. According to a lawsuit that Rolling Stone obtained, Tyler brought Julia Holcomb– who was 16 at the time– back to his hotel room.

Disney's Rock 'n' Roller Coaster entrance at Disney's Hollywood Studios
Credit: Disney

They discussed her age as well as her troubled home life. Tyler then allegedly “performed various acts of criminal sexual conduct upon” her before sending her home the next morning. We have seen Disney out even the biggest stars due to lawsuits and allegations, such as Johnny Depp being booted from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, even after being proven innocent. Knowing that and seeing how Disney reacts in certain situations, it is easy to think that the ride’s fate is in the air.

In Disneyland Paris, the ride was rethemed to become an Iron Man coaster in the new Avengers Campus.

In the past, we asked guests what they wanted to see the coaster rethemed to. It seems that no matter what music group was to be showcased on the coaster, almost every suggestion still stuck with the theme that it was a rock band. Some popular choices were Metallica, AC/DC, Queen, Def Leppard, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Guns and Roses, Panic! at the Disco, and Bon Jovi.

Rock 'n' Roller Coaster ride vehicle
Credit: Disney

Stepping away from the rock ‘n’ roll vibe, we have options such as Lady Gaga, Camp Rock, Hannah Montana, Jonas Brothers, Disney / Pixar music mashup, and The Goofy Movie. 

Now, a guest is complaining of another maintenance issue on the ride, stating that it nearly took off without the seat restraint properly locked. The guest took to the internet to share their concerns, stating, “Went to WDW last year and this has been on my mind because it was a bit scary. I was getting on the Rockin Roller Coaster and got in the seat. I was pulling down the harness or whatever you call it, one of the ones where it holds you down by the shoulders. Anyway, the cast member passed by and told me to pull it down, which I did but it didn’t click because I was tall and my shoulders were too high for it to lock properly.

I was going to tell the cast member, but they were already gone and had signalled the other cast member to start the ride. I panicked and tried to get the cast member’s attention, but it was too noisy and they couldn’t hear. I quickly tried to scooch down in the seat to make room, which luckily worked and was able to lock it, and the ride started immediately after. It was pretty freaky.”

The guest continued, “My wife said there are probably safety warnings on the control panel that won’t let the ride start if my harness wasn’t locked, though, so I didn’t have to worry.” Disney does have the ability to see what seats are not locked, and all must be before riding, which is why you will still see cast members go and close a restraint even without anyone riding.

rock n roller coaster
Credit: Disney

One guest replied in agreement, “I believe there is a warning because even if a seat is unoccupied, the restraint needs to be down. I’ve also heard the force keeps you in the seat and the possibility of falling out is almost zero. When I was a CM a friend who worked there said they have run it through with a loose basketball, and it didn’t fall out.”

Another replied with a similar sentiment, “Yes, it’s true. That’s why empty seats need the harness to be pushed down, too. If any shoulder harness isn’t locked down far enough, it won’t go.

And if it helps, Disney coasters are all “push” forces. They push you into the seat, and don’t “pull” you up into airtime. The chances of falling out are very slim. (That’s why it’s ok to take your bags, also. They aren’t going anywhere.) Hit up Velocicoaster or Iron Gwazi if you want to feel the difference of coming up out of the seat.”

Two kids eat ice cream outside of rock n roller coaster
Credit: Disney

While this writer is not entirely factual in their declaration (Slinky Dog Dash, also located at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Toy Story Land, is not a push coaster), Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith certainly is. If you put your bag at your feet, you will notice that even on the loops, it will never lift off the ground.

As many others reassured the guest, the ride would not have actually begun without the lock going into place. What likely happened was the guest pushed the locking mechanism down to a new level, as there are various sizes for various shaped riders, and when they heard that second click, they assumed that was the initial lock, when it was already locked well before then.

Are you a fan of Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith? 

If you are planning on visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you can get ready to enter the movies! Walk down Sunset Boulevard and see the looking Tower of Terror attraction with Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster Starring Aerosmith right next door. The Chinese Theater is now home to the new attraction, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. If you love shows, get ready to enjoy Beauty and Beast – Live on Stage, For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration, Indiana Jones™ Epic Stunt Spectacular! and more. Head into the wild west with Toy Story Land. Ride Slinky Dog Dash, and dine at the newly added Roundup Rodeo BBQ. Then blast to a galaxy far, far away in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, where you can meet Rey, Stormtroopers, Chewbacca, Kylo Ren, and more. Ride Rise of the Resistance and make your own lightsaber! At night, enjoy Mickey’s dreams as you enter the world of Fantasmic! For more Disney information, information on Disney Genie+, and to look at booking a vacation, the Walt Disney World website is a perfect one-stop shop for all things Mickey Mouse.

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