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The Jaws ride, once a popular attraction at Universal Studios Florida in Orlando, closed permanently on January 2, 2012, to make room for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter expansion. However, you can still experience the Jaws ride at Universal Studios Japan. Within Universal Studios Florida, remnants of the Jaws ride can be found in the Fisherman’s Wharf area and in the windows of Diagon Alley’s London section.
Where Is the Jaws Ride at Universal Studios?
The Jaws ride, once a beloved attraction at Universal Studios Florida in Orlando, has been a subject of great interest for many theme park enthusiasts. This article will delve deep into its history, features, closure, and where you can still experience remnants of this iconic ride.
The History of the Jaws Ride
The Jaws ride first opened its doors to the public on June 7, 1990. Based on the Jaws film series, the ride took guests on a tour through the fictional Amity Island harbor, which was interrupted by an attack from the famous great white shark. The attraction was inspired by a small attraction on the Studio Tour at Universal Studios Hollywood, which opened in 1976 and is still in operation.
Notable Features of the Jaws Ride
The ride used tour boats to take guests through a harbor of the fictional Amity Island. The ride track was approximately 1,140 feet (350 m) in length. The original version of the ride had frequent breakdowns due to the elaborate special effects involved, leading to daily evacuations. The redesigned ride, which officially reopened in Spring of 1993, featured a new scene where the shark is electrocuted after biting an underwater cable attached to a high-voltage barge, loosely based on the ending for Jaws 2.
Why Was the Jaws Ride Closed?
The Jaws ride at Universal Studios Florida was closed down to make room for the second phase of expansion for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The attraction, along with the entire Amity area of Universal Studios Florida, closed permanently on January 2, 2012.
What Replaced the Jaws Ride?
The Wizarding World’s Diagon Alley and the Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts attraction replaced the Jaws ride. The decision was made to make way for a more popular and profitable attraction.
Where Can You Still Experience the Jaws Ride?
Although the Jaws ride at Universal Studios Florida closed in 2012, fans can still find some remnants of the attraction around the park. The most prominent is the massive hanging shark photo-op that previously stood near the ride’s entrance and is now located in the Fisherman’s Wharf area. There are also several Jaws-themed easter eggs in the windows of Diagon Alley’s London section, as well as the still-standing Amity-themed bathrooms.
For a complete Jaws ride experience, you can still find it in operation at Universal Studios Japan.
The Legacy of the Jaws Ride
Even years after its closure, the Jaws ride still holds a special place in the hearts of many Universal Studios Florida visitors. Despite discussions among fans and a petition on Change.org calling for its return, there have been no official plans or discussions to revive the Jaws ride at Universal Studios. The park now offers a wide range of experiences, from motion simulations to live-action shows and thrill rides, aiming to cater to a diverse range of visitors. Nevertheless, the memory of the Jaws ride remains as a testament to Universal Studio’s history of innovative and immersive attractions.
Frequently Asked Questions
What other attractions were part of the Amity area in Universal Studios Florida?
The Amity area was also home to several other attractions, including the Amity Boat Tours, the Amity Island Lobster Company, and several food and merchandise outlets themed around the Jaws franchise and the New England fishing village aesthetic.
Is there any difference between the Jaws ride in Universal Studios Florida and the one in Universal Studios Japan?
The Jaws ride in Universal Studios Japan is essentially a clone of the second version of the ride from Universal Studios Florida. So, visitors can expect a similar experience to the original Florida attraction.
What was the average duration of the Jaws ride?
The Jaws ride lasted approximately 5 minutes, taking guests on a thrilling adventure around the Amity Island harbor.
Was the Jaws ride a seasonal attraction?
No, the Jaws ride was a year-round attraction at Universal Studios Florida, operating daily until its closure in 2012.
Why was the original Jaws ride redesigned?
The original Jaws ride was redesigned due to frequent breakdowns caused by the complex special effects. The redesigned ride, which reopened in 1993, was more reliable and also introduced a new scene based on the ending of Jaws 2.