Recently, I told you all about my amazing Saturday Night Takeaway adventure, and promised to update you on some of the new openings and gossip from Universal Orlando Resort, Florida. While we were in the park, we were really lucky to be given a sneaky peek behind the scenes at an incredible new attraction (and also the opportunity to eat ALL THE DOUGHNUTS at the fab new Voodoo Doughnuts on Universal’s CityWalk – more news of this very soon). The new Fast & Furious – Supercharged at Universal Orlando featuring the stars of the movie franchise as well as breathtaking original vehicles, is due to open very soon and promises an action-packed ride experience. Here’s what I learned…
Fast & Furious – Supercharged
One afternoon in the park, we were lucky enough to join Don MacLean, VP of Attraction Development along with Stephanie Green, Project Director and Nick Linguanti, the Assistant Project Manager responsible for New Attraction Development & Technology at Universal Orlando Resort along with other members of the team to be given a special, behind the scenes look at the brand new Fast & Furious – Supercharged attraction. The project has been four years in the planning and development and the team are rightly proud of this incredible venture that brings brand new interactive technology into play along with some major players from the film world.
The Fast franchise
Of course, everyone knows the action-packed Fast & Furious films; the fast car franchise is one of the highest-grossing of all time and features some of the biggest stars in the movie industry. It’s a huge achievement, then, that Universal Resort Orlando’s newest attraction will allow guests to immerse themselves in the blockbuster films and actually get to feel like they’re part of the Fast & Furious family. There are loads of Fast & Furious characters in the attraction – as well as Fast & Furious veterans like Dom (Vin Diesel), Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), Roman (Tyrese Gibson) and criminal mastermind Owen Shaw (Luke Evans), the attraction introduces the character of Tej (played by Chris “Ludacris” Bridges) and Mia (Jordana Brewster) too.
What to expect
Stephanie describes the attraction as ‘a thrill ride that incorporates some brilliant new technologies and media’. There are no 3D glasses and the minimum height for riders is 40″. There’s a brilliant child swap room as well with some great stuff to do. From the outside, the attraction looks like a deserted, overgrown old warehouse, but as the line snakes through, you’re taken through a converted garage into a shop with a brilliant party bus. There are really cool live segments with actors, Fast & Furious films playing on the walls and all sorts of amazing props and vehicles to see (there are 15 vehicles in all – 12 originals from the movies and three created specially for the attraction.
The new Fast & Furious – Supercharged at Universal Orlando introduces the same virtual line technology as the Race Through New York starring Jimmy Fallon attraction, meaning you can go to a kiosk to reserve your place in line then head off to enjoy the park until it’s your time to ride. You can also use the app to reserve your place. The app actually has all sorts of really cool interactive games too – Bluetooth beacons unlock new content in the app as you move through the queue, so you can view some awesome content (I won’t give it away).
What’s the story
Riders are immersed in an original Fast & Furious story (all set to a brilliant soundrack with songs from the films) which brings in the characters and ends with you actually being part of a movie plot: you’re invited to a race after-party, with Tej arranging for a custom party bus to get you there. As you head to the party, there’s a high speed chase and drama ensues. As to the outcome? Well you’ll just have to wait and see! We didn’t get to experience the actual ride element of the attraction, so that remains a big surprise. I have seen pics of the actual ride vehicles (which presumably are the ‘party buses’.) It all looks really cool.
Of course, the exit leads straight through the shop, which is already open and selling some really cool Fast & Furious merch. There are also more vehicles on display by the attraction exit.
At the time, we all tried really hard to push Stephanie on the opening date for the ride, but despite our pestering she was incredibly professional and stuck to the official ‘spring 2018’ line. However, I’m pleased to say that after soft opening, the attraction is now open to the public.
In other news…
Oh, and a little bird told us that there are rumours flying about that we could be expecting a journey through the Forbidden Forest to replace the Dragon Challenge ride opposite Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry that closed last September. It could all be rubbish speculation, but rumours are swirling that the ride will be a themed, coaster ride, so hopefully we’ll be coming face to face with hippogriffs and unicorns when it finally opens (I’m holding out for the ride vehicles to be Hagrid’s motorbike and side car, or even the Weasley family’s Ford Anglia!). I’ll let you know if I hear anything concrete.
I know I’ve mentioned them before, but as soon as you’ve booked your holiday, make sure you book your airport parking. The choice can get quite narrow, especially during popular times like school holidays and you might find yourself parking miles away from the airport to get a decent deal. We always use APH Meet & Greet parking – we’ve got to know loads of the drivers over the years and they’re really friendly and helpful. You literally drive straight to your departure terminal, meet the APH driver, hand over the keys and walk straight into the terminal, leaving the driver to take your car away and store it safely while you’re away. I love the fact that you don’t have to worry about any sort of delay (they just keep your car safe for you until you get back). It’s all so easy. Then when you get back, you just ring them as you’re picking up your luggage and they wait for you outside the terminal building. Such a great service.
Booking a package with Virgin Holidays
You can explore Universal Orlando Resort from £1,055 per person! Book seven nights in Universal Orlando Resort with Virgin Holidays, including scheduled Virgin Atlantic flights from London Gatwick direct to Orlando (just like the winners), and seven nights accommodation at Universal’s Loews Sapphire Falls Resort. Price is per person and based on two adults travelling and sharing a standard two bed queen room. Package includes an economy car with basic insurance for the duration of the stay, and access to all three of Universal Parks. Price is based on a departure of 8 September 2018, with all applicable taxes and fuel charges included but subject to change. Virgin Holidays is a member of ABTA and is ATOL protected. To book: visit virginholidays.co.uk, call 0344 557 3859 or visit one of the stores located nationwide.