UNIVERSAL ORLANDO Resort
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS FLORIDA
Universal Studios Theme Parks
Review by: Lance Hart
FAST & FURIOUS - SUPERCHARGED (2018)
(5/21/18) At the start of May Screamscape was invited down to visit Universal Orlando where we got to attend an official ribbon cutting ceremony for the opening of the new Voodoo Doughnut location in Citywalk, get a small update on the new Aventura Hotel opening this August (and try some of their new food and beverage offerings) and ended with a huge grand opening ceremony for the new Fast & Furious – Supercharged attraction, complete with a quick car chase and some celebrity guest appearances. On location to help open the new attraction were Vin Diesel (Dom), Ludacris (Tej), Tyrese Gibson (Roman) and Jordana Brewster (Mia).
The interesting thing was that Fast & Furious - Supercharged had been quietly running for park guests for several weeks ahead of this event, which means that virtually every blogger and wanna-be theme park critic in the state had already had ample chance to ride this before I did. Mix that with the fact that the main portion of the attraction is also a near-clone from the Hollywood park version that opened in 2015, means that a lot of opinions have already formed about this attraction well in advance.
For a variety of reasons, those who you might refer to as the “Theme Park Elite”, people who just about spend every living breathing moment inside theme parks on a near daily basis, they’ve made it clear they didn’t care for Fast & Furious - Supercharged. As I said, there are a variety of reasons here: some are just tired of screen based attractions, others were disappointed that this version was not in 3D, and there are those who simply expected more than a clone from the Hollywood park.
So at this point you’ve got to be wondering what I thought of Fast & Furious - Supercharged. Did I hate it? No… not at all. While it didn’t blow me away either, I found the experience was still fun. That said… my inner critic does wish that Universal Creative would have followed through with Fast & Furious - Supercharged in the same way that they did with Skull Island: Reign of Kong, by expanding what was done in Hollywood with some extra action scenes and thrills along the way, along with a custom finale.
I know I’m not alone here… as I took the time to listen in on the crowds at the exit as they finished their ride, and the most frequent comment I heard was that people felt that the ride was just over far too quickly. As I said above, had they expanded the on-ride experience just a little bit, especially if they could have added a custom ‘finale’ scene, much like they did on Skull Island when you come face to face with Kong himself, the mood may have been quite different.
The bottom line however is that Universal does not cater to the Theme Park Elite, but rather they are focused on entertaining the thousands of families that decent upon their parks daily from all over the world. In this light they did succeed, because Fast & Furious - Supercharged is still a popular family attraction that will thrill visiting guests who normally only get to experience what their local smaller budget amusement parks have to offer. Watching the crowds depart the ride, the kids still seemed to love it, the air was full of excited talking, and smiles were still all around. While Fast & Furious - Supercharged may not be as timeless as The Adventures of Spider-Man, they did manage to bring the action of the Fast & Furious to life in really about the only way I could see it being done while including the actual stars from the film series.
So while not everyone who reads this may choose to ride Fast & Furious - Supercharged every time you visit the park, I am going to give you some tips to make your ride experience as good as possible. For starters, the ride’s loading area has two load positions for a front and rear “party bus”. While each bus will run through the pre-action scenes on their own, the two buses do load into the immersive tunnel back-to-back, right behind each other, and after riding several times I’m going to tell you without a doubt that you really only want to ride in the FRONT bus. At a certain point in the queue you’ll see a sign telling you that the queue divided into a left and right lane and you can take either lane, you want the LEFT lane to ensure you are in the front bus.
Without spoiling the action of what takes place inside, there are many advantages to the front bus that are purely visual, especially if you are sitting towards the front of the front bus. Unlike Skull Island: Reign of Kong where the front cabin of the vehicle is masked by a visual barrier, the front of the party bus is open and gives you a view of the journey ahead… so when you are in the immersion tunnel action segment of the ride, the scenery here is actually projected in front of the bus as well as the sides, which helps quite a bit with your enjoyment factor and creating the illusion of speed. Also, while the action on the sides take place on both-sides of both party buses, the nature of the action and good segments always seemed to be directed to things happening around the front, which left me feeling a little left-out when riding the back bus as an action stunt would be setting up to happen, only for those involved to speed up and do the deed next to the front bus, rather than the rear. Also, while there is plenty of action on both the left and right sides of the party bus, I kind of enjoyed the action on the left side a little better. Your own opinion on which side you like best may depend more on which F&F characters you like the best, where you will see more of Hobbs and Roman on the left side of the action, while Dom and Letty deal with the bad guys on the right side for the most part.
It is also fun to wander through the ride queue and look for easter eggs… as there are plenty to be found. Not just easter eggs in reference to the Fast & Furious film series, but also references to other Universal Orlando theme park attractions, both current and those from the past.