Saturday, 25 April 2015

USS New Ride 2016/2017

Even though Puss in Boots’ Giant Journey just opened in USS this month, there is no doubt that the USS team is already working on its next big thing. With a shortage of available land, the next attraction is likely to be very compact. Nonetheless, I can assure you that USS has reserved land for at least 2 more new attractions.

Puss in Boots' Giant Journey is the most recent new ride of USS. It opened in April 2015


Currently, most of the 20 hectares that make up USS are developed, but there are actually still 2 locations left. Both are located at New York City area, and the one beside Transformers is significantly larger than the other. In fact, the smaller area has a footprint half the size of the Shrek theatre.

USS New Ride available land

In fact, USS has made provisions for new attractions at these locations from day 1. If you pass by the New York area near the library you will notice there are 2 areas with 3 doors placed side by side. If you remembered, this is exactly how the Sesame Street Ride entrance looked like before the ride opened.
This entrance to the right of the central library is also used for haunted houses during Halloween Horror Nights

USS New Ride 2016 entrance
This plot is extremely small and it is hard to tell what attractions can fit inside here. Don't forget that it shares the same building as Lights, Camera, Action.

Analysis of Past Rides

To learn more about USS new ride 2016, the best thing to do is the learn from the past. Currently, the new attractions that opened in USS are:

  • 2011 – Madagascar, A Crate Adventure (family boat ride)
  • 2011 – Transformers: The Ride (3D motion simulator)
  • 2013 – Sesame Street and the Spaghetti Space Chase (Suspended Dark Ride)
  • 2015 – Puss in Boots’ Giant Journey (Suspended Family Coaster)

So far, USS has opened 3 new family rides and 1 new thrill ride. As such, it is time that the next new USS attraction be a thrilling one. Also, I am a little concerned. The 4 new rides have a length of 7mins, 5mins, 3mins and 2mins respectively. I sure hope the next ride don’t follow this trend. Another thing, USS has opened new rides at 18 month intervals so far, so the new ride is likely to only open towards the end of 2016.

Each new ride in USS is getting shorter in ride length. Lets hope the new ride will not follow this trend.

What is the Theme?

This is a little tricky. Since Universal is a movie based theme park, the best place to look is at Universal’s new movies. I have a few in mind: Jurassic World, Despicable Me 3, Furious 8 and Pacific Rim 2. However, the most interesting new movie is Warcraft, based on the enormously successful game by Blizzard Entertainment.

Warcraft Movie is slated for release sometime next year

However, I don’t think Warcraft will fit well in the context of New York (unless they teleport you into a computer in a New York Cyber CafĂ©). A car based ride in Singapore seems quite appealing especially since car ownership is so expensive. Pacific Rim featuring New York under siege is possible, but it risks being too similar to Transformers: The Ride located just adjacent.

A New York version of Pacific Rim is great but the giant robot concept is too similar to Transformers.

Despicable Me Minion Mayhem is a small attraction at other Universal Studios Parks but is really popular. I know that many Singaporeans and Asians love the minions, but I am not sure if it is wise open a Minion attraction a full year after the last movie. Nonetheless, Despicable Me Minion Mayhem is the only existing Universal Studios ride (excluding kids rides) that can fit in the smaller New York City plot at USS.

We must also not forget the other classic movies that may manifest into new attractions.

Despicable Me 3 will launch by June this year, which is at least 1 year before the next USS ride opens.

What type of ride?

Since the last 2 USS new rides are quite conventional, I do hope that the next one will be more state-of-the art. Currently, the most advanced rides on the market are Trackless Motion Simulators, pioneered on Antarctica: Empire of the Penguins at Seaworld Orlando and Robotic Arm Tracked Rides, as seen on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.

Concept art for Antarctica, Empire of the Penguin. Notice that there are no distinct guide rails for the ride vehicles.

These attractions will fill the big plot quite comfortable, but the smaller plot requires a much more compact attraction. It appears that the only types of attractions that can fit are theatres – circumotion (new concept), hang gliding or motion simulator theatres.

Circumotion Theatre is one of several multimedia attraction concepts by Falcon's Treehouse.

However, there are a few things that are a strict no-no. First and foremost, no more roller coasters. 6 is enough. Next, enough of kiddy cartoons like Sesame Street. New York City also has a youthful, somewhat rebellious character and kiddy cartoons spoil that. Finally, anything too similar to existing rides is a waste of precious land.

Once Battlestar Galactica come back in a couple months time, USS will have 6 roller coasters - the most at a Universal Studios Theme Park.

The Best New Attraction, IMO

For me, the best option USS could take is to first use the smaller plot, with a circumotion theatre attraction. Capitalising on the popularity of Warcraft (and its  spinoffs), this attraction could attraction young gamers and Warcraft fans all over the region. The “teleport into computer” concept also seems promising.

The classic Warcraft III game propelled the Blizzard Entertainment world of Azeroth into worldwide fame.

In fact, this option will bring about many firsts for USS. It will be the first Universal Studios Attraction based on a video game universe, the world’s first circumotion theatre, and possibly the first Universal Studios attraction with variable ride experiences (have multiple video sequences). Finally, theater based attractions are not expensive to build.

There are 54 combinations of the motion simulator ride, Star Tours 2: The Adventures Continue. Table belongs to

Every time a new attraction opens, I am always excited about what will come next. In fact, I am most intrigued at what will USS do after 2019/2020 when the land runs out. What do you think is the new attraction for 2016? Please share in the comments. And don’t forget to like the Second Drop Facebook Page.