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Islands of Adventure – Marvel:
Incredible Hulk Coaster

Rating: * * * * *
Type: Steel coaster
Time: 1.5 minutes
Our Take: Aaaargh! An unforgettable blast.

In the scientific complex where Bruce Banner, a.k.a. the Incredible Hulk, has his laboratories, you can learn all about the nasty effects of overexposure to gamma radiation. No, it’s not more edutainment, it’s the warm-up for another knock-your-socks-off roller coaster.

In a high-energy video pre-ride show, you learn that you can help Bruce reverse the unfortunate effects that have so complicated his life. All you have to do is climb into this little chamber which is, in fact, a 32-seat roller coaster. This is no ordinary roller coaster, however, where you have to wait agonizing seconds while the car climbs to the top of the first drop. It seems to get off to a fairly normal start, slowly climbing a steep incline, but thanks to an energizing burst of gamma rays you are shot at one G 150 feet upward, going from a near standstill to 42 miles an hour. From there it’s all downhill, so to speak, as you swing into a zero-G roll and speed toward the surface of the lagoon at 58 miles per hour. This is no water ride though, so you whip into a cobra roll before being lofted upwards once more through the highest (109 feet) inversion ever built. After that it’s under a bridge — on which earthbound (i.e. “sane”) people are enjoying your terror — through a total of seven inversions and two subterranean trenches before you come to a rest, hoping desperately that your exertions have, indeed, helped Bruce out of his pickle.

Here’s an interesting note for the technically minded: The initial thrust of this ride consumes so much power that, if the needed electricity were drawn directly from Orlando’s electric supply, lights across town would dim every time a new coaster was launched. So Universal draws power at a steady rate from the city’s power grid and stores it in a huge flywheel hidden in the greenish building by the Inland Sea labeled “Power Supply.” This enables them to get the power they need for that first heart-stopping effect without inconveniencing their neighbors.

Tip: This can be a very discombobulating experience. If you feel a bit weak in the knees at ride’s end, look for the Baby Swap area on your right. Here you can sit down in air-conditioned comfort for a few minutes to regain your composure before striding out pridefully into the Florida sun.

Note: This ride requires that you stow all your belongings in nearby electronic lockers that are free for a period of time that varies with the queue length, but charge a hefty fee if you overstay your welcome.

Tip: You may be able speed your way through this ride by asking the attendant to point you toward the single rider line, if open.

And on your way out, don’t forget to check out the photo of your adventure. The high-speed cameras capture each of the eight rows of the coaster as it zooms past, so one of the frames is likely to have a good shot of you.

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Universal Orlando 2011

 

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