Another Disaster! Opinion

Last weekend I was in the one of the first public audience to experience Disaster!, the tweaked replacement for Universal’s Earthquake ride. I’ll mostly say “ditto” to the review by “Gareth H” on Theme Park Insider that Kelly linked to, with a couple addendums:

1. The 1st preshow (formerly the model room) is fantastic, both in writing and in Walken’s performance. However, Mr More Cowbell is NOT a “3d projected hologram”. He’s simply a well-engineered Pepper’s Ghost effect, achieved with a 2D video projector and an angled pane of glass. See the Haunted Mansion ballroom or the Tower of Terror hallway scene for similar (though less convincing) examples.

2. The “overly camp Assistant to the Director” isn’t particularly “camp”, but the role is much more tightly written than before, with a ton of funny (if somewhat risque) asides. But more important, the role is played by an actual actor now, instead of a ride & show spieler. Makes all the difference in the world!

3. The final subway scene has been changed, though not all the difference are noticable unless you knew the old version well. There are additional foggers and sparkers, and the sliding truck has been upgraded with slightly more aggressive movement. The lighting seems to have been bumped up too (not always in a good way) and much of the old sound has been replaced with stage directions.

Bottom line — the old version was a mildly entertaining ride preceeded by a couple of painful preshows. New version = fantastic preshows followed by a midly entertaining ride. Your mileage may vary.

PS As for the “insider information” that Terminator will be the next attraction to close… Twister and Jimmy Neutron are closer to the chopping block than T23D. This “fact” seems to be an assumption based on the location of the load station for Universal Japan’s version of “Hollywood Dreams”, the mini-hyper rollercoaster rumored to be coming to Orlando. Except, due to the difference in backstage layouts, Orlando’s T2 wouldn’t make an appropriate location for such an attraction. Look for it to be built (IF it’s built) closer to the boneyard area on the west side of the park. Of course, as I’ve said before, the old Murder She Wrote building is just begging to be raized…

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