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Universal plans flying simulator and drift-racer rides

December 19, 2016 Headline News No Comments Email Email

The shape of things to come from Universal City Studios has slipped out, with the theme park operator applying to patent three new rides, including one that lets people seemingly fly through the air.

Another new attraction will be a racing car ride that allows the back tires to drift or fishtail. While Universal Parks and Resorts is making no official announcement, the Los Angeles Times says it has uncovered details in the form of patent applications filed by a Universal subsidiary.

A flight simulator ride is planned which, like the racing car ride, is based on a Nintendo video game. Universal is reportedly planning to install the new rides at its theme parks in Los Angeles, Orlando and Japan.

A two-passenger “Drift Racer” racing car would let riders use a steering wheel to control the rear tyres. The riders would also control the speed. The special lure of the attraction is that the back end of the car would be able to drift or fishtail, a manoeuvre where the driver causes the rear tyres to swing back and forth leaving fish tail-shaped tracks. It can happen on icy roads or when road racers do it deliberately. In the case of the ride, riders would trigger it by steering and accelerating the vehicle.

In the flying-simulator ride, riders will don a special suit and be suspended from an overhead frame, simulating the sensation of flying, according to the patent application cited by the Los Angeles Times.

A third plan is for a “mat racer” ride that involves riders sliding on their bellies down a slippery slope. It sounds like an updated version of the helter skelter, a traditional fairground amusement ride with a slide built in a spiral around a high tower. The helter skelter sees riders climb up inside the tower and slide down the outside, usually on a mat or hessian (burlap) sack – though the Universal version would no doubt be far more sophisticated than that.

A belly mat riding slide attraction is already offered by Wet ’n Wild Orlando in Florida. The ride is called the Mach 5 and can be seen below:

Wet ’n Wild Orlando due to close permanently very soon (on 31 December 2016) to make way for Universal Orlando’s new Volcano Bay water park, opening next year.

Universal Studios Parks and Resorts last year reached agreement with Nintendo to create attractions based on Nintendo’s popular video games, which include Pokémon, Super Mario Bros, Donkey Kong, and Legend of Zelda.

Written by Peter Needham

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