Heads-up, thrill seekers: the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit is finally open and making laps at Universal Studios Orlando. If you'll recall, this coaster was actually announced way back in March of 2008, and after its opening was delayed a few times while kinks were worked out, we're happy to say that it's now capturing the most intimate emotions of those who willfully strap themselves in. We recently had an opportunity to catch a ride in between rainstorms and spats of Tiger Woods drama down in Central Florida, and being the roller coaster freaks that we are, we had a tough time pulling ourselves away from the adrenaline rush to focus on the technology making it all happen. Without question, this ride is the now the main draw at Universal Studios; the bulk of the wild coasters are at the neighboring Islands of Adventure, but this one's definitely worth a visit if you find yourself in the area.
You'll notice that each car actually uses platform seating, so the rear rows can see slightly above those in front. Once strapped in, a bright touchscreen panel awaits your attention on the top of the front lap bar; you can navigate through a half dozen or so genres in order to select one of 30 tracks, and while it's not publicized, those in the know will realize that a few Easter Egg tracks are hidden if you mash the right buttons. Once you select your ride soundtrack, the music begins to blast from the headrest-mounted speakers and you're towed straight up in the air as you await the first big drop. After you unload, you're funneled into a media area where employees are waiting to assist you in the purchase of your ride photo or video. We found out that each individual video is recorded in 720 x 480 resolution, and amazingly enough, each one is ready the moment you step down off the ride.
Guests can choose to purchase their ride DVD (complete with their song of choice) for $29.95 or as part of a few bundle packs that include photos, frames, etc. Photos can be purchased as actual prints, or they can be emailed directly from the kiosk; in our experience, a confirmation email was sent immediately, and our ride photo (it's actually an e-card that shows the photo at the end of the animation) arrived around an hour later. For an idea of what a first-hand video from the ride would look like, pop on past the break.