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For some reason (perhaps it is because of space restrictions), Universal Studios does not add new attractions to its Orlando Theme park. Instead, they replace existing attractions with new ones.  As a result, despite its short lifespan (the park opened on June 7, 1990), Universal Studios has a rather lengthy list of extinct attractions.  Kongfrontation begat The Mummy; Ghostbuster begat Twister; Psycho begat Shrek; Back to the Future begat the Simpsons; Earthquake begat Disaster; and I can't remember all the things that have been where the now-closed Jimmy Neutron rocket is. Well, last week, Universal announced another great attraction that will be added to the list of permanent closures.  The announcement was short.

Jaws The Final Voyage

On January 2, 2012, one of Universal Studios' most iconic rides is heading out to sea for the last time. In order to make room for an exciting new attraction, Captain Jake's Amity Boat Tours is closing and we invite you to come celebrate with one final ride of JAWS®.

Come relive your favorite memories and get ready to scream as the Great White Shark takes its last bite.


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Now, to be honest, I can't remember the last time I went on Jaws. It certainly wasn't an attraction that I had to go on each time I was in Universal Studios.  But still, I took comfort in the fact that it was there. And perhaps took it for granted. I will say that the Amity area, which features games of skill and chance in a boardwalk setting was one of my favorite places in Universal Studios Orlando. I will miss going there with my daughter, where we faced off with water guns to see who could pop the balloon first. But, i look forward to what will be coming to the space. (Perhaps it will be the Florida version of the new Transformers ride that is opening in California next year).  Still, I do wish universal would have given me more than 3 weeks notice that Jaws is closing.  I would have liked an opportunity to say goodbye to Bruce, Sheriff Brody, Captain Jake, and Skipper Billy, Sharkey and the rest of the broadcasters at Amity's WJWS13 (The Station that Bites). And if you got any of those references, then you will probably miss the attraction as well.

_So, in honor of this closing, I provide a little bit of history about the attraction (statistics are from Wikipedia, so take them for what they are ;-).
  • The original attraction at was inspired by the scene on the Backlot Tour in Universal Studios Hollywood (I have not heard that this is closing).
  • The ride was designed by MCA/Universal Planning and Development, in association with Ride and Show Engineering, which designed the original tour scene. (Steven Speilberg, director of Jaws was a creative consultant).
  • the ride opened on June 7, 1990.
  • Because of technical problems when it first opened, the ride had to be evacuated almost daily and the ride was closed for repair from August 1990 through the Spring of 1993.  During that time, Universal hired the Totally Fun Company to create a new version of almost the entire ride (They also sued Ride and Show Engineering).
  •  The ride was then officially re-opened by Roy Scheider, Lorraine Gray and Steven Spielberg in Spring of 1993.
  • The ride was closed again in 2004 after several hurricanes that struck Central Florida.  The rife was not damaged, rather the cost of petroleum went up and the ride's pyrotechnical effects became too expensive). 
  • The ride finally reopened in December 2005 and was run "seasonal" until February 2007. then, as a result of numerous guest requests, Jaws became a full time attraction in 2007.
  • The attraction was further refurbished in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011.
  • The attraction's queue holds a maximum of 1,000 guests for up to 90 minutes.
  • Over 2,000 miles (3,200 km) of electrical wire are used throughout the attraction.
  • The ride track is approximately 1,140 feet (350 m) in length and features a total of three track switches; two near the unload dock to take tour boats in and out of the boat storage siding, and one near the load dock to take tour boats in and out of the boat maintenance building.
  • The tour boats travel through the attraction at an average speed of approximately 2 knots.
  • The total ride time is approximately 5 minutes.
  • The attraction's Theoretical Hourly Ride Capacity is listed at a maximum of 2,500 guests per hour.
  • Amity Harbor covers an area of roughly 7 acres (2.8 ha) and holds approximately 5,000,000 U.S. gallons (19,000,000 L) of water.
  • The shark animatronics move through the water at speeds of up to 20 feet (6.1 m) per second and thrust with the power equal to that of a Boeing 737 aircraft at takeoff.
  • Jaws appears seven times throughout the attraction; five times on the port side of the tour boat and twice on the starboard side.
And now, let's take our final ride on Jaws:
 


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