Universal Studios Hollywood has finally announced the long-rumored Fast & Furious roller coaster, and confirmed that construction is officially underway. This post shares details revealed in the USH press release, along with other expectations for the new thrill ride based on past leaks, our commentary, and more.
According to the press release, Universal Studios Hollywood will bring innovative and technological achievements never previously employed to this all-new roller coaster. Equipped with a state-of-the-art ride system uniquely created to engulf guests within the dynamic Fast & Furious universe, this all-new thrill ride will benefit from Universal’s decades-long expertise in revolutionizing the development of the contemporary roller coaster across its global theme park destinations.
The Fast & Furious saga will serve as the vehicle for this groundbreaking roller coaster at Universal Studios Hollywood. For more than twenty years, the franchise has stoked passion in an ever-expanding audience and has earned more than $7 billion at the worldwide box office, Universal Pictures’ record-smashing, homegrown Fast & Furious films have become the studio’s most-profitable and longest-running franchise. Across social media platforms, the fan following for the movies and cast has grown into the biggest of any active franchise.
The new Fast & Furious ride will join Universal Studios Hollywood’s slate of attractions, including the all-new Super Nintendo World, featuring the critically-acclaimed Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge ride. There’s also the Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash, which is on par with the very best Disney dark rides from the last decade.
Other relatively-recent additions include the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, featuring Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and Flight of the Hippogriff rides; Jurassic World—The Ride; Despicable Me Minion Mayhem; Springfield U.S.A. and The Simpsons Ride. As we’ve mentioned elsewhere, Universal Studios Hollywood has radically transformed and expanded since we first got our APs a decade ago.
That’s all in addition to Universal Studios Hollywood’s signature, behind-the-scenes Studio Tour, offering guests a front row seat to an authentic movie and television production studio for an exclusive peek at original film sets that include Jupiter’s Claim from Jordan Peele’s NOPE, and Courthouse Square from the Back to the Future films, as well as such experiential attractions as Fast & Furious—Supercharged and King Kong 360 3D, inspired by the blockbuster films.
Universal Studios Hollywood’s official announcement is otherwise light on details, but a lot has slowly trickled out for the year-plus that a Fast & Furious roller coaster has been rumored for USH. Plans for this project indicate it’ll be added to the Upper Lot, taking over the area previously used by the Animal Actors and Special Effects stage shows that closed earlier this year and are now being demolished.
It was widely believed that those would be replaced by the entrance to the new Fast & Furious ride, but now we official confirmation. Those same rumors indicated that the attraction would be called Fast & Furious: Hollywood Drift, with the name being a nod to the movie and the location.
It’s more than that, though. The coaster is rumored to be an Intamin spinning model, with the ride vehicles being able to “drift” with motion and rotation fitting the Fast & Furious theme and exaggerating the motion of the ride. It’s also possible, if not likely, that the drift effect will also utilize controlled movement that is necessary to minimize noise.
Fast & Furious: Hollywood Drift will be the first outdoor roller coaster at Universal Studios Hollywood, which is both a theme park and an active studio where film production occurs. It’s also perched on a hillside and has neighbors. All of this means that aggressive noise dampening and mitigation measures will be needed, and strategic rotation to direct screams into walls (or whatever) might be necessary. Already, Universal Studios Hollywood has been conducting noise tests, so clearly this issue is top of mind.
Concept art and the track layout have all leaked online for Fast & Furious: Hollywood Drift. While the plans have evolved since the rumor first leaked over a year ago, it seems likely that most of the coaster will be located on partially on the Upper Lot and partially on the hillside above the Lower Lot, even looping around the top escalator to the Lower Lot.
The Fast & Furious roller coaster is likely to include several launches and banked turns, corkscrews, and dive drops and loops. I’m pretty far from a roller coaster expert, but this looks to me a lot like USH’s “answer” to Jurassic World VelociCoaster. (I’m sure some coaster geeks will cringe at that assessment as the two ride profiles are very different, but they will fill the same roles.)
Here’s a fan-made pre-visualization video by Amusement Insider that demonstrates what this Fast & Furious roller coaster could end up looking like:
Universal Studios Hollywood has not yet announced when the Fast & Furious roller coaster will open, but our guess is the first half of 2025. The alternative is next year, but 2024 just seems like too quick of a turnaround time given where the track will be built on the hillside between the Upper and Lower Lots.
Universal can construct stuff way faster than Disney (minus timeshares), but a 2024 opening would be really aggressive even by their standards. Regardless, it’s likely that even more is on the way as part of USH’s ambitious plans ahead of the 2028 Los Angeles Summer Olympics.
It’s also unknown whether the Fast & Furious – Supercharged will remain a part of the Studio Tour at Universal Studios Hollywood with the opening of the new coaster. But we sure hope that it goes extinct. As we’ve been saying for years, this is one of the worst theme park experiences anywhere, ever. We were absolutely shocked when it was cloned to Orlando, and remain convinced that the Comcast executives that greenlit that terrible decision never saw the Studio Tour version.
It does have a slight campy quality and has developed a minor cult following in the last few years, but those fans are misguided. Fast & Furious – Supercharged is not so bad it’s good. It’s just plain bad. The Fast & Furious film franchise is much better suited with a thrill ride than anything with any semblance of story or narrative. Just exhilaration, excitement, and crazy car vibes.
Literally anything would be better than the Fast & Furious – Supercharged segment in the Studio Tour. That includes absolutely nothing at all, just a tunnel of darkness and sorrow.
In terms of commentary, the official announcement of the Fast & Furious roller coaster is great to finally have. This will likely be a great thrill ride, and Universal has proven in recent years with VelociCoaster and Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure that they can do unique coasters like this really well.
Between its location and layout, this Fast & Furious roller coaster looks like it could be even better than those recent additions to Universal Orlando. It should be absolutely awesome, and offer some insane valley views–including the surrounding studios. It’ll be the best coaster addition to Southern California in a long time, at least until Knott’s Berry Farm finally gets its act together and confirms the long-rumored (but repeatedly debunked) Giga Coaster rumors.
The bottom line is that it’s tough to be disappointed by a new roller coaster coming to Universal Studios Hollywood. The park has been on a roll lately, and it appears that trend will continue with the Fast & Furious roller coaster. I’m personally really looking forward to riding it.
With that said, Universal Creative has also proven that they can do family-friendly attractions really well. Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash is an underrated masterpiece, and proof-positive that elaborate Audio Animatronics-driven rides still can resonate with today’s audiences. Not just that, but that they can be built in tight spaces, on efficient turnaround times and with relatively limited budgets (just not be Disney). Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge is hardly low-budget or underrated, but it’s another example of Universal pushing the envelope and delivering something ambitious for the whole family.
Honestly, I want to see more of that from Universal. For one thing, I think it’s what Universal Studios Hollywood truly needs. The park just added a big draw for families, but otherwise doesn’t have a ton for kids to do. It also doesn’t have much for older guests or those with motion sickness; as we’ve mentioned, Sarah can only do a handful of rides at USH, and even fewer now that she’s pregnant. While I don’t think every new addition needs to cater to my preferences, I am a bit surprised that Universal isn’t adding more for all-ages.
For another thing, great roller coasters can be done by just about any regional amusement park in the United States, but there are only a handful of theme park operators that can do dark rides well. Other than Imagineering, it’s pretty much just Universal Creative able to execute on that level and with the same polish and attention to detail. With very little on the horizon in the U.S. parks for Imagineering, I’ve been hoping that Universal Creative would fill the void, innovating and pushing the industry forward. I still think that’ll be the case to some degree, but wish they’d bet bigger on elaborate family-friendly attractions.
What do you think about a Fast & Furious roller coaster coming to Universal Studios Hollywood? Expecting it’ll be the West Coast’s “answer” to VelociCoaster? Excited for a thrill ride, or wish it were something more family-friendly or accessible for all ages? Do you agree or disagree with our commentary? Any questions? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!