The former entrance to Jaws at Universal Studios Florida, which was a popular photo spot in the park. The shark model seen above was later relocated to the adjacent San Francisco area.
|Designer||Ride & Show Engineering, Inc. (1990 version)
Totally Fun Company (1993 version)
MCA Planning and Development
|Length||1,140 ft (350 m)|
|Height requirements||No hand held infants|
Universal Express Pass available
Jaws is a theme park attraction based upon the films of the same name. The attraction places guests aboard tour boats for what should be a leisurely tour of Amity Harbor, but instead becomes a harrowing chase between the craft and a very determined great white shark. Jaws is an expanded version of a famous scene on the long-running backlot tour at Universal Studios Hollywood, also inspired by the film, and can be found at Universal Studios Japan near Osaka, and formerly, at Universal Studios Florida in Orlando.
The original attraction at Universal Studios Florida was inspired by a scene on the long-running Universal Studios Backlot Tour at Universal Studios Hollywood, in which the Studio Tour tram passed through several sets from the film and was then attacked by the shark known as JAWS while driving by an Amity Harbour shore line. For the Universal Studios Florida park/studio project, Universal sought to take the components of the Hollywood tour scene, and turn it into its own ride. The original ride was designed by MCA/Universal Planning and Development, in association with Ride & Show Engineering, Inc., which designed the original tour scene. Steven Spielberg, who directed the first film in the series, also served as a creative consultant for the ride.
Following the opening of Jaws with the park on June 7, 1990, it experienced extensive and persistent breakdowns as a result of the elaborate special effects involved, as did fellow original rides Kongfrontation and Earthquake: The Big One. However, while Universal was able to eventually contain the technical bugs in the Kong and Earthquake rides at "utmost consistency", the effects in the Jaws ride constantly refused to work at all, resulting in the ride having to be evacuated almost daily. Following the Summer opening of the park, Universal temporarily shut down the ride in August 1990, and sued Ride and Show Engineering for failing to properly design the ride. Throughout 1991 and early 1992, Universal attempted to refurbish the effects of the ride for a re-opening, but with no result. Some reports leaked that the high-tech electronics used in the sharks was damaged due to inadequate waterproofing. Eventually, Universal then collaborated with Totally Fun Company (who designed many of the park's original attractions) to create a new version of almost the entire ride. Some of the changes which resulted in the re-design of the ride include the replacement of two major ride scenes; the first one being in which JAWS bit onto the tour boat and turned it by 180-degrees (which was replaced with the Gas dock explosion scenes) and the second being the finale, which was loosely based on the first Jaws in which the skipper shot a grenade into the shark's mouth, causing him to explode underwater, resulting in gushing blood (which was replaced by the finale in which JAWS was electrocuted after biting onto a high-voltage barge which was loosely based on the ending for Jaws 2). The ride was then officially re-opened by Roy Scheider, Lorraine Gary and Steven Spielberg in Spring of 1993.
Following the hurricanes that struck Central Florida in 2004, Universal was forced to temporarily close the ride in January 2005 due to the rising cost of petroleum, which was used to fuel the numerous pyrotechnical effects throughout the attraction as well as the tour boats. The ride finally reopened in December 2005, but was listed as "seasonal" and only open on busier days. This lasted until February 2007 when the ride was finally opened full-time again after numerous guest complaints. During the 2005 closure, several renovations were made to the ride. The attraction was further refurbished in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011.
On December 2, 2011, Universal Orlando Resort announced that the Jaws attraction and the entire Amity area of Universal Studios Florida would close permanently on January 2, 2012 to "make room for an exciting, NEW, experience." The attraction was officially closed on January 2, 2012 at 9pm with Michael Skipper aka Skip the Skipper giving the final voyage for the last lucky 48 guests, with the entire Amity area walled off the next day. It was then completely demolished in the following months, though the shark statue remains as a tribute to the ride. The attraction remains open at the Osaka park.
After the shark nicknamed as Jaws was eventually destroyed by Chief Brody, Matt Hooper and Quint in 1974, Brody became a legend in Amity Harbor, and the "Jaws" incident inspired Steven Spielberg's big Hollywood movie; however, the tourism on Amity Island strongly decreased due to fear of sharks. However, resident seaman Jake Grundy decided to open a new boat tour on the island which would take guests out to the historic areas where the shark attacks actually occurred. This ultimately brought back the tourism to the island.
As guests enter Captain Jake's Amity Boat Tours, they walk through a series of boathouses located near Amity Harbor, which hold various fishing supplies, nautical artifacts and feature numerous overhead television monitors that are tuned to Amity's local TV station, WJWS13: The Station That BITES (which also has the tagline The station that plays the hits). The station features a low-budget local talk show entitled "Hey There, Amity!", children's and news programming, ads for local businesses, and promos for classic movies and television shows, many of them from the Universal library. Upon reaching the end of the queue, guests are loaded onto one of Captain Jake's tour boats.
After boarding the tour boat, guests learn that they are taking a guided scenic cruise to visit the actual locations of the shark attacks that occurred during that fateful summer of 1974, which were made famous in a big Hollywood movie that was made not long afterwards. The tour boat is piloted by one of Captain Jake's skippers, and is protected by an army surplus 40 mm grenade launcher. However, guests are reassured by their skipper that they won't need to use it because the last time anyone had seen a great white shark in the area was back in 1974.
The tour begins in Amity Harbor as the tour boat passes the homes of Chief Brody, Mayor Larry Vaughn and various harborside businesses. As the tour boat approaches a lighthouse situated on top of a rocky jetty, the tour is suddenly interrupted by a radio distress call from a fellow tour boat skipper named Gordon. His call for help degenerates into screams of terror, followed by an eerie silence. As the skipper contacts the home base in an attempt to figure out what is going on with Gordon's boat, the tour boat rounds the jetty to reveal the remains of Gordon's tour boat, Amity 3, sinking into the murky waters of Amity Harbor.
Suddenly, a dorsal fin rises out of the water, the fin of what appears to be a very large shark. The fin submerges and passes beneath the boat, rocking it back and forth. In a panic, the skipper pulls out the grenade launcher as the dorsal fin rises out of the water on the opposite site of the tour boat. Not realizing that it is actually loaded, the skipper fires at the shark, but misses it entirely. They try firing a second shot, but miss again as the fin sinks back beneath the surface of the water.
By this time the skipper gets the idea to try to tie the boat up in the boathouse (once owned by Quint). As the skipper is looking for somewhere to tie up, a sound is heard in the back of the boathouse. As the confused skipper tries to figure out what it was, another noise and the walls start to shake. The skipper realizes that the shark is on the outside trying to break in. The skipper finally gets the boat to drop into gear, as the music starts to build up and the walls begin to burst open. As the boat leaves the boathouse, the shark breaks through the wall bumping into the side of the boat with its mouth open.
As the tour boat leaves the boathouse, the skipper is informed by Chief Brody over the radio that he will be there in ten minutes. Knowing that the tour boat (and its passengers) will be shark bait in ten minutes, the skipper rearms himself with the grenade launcher just as the shark attacks the tour boat again near Bridewell's Gas Dock. Unfortunately, the next grenade that the skipper fires manages to hit the nearby gas dock, which erupts into flames, threatening the tour boat and its passengers. Fortunately, the skipper manages to make a getaway before the flames reach the tour boat.
As a last resort, the skipper decides to unload everyone at an old fishing pier that happens to be located near a high voltage barge. But just as they reach the pier, the shark's fin reappears heading straight for the tour boat. Suddenly, the shark emerges right next to the tour boat as it bites down onto a submerged power cable from the barge and electrocutes itself. The smell of roasted shark fills the air as the shark disappears into a cloud of steam that engulfs the tour boat. As the steam cloud dissipates, the charred corpse of the shark resurfaces and makes one final lunge at the tour boat. But the skipper quickly takes one last shot at it with the grenade launcher and finally hits it, destroying the shark and restoring the tranquility of Amity Island.
- 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 maintenance boathouse.
- 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.
- The shark is seen a total of seven times throughout the attraction: five times on the port side of the tour boat and twice on the starboard side.
Halloween Horror Nights (Orlando)
- The "Jaws" attraction was used for Halloween Horror Nights X, with the addition of Halloween Horror Nights Icon "JACK" The clown to the "Jaws" boat house. "Jack" is seen Killing a victim in the boat house, before turning his attention to Amity06 and its Skipper and passengers.
- "JAWS" was called "Jaws:Bloody Waters" for the duration of Halloween Horror Nights X
- The Jaws extended queue had been used for several years at Halloween Horror Nights (HHN) in Orlando. The space was typically used to create a haunted house.
- Dungeon of Terror (Fright Nights)
- Dungeon of Terror (HHN II)
- Dungeon of Terror: Retold (HHN Sweet 16)
- Friday the 13th: Camp Blood (HHN Carnival of Carnage)
- Reflections of Fear (HHN Reflection of Fear)
- Saw (HHN Ripped from the Silver Screen)
- The Orfanage: Ashes to Ashes (HHN Twenty Years of Fear)
- Saws N' Steam: Into the Machine (HHN 21)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Jaws (Universal Studios Florida).|
- Universal Studios Studio Tour (Hollywood)
- List of amusement rides based on film franchises
- 2012 in amusement parks
- Emmons, Natasha (March 5, 2001). "No expense spared to wow locals with park attractions". Amusement Business 113 (9): 18.
- "Ride Announcement". Universal Orlando Resort. 2 December 2011. Retrieved 2 December 2011.