It’s that old familiar feeling at Islands of Adventure’s revamped The Incredible Hulk Coaster at Universal Orlando Resort. The same real estate, the same building, the same bold presence. Only this time, the big green guy has grown up, and so has the thrill! Oh, and he has a fancy new statue outside of the queue.
The interior of the queue has an all new coat of paint. The swirling, glowing DNA strands are really neat, and based on the supperbly-crafted computer animated sequences at the end of the queue, the story centers around good/bad guy General “Thunderbolt” Ross experimenting with gamma radiation on tourists (we’re ALL Hulks, you guys!). But we don’t line up for a story — we’re there to lock into a vehicle and barf ourselves out of a giant tube and into the air screaming bloody murder.
In case you want to know what that looks like from the outside, check it out:
At a glance, it seems that nothing has changed from the roller coaster that we knew and loved prior to the extensive refurbishment. But the ride is noticeably smoother, and that’s a great thing. Basically, I’m assuming it’s a technological upgrade that will help this ride stand the test of time. Either way, that take off is still one of the greatest moments in the theme park history, and that first initial set of drops, loops, and turns are worth the admission to Islands of Adventure alone.
Another welcome addition involves an impressive line of screens inside of the initial launch tunnel where devices pumping full of gamma radiation begin to overload and short circuit. The rest is all g-force, baby!
There are also speakers placed at the feet of the riders that pump out epic, soaring sound effects and music throughout the duration of the ride. This adds a completely different dimension to the thrill — I felt like I was the Hulk himself leaping over buildings and bursting free from the containment chamber. While, on paper, it is certainly a gimmick, it’s a welcome gimmick that adds to the experience, not subtracts.
At the end of the day, having the Incredible Hulk roller coaster back at Islands of Adventure is like welcoming an old friend back into town. The noticeable differences are purely cosmetic (the others, possibly to help sustain the ride over time), and it’s just fantastic to have this monster looming over our heads once again. It’s an American classic and Universal should be proud to have it in their arsenal, roaring back to life for an all-new generation.
Long live The Hulk — that beautiful, beautiful bada**.