Universal Studios Hollywood has shared new details on their upcoming Fast & Furious themed roller coaster. Posted to their community website for keeping nearby residents informed, the new details give us our first official ride renderings, confirm its ride system, and other technical details like how they plan to mitigate sound.
Let’s dig into all of the official details, as well as permit information, construction progress, and rumors, in today’s news update. See the video version of this story for additional visuals.
Known internally as Project 409, Universal Studios Hollywood officially announced the project back in July, saying the roller coaster attraction would be “equipped with a state-of-the-art ride system.”
When we first broke the news of the upcoming Intamin-manufactured coaster project more than a year before it was announced, we talked about it having a rumored drifting ability.
Now, in a message to the surrounding community, Universal has confirmed that the coaster cars for this attraction will have the ability to rotate 360 degrees. They have also confirmed that the ride will utilize 16-passenger trains.
Posted to communityline.nbcuni.com, the purpose of this info-sheet is to help nearby residents understand the great lengths that the company is going through to minimize sound pollution from the upcoming attraction, as well as other concerns like visual intrusions along the skyline.
Since our last update over the summer, the stages for the Animal Actors show and the Special Effects Show have been demolished on the upper lot to make way for the attraction’s station and queue area.
The iconic Universal City sign was removed in August as part of preparation for the new coaster as well.
Currently, work along the hillside is being done to prepare for coaster supports and other structures related to this project.
Trees have been removed, and the earth is being shaped at several levels in preparation of the ride.
Results of the geotechnical survey conducted on the hillside are now available. This survey tested the soil, bedrock, and other materials around the future attraction’s site to ensure it would be strong enough to support a roller coaster.
Based on the survey’s findings the types of materials and foundations needed to build the ride were decided.
These decisions factored into the final track layout, which can be found within the survey’s findings from April 2023, seen below.
This track layout lines up with layout images shared by ParkFans.net back in June, and confirms certain elements like the station’s dual load area.
Just as the initial ride permit in October 2022 indicated, the track layout does show the attraction starting on the upper lot, descending towards the lower lot along the hillside, before looping back around the Starway escalators.
Now, thanks to the new concept renders from the NBCUniversal’s community site, we can see what this moment around the Starway may look like.
The infographic describes the ride as “High Speed Fast & Furious Themed Terrain Coaster,” and says it will have “2 Trains Moving On The Track With 16 People Each.” For the purposes of this document, it likely means that there will be two trains on the ride portion of the track at a time. There will likely be more trains on at once, but the others would be at load/unload or in waiting.
As the main point of the document is to assure residents that precautions are being made to minimize sound from the roller coaster, much of the info page is dedicated to explaining the techniques they plan to employ. Universal says they are going to be well within the property’s sound ordinance.
The four layers of sound mitigation include:
Utilizing low rumble track, which is achieved by filling supports with pea gravel to minimize sound. This is how the Incredible Hulk Coaster at Islands of Adventure minimized sound from rumble when it was retracked in 2016.
A sound wall larger than two football fields will be built, made of sound absorbing material. The document does not say where this massive wall will be located though.
The ride vehicle itself will have the ability to rotate 360-degrees. This has been rumored since the start, and may be advertised as a “drifting effect” when the attraction opens, but is intended to turn the cars away from the community at key “scream moments.”
As for the final sound mitigation, unique half pipe shields will partially encase the track at certain points; likely the highest sections of the ride. Universal says these shields will lower sound by around 15 audible decibels.
This type of sound blocking shield was seen testing back in May, with a speaker inside blaring roller coaster sounds toward the glass wall.
The community post includes several renderings which seem to show the final design of these half-pipe sections. They appear to have been designed to compliment the design of the awnings over the Starway escalators, which is fitting since one of them will be seen wrapping around the Starway.
This type of sound mitigation is similar to what is in use at other attractions, like The IncrediCoaster at Disney California Adventure.
Other details addressed on this document besides sound include lighting, construction hours, and ride hours. Interestingly, according to this document it appears that this roller coaster will be able to operate during special events. That may mean we could see the Fast & Furious coaster open during Halloween Horror Nights.
And finally, the location for the coaster is described on the document. The description matches rumors, as well as the track layout from the Geotechnical survey.
In fact, if we zoom into the map image included with this document, we can even see that the track layout is hidden under the blue star, as seen in the image above. And it does match the layout we’ve seen in the survey and from ParkFans over the summer.
The company has not released any official details regarding the construction timeline. Many believe the coaster may not open until 2025, especially considering that vertical construction has not yet begun.
While an official name has not yet been revealed, just like the leaked concept art shared by Screamscape last October, we do still think it could be named Fast & Furious: Hollywood Drift—especially now that the coaster’s rotational aspect has been confirmed.
Before we wrap up, remember that Universal Studios Hollywood has also permitted work related to the construction of a new hotel, which will be located between CityWalk and the entrance to the theme park. We’ll be keeping an eye on movement for this new hotel addition, as well as news and rumors for the roller coaster, as they happen.
Subscribe to the news feed or enter your email address below to never miss an update. Official Renders and Infographic: communityline.nbcuni.com | Permit Information: dpw.lacounty.gov | Other images as captioned