Interview: Designer of Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit Louis Alfieri

While I was in Orlando last week, I Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit Designer Louis Aflieri & The Coaster Criticwas lucky enough to be able to interview Universal Studio’s Creative Director Louis Alfieri. He’s one of the minds behind their new ground-breaking roller coaster Hollywood: Rip Ride Rockit. I was eager to learn more about the new roller coaster that combines state-of-the-art audio and visual technology with a unique ride.

Lights Camera Action!  – “Rip”
Rip Ride Rockit’s most distinctive element is it’s interactivity. Alfieri was able to share details on the coaster’s high tech video capabilities. For the first time, riders will be able to create their very own seven minute personal music videos of their rides. Thanks Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit Trainto six on-board cameras, eight high speed special effects (Matrix-style) cameras, and 54 special effects shots you will be able to produce your own unique ride video. The ride itself is enhanced with LED lights on the cars and an illuminated track that will create a different experience for day and night rides. Billed as the first roller coaster that transcends a theme park’s boundaries guests can buy a DVD of their ride at the park, text themselves a  reminder to download it at home, make other videos via the ride’s web site and even download a low resolution version of their videos to play on their phones.

The Most Exciting Non-Inverting Roller Coaster – “Ride”
Rip Ride Rockit’s bright red track towers over Universal Studios and can easily be seen from rides in neighboring Islands of Adventure. The 167′ (16 story) vertical lift is very imposing in person. The large non-inverting loop is the first of its kind in the world while the twisted treble clef maneuver gives a nod to the ride’s music theme. Alfieri had the idea for the treble clef element and sketched it out Louis Alfieri Creative Director - Hollywood Rip Ride Rockithimself. Finally, the jump cut will put a new spin on the tried and true camelback hill.

Alfieri said that him and his team set out to create the most exciting non-inverting roller coaster in the world. He had worked on Universal Studios Japan’s Hollywood Dream (Video Here). While Hollywood Dream features on-board audio, for Rip Ride Rockit Alfieri stated that they wanted to: “Take every facet of that experience and take it vastly further than we had we initiated that technology.”
They aimed for a unique experience with first of its kind elements. After sharing their desires with a number of coaster manufacturers Maurer Sohne was chosen thanks to their X-Car. Alfieri explained:

The vehicle capabilities of the X-Car gave us the ability to have a non-inversion coaster that was the size of a hyper coaster, that had the moves of many different styles of coaster integrated that we really couldn’t do with a longer train.

Aside from the audio and visual innovations, the station itself will break new ground with a people mover-like loading area. In order to improve loading time, Alfieri stated that the train will never stop in the station. Plans are for the Rockit to dispatch a train about every 23 seconds! He went on to state that the ride capacity will match that of the Incredible Hulk Coaster at Islands of Adventure (Review & Rating).

A New Standard for Roller Coaster-Music Intergration – “Rockit”
Hollywood: Rip Ride Rockit at Universal Studios OrlandoHollywood Rip Ride Rockit ConstructionI can’t imagine that Rip Ride Rockit’s line will ever be very short thanks to the ride’s high re-rideability. While on-board, two 55-watt Marine Polk Audio speakers will pump out one of 30 songs from 5 genres that guests will be able to select via a touch panel on the ride’s restraints. Each genre will include three songs from legacy artists and three songs from contemporary artists. Once the roller coaster’s web site is live you will be able to sample the songs before you arrive at the park. With so many songs to chose from, I can see guests riding Rockit over and over.

All-in-all, Rip Ride Rockit looks to be a great ride. Stay tuned for announcements including the official opening date, the song lists, and web site launch. Read my other Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit posts.

Here’s the latest and greatest test run video. Don’t worry, the lift won’t actually be that slow when it’s up and running. The train drops off of the lift at about 2:29:

 What’s Your Take?
Are you excited about Hollywood: Rip Ride Rockit? Do you have any questions about the ride? Leave a comment below. Image 2 courtesy of ThemeParkReview.