Thursday, July 11, 2013

Jaws: The One That Got Away

Being attacked by Jaws
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents

I have visited Universal Studios in Florida three times in my life.  The first was back in 1991, right after I graduated high school.  One of the rides that stuck out to me was Jaws.  When I went back in 2008 and 2010, I rode it again and of course posed by the giant shark hanging outside the entrance.

This is by no means new news, but I wasn't really aware the ride had closed more than a year ago.  It was taken out to make way for the expanding Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  The waters where the guided boat tour once cruised have been paved over for Diagon Alley.  Like I said before, I've only been there three times in the last 20 + years, but it makes me a little sad to see the classics getting bumped.

My kids in Harry Potter World
Don't get me wrong, I love Harry Potter.  I love the books and the movies much more than Jaws.  The area of the park we visited in 2010 that's dedicated to the boy wizard is amazing.  I also thought it was sufficient.  But I understand as things in popular culture get old, they have to fade off into the sunset.

Yabba Dabba Don't close this ride
Something similar happened about a decade ago when my favorite ride at the park, The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera was replaced with Jimmy Neutron's Nick Toon Blast.  I'm sorry, but the likes of Fred Flintstone, Yogi Bear, Scooby Doo, and George Jetson have and will stand the test of time compared to Jimmy Neutron.  But I get it.  The park is appealing to a much younger demographic.  And so Despicable Me has replaced Neutron.  As they say at the other theme park in Orlando, "it's the circle of life."

I do sing a different tune when it comes to the Simpsons ride.  I've loved the show since it started off as short sketches on the Tracy Ullman Show in the 80's.  The ride replaced the Back to the Future Ride.  A great movie, a fun ride, but my love for Springfield wins this battle.  Moe's Tavern and Krusty Burger have also been added since I was last there in 2010.  I don't know (and couldn't find after a brief search) what, if anything the new features are replacing.

While it's hard for me (not really hard, but you know what I mean) to see these blasts from the past become extinct, I know that new memories will be made for generations to come, including my own kids who loved the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  It's a great experience, even for Muggles.

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