Universal incorporates so many innovations into its utterly unique dark ride/coaster, it coined a new label for Revenge of the Mummy: psychological thrill ride. With its inky darkness, creepy scarabs, and other freak-out inducers, the ride plays a winning mind-games hand. But Universal, never shy about its in-your-face fun, also unleashes physical thrills, including a surprisingly potent coaster experience, to produce a wild, kinetic, frenetic attraction.
You'll be screaming for your mommy.
This article is a full review of the ride and is, for the most part, spoiler-free. If you want to read a spoiler-filled description of the attraction, check out my overview of Revenge of the Mummy. The ride is one of the top roller coasters in Florida. See which other thrill machines made the list.
Note that this review is based on the Florida ride; the Universal Studios Hollywood ride is similar, but not identical. You can find out what makes them different in my article, "Mummy vs. Mummy: How the Hollywood and Florida Revenge of the Mummy Rides Differ."
- Thrill Scale (0=Wimpy!, 10=Yikes!): 6.5
Fast launch, darkness and other "psychological" thrills, plenty of coaster airtime
- Coaster type: Indoor launched
- Top speed: 45 mph
- Height restriction: 48 inches
- Revenge of the Mummy Photo Gallery
- Mummy is one of the 12 best rides at Universal Orlando.
Would You Be Able to Handle It?
The coaster part of Revenge of the Mummy does not have any inversions, does not soar to nosebleed heights, and reaches a relatively tame top speed of 45 mph.
Universal considers it a "family" attraction (although that may be stretching the definition), and it's decidedly less intense than Islands of Adventure's Hulk and Dragon Challenge coasters. But it does include high-speed launches, delivers some startling drops and out-of-your-seat airtime, and feels way more out of control because it is in the dark.
If you can handle the Rock 'N Roller Coaster at Disney-MGM Studios, you'll be able to handle the Mummy. But be prepared for a more aggressive ride. On the "psychological" side of the thrill equation, I think just about everybody, save highly impressionable young children, will find the mummy motif more engrossing than gross-out.
If you're on the line, I'd advise you to suck it up, hold on tightly to the rider next to you (hopefully, someone you know), and give it a whirl. Revenge of the Mummy is among the very best theme park attractions, and you owe it to yourself to try it at least once. Even if you find the ride a bit too unsettling, you'll be able to take comfort in its short duration; the whole experience lasts about three minutes, with the coaster portion taking less than half that time.
Disney incorporates its rich and distinctive catalogue into its theme parks. Universal, however, is known more for its general connection to the movies than for any specific films or characters -- with one major exception. The classic monsters, Dracula, the Werewolf, Frankenstein's Monster, and, yes, the Mummy, are closely identified with the studio's golden age. "It's our Universal brand," says Mike Hightower, VP of project management, and one of the attraction's chief developers.
"It's a natural for us."
Director Stephen Sommers breathed new life into Universal's undead franchise with his highly popular "Mummy" remakes. (He's also the director of Universal's monster makeover, "Van Helsing.") With its high-octane attitude, the retooled "Mummy" movies do fit naturally with Universal's predilection for rowdy, full-tilt attractions. (In the original concept for the park's Barney attraction, I wouldn’t be surprised if the creative team proposed firebombing and blowing the Purple Dinosaur into a million pieces. Come to think of it, that may not be a bad idea.)
Hightower enlisted Sommers, who reportedly played more than a token role in helping to conjure the Revenge of the Mummy ride. He also nabbed two of the movie's stars, Brendan Fraser and Imhotep baddie Arnold Vosloo, to participate in the production.
High Concept, High Praise
The attraction's high concept, melding a special-effects laden dark ride with a kick-ass coaster, is a remarkable theme park achievement. While there are other examples of indoor coasters that attempt to incorporate a story, nothing comes close to Revenge of the Mummy. Hightower says that Universal had been exploring ways to marry the two types of attractions for years.
The introduction of magnetically launched coaster systems provided the linchpin to make the hybrid ride possible. The Mummy's conveyance system, which uses linear induction motors, or LIMs, allows the ride to blast off like a coaster. The real breakthrough is a modified, slower version of the LIMs (called SLIMs) that transport the vehicles through the dark ride parts of the attraction. The technology allows the car to vary its speed through scenes, seamlessly transition from the dark ride to the coaster, and even travel backwards at one point.
When it debuted the attraction, Universal touted the Mummy as the next evolution of theme park ride. As a dark ride, it is extraordinary. But other attractions, including Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts rank higher. As a coaster, the Mummy is wild. But it doesn't come close to touching the best steel thrill machine, Superman the Ride at Six Flags New England. Together, however, the dark ride and coaster elements bust categories and yield a fun, exciting, whole new way to immerse guests in the Mummy's alterna-universe.