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The Incredible Hulk’s towering loops, which are some of the most iconic elements of the Islands of Adventure skyline, were completely disassembled in 2016 and rebuilt from scratch. Now, the big green guy has roared back to life with a brand-new track (which follows the same path as the original) and trains featuring lights flashing to a synchronized sound track composed by Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump. A revamped entryway stars a statue of the Hulk himself holding a coaster car overhead— the marquee is made of salvaged track from the original version—and the queue building received a modern makeover with dramatic lighting and the world’s largest plasma display. The upgrades are underpinned by a new story line that has you volunteering for General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross’s experimental attempt to create super-soldiers via gamma ray bombardment. (We’re pretty certain that it isn’t covered by Obamacare.) The story falls apart almost as soon as the ride starts, but you’ll be too scared to notice.
What you need to know about this attraction is simple. You’ll be shot like a carrier-launched jet from 0 to 40 mph in 2 seconds, flung upside down into a zerogravity barrel roll 100 feet off the ground (which will, of course, induce weightlessness), and then thrown immediately into a pair of cobra rolls and a vertical loop of more than 100 feet, into a belowground tunnel, no less! Two more rolls and another loop follow, for a total of seven upside-down experiences in a ride of a little more than 2 minutes. At the end of the ride, you may be just as green as the Hulk.
Seriously, the Hulk is a great roller coaster, one of the best in Florida, providing a ride comparable to that of Kumba or Montu (Busch Gardens) with the added thrill of an accelerated launch, instead of the more typical uphill crank. We had hoped that the complete reconstruction of the Hulk’s track would eliminate the head-banging it had developed over the years, but while more comfortable than before the refurb, the coaster isn’t exactly opening-day smooth (it’s still a far cry from the side-to-side shaking of Rip Ride Rockit next door). We’re also a little sad to see the famously hollow steel filled with sand, muting the track’s once-mighty roar, though a recorded growl now blares with every launch. The new video screen in the launch tube doesn’t make much impact, and the audio from the in-seat speakers is sometimes too low to understand, but the driving orchestral rock sound track successfully makes the ride feel faster than ever.
Our advice is to skip The Wizarding World attractions in the early morning and ride The Incredible Hulk Coaster first thing. Alternatively, if you insist on going to Hogsmeade at rope drop (or you are eligible for Early Park Admission), you should ride Hulk immediately after you’ve enjoyed Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Flight of the Hippogriff, Dragon Challenge, and Skull Island: Reign of Kong.
Universal provides electronic lockers near the entrance of the Hulk to deposit any items that might depart your person during the ride. Use the lockers for anything— and we mean anything—that could be dislodged during your ride: hats, glasses, cell phones, camera bags, and toupees. The lockers are free for the duration of your wait, and use of these lockers is enforced; be prepared to pat down your pockets for loose change, or you’ll be pulled aside for a TSA-style wanding after triggering the metal detectors.
When you reach the boarding area, note that the Hulk has a separate line for those who want to ride in the first row. Riders in the front row of Hulk get a spectacular, brief view of the park. If you get to Hulk early enough and the line is short enough, opt for the special front-row line near the boarding area. It’s worth waiting an extra 5 or 10 minutes. The best seat is actually the back left, which gets the best zero-g effect from the opening inversion.
There’s also a singles line that’s almost always open. It used to be easy to miss, but the renovations made its entrance much more prominent.
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