The creamy-smooth concoction is a favorite drink in the Harry Potter books and movies, and it’s also a favorite at the theme park, where guests will wait in ride-sized lines to buy a cup. Last year, a fourth location selling the drink was added to the theme park to alleviate some of the lines.
There’s no alcohol in Butterbeer. It’s a sweet drink, which Universal says tastes of shortbread and butterscotch. I liken it to a cream soda. You can get both cold and frozen versions at Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park where the Wizarding World is located.
There are lots of do-it-yourself Butterbeer recipes out there online, but Universal’s is secret. In fact, the company says it has put special security procedures in place to keep it that way.
To celebrate the 1 millionth Butterbeer, Universal passed out 1,000 free ones on the streets of the Wizarding World.
The Universal Orlando ride will be closed to repair the damage, and to undergo seasonal maintenance, according to Universal. Ripsaw Falls had already been scheduled to be closed for maintenance in a couple of weeks.
About 5:30 Saturday evening, the ride and surrounding Toon Lagoon area were evacuated when clouds of black smoke started billowing from the ride’s roof. Forty firefighters called to the scene had the fire under control in about 30 minutes and completely out in about an hour, officials told the Orlando Sentinel.
No guests were injured in the fire, though a few were evaluated at the theme park’s first aid station.
The rest of the Islands of Adventure theme park remained open during and after the fire.
The exact cause of the blaze is still under investigation.
Universal has been mum on exactly what maintenance was being performed. The coaster’s German manufacturer – Maurer Sohne – issued a memo on Sept. 2, advising that all coasters similar to the Rip Ride Rockit be shut down immediately because of a flaw in the coupling bar that holds the two trains in the ride cars together.
At the time of the ride’s closure, Universal said that they had already dealt with the manufacturer’s advisory.
The Rip Ride Rockit roller coaster boasts the tallest lift hill in Orlando, at 167 feet. It has a number of unusual design features, including a vertical loop that rolls the ride cars around so that riders are not upside down at the top of it. The coaster officially opened on Aug. 19, 2009.
The ride features individual speakers in each seat and the ability to “choose your own soundtrack,” from a list of 30 songs by artists such as the Black-Eyed Peas, No Doubt, Beastie Boys and Evanescence. There are also a number of hidden tracks for the Rip Ride Rockit that aren’t on the official song list.