Universal ride that caught fire will be closed for weeks

Universal ride fireDudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls water ride will be closed for several weeks following a fire at Islands of Adventure on Saturday night.

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.

Photo of the day (8.5.10)

This photo by narinnr from Kagoshima, Japan (the Naples of the East, says Wikipedia) captures a Ferris wheel built atop a shopping center next to the train station. How fun is that? Imagine if you could kill time between trains at Penn Station riding high above New York?! I’m partial to the Gravitron when choosing an amusement ride, although spinning around against centrifugal force is probably not so fun before a long train ride.

Even more interesting are the statues in front of the Ferris wheel, part of the Satuma students’ monument, dedicated to 19 Japanese students smuggled into Britain in 1865 to learn Western technology. Imagine being the first in your country to study abroad and being responsible for the start of the industrial revolution. Kinda makes a semester abroad in Prague drinking as much beer as humanly possible seem a little weak.

Do you have a photo that will inspire many Google and Wikipedia searches? Or maybe an interesting monument or an unusually-located amusement ride in your travels? Upload it to Gadling’s Flickr group and we might use it for a future Photo of the Day.

Photo of the Day (7.6.10)

This week I went aboard Virgin America’s inaugural flight from San Francisco to Toronto; and having visited Toronto only once before when I was young, I didn’t have very high expectations for Canada’s largest city. On this visit, I took the time to explore some of the outlying neighborhoods (Kensington Market) and cultural districts that really give Toronto a sense of flavor and diversity, and saw a different side that I can’t wait to visit again.

Flickr user PDPhotography has an incredible collection of photographs from Toronto that really capture the vibrance & quirks of the city. This shot was captured at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto, which takes place next month from August 20th to September 6th.

Do you have summertime shots of a city you love? Share them with us! Submit to our Flickr Pool and your image could be our next Photo of the Day!

Photo of the day (9-17-09)

I’ll let my friend Mitch Bell, a pilot and the photographer of today’s photo of the day explain his unique shot:

I flew the 767-300 back from L.A. and when we landed, we took a bird strike on my side. Here is a picture of the bird… The guy landed on my wiper blade and rode the jet from the taxiway to the gate.

Imagine the noise outside and the looks from the inside that this bird got while riding the few minutes it took to get to the gate. After parking, the bird moved over to check out the captain on the left side:

Either picture is good enough for today’s photo of the day. Nice job, Mitch!

Are you a Flickr user who’d like to share a travel related picture or two for our consideration? Submit it to Gadling’s Flickr group right now! We just might use it for our Photo of the Day!

Universal Studios Orlando unveils Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit

Universal Studios in Orlando just released plans and animations of their new ride, the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, a state of the art roller coaster ride with all sorts of new features.

The experience starts before you even get in the ride vehicle. People movers have been integrated into the launchpad to streamline vehicle loading and unloading, meaning more launches and faster lines. Once you get into the vehicle (pictured) you have a personal bucket seat and Guest Interface Panel, where you can select a soundtrack for your journey that plays through integrated speakers.

Vehicles are staged in stadium style seating, meaning everyone gets a front row seat — which is important, because 14 cameras along the ride will be filming you. At the end of the journey, clips from each camera will be beamed to the video desk on the way out, so you can purchase a custom tailored video of you screaming your head off.

The Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit represents the newest, most cutting edge technology in roller coaster design. We can’t wait to get onboard.