Universal Studios 'Rip Ride Rockit' Coaster Shut Down

ORLANDO, Fla.,None — One of Universal Orlando's most popular rides has been closed for days. WFTV spent Friday working to find out if Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit's closure is because the manufacturer issued a service bulletin (read it) about one of the ride's parts.

DOCUMENT: Read Company's "Service Bulletin"

A Universal spokesman told WFTV the roller coaster's closed due to maintenance.

"What happened when you got up there and you couldn't go on it?" WFTV reporter Ryan Hughes asked a park guest Friday.

The ride is a wildly-popular roller coaster at Universal Studios Florida in Orlando, but for three days it has gone nowhere.

"We were leaving, it was closed, that sort of thing. Go on to a new ride," the guest said.

Universal officials cited maintenance as the reason for the closure, but it comes in the midst of a recall involving one of the ride's parts.

The ride's manufacturer says the coupling bars on the coaster's vehicles can become loose over time; they're used to keep the rider inside the car.

Universal spokesman Tom Schroder insisted that is not the reason why the roller coaster is closed. In a statement to WFTV, he wrote, "We are obsessive about safety. We have aggressive inspection and safety programs in place for all our rides and attractions. Those programs meet or exceed all manufacturer guidelines. Anything in a September 2nd manufacturer's advisory would have been dealt with weeks ago. Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit is temporarily closed for unrelated maintenance."

Schroder would not confirm if the ride had the defect in the past, but chatter on Internet blogs indicates it could have something to do with the shut down.

The service bulletin, issued by Maurer Söhne on September 2, 2010, identifies issues with "the coupling bar of our X-Car vehicle." According to the bulletin, the company will have to revise the design of the coupling bar and the "repair solution or new design will be available in approx. 2-3 months."

The bulletin was very specific that operation of rides using Maurer Söhne's X-Car Coaster must immediately stop.

"Any operation of the Sky Loop or X-Car Coaster with tandem train must be immediately and strictly stopped until the examination has been evaluated!" the company wrote in the service bulletin.

Rip Ride Rockit opened in August 2009. It's considered an "X-Car Coaster" that was designed by Maurer Söhne, who at the time it opened called it the largest roller coaster of its kind in the world.

Visitors were turned away at the entrance to the roller coaster Friday. A spokesman told WFTV rides are inspected every day at Universal and closures are common. He added that the theme park is obsessive about safety.

A ride attendant told WFTV reporter Ryan Hughes the roller coaster will be closed until further notice.