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Monday, May 20, 2024

Ride Fire Warnings, Rubber Fumes: Allegations Paint Sorry State at Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster

The following report on Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster is constructed from the unverified allegations of multiple cast members under the condition of anonymity. They are made in the interest of highlighting operational risk allowed under current leadership. Mickey Views has not verified all of these claims and makes no guarantees to their accuracy.

On January 8, 2024, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith closed at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for a lengthy refurbishment. A Disney spokesperson claims the Florida attraction will be back “Summer 2024,” however, no date has been specified.

This indefinite closure for Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster follows another lengthy refurbishment that took place less than a year ago from February through May. It is very unusual for a Disney attraction to have such frequent bouts of multi-month downtime.

Recurring throughout the most recent operational period, the area was hastily shut down due to ‘fire alarms’ or similar explanations.

In the final two weeks of operation (December 25th, 2023 – January 7th 2024), Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster averaged 1 hour and 17 minutes worth of unexpected downtime per day according to ThrillData. On December 27th, the ride was reported offline for a staggering 3 hours and 12 minutes during peak holiday crowds.

We may have some insight on why this is happening at Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.

Problem Area: Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster’s Final Brake Run

Image of brake run area at end of Rock 'n' Roller Coaster attraction. Shows the area with maintenance lights on where brakes are visible.
View of Final Brake Run on Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. (Source: YouTube.com via O Forbes)

The primary focus of recent refurbishments concerns Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster’s final brake run. In this area, heavy vehicles are slowed quickly by specialized coaster brakes. Reportedly, these brakes have been wearing down alarmingly quickly since the last refurbishment. It is possible the cost-mitigating executives, chiefly Jeff Vahle, opted for ‘budget systems’ that do not satisfy the attraction’s high demands. The result appears to be that yet another refurbishment is underway to undo the changes made during the previous refurbishment less than a year ago.

Rubber Fumes Reported By Guests After Final Brake Run

Since reopening for the 2023 season, the attraction has received guest complaints about a “burning rubber” smell. These fumes are typically reported as guests exit the ride, after the final brake run. The smell is almost certainly produced by burning metal coming into contact with rubber wheels. The policy was established that when a guest reported the fumes, the ride was supposed to be shut down.

Lever For Launching Trains Broke The Week of Reopening

According to one source, the week the attraction reopened for 2023, a control lever for launching vehicles broke. Fixing the controls led to a full day of downtime just four days into resumed operations at the attraction.

‘Limo’ Allegedly Caught Fire With A Guest On Board

During the ride’s most recent operational window from mid-to-late 2023, the ride allegedly flashed a fire warning while there was a guest on-board the limousine-themed ride vehicle. The guest was not aware of the fire, however, operators immediately closed the attraction and investigated the ride vehicle. A records request with the Reedy Creek Fire Department has been submitted.

Guest Was Allegedly Struck By A Screw Mid-Ride

One source told Mickey Views there was a day of downtime this year not caused by a fire or the smell of fumes. Rather, a guest reported being hit by an object mid-ride. This object was determined to be a screw. The discovery prompted a day of examining the track to find the source of the screw. A records request with the Reedy Creek Fire Department has been submitted.

‘Signal 25’ (Fire Warning) Caused Almost Daily Downtime in December

A source who spoke to Mickey Views anonymously alleged Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster operators had to deal with ‘Signal 25’ fire warnings “almost daily” throughout the month of December. This resulted in unexpected downtime at the attraction during the peak holiday season, as vehicles had to be continually checked for fires.

Managers Forbade Full Capacity Operations Due to ‘100% Chance’ of Causing Fire

During the final week of operation (January 2nd – January 8th, 2024), managers allegedly forbade operators from running the attraction at full capacity. A large line had formed and the operators seeked to run the attraction at what used to be normal capacity. However, due to full capacity operations ‘resulting in fire warnings every time it was attempted,’ managers forbade full capacity operations.

Chart shows wait times spike dramatically heading into Rock 'n' Roller Coaster's final weeks of operation.
Wait times spike heading into final days of operation at Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. Managers allegedly forbid full capacity operations due to operational risk. (Data source: thrill-data.com)

If any of these allegations turn out to be true, it paints a sorry picture not just of Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster but of Disney’s cost-focused management team. The claims suggest park managers were well aware of the fact that Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster presented a risk to guest safety and should not have been operational. These allegations also shed light on the potential failure of the CFTOD to enforce their own code provisions against the company they claim to strictly regulate. Thankfully, the ride is now down for a lengthy refurbishment to resolve these overheating-related issues.

Image of Disney website showing Rock 'n' Roller Coaster is down for refurbishment for an indefinite period.
Refurbishment message displayed on Disney’s website as of January 20th, 2024. (©Disney)
Brayden
Brayden
Brayden produces quality Disney news commentary videos at Mickey Views. He is also working on feature-quality documentary films at "Address Unknown."

1 COMMENT

  1. Would be interested in hearing why CFTOD hasn’t gone public… DeSantis would absolutely want the public to know about things like this.

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