Shark Animatronics Still Broken, Sound Out-of-Sync on JAWS Ride Following Refurbishment

Spencer Lloyd

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Shark Animatronics Still Broken, Sound Out-of-Sync on JAWS Ride Following Refurbishment

In its time at Universal Studios Florida, JAWS was always notorious for being difficult and expensive to keep properly maintained. This was one of the many factors which lead to its closure in 2012. Now it seems many of those same issues have come to the clone at Universal Studios Japan, with several animatronics still broken and sound out of sync even after refurbishment concluded.

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Reports from Twitter users local to Universal Studios Japan have noted continued maintenance issues at JAWS following its month-long refurbishment from February 22 to March 16. The attraction often closes multiple times through the year, with another refurbishment already on the calendar for June 22 to July 14, 2023. Several shark animatronics still face issues, and even sound is having trouble staying in sync.

Twitter user @LCASTUDIOS_USJ notes that two key shark animatronics were not working following the most recent refurbishment — the sharks at the gas dock and the shark biting the electric cable at the attraction’s climax. Additionally, the audio within the boathouse is out of sync, which diminishes the scare. They note “It’s the worst time I’ve rode in recent memory” in Japanese.

User @We_Love_USJ made similar observations, noting the broken sharks and all-around sound lag rather than situational.

Other users commented similarly, noting that maintenance of JAWS in recent years has been very sporadic, and it rarely functions as intended.

Our experiences riding JAWS over the past few years at Universal Studios Japan have been similar, almost always with at least one shark missing, significantly diminishing the effect of the attraction. The last time in memory that all shark animatronics functioned in the ride was in mid-2021, along with the longer fire wall following the gas explosion being absent for longer, perhaps as long as 2020. Promotional videos of the park show a more elaborate shark which flailed much more and whose jaw actually bit up and down on the electric cable, though personally we can’t recall this effect ever working since we started visiting in 2020.

JAWS opened with Universal Studios Japan on March 31, 2001, and remains the last operating version of the attraction. It originally debuted at Universal Studios Florida when that park opened on June 7, 1990 before closing on January 2, 2012 to make way for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter — Diagon Alley. The ride remains quite popular in Japan, often drawing lines upwards of 60-75 minutes on normal days, and guests are frequently spotted wearing JAWS-themed headbands and hats sold by the park.

How do you feel about seeing JAWS in this state? Let us know in the comments below!

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