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Universal Orlando pulling plug on long-running Jaws ride

Courtesy Universal Studios Florida

Jaws, the ride at Universal Studios Florida inspired by the 1975 hit move with the same name, is closing on Jan. 2 after more than 21 years at the theme park.

They’re going to need a different ride.

Universal Studios Florida announced Friday it would close its Jaws ride on January 2.

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Jaws has been in operation since 1990, and was one of the first attractions unveiled when Universal Studios opened its doors. The ride is based on the 1975, Steven Spielberg-directed hit movie with the same name.

“Jaws has been an amazing attraction and an important part of our history,” Universal spokesperson Tom Schroder told msnbc.com. “Jaws holds a special place in the hearts of our guests, but we always have to look to the future and dedicate ourselves to providing new, innovative entertainment experiences for our guests.

“A lot of thought and care went into this decision,” he said.

Schroder didn’t offer details about what will replace the ride, saying park goers will have to stay tuned.

Universal Orlando has seen a significant increase in visitors following the opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in June of 2010, according to the Associated Press. Attendance at the park has jumped by 40 to 50 percent since last June, said Comcast executive vice president Steve Burke said in September.

(Msnbc.com is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal.)

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Joe Myxter has been running msnbc.com’s Travel section since 2006. Follow him on Twitter.

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