John Porto, a 19-year-old from Miami, knows what he likes. And he definitely likes E.T. Adventure, the classic dark ride at Universal Studios Florida in Orlando. According to the Orlando Sentinel and Porto’s YouTube page, the college student set a world record in July when he rode the attraction 56 times in a single day. At a ride time of four minutes and thirty seconds, that’s more than four hours of E.T., and that’s not even counting the time spent in line—or the time it takes to give your name to an employee at the entrance so E.T. can struggle to pronounce it properly at the end of the ride. Porto himself says it took him about eight hours, total, which sounds like it’d be accurate, assuming the not especially popular ride had its average wait time of five minutes or so.
You might be wondering why Porto would devote so much time to a 28-year-old ride that, frankly, isn’t kept in the best shape, and is itself based on a movie that’s almost twice as old as Porto himself. Well, three reasons. First off is he got himself a world record, apparently, which, if you ever grew up marveling at the guy with the crazy fingernails and the fat twins on motorcycles in the pages of the Guinness Book, is itself a titanic achievement. Secondly, though, E.T. Adventure is great—it’s easily the best old-school dark ride at any theme park not in the Disney family. Anybody who watched E.T. at an early age will feel a lump in their throat the first time their bicycle takes off and soars over the town, no matter how old they are now. And thirdly, as the oldest attraction in a park that regularly replaces rides once they reach a certain age, and the only surviving version of a ride that used to be found in three theme parks around the world, E.T. Adventure has long felt like it’s living on borrowed time. As theme park blogger Jim Hill tells the Sentinel’s Gabrielle Russon, some believe that the ride is only safe because of Steven Spielberg’s deal as a creative consultant to the park, a deal that will one day expire, and presumably make E.T.’s continued theme park existence even more tenuous than it already is.
Read the Orlando Sentinel’s story for more details, and watch Porto’s YouTube video about his own personal E.T. adventure below.