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The Simpsons Ride

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The Simpsons Ride
The Simpsons Ride at Universal Studios Florida.jpg
Universal Studios Hollywood
AreaUpper Lot/Springfield[1]
StatusOperating
CostUS$40 million
Opening dateMay 19, 2008 (2008-05-19)[2]
ReplacedBack to the Future: The Ride
Universal Studios Florida
AreaWorld Expo/Springfield
Coordinates28°28′45.98″N 81°28′2.51″W / 28.4794389°N 81.4673639°W / 28.4794389; -81.4673639Coordinates: 28°28′45.98″N 81°28′2.51″W / 28.4794389°N 81.4673639°W / 28.4794389; -81.4673639
StatusOperating
CostUS$30 million[4][5]
Soft opening dateApril 23, 2008[6]
Opening dateMay 15, 2008 (2008-05-15)[7]
ReplacedBack to the Future: The Ride
General statistics
Attraction typeIMAX Dome motion simulator[3]
DesignerUniversal Creative
Blur Studio
Reel FX
ThemeThe Simpsons
Vehicle typeKrustyfield Classic Rollercoaster Cars[8]
Vehicles24[8]
Riders per vehicle8[8]
Rows2
Riders per row4
Duration4:30
Height restriction40 in (102 cm)
ManufacturerIntamin, Oceaneering International
Pre-Show HostKrusty the Clown
Single rider line yes
Handicapped/disabled access Wheelchair accessible
Must transfer from wheelchair
Assistive listening icon.svg Assistive listening available
Closed captioning available

The Simpsons Ride is a motion simulator ride located in the Springfield areas of both Universal Studios Florida and Universal Studios Hollywood. Based on the animated television series The Simpsons, the ride was announced in 2007 as a replacement for Back to the Future: The Ride at both parks.[9] It first opened at Universal Studios Florida on May 15, 2008, and then several days later at Universal Studios Hollywood on May 19, 2008. The producers of The Simpsons contributed to the design of the ride, which uses CGI animation provided by Blur Studio and Reel FX. Film Roman, along with AKOM and Rough Draft Studios, also worked on the ride's 2D animation. At the time of its opening, the ride featured state-of-the-art projection and hydraulic technology.

In 2013, the ride became the centerpiece of a themed Simpsons area at both parks, based on the fictional town of Springfield depicted in the animated series. The attraction is more than four minutes long and features two pre-show line queues that guests experience before boarding the ride. Its theme focuses on Krustyland, a theme park built by and named after Krusty the Clown, in which his evil genius sidekick Sideshow Bob attempts to get revenge on Krusty and the Simpson family. Many characters from the animated series make an appearance, all voiced by their original actors.

Production[edit]

History[edit]

Planning for The Simpsons Ride started two years prior to its opening. The Simpsons creators James L. Brooks and Matt Groening, as well as executive producer Al Jean, collaborated with the Universal Studios creative team, Universal Creative, to help develop the ride.[10] Music for the ride was composed by Jim Dooley, who worked with composer Hans Zimmer on the feature film The Simpsons Movie.[8] The ride is located at both Universal Studios Florida and Universal Studios Hollywood in the former Back to the Future: The Ride buildings at both locations. The Back to the Future opened in Florida in 1991 and closed March 30, 2007, while the Hollywood version opened in 1993 and closed on September 3, 2007.[11]

Construction at the Florida location.

The construction began at Universal Studios Florida in May 2007, and the original concrete on the ground from Back to the Future: The Ride was dismantled and replaced by a red and blue ground holding trees and benches.[3] The building was given a complete overhaul; the cars were changed and the original Intamin mechanics system was updated by Oceaneering International.[12][13] The construction began at Universal Studios Hollywood in mid-September 2007, with the disposal of the building's Back to the Future insignia. Outdoor painting on the building began in January 2008.[14]

Early rumors allegedly had the ride's theme involving Mr. Burns' Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, with the ride's name being "Project FISH", after the three-eyed fish Blinky. However, when Harry Shearer refused to participate in the ride, this proposed plot was dropped and opted to set the ride on Krustyland.[15]

Ride mechanics[edit]

The four-minute ride[4] uses 85-foot IMAX Dome screens and Sony Projectors.[16] There are 24 ride cars, each seating eight people,[8] and approximately 2000 people can ride it per hour.[17] The projection system uses four overlapping Sony SXRD 4K resolution projectors on each dome,[18] using custom-made semi-circular fisheye lenses to project undistorted images at a rate of 60 frames per second (in comparison, most feature films project at 24 frames per second).[8] The video is projected onto two dome screens which are made of 416 panels (each 4 feet by two feet) and are approximately 80 feet tall and 85 feet wide. The animation in the ride uses computer generated 3D animation rendered by Blur Studio and Reel FX,[19] rather than the traditional 2-D animation seen on The Simpsons and the queue and pre-show of the ride.[20] The animation reference was provided by Film Roman, the animation studio that animates the series.[21] Each car contains 12 speakers and a Dolby 6.1 surround sound, while the domes contain an additional 90 speakers.[8]

The ride vehicles are themed to look like cars from a classic dark ride, and like the previous Back to the Future attraction, the vehicles feature fake wheels and gull-wing doors.[22] Each dome features 12 8-passenger ride vehicles arranged with 3 cars on the first level, 5 on the second and 4 on the third. Each vehicle is mounted on a motion platform atop a scissor lift, which raises the vehicle 9 feet into the dome.[23] The motion platforms are capable of a total motion of three feet.[24] In addition to the motion-based ride vehicles, riders also feel water effects, smoke, mist, and experience lighting effects and scents.

The Simpsons Ride uses new technology that cuts down on its energy consumption. According to Universal Studios, the ride is able to save over 55,000 watts on average and 662,000 watt-hours per day. The ride includes over 2,500 LEDs, the largest number in theme park history, which allows the ride to cut down on lighting energy by almost one quarter when compared to incandescent lighting.[25]

Ride experience[edit]

Queue[edit]

Guests walk through a 32-foot (9.8 m) head of Krusty the Clown[4] as they enter the ride's line queue, which leads them into a pavilion under various circus tents themed to carnival stalls. A variety of posters are on display advertising attractions at Krustyland, while television monitors stationed around the queue play video clips from the Krusty the Clown television show along with animated footage from Krustyland. Guests eventually leave the queue and enter "Krusty's Carnival Midway", the first of two pre-shows.

Pre-show 1[edit]

Entrance to the Simpsons ride at Universal Studios Hollywood.

Themed to a fair's midway, riders are lined up into rows waiting for confirmation from Krusty to proceed. TV screens line the walls to both the left and right, displaying the residents of Springfield running through midway booths at the park. Krusty eventually appears on another screen located directly in front, seemingly to pick the first family to ride the most extreme ride at his park called "Thrilltacular: Upsy-Downsy Spins-Aroundsy Teen-Operated Thrillride". Sideshow Bob sneakily appears in a Scratchy costume when Krusty isn't looking and steps on Homer Simpson's foot, causing him to yell "D'oh!", which results in the Simpson family getting picked by Krusty. The Simpsons are then asked to pick another group, and Bart chooses all the guests waiting in the pre-show room. As guests are led into the next waiting room, Sideshow Bob bursts out into an evil laughter.

Pre-show 2[edit]

The next pre-show is themed to a funhouse room, where Krusty leads the group into a backstage area. Grampa and Maggie Simpson are told by Jeremy Friedman not to ride due to safety restrictions that serves a reminder to guests about the ride's height requirements and thrill intensity that can aggravate certain heart conditions. Grampa suddenly falls asleep while Maggie crawls into a nearby nuclear reactor room, causing her to grow larger. Meanwhile on screen, Krusty leads the Simpsons into a ride room where he tells them to enjoy the ride, but Sideshow Bob appears and knocks out Krusty. After telling the Simpson family to enter the ride vehicle, Homer hastily boards followed by the rest of the family. Sideshow Bob then forces everyone to watch a safety video from Itchy and Scratchy, which depicts a recap of safety reminders. Scratchy can be seen trying to follow safety rules, but each attempt is sabotaged by Itchy. Guests are then ushered into the main ride room and board the vehicle.

Ride[edit]

After entering the Krusty-themed ride vehicle, Homer orders everyone to sit down, stating that "all seats are the same with the exception of the better ones", and threatens to make an annoying noise until everyone has taken a seat. Despite riders' actions, he makes the annoying noise anyway. Jeremy then appears on a TV screen in the ride cabin and assures guests that their comfort and safety are in the hands of highly-qualified teens like himself. He tells riders to enjoy themselves but asks to keep the screaming down so he can study for a math test. He can then be seen reading his textbook, which is upside down, while quiet elevator music reminiscent of "The Simpsons Theme" begins playing in the background.

Sideshow Bob (top) prepares to kill the Simpson family (center) in a scene from the ride

Approximately a minute later, Sideshow Bob suddenly cuts off the teen's signal and takes control of the screen, telling riders that he is now in control of Krustyland. After threatening guests by saying no area in the park is safe from him, he starts the ride by flipping a switch from "thrilling" to "killing", which activates the vehicle causing it to virtually rise out of the room while telling them to enjoy the ride which is about to be destroyed with them on it. The ride simulator combines physical movement of the vehicle with on-screen motion. The experience continues with riders emerging onto a track with the Simpsons' vehicle in front of them. The riders then ram into the Simpsons' vehicle, which can be seen taking a plunge. The rider's vehicle plunges soon after, revealing they are on a roller coaster involving a variety of drops and turns. Homer, who wasn't sitting down, gets hit by a wrecking ball controlled by Sideshow Bob before it smashes into the track. With a portion of the track now missing, the riders fly into a different part of the coaster's layout before the "steel" wrecking ball breaks free from its cable and rolls along the track chasing Homer and the riders. During the pursuit, the wrecking ball eventually runs over Homer.

The riders are then knocked off the roller coaster by the wrecking ball as it explodes and sends the Simpsons flying. Riders end up on the park's "Happy Little Elves in Panda Land" attraction with Bart and Lisa, landing in separate ride vehicles, where Bob appears in control of an evil robotic panda that smashes some nearby singing elves out of annoyance. He then forces the ride vehicles in reverse, sending them crashing through the attraction, causing riders to catapult to another attraction called "Captain Dinosaur's Pirate Rip-Off". Homer and Marge are seen riding a boat, which plunges down a waterfall. As they approach a second waterfall, Sideshow Bob appears in a projection telling Homer to resist temptations inside, parodying the Pirates of the Caribbean and Jurassic Park: The Ride attractions. As riders pass through the waterfall, they get sprayed with water effects. Homer grabs a barrel of beer while Marge attempts to warn Homer that it's a temptation. His actions trigger a trap that destroys their surroundings, transporting them to "Krusty's Wet and Smoky Stunt Show", running over a popcorn seller in the process. The panda robot can be seen still under Bob's control. Homer and Marge escape with Bart, as Lisa appears riding a killer whale. She lassos the riders' vehicle and follows her family. Upon reaching the attraction's exit, it suddenly explodes, sending them racing in circles while dragging Homer and the riders behind them.

After a series of jumping ramps, the group fly through a tipping metal water tower, where they crash at the edge of the attraction and encounter Bob again, who cuts a large hole into hell with a buzz saw. Maggie, now giant-sized from the effects of the reactor room depicted earlier, reappears and grabs Bob, causing his robotic panda to fall into the hole. She slams him into the riders' vehicle, which almost plummets into the hole before it is saved by Professor Frink flying a hi-tech helicopter. Bob steals Maggie's pacifier and tells her that if she wants it back, she must destroy Springfield. Riders then fly through Springfield attached to the helicopter, with references to the original opening sequence being made along the way. An army converges around Maggie while the Simpsons drive across town in a stolen Krustyland tour tram. The riders then encounter Maggie again, who mistakes their car for a new pacifier, sucking on it repeatedly and separating riders from Frink in the process. Water effects gets riders wet a second time as Maggie spits them out onto power lines, which catapults them into the Simpsons' house by crashing through the front door just after the Simpsons have arrived.

Now sitting on their couch, the family is relieved to be back home. Suddenly Kang and Kodos turn the house into Krusty's "Death Drop" ride while saying that all rides must end near a gift shop. Riders are then dropped with the Simpsons from the sky, encountering various Simpsons characters along the way. Riders crash back at the entrance to Krustyland, where Bob prepares to kill them with a buzz saw. However, the couch the Simpsons are sitting on crushes and presumably kills him, followed by the Simpsons landing on top of it and Bob. Maggie appears and ends the ride by pushing down a large Krusty head sign directly over the Simpsons. The vehicle calmly lowers back down while mist, fire, and smoke effects spray. Homer enthusiastically yells that he wants to ride again. Krusty then appears on the TV screen in the loading room and remarks, "Well, that's our ride. Hey, what does this do?" For the Orlando attraction, Krusty is sitting in a control room and pushes an emergency button on a control panel, causing the vehicle to vibrate and ending the ride. In the Hollywood version, Krusty also takes a picture of the guests. After the gullwing doors on the car lift up, guests can exit the ride.[26]

Voice cast[edit]

The Simpsons Ride
Directed byMike B. Anderson
John Rice
Produced byJames L. Brooks
Matt Groening
Al Jean
Pete Herzog
Mark Rhodes
Debbie G. Yu
Based onThe Simpsons
by Matt Groening
StarringDan Castellaneta
Julie Kavner
Nancy Cartwright
Yeardley Smith
Hank Azaria
Kelsey Grammer
Music byJim Dooley
Edited byAbe Forman-Greenwald
Production
company
Distributed byUniversal Creative
Release date
‹See TfM›
  • 2008 (2008)
Running time
12 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish

The ride features more than 24 regular characters from The Simpsons and features the voices of the regular cast members, as well as Pamela Hayden, Russi Taylor and Kelsey Grammer.[8][27] Harry Shearer, however, decided not to participate in the ride supposedly due to scheduling and availability conflicts, so none of his characters have vocal parts and many of them do not appear in the ride at all.[15] In homage to the Back to the Future ride that it has replaced, The Simpsons Ride's queue video features a brief animated cameo from Doc Brown who is voiced by Christopher Lloyd.[28]

Episodes Featured[edit]

In the queue video, several clips from episodes of the show are featured. They include:

Other attractions[edit]

A Kwik-E-Mart at Universal Studios Florida
Lard Lad statue seen outside of Lard Lad Donuts at Universal Orlando

In October 2007, gift shops modeled after the Kwik-E-Mart were built, replacing the Back To The Future: The Store gift shop at Universal Studios Florida and the Time Travelers Depot gift shop at Universal Studios Hollywood. The stores sell Simpsons-related merchandise.[29] Carts were opened near the stores which sell Squishees, (which are The Simpsons' parody of 7-Eleven's Slurpees.)[8]

At Universal Studios Florida and Universal Studios Hollywood, the park converted much of the World Expo and some of the Upper Lot in Universal Studios Hollywood into one based on Springfield. The new area includes some iconic landmarks from The Simpsons such as Krusty Burger, Frying Dutchman, Luigi's Pizza, Lard Lad Donuts, Bumblebee Man's Taco Truck, Moe's Tavern, The Android's Dungeon & Baseball Card Shop and a Duff Brewery. The park also added one amusement ride named "Kang & Kodos' Twirl 'n' Hurl", a Dumbo-esque spinning ride where patrons drive flying saucers around Kodos' head and attack Springfield residents.[30]

Reception[edit]

The Simpsons Ride was well received by fans after it opened.[31] Seth Kubersky of Orlando Weekly described the ride as "a more than worthy successor" to Back to the Future: The Ride.[19] Brady MacDonald of the Los Angeles Times described the ride as "visually stunning" and said it "truly delivers — with loads of in-jokes and satire for serious fanatics and tons of thrills and fun for casual fans."[32] Elise Thompson of the LAist said "the ride is a total blast, with plenty of laughs as well as thrills."[33]

Jay Cridlin of the St. Petersburg Times wrote that "the ride is packed with more original, funny material than you'd expect to see in a sitcom, much less a theme park." However, he admitted that the ride was "a little discombobulating".[34]

The Universal Studios Florida version of the ride hosted its one millionth rider on 14 July 2008, reaching the milestone faster than any other attraction in the resort.[35] The ride was named the best new attraction of 2008 by the website Themeparkinsider.com.[36]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Map of Universal Studios Hollywood". Retrieved 2015-02-19.
  2. ^ "The Simpsons Ride coming May 19th". Universal Parks & Resorts. Archived from the original on 2008-05-09. Retrieved 2008-03-14.
  3. ^ a b Josef Adalian (2008-03-01). "Universal launches 'Simpsons' ride". Variety. Retrieved 2007-04-23.
  4. ^ a b c Walt Belcher (2008-05-02). "Woo Hoo! Itchy For Fun? Ride With The Simpsons". The Tampa Tribune. Archived from the original on 2008-05-05. Retrieved 2018-05-23.
  5. ^ Scott Powers (2008-04-14). "The Simpsons Ride grand opening set". Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on April 17, 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-17.
  6. ^ Scott Powers (2008-04-25). "The Simpsons Ride goes to technical rehearsals". Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on October 15, 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-27.
  7. ^ Jane Clark (2008-04-04). "Orlando unveils a few new tricks to boost bookings". USA Today. Retrieved 2008-08-11.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i "The Simpsons Ride Fact Sheet". ThrillNetwork.com. 2008-05-14. Archived from the original on 2008-05-18. Retrieved 2008-05-14.
  9. ^ Brady MacDonald (2008-04-08). "Universal Studios Simpsons ride shows visitors Krustyland". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2008-04-27.
  10. ^ Penny Lingo (2008-05-15). "Homer and Marge's eeeexcelllent adventure". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 2008-05-15.
  11. ^ Associated Press (2007-09-03). "Universal Studios' 'Back to the Future' ride heads into the past, to be replaced by 'Simpsons'". International Herald Tribune. Archived from the original on 2008-12-07. Retrieved 2008-05-19.
  12. ^ DeWayne Bevil (2008-04-28). "New Simpsons Ride gives Universal Studios patrons a taste of Springfield". Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on 2010-03-27. Retrieved 2008-04-28.
  13. ^ "The Simpsons Ride" (PDF). The Themed Entertainment Association’s 15th Thea Awards. Themed Entertainment Association. 2009. pp. 50–51. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 22, 2014. Retrieved September 6, 2014.
  14. ^ "Official website for The Simpsons Ride". Archived from the original on 2008-04-01.
  15. ^ a b "Mr. Burns Sucks in Real Life Too". TMZ. 2008-04-15. Retrieved 2008-04-28.
  16. ^ "The Simpsons Ride". Universal Studios Orlando. Archived from the original on 2008-02-03. Retrieved 2008-02-16.
  17. ^ Mark Albright (2008-04-29). "Universal takes new 'Simpsons' ride for a spin". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2008-04-30.
  18. ^ "Sony SXRD 4K Projectors Bring Audiences to the Edge of Their Seats on Universal Studios 'The Simpsons' Ride" (PDF) (Press release). Sony Electronics Inc. 19 November 2008. Retrieved 17 March 2016.
  19. ^ a b Seth Kubersky (2008-05-08). "Live Active Cultures". Orlando Weekly. Retrieved 2008-05-09.
  20. ^ Dewayne Bevil (2008-05-02). "The Simpsons ride, Universal Studio's newest adventure, gives up its secrets". Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on 2008-10-11. Retrieved 2008-05-03.
  21. ^ Mark Graser (2008-05-09). "Fox's 'Simpsons' ride with Universal". Variety. Retrieved 2008-05-10.
  22. ^ Szaks, Brian. "A Krusty Experience" (PDF). The Themed Entertainment Association’s 15th Thea Awards. Themed Entertainment Association. Retrieved 17 March 2016.
  23. ^ "Special Sneak Preview of The Simpsons Ride". LAist. Archived from the original on 24 July 2008. Retrieved 17 March 2016.
  24. ^ "Getting Krusty in California". tribunedigital-chicagotribune. Retrieved 17 March 2016.
  25. ^ "Universal Studios goes Green with the new "The Simpsons Ride"". Blooloop. 2008-04-29. Archived from the original on 2015-02-25. Retrieved 2015-02-25.
  26. ^ "Universal Studios reveals its new Simpsons Ride". Mirror.Co.UK. 2008-03-15. Retrieved 2015-02-19.
  27. ^ Brady MacDonald (2008-04-09). "Simpsons ride features 29 characters, original voices". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on September 14, 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-17.
  28. ^ Brady MacDonald (2008-04-25). "Doc Brown makes Simpsons Ride cameo at Universal Studios". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2008-04-27.
  29. ^ Dewayne Bevil (2007-10-26). "Simpsons' Kwik-E-Mart gets the Universal seal of Apu-val". Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on 2008-03-18. Retrieved 2007-10-30.
  30. ^ "Springfield Comes to Universal Orlando" (Press release). Universal Studios Florida. 23 May 2013. Archived from the original on 30 June 2013. Retrieved 24 May 2013.
  31. ^ Ciarra Luster (2008-04-29). "New 'Simpsons Ride' Opens To Rave Reviews". WESH. Archived from the original on 2011-07-23. Retrieved 2008-05-17.
  32. ^ Brady MacDonald (2008-05-16). "Review: Simpsons Ride at Universal Studios Hollywood blends satire with thrills". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2008-05-17.
  33. ^ Elise Thompson (2008-05-17). "Special Sneak Preview of The Simpsons Ride". LAist. Archived from the original on 2008-05-18. Retrieved 2008-05-17.
  34. ^ Jay Cridlin (2008-05-20). "Universal Orlando fuels Simpsons Ride with manic imagination". St. Petersburg Times. Archived from the original on 2012-02-11. Retrieved 2008-05-20.
  35. ^ Scott Powers (2008-07-15). "Simpsons Ride gets 1 million riders in quickest time ever". Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on 2013-05-15. Retrieved 2008-07-15.
  36. ^ Robert Niles (2008-07-03). "Disney, Universal split 2008 Theme Park Insider Awards". Theme Park Insider. Retrieved 2008-08-02.

External links[edit]