I’ll admit now that I was worried when I first heard that Universal would be replacing “Back to the Future” with a new ride based on the Simpsons. Concern number 1 was that the Simpsons, at 14 years old, was too old a property to sustain any interest among theme park visitors. Last summers Simpsons movie dispelled that notion by raking in more than $500 million worldwide ($600M if you add in DVD sales). My other concern is that Universal would simply slap a “Simpsons’ motif over the existing Back to the Future ride like some kind of technical white-wash. After riding it for the first time today, I can say that concern is also a moot point.
I had two major problems with the old Back to the Future attraction. First – the ride vehicles were very jerky, almost guaranteeing that you would walk away feeling beat up and nauseous. Second was the ‘film’, which like many ride films gets worn with age, and only seemed to enhance the feeling of motion sickness during the ride. The new vehicles, combined with the crisp 180 degree digital projection all but eliminate those issues. Throughout the ride, your vehicle travels through various attractions at Krustyland (including tongue in cheek references to “It’s a Small World” and “Pirates of the Caribbean”, as well as Shamu stadium at Sea World), and also takes you thru familiar locations within the town of Springfield. In attendance are many of your favorite Simpsons characters (either during the ride itself, or seen in various areas throughout the queue), and all voiced by the original actors. The only possible exception to that is the voice of Sideshow Bob – performed on the TV show by Kelsey Grammer. To me, the Sideshow Bob on the attraction did not sound anything like the TV show, so it’s possible that the voice was done by someone else – but on this I’m not 100% sure.
While I like the Simpsons, I don’t consider myself a huge fan of the show – even still, I found the attraction very enjoyable. Overall, I give the new Simpons attractions very high marks (8 out of 10). This is a fantastic (and much needed) addition to the offerings at Universal Studios and lines for this will be LONG LONG LONG thru the summer. Remember – if you’re staying at a Universal resort, you get unlimited front of the line access on all attractions just by showing your room key. That perk alone makes at least one night at a Universal resort well worth the price. If you’re not staying on Universal property, you’re going to want to arrive VERY early (park opening) in order to experience the Simpsons without the 2 hour wait. Also, dont’ forget that Universal offers a special 7 day / 2 park unlimited admission pass for $81 plus tax if you purchase on line (the pass is good for 7 consecutive days from first use). The pass DOES NOT EXPIRE, so even if you’re planning to go next year, we strongly recommend you purchase the pass now as we don’t know when the offer will be pulled (rumor was the offer was supposed to have expired already, so it could go at any time).
This is the first of three major additions coming to Universal over the next two years. Next spring we expect the Hollywood Rip, Ride Rockit coaster to open, and we’re hearing that the Wizarding World of Harry Potter will be in soft opening for Christmas of 2009, with an expected grand opening early in 2010.
Category: Universal Orlando