Theme Park, Amusement Park and Attractions Industry News

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Simpsons ride opens at Universal

The world’s first official theme park ride dedicated to The Simpsons has debuted at Universal Studios in both Hollywood and Orlando.

A collaboration between Simpsons creator Matt Groening, executive producers James Brooks and Al Jean, 20th Century Fox, Gracie Films and Universal Theme Parks, the attraction opened mid-May.

The ride uses the former Back to the Future show building and the same motion simulator concept and, in typical knowing Simpsons style, the creators even pay homage to Back to the Future by including an animated Doc Brown.

Based around a “Krustyland” theme park concept, The Simpsons Ride apparently cost Universal Studios $40 million, which was spent on installing new ride vehicles, scissor lifts, motion platforms, digital movie projectors and a pair of 90ft-tall domed screens.

After stepping through the gaping mouth of a 32ft-tall Krusty the Clown, guests encounter a Krustyland map detailing the 10 rides and five shows at “the Krustiest place on Earth”. Winding through a themed pre-show/queue-line carnival midway, riders wait in groups of eight in holding rooms before boarding the ride. Host Krusty the Clown is just about to unveil the “Upsy-downsy, spins-aroundsy, teen-operated ride thrilltacular,” a dark ride that he knows little or nothing about!

A scissor lift below the ride vehicle raises passengers 10ft in the air. The motion-based platform tilts the vehicle forward, backward, up, down and side-to-side through Krustyland and eventually into Springfield, the fictional town featured in The Simpsons (see above).

The chaotic scenes play out on a seamless domed screen in high-resolution provided by four Sony digital projectors at 60 frames per second. Throughout the ride, hidden special effects spray air, water and other surprises in guests’ faces.

Capable of cycling through nearly 2,000 visitors per hour, each version of the attraction features two screens and 12 ride vehicles on tiered levels.

Simpsons fans will love touches such as the Itchy & Scratchy safety video and Krustyland ride names such as the Tooth Chipper Roller Coaster, Sea Captain’s Queasy Time Lagoon Adventure, Radioactive Man – the Ride and Captain Dinosaur’s Pirate Rip Off.

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