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Banking on the popularity of a pair of global franchises, Universal Orlando is bookending the summer of 2013 with two major attractions, Transformers: The Ride-3D and The Simpsons’ hometown of Springfield.
Transformers: The Ride-3D
At the grand opening of Orlando’s Transformers: The Ride-3D on June 20th, Bill Davis, president & COO of Universal Orlando said, “We think [Transformers] is going to kick start the summer for us.” The park hopes that momentum will carry right through to the end of the summer with the unveiling of the completed Springfield.
Recognizing that Transformers is an important franchise worldwide, Universal wanted to create a ride to bring guests right into the action. The Transformers: The Ride-3D attraction debuted in 2011 at Universal Studios Singapore and was followed by a second installment in 2012 at Universal Studios Hollywood. As a result of the huge success in those two parks, Transformers was fast-tracked to Orlando, taking only one year to complete construction. While the Transformers ride is the same as it is in Singapore and Hollywood in terms of the experience, the architecture is different and there are technological nuances that are unique to the Orlando attraction, including projection and animation advances that have been implemented in the newest version of the ride.
“This attraction is ground-breaking in the level of immersion [and] it is ground-breaking technologically and visually,” said Mark Woodbury, president of Universal Creative. “It is at the top tier of attractions in the world.”
As a result, the scale and level of execution of the Orlando version of the Transformers attraction is unparalleled. Because the characters of Megatron and Optimus Prime are both about 30 feet tall, the ride’s creators wanted to ensure that guests fully appreciate their massive scale. To accomplish this, they created a “media silo” in which riders travel vertically through a 60-foot high screen. In addition, the attraction incorporates sequences with director Michael Bay’s signature “slow-motion” style, the first attraction of its kind to feature this cinematic device. Another Transformers exclusive is the character of Evac, who was created especially for the ride. In fact, Evac merchandise is not available anywhere except inside Universal’s parks, which makes Evac toys and gifts very popular souvenirs for park visitors.
Springfield Comes to Universal Orlando
Capitalizing on the massive appeal of yet another well-known franchise, Universal created the award-winning The Simpsons Ride in 2008 to take riders into the animation of television’s “The Simpsons,” but now park guests can actually walk into Springfield and immerse themselves completely in the Simpsons’ hometown. Bringing Springfield to life was a group effort by Universal Orlando, Fox Studios and Gracie Films. The result is not only true to the vision of the show but every detail is completely accurate, down to the pickle on the top of every Krusty burger. Currently, about half of Springfield is open to the public including Moe’s Tavern, the Quik-E-Mart and a Simpsons-themed food court offering menu items that are not available in any other area of the park. The remaining construction is expected to be completed by the end of the summer, featuring an entirely new interactive ride called Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl, which will make its debut at Universal Orlando.
“People from around the world should definitely put at the top of their [summer] itinerary a visit to Universal Orlando Resort to see the terrific brand new Transformers attraction,” said Tom Williams, chairman and CEO, Universal Parks & Resorts.