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The Simpsons Ride

Universal Studios Florida and Universal Studios Hollywood

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating

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The Simpsons Ride

The Simpsons Ride into Universal Studios Florida.

Arthur Levine, 2008. Licensed to About.com.
With their rapid-fire gags, penchant for (cartoon) violence, and boundary-pushing humor, The Simpsons are a good fit at the loud, in-your-face, we-love-to-blow-stuff-up Universal Studios parks. The Simpsons Ride gives guests the chance to accompany Bart, Homer, and the rest of the iconic clan as they experience the brand new Krustyland, a theme park within the Universal theme park that has been built on the cheap by Krusty the Clown. Of course, calamity ensues. And since this is the Simpsons, hilarity ensues as well.

Up-front Info

  • Thrill Scale (0=Wimpy!, 10=Yikes!): 4.5
    Motion simulator thrills include (simulated) coaster drops and crashes.
  • Attraction type: Motion simulator
  • Height restriction: 40 inches
  • Photo tour of The Simpsons Land at Universal Studios Florida- Check out the quirky restaurants, a Flaming Moe, and more.

Universal Studios Florida Ticket Info

Universal Orlando offers two basic ticket options: A 1-day, 1-park ticket to either Universal Studios Florida or Islands of Adventure; or, a 2-park ticket with park-hopping access to both parks for up to seven days.
Save money and time. Get Universal Orlando tickets in advance of your visit. Buy Discounted Tickets Online, Direct from Universal Orlando.

Will you be able to handle it?
As a motion simulator, The Simpsons Ride syncs the action of its eight-passenger vehicles with wild animated footage. Although scenes include freefalling from nosebleed heights and mid-air collisions, the vehicles never actually move more than a few inches in any direction. If you can handle Star Tours at the Disney parks, you'll be able to handle The Simpsons. If you want see what the concept is about with a more toned-down simulator attraction, try Universal's Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride first.

Pirate Rip-Off

The fun begins outside the ride. A gift shop retrofitted as a Kwik-E-Mart, complete with a Squishee stand, helps make the transition to the Simpsons world. The attraction is housed inside a garish Krustyland building, with retro amusement park lights, eye-popping colors, and a giant head of Krusty the Clown. Guests enter the ride by walking along Krusty's "red carpet" tongue and into his mouth.

The signature Simpsons humor is everywhere. The front of the attraction is made to resemble an amusement park midway with carnival games such as Ring Toss. "SMALL RINGS, GIANT BOTTLES-IT'S IMPOSSIBLE!" screams a sign on the booth. Throughout the queue (and lines for The Simpsons Ride can get quite long), there are giant video screens playing a 30-minute loop that includes new Krustyland footage interspersed with excerpts from park-centric Simpsons show footage. As guests shuffle through the rat maze, there are plenty of chuckles to be had, for example, watching dolls from around the world sing, a la Disney's "It's a Small World," the heartwarming refrains of "A Duff for you; A Duff for me..." from the "Selma's Choice" episode. Disney, SeaWorld, and other theme parks get tweaked throughout the queue and on the ride itself. The Pirates of the Caribbean would shiver their timbers if they caught the signs for Captain Dinosaur's Pirate Rip-Off.

It's Thrilltacular

At both Universal parks, The Simpsons Ride is presented in the same buildings that used to house the Back to the Future attractions. As with that groundbreaking motion simulator ride, guests make their way through labyrinthine corridors and up to one of multiple levels on either side of the building. Before boarding, they are held in a pre-show area filled with laugh-out-loud Simpsons displays that include Apu and Groundskeeper Willy.

A hilarious video sets the stage as the guests are chosen to join the Simpsons family for the debut ride aboard Krusty's Thrilltacular, Upsy-Downsy, Teen-Operated Roller Coaster. However, a vengeful Sideshow Bob (the voice of Kelsey Grammer) is shown lurking in the shadows to sabotage the new park.

Groups of eight passengers are shuttled to individual ride rooms where they watch a (literally) gut-busting, pre-ride safety video featuring Itchy and Scratchy. Instead of Back to the Futire's DeLorean time machines, guests now board an oversized roller coaster car. At the start of the ride, the cars move ten feet up and join a phalanx of other vehicles in front of an enveloping, 80-foot Omnimax domed screen.

Unlike Back to the Future's filmed footage, which used miniature sets and other old-school Hollywood trickery to create its time-shifting environments, The Simpsons Ride uses computer-generated imagery. This has its pluses and minuses. On the positive side, the footage is crisp and bright--even sleek. The motion simulator sensations, as the vehicles move in sync with the action on the screen, are very convincing. The initial zoom up a roller coaster lift, for example, is quite well done.

CG Why?

The CGI footage on The Simpsons Ride is a bit disconcerting.

Universal Orlando, 2008. Used with permission.
But, there's something disconcerting about seeing our old two-dimensional TV pals rendered in CGI. Crude animation is part of the Simpsons oeuvre. It sounds like the Simpsons (the original cast provides all of the voices), but it doesn't quite look like the Simpsons or have their usual fluidity. That detracts a bit from the ride experience.

Still, in true Simpsons form, there are some wildly funny lines. In the face of impending doom, for example, Homer reassures his family that "theme parks wouldn't kill you as long as there's a dime left in your pocket." Except for the CGI misstep, The Simpsons Ride is in tune with creator Matt Groening's distinctive Simpsons sensibility. Fans of the show--and there are legions of them--will love taking a ride with them. And more casual fans will likely adore the attraction as well. In any event, everyone would agree that the attraction is considerably more fun than Captain Dinosaur's Pirate Rip-Off.

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