This morning I got the opportunity to head down to Universal Studios Hollywood to check out the new Simpsons Ride.
There's been a LOT of talk and coverage about this ride already on Theme Park Review so I'll just get right to the point -
Overall Ride Package
- As an overall ride package The Simpsons Ride really delivers a great experience! The themed area is great, the building looks fantastic, and the queue, pre-shows, and safety videos steal the show! The ride itself is "fun" but also your standard simulator fare. (I'll get to that part in a moment)
- This ride will absolutely be a hit with families and other park goers. It's only carries a 40" height restriction so young kids will be able to ride.
Attention to Simpsons Detail
- If you're a Simpsons fan, you're going to love that you are surrounded by nearly two decades of Simpsons memories. It's all there - the main characters are represented, and plenty of secondaries like Mole Man, Willie, Barney, and even lots of memorable moments like Radioactive Man, The Tooth Chipper, etc. And if you like Itchy & Scratchy, the "safety video" may be the best part of the entire ride!
- While the simulator ride is "fun" it really is obvious that this is re-dressed technology from 17 years ago. (Yes, Back to the Future was that old!) It doesn't even feel as though they have updated the ride much. When you are on the "boat ride" if feels just like the old "lava ride" from Back to the Future. You still crash through just as many signs and when you fly through Springfield, it's just like flying through Hill Valley. There is even the clock tower courtyard still present in The Simpsons.
There are parts of the ride that are fun, like the roller coaster, the corkscrew, and the "drop ride." But I was really hoping for a "memorable moment" that takes an old ride and gives it something fresh. (See "The Chicken Dance" sequence in the Jimmy Neutron simulator at Universal Orlando.)
3D Simpsons -
I have to say that the "3D Animated Look" of the Simpsons just didn't really work for me. Especially after walking through some of the most incredible displays of the Simpsons franchise from over the years, you are presented with this awkward looking version of something so familiar. It makes you think "What IS that?"
I think had either the simulator been more updated OR the animation had been done in 2D I could be more forgiving of the actual ride part of this attraction.
Overall, it's a fun experience. I think most people who come to the park will walk away LOVING the ride. I still think that a franchise with so much history and years worth of material to pull from deserves more than a re-dress of an old attraction (heck you could build an entire Simpsons PARK) and maybe this will be just the start of many more Simpsons rides to come. I sure hope so!
On to some photos....