The new Simpsons Ride at Universal Orlando Resort has become a popular ride in a time span of less than 3 months. In fact, the ride is so popular it broke Universal’s previous ride record and had 1 million riders in just two months. With so much hype surrounding the new attraction, from both fans and critics alike, I had to go see for myself if the ride was truly a “Cowabunga Dude!” or “Eat My Shorts” experience.
After discovering Krustyland, the base of operations for the new ride, I quickly (or as quick as one can without a Universal Express pass) got a place in line and waited. And waited. And waited some more. Yes, there was a tremendous line for The Simpsons Ride, but this is the general case with any new attraction, so I wasn’t that surprised. Plus, they had flat screen televisions displayed throughout the winding line area so a glimpse of Simpson humor was never too far from the eyes. In addition, there were also fans placed throughout the line area which made the Orlando July heat a little more bearable. By the time I got close to the simulator room, my anticipation was high and I still had nothing but a vague idea of what the ride was actually going to be. Everyone at the park was clamoring to ride it, even more said how great it was, but no one could really explain the ride. After I rode it, I realized why.
Once I reached the end of the line, or the beginning, depending on your perspective, my fellow passengers and I were taken to “simulator” rooms. After entering the room, you climb into an 8 passenger roller-coaster style cart and are safely strapped in. Then, the real fun begins! The virtual reality aspect of the ride truly hits a home run, as I was right there with Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie as they ventured through the fictional theme park of Krustyland. The effect is created by state-of-the-art digital projectors that cover an 80 ft. diameter dome surface with an image four times the standard High Definition found in most home theaters, and twice what you’d experience in a normal digital theater. The cart you are seated in moves, shakes, tilts and turns in accordance with the onscreen movements, producing an innovative and surprising thrill I have not experienced at any other attraction. The way the unique elements of the ride combine is the magic, if you will, that makes The Simpsons Ride popular, and undoubtedly, why it will remain popular.