Universal Studios Florida

World Expo / Springfield

The Simpsons Ride

(May 15, 2008 - present)

 

History and photos of The Simpsons Ride simulator ride in the Springfield section of World Expo in Universal Studios Florida.

On March 30, 2007Back to the Future: The Ride closed for good.  Perhaps Dr. Emmett Brown didn't travel far enough into the future to see this event occurring.  Anyway, the Institute of Future Technology closed its doors to make way for a clown --- Krusty the Clown.

Universal Studios Florida - World Expo - Springfield - The Simpsons Ride - 2008 - 01 Universal Studios Florida - World Expo - Springfield - The Simpsons Ride - 2008 - 02

The Simpsons Ride officially opened on May 15, 2008 to much fanfare.  After over a decade of entertaining audiences through the magic of television, and finally hitting the big screen in 2007 with The Simpsons Movie, the Simpson family has finally become a major attraction at a theme park.

There's no mistaking the exterior to The Simpsons Ride as a giant, 32-foot tall Krusty the Clown head now dominates the building.  The attraction is themed to being at Krustyland, an amusement park operated by Krusty the Clown.  Outside of the ride's building are a variety of carnival games.

WARNING --- SPOILERS!

The experience in The Simpsons Ride begins with walking through that giant head of Krusty the Clown.  We pass by a map of Krustyland and then snake back and forth in the outside line queue.  Overhead televisions keep us entertained with clips from The Simpsons television show (most of those clips have the family visiting amusement parks), and large banners advertise various rides and shows at Krustyland.  Like Back to the Future: The Ride, we're sent to one of three levels in the building.  The upper two levels involve heading up ramps and having an elevated view of Universal Studios Florida.

We're sent to a midway-themed holding room where we're divided into rows of eight people.  Some residents of Springfield man the game stalls though most of the time they just stand there and look around.  Krusty appears on the main video screen and prepares to select a family to be the first riders on his latest ride, a roller coaster named Thrilltacular: Upsy-Downsy Spins-Aroundsy Teen-Operated Thrillride.  Krusty really doesn't care who goes on the ride first, so he says a rhyme and when Homer Simpson yells, "Doh!," his family is picked to ride the roller coaster first.  Of course, this part was planned by Sideshow Bob.  The villain had recently escaped from jail, sneaked into Krustyland, disguised himself as Scratchy, and stomped on Homer's foot to make him respond at the right moment to be picked by Krusty.  More people can fit with the Simpson family in the roller coaster car, so Bart picks us, the guests, to ride along with his family on Thrilltacular.

We proceed to the small preshow rooms and wait for further instructions from Krusty.

PRESHOW

The preshow begins and we see Krusty leading the Simpson family to an area backstage.  Before proceeding, Grandpa and Maggie Simpson are stopped from riding because of medical conditions, so they wait outside.  Grandpa promptly falls asleep and Maggie wanders into a nuclear reactor.  We see her silhouette grow in size until the baby breaks out of the containment unit.  The preshow cuts back to the Simpson family where Krusty is about to board them into the roller coaster car.  Sideshow Bob suddenly appears and knocks out Krusty.  He then forces the family to board the ride vehicle with him now at the controls.  Before the ride begins we're shown a mandatory safety video starring Itchy and Scratchy.

RIDE

The Simpsons Ride begins with Sideshow Bob appearing on the vehicle's video screen.  He tells us that he has complete control of the amusement park and we watch as he moves the ride's lever from "thrilling" to "killing."  This activates the ride and our car is raised to the top of the roller coaster.  The coaster begins and we follow the Simpsons' car up and down some hills.  Sideshow Bob uses a wrecking ball to attack the Simpsons, and he hits Homer.  The swinging ball then breaks the coaster's track.  We hit the broken track and jump, landing on another section of the roller coaster.  The wrecking ball dislodges and both it and Homer land on the track in front of us.  It's all downhill from there as we roll backwards as the wrecking ball chases Homer.  The steel ball hits us, knocking us off the coasters track and onto a different roller coaster and then into the Happy Little Elves in Panda Land ride.

We're now in the Happy Little Elves in Panda Land kiddie ride with Bart and Lisa.  Sideshow Bob appears and has control of an evil panda bear.  He uses it to hit Bart and Lisa's car which hits ours and sends us through a wall.  We break through the wall and and land in Captain Dinosaur's Pirate Rip-Off boat ride with Homer and Marge.  The ride seems fine until Sideshow Bob's hologram appears on a waterfall and warns Homer not to give in to temptations.  The next scene in the pirate ride has a giant pint of beer, and of course Homer tries to grab it, claiming that beer won't hurt anybody.  This triggers a trap that causes the ride to be destroyed.  Some of the scenery knocks a hole in the wall and we're washed out of the boat ride and into Krusty's Wet and Smoky Stunt Show.

Sideshow Bob is still angry with us and tries attacking again with his giant panda bear.  Lisa is seen riding a killer whale and she lassos us with a rope.  The whale pulls us around the water arena and finally into the stands.  Sideshow Bob tries to use a saw to attack us, but this just opens a hole and keeps us on the edge of falling down to Hell.  The giant and most likely radioactive version of Maggie appears and she grabs Sideshow Bob.  She shows us the villain, but this nudges our vehicle over the edge and sends up plunging down to Hell.  Professor Frink appears and saves us with his flying machine.

Still attached to Professor Frink's flying machine, we fly over Springfield and watch as Sideshow Bob leads the giant version of Maggie through the city.  He's stolen her pacifier and uses it to tempt the infant.  Maggie finally grabs *us*, thinking that we're a pacifier.  She sucks on us for a moment before spitting us out again.  We land on some power cables only to have then act like a big rubber band and launch us to the Simpsons' house.  The family also arrives and runs to the living room couch in their usual manner.

Suddenly a lap bar secures to the family to the couch and the house's walls are opened, revealing the ride Death Drop.  The Kang and Kodos aliens tell us that the ride isn't over yet as all rides have to exit through a gift shop.  The family is dropped down the Death Drop and we fall with them.  Our on-ride photo is taken and we finally land back at Krustyland.  Sideshow Bob is still looking to kill someone, but before he can the couch and Simpson family land on top of him.  Krusty the Clown reappears on our vehicle's video screen and presses a large button, triggering a loud sound and vibration.  The Simpsons Ride ends and we leave the ride vehicle and exit from the building.

END OF SPOILERS!

The Simpsons Ride is a blast and a worthy addition to Universal Studios Florida.  This is coming from a major fan of Back to the Future (both the ride and movies) and somebody who has only seen a handful of episodes of The Simpsons.  As much as I was saddened at the loss of Back to the Future: The Ride, The Simpsons Ride is a LOT of fun!

Universal Studios Florida - World Expo - Springfield - The Simpsons Ride - 2012

For starters, the 3-D animation in this ride looks incredibly sharp and lifelike for a cartoon world.  This isn't the 2-D animation from the television show or movie.  The level of detail here in the simulator ride is fantastic!

The ride itself is nice and smooth, unlike the somewhat jerky motions from the late 1980s technology used in Back to the Future: The Ride.  The technology has greatly improved since that point in time, and this ride is solid testimonial on how smooth a simulator ride should feel.

In addition to the high definition and sharpness of the 3-D animation, and the smoothness of the hydraulics moving the ride vehicle, the story itself is solid and keeps moving.  There's plenty of both action and jokes as Sideshow Bob terrorizes the famous family at Krustyland.  You keep moving from one scene to the next with fun transitions linking everything together.  It's a very enjoyable experience that'll make you want to get back in line and ride it a few more times.

TRIVIA In the outside line queue, watch for a short video clip with Dr. Emmett Brown (voiced by Christopher Lloyd) interacting with Professor Frink.  It's a small tribute to Back to the Future: The Ride, the attraction that previously occupied this building.
HEIGHT REQUIREMENT You must be at least 40" tall to ride The Simpsons Ride.

 

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Universal Studios Florida - World Expo - Springfield - The Simpsons Ride:

The Simpsons Ride - warning sign:

The Simpsons Ride - line queue:

The Simpsons Ride - holding room:

The Simpsons Ride - preshow:

The Simpsons Ride - ride vehicle: