And so begins a high-speed thrill of a ride. “We synchronize the motion of the vehicle with the action on the screen, and you get the sense that you’re flying,” said ride producer Chick Russell, who also worked on the movies.
“It’s the most action-packed ride we have ever designed,” Coup said. “It takes you into the action from the very first second, and at the end, you feel like a hero.”
The Simpsons: Television’s longest-running family expands its presence at Universal Studios this summer with the construction of an entire Springfield neighborhood, the only one at a Universal park, by the dizzying Simpsons Ride.
On Fast Food Boulevard, the first section to open, guests can eat at Krusty Burger, Moe’s Tavern, Cletus’ Chicken Shack, The Frying Dutchman, Lisa’s Teahouse of Horror and Luigi’s.
“It’s a natural follow-up to the success we had with the Simpson ride,” which opened in 2008, said Mike West, executive producer for Universal’s Creative Studio. “Any place you have Homer Simpson as one of the main characters, food is at the forefront.”
Chefs created a new menu for what is essentially a food court, where visitors can eat many of the items from the TV show, including the Krusty Burger, Ribwich, Lard Lad’s giant doughnuts and a Flaming Moe drink, as well as Homer’s favorite Duff Beer. Also at Moe’s is the bar phone, where guests can take a crank call from Bart and try out the Love Tester.
Krusty the Clown and Sideshow Bob will join the other Simpsons characters who appear in the park.
In addition, a new ride, Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ’n’ Hurl — named after a duo of space aliens who appear on the show occasionally — will take visitors on an intergalactic spin. Aimed at the younger demographic, it’s a ride with vehicles that go in a circle; push a lever and they go up and down.
Universal has not specified opening dates for the rest of Springfield’s features, saying only they would debut this summer.
Harry Potter: Coming next year is an extension of Wizarding World, Diagon Alley, which will be connected to the original by the Hogwarts Express (and require a two-park ticket to visit both). Just as Islands of Adventure has Hogsmeade Village with rides, shops, and restaurants themed to the area around the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Diagon Alley will replicate the slice of London behind the Leaky Cauldron where Hagrid helped a young Harry Potter buy an owl, a wand and other supplies for his first year at Hogwarts.
Diagon Alley will have a thrill ride set in Gringott’s Bank, which is run by goblins, but it will have other businesses including the original Ollivander’s Wand Shop (the very popular one in Universal’s Hogsmeade Village is said to be a branch of the Diagon Alley store).
In a cleverly timed marketing move, Legoland Florida announced in March that it was building a ride and a “land” based on Lego’s newest product line, Legends of Chima, which debuted in January, along with two episodes of a Cartoon Network animated series of the same name. The ride is scheduled to open July 3. The Cartoon Network series will resume July 10.
Interestingly, like the Transformers, the Chima story line involves a battle between good and evil over a source of energy. In Chima, tribes of highly advanced animal warriors form alliances led by Laval the flame-haired Lion Prince and his childhood best friend Cragger, now the evil Crocodile King. They go to war over orbs of “chi,” the mystical energy source.