This summer two local theme parks in California are about to enter a battle for tourist’s money, and their weapons are “Cars”. One park, Disney, will have their guests race around a fake mountain based off of an animated film with a horrible sequel. The other, Universal, will also base their attraction off of an animated series featuring automobiles, except these hot rods beat the crap out of each other. This weekend Universal Studios Hollywood held a technical rehearsal for Transformers the ride: 3D, a month before it’s opening over memorial day weekend. I was able to ride it about five times on Friday and if I had to sum it up in one word…EPIC. Without giving away too much I will simply give a brief overview of what to expect.
For the past ten years Universal has been recycling attractions since they are literally running out of space. Star Trek turned into Shrek, E.T phoned home and got replaced by a Mummy, etc. Three years ago they finally put the fire out in Backdraft and dug into the earth to set the foundation for the Autobots battle with the Decepticons. Now I’ve always felt Disney went above and beyond with their storytelling by immersing you in the experience as soon as you step foot into the attraction. Universal for the most part, not so much. However, things have turned for the better with The Transformers Ride. When you enter the Nest facility you are simply overwhelmed with Autobot goodness, from movie replicas to several screens showing newly filmed footage featuring Optimus Prime and friends. There are several rooms you enter as you make your way to the bottom of the base, with plenty to see in each area. The story is simple enough, the Decepticons have planned an all out attack on the NEST base to retrieve the remaining shard of the All Spark Cube. The military has assembled a team to transport the shard to safety and have chosen you for the mission. But how will you transport said hot item while everyone else is fighting? Enter new Autobot rookie, E.V.A.C. The new guy on the block has never seen combat but is proven to be the fastest and most agile of all the Autobots. When you finally meet up with EVAC and grab your “Battle Glasses” the real fun begins.
The technology Universal created fro this ride isn’t exactly new, but damn does it work wonders. If you’ve ever been on the Spiderman ride in Orlando then you already know what I’m talking about. For those that have never been on said ride here is your explanation. You enter a flight simulator that is on a track taking you through several decorated sets each with screens ranging from 15 feet to Imax size. Your vehicle will spin 360 degrees as well as elevate and drop in perfect synchronization with the film. The real treat here is the 3D aspect which does not feel gimmicky at all, and really makes you believe these 30 foot tall robots are fighting it out right before your eyes. At one point a certain Decepticon jumped off the screen and landed on the hood of the car and I witnessed everyone in front of me dodge out of its way.
I really can’t say anything bad about this ride and honestly feel bad for the Mouse this summer. And from the looks of everyone who came out of the exit and ran back on, I’m not alone. I can guarantee this ride will have some crazy wait times in the summer probably passing the 3 hour mark. Luckily for you I found a way to skip all that without having to pay for a “Gate A” pass. SINGLE RIDER LINE! Is it really going to matter if you sit next to grandma for the whole ride? No. You’re going to be too busy reliving your childhood and trying to name more Transformers than the kid behind you.