Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Rides at Universal Studios - Orlando

Here I continue reviewing the rides of theme parks in Orlando.  Yesterday I did Disney's Hollywood Studios.  Today I'll review the rides at the original Universal Studios park, and tomorrow I'll do Universal's Islands of Adventure.

The Simpsons Ride: Can you hear me screaming with joy like a girl?  When I heard this ride existed, it was first on my list.  I wasn't disappointed.  While standing in line, you get to watch Simpsons clips.  Most of the clips come from the Krustyland episode(s).  The whole family laughed over the whole BORT license plate routine.  I actually didn't want to leave that room, but eventually, everyone who stands in line has to ride the ride sometime.

The only thing I didn't like was Itchy and Scratchy doing the safety video.  Okay, I guess the idea is hilarious, but I never liked senseless violence.  When the safety video was over, the door to our room opened and just about whacked one of our party in the face.  Now, that was funny.

The ride itself was hilarious.  It's one of those simulation things where you watch a movie screen while your car moves up and down and around (like Star Tours in yesterday's review).  It was a fun ride.

Men In Black Alien Attack: This is one of those shoot-at-things ride.  It's just like the Buzz Lightyear ride in Tomorrowland or the Toy Story Midway Mania I wrote about yesterday.  It's fun to shoot at all the aliens, but it was difficult to know which red dot was mine.  I figured that when I shot an alien a sufficient number of times, my gun would flash green and I'd get points.  But I swear that several times I shot at some specific alien at least twenty times, and got nothing!  Maybe if your friend beats you to it, you can't get any more points.

The funny part is when the car across from you flashes red, you can shoot it and make them spin uncontrollably.  We got them, but they didn't get us.  Heh heh heh.

It was a fun ride, but I liked the Toy Story ride better.

E.T. Adventure: A relaxing ride.  Before it begins, you get to watch a video where Steven Spielberg explains that he needs you to help save ET's planet.  Then you get to walk through a cold, humid forest.  Air conditioning!!!  The ride itself features a big bike that seats around 25.  For best effect, you'll want to try to sit toward the left side--the further the better.

It's another simulation ride, but unlike the Simpsons, there is no projection on a screen.  Here you get to see actual models.  And there are no scary roller coaster effects.  It's an entertaining ride for the whole family.

Revenge of the Mummy: I took the teenagers with me on this one.  The wait inside the building involves walking through some catacombs.  At one place, you can touch an artifact, as long as you don't mind getting cursed.  What you touch is actually a battery that reacts to the human hand and powers some of the lights in the cave.  Those lights brightening and dimming gave a fun effect.

At the beginning of the ride, the workers had their thumbs up to signal it was okay to start the ride, but then they all simultaneously went to thumbs down.  Uh oh!

The ride is part roller coaster and part simulation.  It goes pretty fast, and it was lots of fun.  I can't say anymore without spoilers.

Shrek 4D: Do you want to know what 4D really means?  Well, I'll tell you.  2D means you get up/down and left/right.  This is like watching a normal movie.  3D adds a dimension: in/out.  For this you need to wear glasses.  This is like watching Cameron's Avatar.  4D means you get water splashed in your face.  You don't believe me?  Think about all the "4D" rides you've ever been on.  Did you ever leave one of those with a dry face?

Before you view the movie, you walk into a dungeon, and you get initiated before your "torture."  The movie itself was hilarious.  The 3D, um ... I mean 4D effects were good and funny.  My only complaint was that some of the incidental sound effects were way too loud.

Evidently, you can obtain this movie on DVD, so I had the privilege of viewing it beforehand a couple of years ago.  The movie shown at Universal was exactly the same, but it is much funnier with the full 4D effects in full form--so even if you've seen the DVD, go ahead and watch it the way it was intended to be experienced.

Despicable Me Minion Mayhem: The ride was fun, but the line was a little tough.  You get to watch some cute Despicable Me clips and quizzes, but the clips loop around every 10-15 minutes.  So, once you've seen it through one cycle, it starts getting a little old.  Most of the line was outside, but mostly shaded.  It's another simulation ride, and really cute and fun.  It's in 3D, which you can see with your minion glasses.

I liked the Simpsons ride better, though.

Animal Actors on Location:  I didn't get to see this one, but I heard about it from my little daughter.  She loved it.  You get to see animals doing fun tricks.

Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit: My teenager son rode this one in the dark, which he says was more fun than riding it in the daytime.  By the time we got to the ride, I was feeling too sick to get on.  Plus it looks a little intimidating.  I've seen higher roller coasters, but this one goes STRAIGHT UP at the very beginning.

You get to choose your own music.  It goes fast.  On the loop it forces you to go right-side up at the top, which I suspect provides some cool zero-g effects.

The rest of us watched the coaster while he rode.  The lights at night can be pretty.

We didn't get back to the park in time to watch much of the Universal Cinematic Spectacular: 100 Years of Movie Memories.  And when we got close, there was still a fence in the way.  They shine some movie clips on the buildings, shoot fireworks, and shine colorful lights on water spraying out of the lake.  Towards the end though, I was waiting for the big finish with a bunch of fireworks, but it ended with sappy music and not even one firework.  "Goodbye and thanks for watching."  Where was the big finish?  Maybe there was something else cool going on that you could see if you were actually up at the lake.

It was a fun day.  Though I didn't get to do everything I wanted to do with all the crowds and the hotness.  I would have liked to have seen the Terminator 2: 3-D show.  And the Twister... Ride It Out show.  We almost went in, but most of us were afraid it would be one of those spin-around rides, and I can't ride any more of those after Disney's Mission to Mars, which I rode eight years ago.  BARF!

I wish I could have seen the Disaster show.  We did catch a little of the Beetlejuice's Graveyard Revue as we ate our Dippin Dots.  It looked funny.  And lastly, I wish I could have gone through the Lucy tribute.

What we did ride was lots of fun, though.

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