The Simpsons Ride at Universal Studios is a partial-motion virtual-reality ride based on the Simpsons TV show, where guests sit in a carnival-ride themed car that shifts around to simulate motion through the animated environment projected on an 80-foot dome. The creators have done a great job of putting you in the middle of a Simpsons cartoon episode gone haywire. The thirty Simpsons characters are all voiced by the original actors, and the tongue-in-cheek Simpsons humor is maintained throughout.
The ride is created to represent a theme park called Krustyland, created by Bart Simpson's hero, the cantankerous TV-show-hosting clown from the series. They have really succeeded in creating that small-town carnival feel. You enter the ride through the open mouth in Krusty's giant head and animated carnival attractions entertain you through your wait in line.
The structure of the ride is exactly the same as the old Back to the Future ride, with guests shepherded into numbered holding lines in groups up to 8 people per line in an area that continues the fun fair theme. You're then released into a staging room for further video instruction and finally shown into the actual ride. The old DeLoreans have been replaced with colorful ride cars decorated with another giant head of Krusty the Clown. The car holds four in front and four in back.
The cars don't actually go anywhere; they just lift off the ground a bit and dip, swerve and jerk you through the calamitous carnival. The new 80-foot dome screen provides an even better immersion experience.
The Story Behind the Simpson's Ride
The premise is that Bart Simpson's nemesis, Sideshow Bob, has taken over Krustyland and is causing all the rides to go haywire just as the Simpson family is embarking on a day of fun. A runaway roller coaster ride takes you crashing through Springfield before delivering you to a dinosaur-pirates-of-the-Caribbeanesque water ride, complete with real splashes, and on to Krusty's version of Universal's Water World show. Regulars from the series show up throughout, including a giant Maggie Simpson, who we supposedly left out in the waiting room with Grandpa according to the pre-ride video.
The 3-D animators have done a great job of putting you inside the action, and I think fans of the show will appreciate how true it is to the series. If you've never seen the show, it's still fun, but it won't make as much sense. I rode twice and still felt that I barely had a chance to perceive everything that was going on. Devils, aliens and a giant panda all put in an appearance.
There are lots of warnings that people shouldn't ride with back, heart, motion sickness or fog and strobe effects issues.
The Environment - Springfield Hollywood
The Simpsons Ride opened in 2008. In 2015, Universal Studios completely revamped the surrounding area into Springfield Hollywood, recreating the entire town. In addition to some storefront facades like Herman's Military Antiques, Dr. Nick's, Springfield Elementary School and the Aztec Theatre, it includes fully functional restaurants like Krusty Burger, Suds McDuff's Hot Dog House and Lard Lad's Donuts, as well as the Duff Beer Brewery and the Nuclear Power Plant that explodes at regular intervals.
They also added lots of actual carnival games adjacent to the Simpson's Ride.