The Simpsons Ride at Universal Studios Hollywood Review

Review of the Simpsons Ride at Universal Studios Hollywood

The Simpsons RIDE

Kayte Deioma

Based on the long-running animated TV show, The Simpsons Ride at Universal Studios Hollywood in Los Angeles is a partial-motion virtual-reality ride that puts parkgoers in the middle of a Simpsons cartoon episode gone haywire. Riders sit in a carnival-themed car that shifts and shakes to simulate motion in front of an animated video of a chaotic theme park visit, projected onto an 80-foot dome. The 30 Simpsons characters represented are all voiced by the original actors, and the tongue-in-cheek Simpsons humor is maintained throughout.

The Ride

The ride is created to represent a visit to a theme park called Krustyland, named after Bart Simpson's hero, the cantankerous TV-show-hosting clown from the series. The entranceway recreates a small-town carnival feel. Riders enter the attraction through the open mouth in Krusty's giant head and animated cartoons and carnival attractions featuring Simpsons characters entertain folks in line.

Guests are shepherded into numbered holding lines in groups of up to eight people per line, in a waiting area that continues the fun fair theme. Riders are released into a staging room for further video instruction before boarding colorful roller coaster cars decorated with giant heads of Krusty the Clown for the (virtual) ride.

The cars don't actually go anywhere; they just lift off the ground a bit and dip, swerve, and jerk riders as scenes from the calamitous carnival unspool on the dome screen in front of them, creating a thrilling immersive experience.

The Story Behind the Simpson's Ride

The ride's 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 crashes through Springfield before careening through 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 was supposedly left out in the waiting room with Grandpa according to the pre-ride video.

The 3-D animation puts riders fully into the action, and fans of the show will appreciate how true it is to the series: Devils, aliens, and a giant panda all put in appearances. The manic action will more than make up for any show unfamiliarity—riders don't need to know The Simpsons in detail to have a blast on the ride.

Do note, there are lots of warnings that people shouldn't ride with back, heart, motion sickness, or fog and strobe effects issues.

Welcome to Springfield Hollywood

The Simpsons Ride opened in Universal Studios Hollywood in 2008. In 2015, the park 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 (which "explodes" at regular intervals.) The renovation also added actual carnival games adjacent to the Simpson's Ride.

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