Ride Review: The Simpsons Ride

My first few ride reviews have been of rides that are among my favorites and that I enjoy a lot. So for a change of pace, I'll be reviewing a ride I'm not quite as fond of, that being The Simpsons Ride. It's not that I think the ride is bad, but it's certainly not very high on my list of favorites from Disney and Universal, and I wouldn't care if I missed out on it on a trip. This review will give me a chance to not only give you my detailed thoughts on the ride like I have been doing, but also give criticism and explain why I don't find it to be that great of an experience. So, without further ado, let's get into The Simpsons Ride!

"The Simpsons Ride" officially opened at Universal Studios Florida on May 15, 2008 as a replacement for "Back to the Future: The Ride", which closed early 2007. Back to the Future: The Ride opened in 1991 and served as a sort of mini-sequel to the third movie in which Doc Brown and his fellow scientists went through time to make sure the space-time continuum was back to normal after having visited those time periods. However, 1955 Biff Tannen got ahold of the scientists time machine, and now we need to help Doc Brown track him down.The entire pre-show and ride were included as a special feature on the 2010 Blu-Ray release of Back to the Future. I actually rode it back in 2006 when I first went to Universal and the only thing I can remember about the experience from memory was that it made me motion sick (turns out some things never change!) Little did I know that it would be changed to the Simpsons next time I visited. Looking at videos of the ride, the effects did seem to be a bit dated, and we already know 2015 looks nothing like that, so I can't really see them bringing it back even if they did update the graphics (though the same could be said for the second movie to be fair). Simpsons looks to be staying for a long time anyway. I really had no particular affinity to the ride, so I'm not upset that it's a thing of the past, though I know there are many that loved it and would like to see it brought back in some form or another. After all, Back to the Future is one of Universal's most beloved properties, so it is understandable that people want to see it brought back. At least they still have the Delorean to take pictures with.

The queue for the Simpsons Ride takes you into Krustyland, Krusty the Clown's attempt at an amusement park which just so happens to be located inside another amusement parks. Outside of the attraction's entrance are midway games which emphasize the cheap, carnival feel that Krustyland takes on. There are posters along the walls that showcase some of the attractions at Krustyland, such as "Captain Dinosaur's Pirate Rip-Off" and "Radioactive Man: The Ride." The queue also includes has many TV screens featuring clips from the show that focus on Krusty the Clown. Moving into the Midway, we see Apu, Patty, Selma, and other fan favorite characters working behind the counters. Eventually, a clip comes on in which Krusty the Clown is trying to decide on the first group of people to ride his new ride, which he calls the "Thrilltacular: Upsy-Downsy Spins-Aroundsy Teen-Operated Thrillride." He decides on the Simpsons and says that they can pick one group to go with them. Bart points towards us in the queue and it is decided that we are going along with the Simpsons on this new ride. However, Krusty has no idea that Sideshow Bob has snuck into the building and is wearing a Scratchy costume. This makes up the first part of the preshow. Guests are then led into a small room where we get the second part of the preshow. Krusty has led the Simpsons into a backstage area where it is revealed that the park is being fueled by a nuclear reactor. Grampa Simpson is unable to ride for health reasons and is responsible for looking after Maggie while the rest of the family goes on the ride. However, Grampa falls asleep and Maggie sneaks into the nuclear reactor and grows to enormous size. Before the family is able to board, Sideshow Bob appears and threatens the Simpsons into the ride vehicle and forces them to watch a "Legally Required" Safety Video starring Itchy and Scratchy. The video ends and guests enter the loading area.

The Ride:
After entering the ride vehicle, Homer instructs guests to sit down and starts making an annoying noise. Then a TV screen appears with teen ride operator assures us that our comfort and safety is in the hands of highly qualified teens like himself, and then begins to frantically read his math textbook (upside-down) so he can pass the test and not get kicked out of the audio-visual club. Suddenly, Sideshow Bob appears on the screen inside of a crane and our ride journey begins. We meet up with the Simpsons at the top of the roller coaster and start going down when all of a sudden, Homer gets hit by a wrecking ball, which then comes rolling towards us. Everyone falls off the coaster and we fall into a kiddie ride, where we meet up with Lisa and Bart. Though it looks like we're safe, Sideshow Bob reappears strapped to a giant animatronic panda and we are thrown into a boat ride where Homer and Marge happen to be. The ride is a rip-off of Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean, including a fog screen with Sideshow Bob. The Simpsons try to help us escape, but we are unable to escape Sideshow Bob, until a giant Maggie shows up and grabs hold of the villain, but also pushes us down a drop of doom. Professor Frink rescues us and carries us out of Krustyland and into the heart of Springfield. We pass through the bustling streets until giant Maggie grabs us and sticks us in her mouth, sucking on the vehicle like a pacifier (a scene which is accompanied with the scent of baby powder). Shortly after that, we fly into a humorous billboard that reads "Send Money to Universal Studios." We meet up with the Simpsons on their living room couch and it seems like everything is back to normal. However, the couch becomes a vehicle for the "Death Drop" and quickly plummets. We land at the entrance to Krustyland with Sideshow Bob holding a chainsaw before being crushed by the Simpsons and their couch. Maggie knocks over the giant Krusty the Clown head and the ride ends with Krusty pushing a button that causes the vehicle to vibrate. Thus concludes the Simpsons ride.

Both of the Universal parks are filled with screen-based attractions, but this is particularly true for Universal Studios Florida. This park has so many screen-based, 3D/4D simulator attractions that there is a noticeable lack of variety in that park. With Tranformers, Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon, and the new Fast and Furious ride, this park could really go for a something different. The Simpsons Ride is probably the most basic of the simulator-type attractions and is essentially just a film accompanied by motion simulator vehicles. Back when I rode Back to the Future in 2006, there wasn't any similar experience in that park, but now that there are so many similar rides throughout both parks, it doesn't stand out much anymore. It's not necessarily the rides fault that there are so many screen-based attractions in the Universal parks, and I'm sure if it was the only one of it's type in the park, it would be a must-do, but as it stands now, it's not worth crying over if you miss out on it. However, the biggest problem I have with the ride is that it is incredibly jerky, a quality that hasn't changed since it was BttF. As a matter of fact, I really only ride it these days so that my brother doesn't have to go on by himself, because no one else in my family wants to go on this thing, and I can tell you that pretty much every time I go on it, I get a bit motion sick. I have a pretty tough stomach mind you, but for me, this is up there with Mission Space: Orange Version in terms of feeling unpleasant after walking off. I plan to go on my next trip as well since I know my brother most likely will want to, but I wouldn't feel bad if I skipped it altogether.

I think the Simpsons Ride as a whole is a decent attraction: it's got great humor and theming, a fun story, and decent animation quality. However, with all the other screen-based attractions in the Universal parks, the experience can easily get repetitive, and the Simpsons Ride doesn't really have anything that stands out about it except for being, well, Simpsons-themed. Compared to innovative screen-based rides like Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, The Simpsons Ride is clearly going to be far less captivating. It's certainly not the worst of Universal's simulators, and the ride has a lot of unique quirks, but with so many similar rides in the park, it doesn't stand out to me as an attraction I just need to do when I go to Universal. Another thing Simpsons has going against it is it's jerkiness. I don't have much of a problem with most of the other simulator-type rides, but this one is just particularly rough and makes me not look forward to riding it. For me, combine the repetitive ride type and jerky nature of the ride, it's not an attraction I think all that highly of and I wouldn't mind skipping it. It's not a bad ride by any means, but there are so many Universal rides I enjoy much more and that don't leave me feeling queasy.

Rating: 6.5/10


I dunno, very funny but I want a ride with thrills, but I love the surronding area and also in the Dr Seuss section I would really like a bigger the Grinch section over The Cat in the Hat but I would prefer Back to the Future over this. - iliekpiez