On Thursday I got to go to Universal Studios with my camp. The day didn't start off too dandy, though... I had to get up at around 6:30 with only a few hours asleep. So actually the day started off alright, but it was the night before that messed me up.
We made really good time to the park. It took maybe an hour and a half with morning traffic. When we got there, first thing we decided to head out towards was, of course, The Simpsons Ride. Since it was new, it was probably the big ticket ride for the day. We thought smart going first, as later the camp directors had to ban the ride from the kids since it was a church camp and there were young kids and all. Honestly though, it wasn't too offensive aside from a couple Duff beer references and a 2-second picture of the devil.
Anyways, just standing outside the ride you know it's going to be intense.
I was sad at first that they were tearing down Back to the Future for something as less-symbolic as the Simpsons, but after walking just into the line, it looked more decked out and nicer. Maybe it was because Back to the Future was made in the 80's or just because the Simpsons is more colorful, but it looked way better.
While you're waiting, flat screen TVs on the walls and ceilings would occasionally show a TV (within the TV) playing classic Simpsons clips from the actual TV show, usually theme park related (Krusty Land, Duff Gardens) and even Itchy and Scratchy shorts (which weren't the worst ones with tons of blood and guts). But the real highlight of the TVs were the small segments made specially for the ride. The animation, as with the rest of the ride excluding the ride itself, was made in the high-quality color and drawings like in the movie, not the cartoon. My favorite which I saw was basically a poke at Back to the Future, showing why Krusty Land was built where Doc Brown's lab used to be. I won't spoil it, but if you get the chance to catch it, it's hilarious, and even the actor who played Doc Brown in the movie and ride voice acted himself.
Once you move past the outdoor lines and you get inside, you have to stand in rows. The sides of the room have fake carnival game and information stands similar to the entrance, but this time in the center are screens with Simpsons characters running the stands. Every now and then the characters would do something funny and get the lines laughing. There's even more TV screens hanging from the ceilings, and while sometimes explaining to be safe and stuff while waiting, there's usually fake ads for Krusty branded products (like flavored ear-swabs!). Our line moved pretty fast, but I was able to see one short of Krusty explaining his new ride opening.
Once we got into the little room where you wait to be boarded onto the ride, I saw that they completely changed it. Before, there was a little cabinet with random things of Doc Brown... now, its just the room with a screen and some paintings on the wall made to look like a carnival or amusment park. The precaution/intro video was hilarious, though. There's actually a pretty nice plotline going involving the Simpsons, with Sideshow Bob trying to kill them again (which you catch in disguise in some of the pre-ride shows).
Once we were let in, the old DeLorean vehicles you used to board were changed to look like a rollercoaster cart, and the room looking like a loading station with signs exclaiming how much fun we're going to have and all that. It looked actually really convincing - the kids in my group were convinced the fake exit door would lead them on an actual rollercoaster (even after me telling them it wasn't a couple hundred times).
As soon as I sat down, though, I noticed something weird... there was water all over the seats and handles. I didn't want to tell the kids this to not spoil it for them, but with my crazy detective skills I figured there were some water guns by the walls, and as the ride started and raised us up, I saw them. I don't really know why I look for these things but I do...
Anyway, the whole ride show was in 3D as opposed to the 2D cartoon shows you saw while waiting in line. Again, I'm not going to spoil the ride, but some of the things your cart goes through include going down a huge rollercoaster, flying through Krusty Land rides (which include a couple obvious Disneyland knockoffs), going into space, and riding through Springfield itself.
I can say from experience that it was definitely intense.
After you leave the ride, you're led outside to find these photo booths (yes, you get a photo taken during the ride as well) that you can send to your email after paying $5, ala Astroblasters at Disneyland.
After The Simpsons Ride, all we did was eat, go on the Studio Tour (which was sad after the fire and all), ride Jurassic Park a couple times, and watch WaterWorld. We did manage to go look at the Kwik-E-Mart shop at the end of the day though, and it was filled with overpriced Simpsons crap. They were even selling Duff in the form of energy drinks! The weirdest thing I saw, though, was this huge donut (and I mean a huge donut... it had its own box and everything). Sadly, to a couple of the kids' dismay, there were no Squishee machines.
So it was pretty fun, but even today I'm still tired. And so is my wallet - I brought $15 and it only payed for a Coke, Pizza Hut pan pizza, and a water bottle. Lame. I hate theme park bigwigs.
...time to sleep.