Universal Orlando Resort officially opened Transformers : The Ride 3-D today, June 20, 2013.
We’ve been reporting on Transformers on Micechat since walls went up around the formers Sound Stage 44 last year (Rumors Abound At Universal Orlando).
From the first day that construction started, this project has progressed at lightening speed. So, one year from the day that Universal Orlando broke ground, Universal Studios opened Transformers: The Ride: 3-D to the world.
Even though this ride is identical to its predecessors in Singapore and Hollywood, Universal Orlando pulled out all the stops for this grand opening with a gala event. The creators of the attraction from Universal Creative were on hand to answer questions, and there were movie stars on red carpet! Not to mention the jets flying over head, special fireworks and much more!
So strap yourself in as we take you on a crash landing through the epic grand opening for Transformers: The Ride 3-D
The night before the grand opening, Universal Studios invited select members of the media to come and meet the incredible talent at Universal Creative, the wizards behind the magic at Universal.
Mark Woodbury, President of Universal Creative, spoke to the group, and MiceChat was able to ask him a question about the ride experience
MiceChat: What was it like creating the character Evac (the ride vehicle), and creating the ride from his point of view?
Mark Woodbury: One of the things that we really focused on was putting you in the action. Making sure you are part of the experience. Having Evac being a character, and ultimately creating a new toy, was really something very engaging, and when discussing this with Michael Bay early on, he thought it was a really cool idea, and you really see that with your help, Evac grabs the shard of the All Spark and YOU really come into possession of the All Spark. It turned out really well.
After speaking with the Universal Creative team, we were escorted over to the Transformers ride, where a life-sized Optimus Prime Semi-Truck and a Bumble Bee Chevrolet Camero were parked. Megatron was doing meet and greets as well!
We were then invited to ride Transformers. While we have covered this extensively in previous articles, this attraction demands re-rides, and there are lots of hidden details for those who are observant and relish the small stuff!
The park closed with the Cinematic Spectacular, and then there was only one more night until the battle of the Autobots and Decepticons officially came to Orlando!
The Grand Opening!
With red carpet, movie stars, fighter jets, paparazzi, screaming fans, special pyrotechnics, and choreographed dancers, this Grand Opening was the must see event in Orlando for summer 2013.
Universal Orlando rolled out the red carpet for the Grand Opening! While this might be something people in California are used to, here in Orlando, it is a special treat!
As the grand finale for the Red Carpet, Steven Spielberg walked the red carpet with Optimus Prime!
Everyone who has a camera and was in Orlando was lining the red carpet, and crammed into any space around the lagoon trying to sneak a peak and snap a shot of their favorite star, Decepticon, or Autobot.
Universal brought out a number of celebrities to the Grand Opening, such as the voices of Optimus Prime and Megatron, Peter Cullen and Frank Welker. We spoke briefly to both Peter Cullen and Frank Welker about taking these characters through time and now onto the ride.
MiceChat: What has it been like to take these characters from the small screen to the big screen, and now, into this interactive experience?
Peter Cullen: I think a lot of the kids who watched this show in the early 80′s have taken the same journey I have. I think they understand that we have gone through ups and downs and transformations of all kinds. I have always been excited about what they are going to come up with next. Being in the intergalactic world of fantasy, anything is possible… I am part of that ride, and we are all together on this journey.
MiceChat: When people get off the ride, what do you hope people takeaway from their experience?
Peter Cullen: I think that people will want to do it again, and people will wish it was longer. You are going to come back, and have something to look forward to. People are going to say, “Let’s go back and do the ride again.” Kids who have done it 7, 8 times still love it and want to do it again!
MiceChat: Being involved with these characters, and what has been your experience with seeing people get so close to your character?
Frank Welker: Well, you start with the comic books, generation one, where it is a flat animation, and you watch the technology grow. And it is fun for us to watch this happening. And then then you see this coming to a theme park, and its enormous size, and to participate in the ride with my character is fun. You can really see the features, see the cartoon, but when you are actually participating in the ride, I know what Megatron does, I did the dialogue, but it still surprises me.
MiceChat: Does it still surprise you that, even though Megatron is a villain, that he has become so beloved by the fans?
Frank Welker: That is something I really don’t understand. He has a really good, strong fan base, and the Transformer fans are rabid! And I really like that they love Megatron. I don’t know what it is, but they are really serious about it. And while they keep writing in, and supporting it, I will be there.
MiceChat: What do you hope people take away from their experience when they get off the ride?
Frank Welker: To let themselves get into the Transformers world, some empathy for Cybertron, the brothers who fight the backstory. It leaves them with the feeling of where do we go from here.
Universal Creative and Universal’s top brass were out walking the carpet. Bill Davis, President of Universal Orlando Resort, and Thomas S. Williams, Universal Parks and Resorts CEO, stopped to talk to MiceChat briefly about what they hope guests experience.
MiceChat: What is the guest’s takeaway when they get off the ride?
Bill Davis: We want them to love it as much as we do. We rode it earlier today, and it is a great ride for the entire family. It will add to their enjoyment of their overall experience at Universal Orlando!
Thomas S. Williams: I want the to be blown away! I want them to say “How did they do that!”
Grand Opening Ceremony
Over the years, Universal has learned how to put on a Grand Opening event. It is hard to top what they did in 2010, when the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened, but this ceremony was a feast for the senses, with action happening in front, behind, above, and all around you. The Transformer’s message of a struggle between good and evil was clear, and guests felt the need to join N.E.S.T.
The ceremony started out with General Morshower (actor Glenn Morshower) introducing the new N.E.S.T. Training facility, along with Optimus Prime and Bumble Bee. After some explosions, and an interruption by Megatron, it was all out war! With military personnel, guns, explosions, fireworks, jets flying over head, and more explosions, this once in a lifetime show defines Universal’s mantra “Go Big or Go Home.”
In what can only be described as an incredible spectacle, thousands of people around the Lagoon all cheered as the Autobots triumphed and the ride officially opened!
Make no mistake, Transformers the Ride: 3-D is a home run with guests. While some of us “theme park super fans” might make comparisons with other rides that might seem similar in various ways (**cough**spider-man**cough**), the normal day guest is absolutely stunned by this attraction! What they know is that they experienced an intense, high action thrill ride, that had them white knuckling until the end. And I must admit, with each subsequent ride on Transformers, I see the similarities less and less, and I enjoy each attraction for the high packed adventure that each attraction is.
Audio Highlights From The Transformers Event
Prepare for theme park battle, because this summer just went into overdrive. There will be no rest for Universal right up until Potter 2.0 opens next year.