Updated Information On Universal Studios Hollywood's newest attraction Transformers: The Ride 3D (updated May 25th, 2012 with additional images)
We first posted this review when we heard that Universal's new Transformers: The Ride 3D might open for "Technical Rehearsals" as early as April 19th. On the 18th, we were contacted by Universal representatives and invited to come down the next morning and see for ourselves. Sure enough, the ride opened with the park at 10am and we rode repeatedly for a couple of hours (as the ride had a very short line). We were also invited to N.E.S.T. headquarters to walk the track of this new mega-attraction prior to its opening to the public. We have visited the attraction multiple times (before and after its opening to the public) and even attended the official grand opening press event on May 24th, 2012. Below, you'll find photos from a variety of our visits.
What is Transformers: The Ride 3D?
So what did we think of this attraction? Well, quite frankly, we were blown away by it. The 3D is on par or better than what you see on Star Tours, but on this attraction, the simulator seats 12 and moves on a track with a full range of motion (up, down, dodge, shake, spin), with crisp audio, and an action packed story line which will have you exhausted at the end. Yes, it's as amazing as it sounds.
(Note - we posted part of this review after a walk-through of the attraction we took on April 12th. We've updated the review and republished below with additional information and thoughts after having ridden the attraction early in the morning on April 19th. It was updated again after the grand opening ceremony on May 24th.)
Official Web Site: Transformers The Ride 3D at Universal Studios Hollywood
Ride Length: about Four minutes long
Height Restrictions: 48” tall to ride alone; 40” to ride accompanied
Front of Line: Gate A (Universal's front of line program) and Single Rider line
Track Length: 2000 ft
Top Speed: Simulated speeds up to 60mph
The ride vehicles (though you will never see the motion base as it is hidden by the loading platform)
Vehicles: 12 passengers, 3 rows of four, track-based roaming flight simulator, 360º capability Let's take a tour:
Vehicle onboard sound: 5,000 watts of sound, 14 channel audio
Practical Effects: Strobe, Water, Heat, Fog
HD3D Screens : 14 total, maximum height: 60', front, rear and compound curve screens
The boxy (sound stage like) show building is masked only by a larger than life mural of transformers in battle. You can't miss it as you descend the Starway from the upper lot. Upon entering the attraction show building, you'll find yourself in N.E.S.T. headquarters (Nonbiological Extraterrestrial Species Treaty). Here, we are divided up into three groupings; Regular queue, Gate-A (front of the line), and Single Rider. Form there, the lines separate and begin to set up the storyline for the adventure ahead.
Not only is the queue well themed, it is also quite large and completely temperature controlled (which will be a blessing this summer).
While in the queue, you'll learn that it is a time of extreme danger. The Decepticons are on the attack in pursuit of the "All Spark" that would give them ultimate power. As you might expect from a theme park attraction, you are recruited to help fight the Decepticons and soon find yourself aboard your very own Transformer vehicle to join the fight.
The All Spark
Click for larger, downloadable image.
grab your protective glasses and get in the EVAC
Grabbing a pair of 3D glasses we hop on board and are off for 4 minutes of high-tech wizardry and fun.
If there are smaller ones in your party that cannot or choose not to ride, there is a waiting area just to the left of the loading platform.
The waiting area window looks out onto the returning vehicles.
Each vehicle is a roaming flight simulator that darts, spins and careens through practical sets that are perfectly blended with High Definition 3D projections to create an impressive illusion of reality. The attraction fuses rear-projection HD3D screens, practical sets, heat, water and smoke, and flight simulator technology.From the moment you step into the queue, until the ride is done, you'll be part of the action. The tension ratchets up from one room to the next in the queue, until you are ready to hop aboard an EVAC and fight the bad guys for yourself. The brilliance of the story is that you really don't need to know it at all. The bad guys are have taken something that could destroy the world and you need to get it back. If you pay attention, you can learn even more, which makes the ride very repeatable (in fact, you'll be compelled to get right back in line if you experience the same emotions about the attraction as we did.)
All of the photos you see below from the actual ride portion of the attraction were taken while on a guided walking tour we took on April 13th. You are not actually permitted to take photos while on the ride, so we were quite fortunate (and thankful) to have been invited to take these photos before the attraction opened to the public. Some of these shots are with work lights on, and others in show mode.
With Spiderman and Harry Potter in Florida, and now Transformers in Los Angeles, Universal has amassed an impressive collection of dark-rides that rival the best of Disney. We were blown away by the technology of this new attraction. As of the writing of this article (prior to the opening of Radiator Springs Racers at Disney) we feel that Transformers is poised to battle Disney for best new attraction in the Southern California market and one of the top attractions overall in Southern California, if not the world.
When Can You Ride?
As of Mary 24th, 2012, this ride was officially opened to the public.Our Suggestion?
Buy an annual pass, because you are going to want to visit this attraction several times this summer. Universal seems to have a solid hit on their hands and may have built a ride that at one time would only have been possible by Disney. Kudos to Universal Creative, we can't wait to see what they have cooked up for their next big project, Harry Potter.The Grand Opening Ceremony:
After 4 weeks of "Technical rehearsal", or soft opening for you Disney folk, Transformers: The Ride 3D officially opened with fanfare, a little pyro, and a few celebrities thrown into the mix on Thursday May 24th, 2012.
The Bumblebee walk around character was a big hit.
The walk around characters look amazing
Imagine having to walk around in one of these costumes in the heat of summer.
The king of cinema, Steven Spielberg, was hanging out at the grand opening ceremony.
Optimus Prime chatting up the crowd.
After a taped message from Michael Bay, Director of the Transformers movies, and the arrival of General Moreshower, a staged battle took place that culminated in the opening of the ride.
While there were many interesting people in attendance, not the least of which was executive producer Steven Speilberg, none of them took the stage during the ceremony. The star of this show was the ride itself.
General Morshower began the ceremony.
"I'm Michael Bay and this @#%! just got real. Thank you."
Then the explosions happened.
You can almost see Optimus Prime.
Protect the Allspark!
Larry Kurzweil, President, Universal Hollywood.
He should be happy
All of the creative and executive teams got first dibs on the ride. The VIP's, celebrities, and then the throngs of press from around the globe were given the green light to head in.
Bumblebee made an appearance as a car (there is a walk around Bumblebee as well)
As the executives and creative team exited the attraction after the press event, we caught their reactions
Peter Cullen, the voice of Optimus Prime exiting the ride...
and smiling General Morshower
Chick Russell, Show Producer, Universal Creative, Universal Parks and Resorts.
The First Official Guests Arrive:
We were able to catch the first official guests arriving at the attraction in a wave of excitementWe asked one of the first little boys out of the attraction what he thought, his answer: "Freakin' AWESOME!". It's going to be a very good summer for Universal.
And in they went
And the Lower Lot filled with guests