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Universal Studios Florida - World Expo: Back to the Future...The Ride


Rating: * * * * *
Type: Slam-bang simulator thrill ride
Time: 4.5 minutes
Kelly says: The best theme park ride in Orlando

For many people, this is the ride that made Universal Studios Florida famous. And with good reason. Back To The Future . . . The Ride is a bone-jarring, stomach-churning (the official disclaimer posted outside describes it as “dynamically aggressive”) thrill-a-second rocket ride through time and space. For once the warnings directed towards expectant mothers and those with heart problems, bad backs, and a tendency to motion sickness don’t seem like lawyers’ overkill. It’s easy to see how this ride could trigger a premature birth or otherwise encourage what’s inside to come outside in dramatic fashion.

Tip: Those in wheelchairs can still take this ride if they are able to transfer themselves from their wheelchair to the ride vehicle. Ask the attendant if you’re not sure.

That mammoth building at the back of World Expo is the Institute of Future Technology where that wild and wacky Doc Brown (played on video monitors with gleeful aplomb by Christopher Lloyd) is conducting yet another series of time travel experiments. Those of us who willingly get on the invariably long lines to this attraction are “volunteers” who have agreed to test out Doc’s new eight-seater convertible DeLorean — all in the interests of science. Trouble is, that not-too-bright but very resourceful Biff Tannen has stowed away in 1955 and is loose on the premises — a key bit of intelligence which we discover (via those video monitors) before Doc does. Biff has tied up some attendants and stolen the keys to one of the experimental DeLoreans. When he learns the truth, Doc goes, well, ballistic. “This could end the universe as we know it,” he screams with characteristic understatement.

Suddenly, our mission has changed. Far from being mere passengers, we are now charged with giving chase to the evil Biff and engineering a time/space collision that will send Biff and his vehicle reeling back to the present.

That’s the set-up. What follows is harder to describe. Suffice it to say that you’re off on a four and a half minute, high-speed odyssey that will seem like eternity to some and all too brief to others. Along the way, you will zoom through the streets of Hill Valley’s future, into the ice caves of its distant past, and smack into the slavering maw of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, always just a few tantalizing feet behind the errant Biff.

This ride raised the bar on thrill rides when it first opened. It has yet to be matched. It is, quite simply, the best simulator-based ride in Orlando, period.

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