‘Transformers: The Ride’ Opens June 20 at Universal Orlando

After much anticipation, Tranformers: The Ride will open June 20.

Heralded by an 80-foot image of Megatron breaking through the Fairwinds office tower off I-4, Universal Orlando has announced a June 20 opening date for its new 3-D Transformers ride.

According to Universal, the ride is “a mind-blowing, action-packed experience that pushes the limits of technology to place guests in the middle of a larger-than-life battled between the Autobots and the Decepticons.” It’s based on the motion picture series and combines high-tech 3D film with state-of-the-art motion technology.

The same tactic was used when the ride opened at Universal Studios Hollywood last year.

After lots of rumors, Universal Orlando announced in November that Transformers would indeed be its latest and greatest. The ride looks as if it will be a carbon copy of the version at Universal Studios Hollywood, according to Kelly Monaghan, author of the ebook, Universal Orlando Hollywood. He gives the ride five stars, describing it as follows:

The Transformers began in the 1980s as devilishly clever children’s toys, little cars and trucks that unfolded into nifty sci-fi robots. There was a loose story line behind the toys, involving good and evil alien robots from a distant planet  that, for reasons best known to their creators, chose to model themselves on twentieth century Earth vehicles. They quickly burst the bonds of their toy boxes to become a Marvel comic book, an animated TV series, and finally one of Hollywood’s most successful (and perhaps most inane) action movie franchises.

There have been so many iterations of the Transformers story line that it would take a Talmudic scholar to unravel them. Fortunately, Transformers, the Ride restricts itself to the wildly successful three-film (soon to be four-film) series directed by action wunderkind Michael Bay.

Here at USH, we enter the headquarters of NEST (Non-biological Extraterrestrial Species Treaty) as recruits in training for the human forces that, allied with the heroic Autobots and their leader Optimus Prime, battle the evil Decepticons, led by Megatron, whose battle-to-the-death has destroyed their native planet of Cybertron and has now spilled over to Earth. (Who writes this stuff?)

NEST headquarters houses and protects the last fragment of the All-Spark. The AllSpark is a… well, it’s the…. Let’s just say it’s what Alfred Hitchcock used to call a McGuffin, a meaningless something or other that drives the plot. It’s important, the Decepticons want it, and if they get it we can all kiss our asteroids goodbye. You’ll actually get to see the AllSpark in the queue line, not that that will make you any the wiser.

If you haven’t seen the films, not to worry. An extensive briefing by General Morshower (from Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, the first sequel) and Autobot Ratchet (a better name for an alien I have yet to hear) will give you all this background and then some.

Tip: During slower periods it is possible to breeze through the queue so quickly that you miss the set up. So if you need that background (and it is sorta fun), you may want to slow down and watch the video briefings. Of course, during busy periods the line can be dauntingly long. In that case, especially if you’ve ridden once or twice, the single rider line can speed you to the loading platform.

As we progress through the queue, we learn that things on the battlefront are getting a bit dicey, so much so that raw recruits must be used as cannon fodder (should that be robot fodder?) in a last ditch attempt to save Earth from those nasty Decepticons.

With that scary news we board ride vehicles that seat 12 passengers four abreast in three rows. One point that many riders miss is that their vehicle is actually an Autobot named Evac, which becomes very important in a matter of seconds. Then it’s off to find and destroy Decepticons.

(cont’d — click the number 2, below.)

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