Description And Comments

TWISTER is a walk-through special effects show based on the 1996 film that starred Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton as "storm chasers," driving around the Midwestern U.S. trying to measure the intensity of tornados as they appear. The pre-show presentation includes many clips from the film's action sequences, interviews with Hunt and Paxton, and real-life footage showing the devastated aftermath which follows a tornado. (Hidden Mickey alert! Look for a Mouseketeer hat stuck to the crashed car's tire in the second preshow.)

The main presentation replicates a scene from that movie involving a tornado ripping through a drive-in theater. Guests stand on the far edge of a soundstage, in between a gas station and a restaurant, with the movie screen off in the distance. The tranquil calm of a summer evening is disturbed when storm clouds appear in the distance. The storm gathers strength as it gets larger and heads towards the audience. Wind and rain soon surround everyone, and the town has to ride through the full impact of the tornado that eventually appears the middle of the soundstage. The climax combines a five-story-tall simulated tornado (created by circulating more than 2 million cubic feet of air per minute) with enormous explosions and a short but dramatic floor drop.

We like Twister quite a bit, especially when the strong wind and a/c provide a few minutes of shelter from Florida's own brutal summer weather. Although the attraction is well into its second decade, most guests are still impressed when an actual floor-to-ceiling mini-tornado is created inside the soundstage. It's one of our favorite effects too. Our favorite effect, though, is Bill Paxton's almost entirely monotone delivery of his script in the pre-show film. By the time he says his big line – “Hold on for your life” – in a robot-like drone, you'll be repeating every line as flatly as you can.

Touring Tips

The wind, pounding rain, and freight-train sound of the tornado are deafening, and the entire presentation is exceptionally intense. Schoolchildren are mightily impressed, while younger children are terrified and overwhelmed. Unless you want the kids hopping in your bed whenever they hear thunder, try this attraction yourself first.

It's exceptionally rare to have to wait more than one show cycle (about 15 minutes) for Twister. The best view of the finale is from the front and center of any level; guests in the back get the most water sprayed on them. If you are interested in effects, ask to stay and watch the set reset; you may even be invited into the boot to see how it all works.

TWISTER...Ride It Out Wait Times

This chart shows you roughly how long you'll wait for TWISTER...Ride It Out when you visit on a day with a given Universal Studios Florida Crowd Level. The blue bars represent the average "peak" wait time (that is, how long the line will at its busiest). The bottom and top black lines represent the range of peak wait times to expect (for you fellow nerds out there: it's the 5th percentile and 95th percentile of peak wait times). Please note that these are estimates, and for a better forecast for your travel dates, see TWISTER...Ride It Out Wait Times.

Special Comments

High potential for frightening young children.

Special Needs

Stationary seating is available for those who need it. Parental discretion is advised.

Disney Dish with Jim Hill

BILL AND HELEN, HUG IT OUT!

By the end of production on Twister in 1996, Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt had come to hate each other. When Universal Orlando executives approached them about lending their talents to TWISTER . . . Ride It Out, they agreed to do so only if they could shoot their scenes on different days and never appear on camera together. That's why in the pre-show, they're always on opposite sides of the room and seen on different monitors.

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Touring Plans with TWISTER...Ride It Out

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