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An upgraded version of Universal's opening-day Earthquake attraction, Disaster! (subtitled “A Major Motion Picture Ride...Starring YOU!”) serves as both an entertaining introduction into movie-making special effects, and a parody of low-budget action flicks, bad acting and Hollywood egos. In the first part of the attraction, guests are recruited for roles in a film called Mutha Nature, directed by the overbearing and conceited Frank Kincaid (Christopher Walken) and starring an unnamed actor you’ll recognize as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
After the volunteers are selected, the crowd gets a standing-room-only audience with Kinkaid, who appear as a full-size hologram, seemingly interacting with a live performer on stage. The effect is accomplished with a Musion Eyeliner screen, which is also employed inside the Harry Potter attractions. The audience is then seated in a soundstage where a number of seemingly random scenes are filmed starring the guests-cum-volunteers. Each volunteer is placed in front of a "green screen" and given some unremarkable task to perform, possibly while being pelted with foam debris from whatever disaster will later be overlaid onto the film. The humor comes from the volunteer's slightly delayed reaction to whatever is going on around them, the emcee's running commentary of their acting ability, and Walken's deadpan delivery of his director's lines.
Finally, guests board a faux city subway to shoot the final scene, which sees the train subjected to earthquakes, explosions, and onrushing water. The finale's effects are a bit dated (when and if they are working), but the pyrotechnics still impress most first-time riders. Following the quake, while the subway returns to the station, the audience gets to see the finished "film" which pieces together the green screen performances from earlier with the subway ride.
Not usually crowded, we recommend seeing Disaster! in the late morning or afternoon, after tackling the park's other major rides. If you're unsure about all the shaking, you can enjoy the preshows and skip the ride portion.
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