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Another animated film coupled to a motion simulator, The Simpsons Ride is as much a satire of theme parks as it is a high-speed thrill ride through the Fox animated series that is now TV’s longest-running sitcom. Featuring the voices of Dan Castellaneta (Homer), Julie Kavner (Marge), Nancy Cartwright (Bart), Yeardley Smith (Lisa), and other cast members, the attraction uses a visit to Krustyland – the absurdly unsafe amusement park owned by the show’s cantankerous Krusty the Clown – as an excuse to skewer Disney, SeaWorld, and even Universal itself.
The queue area and pre-shows involve Simpsons video clips (both classic and newly created) that help define the characters for guests who are unfamiliar with the TV show, and mock virtually every classic Disney attraction from Haunted Mansion (here as the “Haunted Condo,” with “999 unhappy teen employees”) to Hall of Presidents (redone as “Hall of the Secretaries of the Interior” – wait time 0 minutes). Not even ride safety videos are spared; The Simpsons’ version is an outrageous gorefest starring Itchy & Scratch demonstrating how not to behave.
The attraction itself recycled the foundations of Universal's former Back to the Future ride; watch the queue video for a time-traveling cameo by Doc Brown. It is a simulator similar to Star Tours at DHS and Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, but with a larger curved screen more like that of Soarin’ at Epcot. The ride vehicles hold 8 guests in two rows of four.
The storyline has the conniving Sideshow Bob secretly arriving at Krustyland, the aforementioned amusement park, and plotting his revenge on Krusty and Bart for sending him to jail. Sideshow Bob gets even by making things go wrong with the attractions that the Simpsons (and you) are riding. While there are dozens of dips, turns climbs and drops during the ride, there are probably hundreds of one-liners and visual puns. Like the show on which it’s based, The Simpsons Ride definitely has an edge, and operates on several levels. There will be jokes and visuals that you'll get but will fly over your children's heads—and most assuredly vice versa.
Because the screen you sit in front of is a giant curved dome, anyone sitting outside the central sweet spot gets a distorted view, which may aggravate motion sickness. For the best experience, ask the attendant at the bottom of the ramps for Level 2, then ask the next attendant you see for Room 6. Taller guests (6 feet or over) should sit in the front row to avoid bumping their heads.
As far as motion simulators go, The Simpsons Ride isn't as sickness-inducing as many. The wider screen seems to help, as this mom from Huntington, New York said:
I'm not a fan of wild motion simulators, but I was fine on this ride. The field of vision makes it very engrossing, like Soarin'. However, our family still rates Star Tours higher than The Simpsons Ride, as participating in the Star Tours simulation was most like actually being a character in the original Star Wars movie!
Though not as rough and jerky as some simulators, skip it if you're an expectant mom or prone to motion sickness. Some parents may find the humor a little too coarse for their younger children.
In late 2016, Universal began testing a single rider queue at The Simpsons Ride. If available, it should help trim your wait.
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Here's roughly how many minutes you'll wait for The Simpsons Ride at each Universal Studios Florida Crowd Level.
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