Put your hand on your hip and hold on, because this bit of news may just blow you away: as of November 2nd, Universal Studios Florida’s Twister…Ride It Out attraction is gone with the wind.
Just weeks after Universal shuttered Disaster! to make way for Fast & Furious, the long-expected closure of Twister was executed within days of Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon’s unveiling of his “Race Through New York” simulator, which will be the next occupant of the New York soundstage originally built for the Ghostbusters Spooktacular show.
As a closing cast crew-member of Ghostbusters (it was my first gig at USF back in 1996) I never entirely warmed up to the show that replaced it, as the effectiveness of Twister’s effects varied widely throughout the attraction’s 17 year lifespan. But if you’re a fan of “so bad it’s good” entertainment, the aggressive ennui emanating from stars Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt was absolutely priceless, making Twister a strong candidate for Orlando’s best worst attraction.
Twister was also home to my favorite Hidden Mickey in Orlando: a smashed mouse ear hat stuck to the spinning tire of an upside-down car.
A couple days before Twister’s closing, I paid one last visit to the show and captured the entire attraction, from preshow to post-show reset:
Even better, I was able to take a coveted “booth tour,” which was one of Universal’s best kept secrets. When available, the booth tour allowed select guests to go backstage and watch Twister from the technical control booth, with live narration explaining all of the production’s complex effects. If you never got to experience a booth tour in person, this video is the next best thing:
If you were there to say goodbye to Bill and Hellen, or just have some cherished Twister memories to share, leave them in the comments below!