Back to The Future’s Last Ride

Peter Sciretta at Back to the Future: The Ride

Back to the Future is my favorite movie of all time. It’s not one of my favorite movies, it is my favorite movie. I remember my first journey to Universal Studios as a young kid. I ran through the park on a mission to ride the DeLoreon and go Back to the Future. The television commercials totally sold me, and my father was dragged along for the ride. He had no choice, and he thankfully fronted the bill (like most parents do). I returned to the park almost 10 years later. The photo above is me standing outside the ride almost a decade ago (boy do I look a lot younger). The ride was a bit worse for wear. The friends I had taken the trip with were making cracks about the state of the ride. Compared to some of the other more advanced theme park and amusement rides, a motion simulator seemed as old as, well, 1985. I felt myself sticking up for the ride like it was an old 1980’s movie that I fell in love with as a kid. But truth is, I think the ride is still one of the best rides in Florida and Los Angeles.

As you probably now know, the Back to the Future Ride is being replaced with a new Simpsons Thrill ride. It’s a travesty. I can understand Universal’s decision – how many kids now-a-days have watched Back to the Future? It’s no longer the recognizable franchise. Universal has announced that the final day for the attraction will be on Labor Day, September 3rd 2007. The studio is giving riders the chance to win one of the “stainless steel 1981 DeLoreans that served as inspiration for Doc Brown’s flux capacitor-equipped time machines.” I’m tempted to head down to Los Angeles just to go on the adventure one last time.  Read the whole press release after the jump.

Universal City, California – After thrilling over 61 million visitors with wild rides across “the space-time continuum,” the ground-breaking “Back to the Future – The Ride” attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood will soar into the future for the very last time on Labor Day, September 3, 2007.  Fans of the attraction will also have an opportunity to take the last ride and drive off as the owner of one of the stainless steel 1981 DeLoreans that served as inspiration for Doc Brown’s flux capacitor-equipped time machines.

“Back to the Future – The Ride” blends breakthrough simulator technology with a cutting-edge Omni-max 70mm film to create a total sensory experience.  A signature attraction at “The Entertainment Capital of L.A.” for over 14 years, the ride is being closed to make way for the introduction of a new thrill ride based on the enormously popular “The Simpsons” TV series and movie.  The Simpsons ride is slated to debut in Spring 2008.

“Back to the Future – The Ride” was introduced in 1993 as a continuation of the Oscar®-winning blockbuster “Back to the Future” film trilogy directed by Robert Zemeckis and executive produced by Steven Spielberg for Universal Pictures.  The attraction features an eight-seat convertible DeLorean Time Travel Vehicle that elevates the theme park ride experience to an unprecedented level of detail, beginning with an artfully staged queue line experience that helps set up the ride’s narrative storyline.

At the center of “Back to the Future-The Ride” is an original film, masterfully designed to interface with the simulator’s technology by an award-winning team of filmmakers, including Oscar®-winning and three-time Oscar® nominated director Douglas Trumbull, Oscar®-nominated cinematographer David K. Kennedy and Oscar®-nominated writer Bob Gale.

With imitation being the most sincere form or flattery, the ride has inspired many replicas at other theme parks worldwide since its gala 1993 premiere at Universal Studios Hollywood.

Fewer than 10,000 DeLorean automobiles were built at the company’s Northern Ireland factory.  The car was notable for its futuristic design, including a stainless steel exterior and top-opening gull-wing doors.  The 1981 DeLorean that Universal Studios Hollywood will give away has been driven with just over 60,000 miles.  Officials at the studio are unable to estimate how many millions of years the vehicle has traveled in the space-time continuum. To learn more about winning the DeLorean, guests can log on to www.UniversalStudiosHollywood.com or visit the theme park to register at specially-created “Back to the Future” kiosks.

Universal Studios Hollywood, The Entertainment Capital of L.A., includes a full-day, movie-based theme park and Studio Tour, the CityWalk entertainment, shopping and dining complex, the Universal CityWalk Cinemas and the Gibson Amphitheatre concert and special event venue.  The theme park features such groundbreaking attractions as “Revenge of the Mummysm – The Ride,” “Shrek 4-Dâ„¢,” “Jurassic Park® – The  Ride” and the world-renowned Studio Tour, which takes guests behind-the-scenes of such landmark TV and movie locations and sets as Steven Spielberg’s “War of the Worlds.”  Universal CityWalk features 65 entertainment-themed restaurants, nightclubs, shops and dynamic entertainment options.  Universal CityWalk Cinemas, offering the best movie-going experience in Los Angeles, features 19 screens including one of Southern California’s largest IMAX® venues and newly renovated stadium-style seating.

Universal Studios Hollywood (www.UniversalStudiosHollywood.com) is a unit of Universal Parks & Resorts, a division of Universal Studios, a part of NBC Universal.  NBC Universal is one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience.  Formed in May of 2004 through the combining of NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment, NBC Universal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world renowned theme parks.  NBC Universal is 80% owned by General Electric, with 20% controlled by Vivendi.

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