After months of speculation about the new construction taking place next to the lagoon, Universal Studios announced in early November 2012 that Transformers: The Ride - 3D would open in the summer of 2013 at Universal Studios Orlando and it officially opened on June 20, 2013.
The ride was constructed at Soundstage 44 in the Production Central area of the park. It is on the site of the former Murder She Wrote Mystery Theater and Hercules & Xena: Wizards of the Screen attraction between Mel’s Drive-In and the New York streets, close to Shrek 4-D and pretty much in the centre of the park facing the lagoon.
The ride experience itself is the same as the existing Transformer rides in both Universal Studios Singapore and Universal Studios Hollywood that opened to rave reviews in December 2011 and May 2012 respectively.
However because of its location in Universal Studios Orlando, being visible from all sides, the exterior of the building is different.
Like most indoor rides, the attraction is split into three components, the queue and pre-show area, the ride itself and the Transformers Supply Vault, the obligatory merchandising outlet.
As you thread your way through the queue area you enter a Nonbiological Extraterrestrial Species Treaty (NEST) base. Video screens show you briefings from various familiar characters including Optimus Prime and Bumblebee and set the scene for the ride to come.
The storyline is new but is based on the Transformer movie franchise from Steven Spielberg and Michael Bay and puts you in the thick of an intergalactic battle between Optimus Prime and the Autobots and Megatron and the evil Decepticons in a fight to protect the AllSpark.
As its name suggests, Transformers: The Ride - 3D is a 3D ride and it has been developed by the same team that created other iconic Universal rides like Revenge of the Mummy, Shrek 4-D, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.
It combines real-life props and staging with High Definition (HD) 3D media and flight simulator technology to give the riders a fully immersive and high energy indoor dark thrill ride. 3D images are projected onto 14 giant HD screens as the vehicles move around the attraction. Elements such as water, hot air and smoke are used to heighten the realism as you get caught up in the action.
The ride vehicles themselves are modelled on a new futuristic car Autobot called Evac with three rows of four seats. Each group of four riders are restrained by a single lap bar and height restrictions dictate that riders must be at least 40 inches (102 cm) tall.
Note that children between 40 inches and 48 inches (122 cm) tall must be accompanied by a supervising companion (aged 14 or older).
Each Evac is mounted on a platform giving it both 360 degrees of horizontal rotation and six degrees of freedom as you would expect of a flight simulator. This allows the Evacs to move around the attraction on a track at a simulated speed of up to 60 mph (96 kph). The Evacs can go both forwards and backwards as well as moving from side to side and going up and down the two elevators that form part of the ride.
In total there is around 2,000 foot of track split across two levels. Total ride time is about 4 1/2 minutes.
Courtesy of iThemePark
This is a simulator ride as opposed to a roller coaster ride and though there are no loops or inverted flight and high G-forces, the intense realism of the motion may be a bit much for some people. Parental discretion is recommended.
For fans of Transformers and the film franchise, this ride should not be missed.