On their website, Universal Studios Orlando says that Transformers: The Ride — 3-D is “an ultra-immersive, next generation thrill ride that blurs the line between fiction and reality.” Well, lucky for them, one out of three still makes for a nice ride.
Ultra-Immersive is a good description of what you are going to get from the Studio’s newest attraction. Fans of the film franchise will find that the N.E.S.T. is an outstanding recreation of the military compound featured in the movies.
As visitors journey through the facility, they are trained via a series of entertaining video feeds to become “freedom fighters.” These guests will then battle alongside Autobot leaders such as Bumblebee and Optimus Prime, as they protect the AllSpark, and ancient power source, from the evil Decepticon hoard, lead by Megatron.
As the training comes to an end, the N.E.S.T. is invaded by the Decepticons, and the AllSpark must be evacuated. Thankfully, all of this is diverting enough to take your mind off the wait, which is sure to be in the one-an-a-half to two hour range.
Once on the ride, the “ultra-immersion” continues as you ride through the battlefield and encounter vicious Decepticons. The battle scenes are done in amazingly detailed 3-D animations, much like the Spider-Man attraction at Universal’s other park Islands of Adventure.
Herein lies the ride’s biggest disappointment. Universal calls this a “next generation thrill ride,” and it is not. It is a same generation thrill ride that very nearly mirrors The Amazing Spider-Man. Guests who have already experienced Spider-Man are going to be disappointed as Transformers goes through a very nearly identical sensory experience. There is a flying scene and a falling scene. There is a jerky tunnel ride. There is a villain that gets in your face. They throw a bomb at you that blows up part of the set. Action packed? Yes! Next generation? No way! It feels like the same ride with different characters.
It can’t be truly said that the ride “blurs the line between fiction and reality” either. On this account, a better example would be a ride like Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. That ride has a balance of exquisitely rendered set elements blended with its film elements. Transformers, on the other hand, lacks exciting set pieces to compliment the film elements. The N.E.S.T. set in the waiting cue is realistic, interactive and enjoyable, but once the actual ride starts the sets became very limited — just frames for the film screens, really. To truly blur the lines they should have incorporated more tangible elements in the design.
Overall, Transformers: The Ride 3-D, is a lot of fun. It’s action packed, and it is worth the wait. However, if you are expecting it to be something new and original, save yourself some disappointment. Ride it without that expectation, and you should like it just fine.