Rides cost more than $100 million each to design and build. But whereas the Hollywood ride took three years to construct, the Orlando attraction was built within a year, marking one of the shortest build times in Universal’s history, according to Thierry Coup, senior VP of the park’s creative studio at Universal Creative.
“What helps is that we’ve done this twice now and the same team is assigned to this project,” Coup told Variety last year. “They know what it’s going to take to bring this to life. It will be a huge accomplishment.”
Universal Studios Orlando attraction features the same cast of robotic characters, footage and technology developed by Industrial Light & Magic. The exterior and line pre-shows are different to distinguish the attraction from its counterparts.
Guests wear 3D glasses from Germany’s Infitec to view action — often as close as 15 feet — that unfolds on 14 screens of various sizes, the largest 60 feet high.
“Transformers” franchise helmer Michael Bay and toymaker Hasbro, which controls the license to the shape-shifting robots, consulted on the design of the characters and ride’s storyline that recruits guests to help the Autobots protect a powerful energy source known as the AllSpark from the evil Decepticons looking to destroy Earth.
For the ride’s opening, Universal is turning to Facebook to launch the “Join the Resistance” experience that enables recruits to create their own NEST IDs, train for battle, access exclusive photos and video and win prizes that include a trip to the attraction’s grand opening celebration.
Universal erected an 80-foot sign depicting a Transformer crashing through an office building in Orlando this week to promote the ride’s opening.
Ride is the latest addition to Universal’s resorts in Florida since opening the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Islands of Adventure in 2010. Since then, it’s begun an expansion to that successful portion of the park, redesigned its “Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man” ride with new 3D footage, and opened the “Despicable Me”-themed “Minion Mayhem” attraction.
Theme parks rely heavily on tentpole attractions to woo tourists during the summer months.
In the case of the “Transformers” ride, Universal not only has the films to fall back on as a promotional vehicle, but also its stars to make guest appearances to thrill guests.
For example, franchise co-star Josh Duhamel visited the Hollywood ride in April and stopped for a photo opp with the attraction’s main characters Optimus Prime and Megatron.