26 July 2006 | filmkr27
Help Save the Back to the Future Ride from extinction
from bttf.com Saturday, July 22, 2006
Universal Orlando permanently closing gullwing doors on 'Back to the Future...The Ride' in September
Orlando The rumors are seemingly true: Universal Orlando will apparently close Back to the Future...The Ride permanently in September 2006 after 15+ years of continuous service successfully taking time travel volunteers across the space-time continuum.
Back to the Future...The Ride has been a staple at Universal Studios Florida since it first opened to the public on May 2, 1991. Following on the heels of two extremely popular sequels in 1989 and 1990 respectively, the attraction finally gave fans a physical location where they could literally ride the movie and visit Doc Brown's lab anytime they wanted.
On a reported budget of $40 million, the state-of-the-art simulator ride was light-years ahead of its time blowing away Disney's Star Tours & Body Wars attractions and paving the way for other popular simulator attractions to land in Orlando such as Islands of Adventure's highly popular Spiderman ride. It spawned two sequels of sorts of its own, with the same attraction popping up in similar layouts at Universal Studios Hollywood in Universal City, California (1993) and Universal Studios Japan in Osaka (2001).
Back to the Future...The Ride was one of the very first attractions to successfully bridge the gap between films & theme park attractions by employing many of the cast & crew who worked on the highly successful trilogy. BTTF veteran actors Christopher Lloyd and Tom Wilson returned to their famous roles as 'Doc Brown' and 'Biff Tannen' respectively, and BTTF composer Alan Silvestri composed the ride's score. Appearing in smaller roles, Darlene Vogel who appeared as one of Griff's gang members 'Spike' in Back to the Future Part II appeared as 'Heather', the spokesperson at the Institute of Future Technology, and BTTF Unit Publicist Michael Klastorin appeared as one of the security checkpoint guards Biff ultimately foils to gain access to Doc Brown's office during the attraction's highly entertaining pre-show.
For years though, rumors have circulated the internet that Universal would soon close the attraction and replace it with something else. UO President & CEO Bob Gault told the Orlando Sentinel on more than one occasion that he'd like to replace BTTF with another story & vehicles which guests could, in his words, "relate to better." As far back as 2002, Universal's semi-popular The Fast & The Furious film series has topped those rumors as the choice to replace the attraction, but now various unconfirmed online sources point to a non-Universal property set to take its place The Simpsons.
When reports of a closure once again surfaced this week, my knee-jerk reaction was to quickly write them off as rumors as usual. Even after emailing a few contacts inside the park for verification, everything seemed safe at least for a little while longer. However, by the end of the week, my sources one by one began to do a 180° on me stating that apparently it was true after all. Based upon what I've been told from a top management source inside Universal's lot, they are indeed going to phase out the attraction beginning next month one theater at a time. One of the two theaters will be taken down in August, and then the other one will close in September.
Writer/Producer Bob Gale tells BTTF.com that while he has no current knowledge of Universal's plans for the attraction, he wasn't too surprised to learn that it may be closing after knowing "what awful shape the DeLorean they'd had on display at the tour out here was in before they refurbished it for the premiere of the DVDs." While there has been no formal announcement made by Universal, fans may not wish to sit back and allow the decision to be made quietly. "If the fans want to complain, I suggest they address their complaints not only to the tour but to Steven Spielberg" states Gale, reminding me that Spielberg remains a paid Creative Consultant to the park and specifically on Back to the Future...The Ride since it is an Amblin property. "If he wanted to save it and improve it, I believe he could have a lot of influence."
So, just how do you do that? Here's where you can send your letters to Save Back to the Future...The Ride!!!:
"Save Back to the Future...The Ride!!!"
Attention: Bob Gault, President & CEO
Universal Studios Florida
1000 Universal City Plaza
Orlando, FL 32819
"Save Back to the Future...The Ride!!!"
Attention: Steven Spielberg
Amblin Entertainment, Inc.
100 Universal City Plaza, Building 477
Universal City, CA 91608
A nice touch may be to send copies of photographs from your family trips to Universal showing you and your family outside the Institute of Future Technology, shopping in the BTTF Gift Shop, or chatting it up with 'Doc Brown'. Let them know that Future fans won't just sit back quietly and let our attraction go the same way as Ghostbusters and Kongfrontation! As Doc Brown would say, "the future hasn't been written yet."