Autobots and Decepticons alike rolled out on the red carpet at Universal Orlando rolled out for yesterday’s star-studded grand opening of Transformers: The Ride 3D.
As the new ride officially debuted at the Florida theme park, star voice actors Peter Cullen and Frank Welker shared performances of their classic “Transformers” characters as Optimus Prime and Bumblebee both showed up, transforming between their vehicle and robot forms while defending the new N.E.S.T. facility against an invasion led by evil lord Megatron.
Though the trio of Transformers didn’t actually transform at the event, we had a little fun with the video below, creating a mini movie of sorts featuring a few special voice recordings offered by Cullen and Welker exclusively for Inside the Magic.
Video: Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Megatron transform & talk at Transformers grand opening in Orlando
Cullen and Welker have been voicing their respective “Transformers” roles since the original animated TV show began in the early 1980s. Though Welker was replaced as the voice of Megatron in director Michael Bay’s films, he returns to reprise the role in Transformers: The Ride 3D. In addition to voicing their famous roles on the red carpet for us, both talents offered their own thoughts about meeting their famous characters face-to-face in the parks and on the ride.
Interviews: Voices of Optimus Prime, Megatron at Transformers: The Ride 3D grand opening in Orlando
The new ride that executive producer Steven Spielberg called “awesome” brings even more thrills to Universal Orlando, offering guests a chance to be immersed in a world entirely new to the Florida resort.
On hand at the grand opening were Universal Creative president Mark Woodbury and Universal Parks & Resorts CEO Tom Williams to tell how Transformers: The Ride 3D heightens the experience of visiting the park. Hasbro SVP of Global Promotions & Marketing Partnerships Bryony Bouyer also discussed how the Transformers franchise continues to be popular across decades of TV shows, movies, and thousands of toys, with the possibilities of more exclusives to be released in the Universal park.
Interviews: Steven Spielberg, Universal Studios & Hasbro executives for Transformers: The Ride 3D
One of the most common reactions theme park fans have after riding Transformers: The Ride 3D is to note its striking similarity to The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man ride, also at Universal Orlando.
But while the two ride systems are the same with highly comparable events unfolding within each attraction, Universal is quick to emphasize their differences in visual style and level of immersion.
Woodbury credits Transformers: The Ride 3D’s “hyperrealism of the environments, the scale of the characters, total different story” for differentiating it from its predecessor, along with “the action of a Michael Bay movie.” Universal Creative executive producer Mike West added, “The scale is enormous because of the size of the characters, obviously. And the sets we created had to match the size of the characters.”
Transformers also offers a much more realistic 3D attraction than Spider-Man’s comic book style. “We created a real world environment here,” said West. “It’s not an animated world. This is a real world environment, so the image on the screen is a real city that you’re going in. It’s not an animated city.” He simply concluded, “It’s a completely different experience.”
Though the high-definition 3D projected visuals presented in Transformers: The Ride 3D are no doubt stunning, the attraction does leave some wanting more physical, practical elements or animatronic figures. But Universal believes projections were the only way to bring these giant robots to life. “They’re so intricate,” continued West. “The technical details of these characters are something that would be very hard to do in the real world in the time that we had to do it. And also our shots are continuous. We don’t have cuts in our media and hat was a challenge. But it was also fun because instead of seeing Optimus Prime from the Peterbilt truck into sections of him, you see him unfold completely, right in front of your eyes, a 28-foot character, and he’s going ‘Roll out!’ - and that’s cool.”
Spider-Man similarities aside, Transformers: The Ride 3D does add new characters, new high-energy thrills, and a whole lot of new fun to Universal Studios Florida, surely to be the highlight attraction this summer and beyond… at least until the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley expansion opens there next year.
Don’t miss our complete coverage of the action-packed grand opening of Transformers: The Ride 3D with photos and video from the entire ceremony.