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Attraction Profiles: Twister – Ride it Out! at Universal Orlando

in Movies, Movies & TV, Theme Parks, Universal Orlando, Universal Studios Florida

As a tribute to actor Bill Paxton, who recently passed way, ITM presents an attraction profile of the attraction “Twister. . .Ride it Out.” This special effects experience opened in May of 1998–an opening that was delayed by two months out of respect to those who suffered due to actual tragic tornado disasters in Central Florida at the time.  Located in the New York area of Universal Studios Florida and built on the same spot of the recently (1996) closed “Ghostbusters Spooktacular,” the attraction featured a three part experience and the “AFTERMATH” gift shop.

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Designed to resemble scenes from the 1996 movie, “Twister,” there were four stages to the show. Guests would enter the queue as if wandering through the town of Wakita, OK while watching screens depicting various tornadoes.  Once all entered, a scene from the movie was shown, followed by actors Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton discussing their experiences in filming “Twister.” Proceeding, for stage two, guests would walk through the kitchen and living room, noticing a car crashed through the roof of a demolished home from the film that belonged to Aunt Meg. Paxton and Hunt would continue to narrate what was happening just as tornado warnings began blaring on the TV sets that appeared to have been effortlessly tossed about the room by a cyclone and as the wind began to stream through the devastated home.

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Into (or onto) the final stage of the adventure, guest discovered an outdoor view of the gas station and hamburger shop in the foreground. In the background stood a drive-in theater screen that featured the horror film “People Under the Stairs.” Beyond that still were looming, ominous dark clouds.  Lightning flashed and a tornado formed in the distance, edging closer. As the massive storm devoured the drive-in screen, all hell broke loose with a cow flying by, caught in the whirlwind. The gas pumps erupted into flames from the spark of a flying truck. The roof overhead collapsed as the scene ended.  A final word from Bill Paxton and the show was over.

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The experience, especially when viewed for the first time, was a quick paced descent into disaster with an actual funnel cloud forming on the stage.  This adventure continued daily until the attraction closed, seventeen years after it opened, in November of 2015 (making way for “Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon”). The realism of “Twister. . .Ride it Out” can be credited to Universal’s creative team working closely with weather experts in fine-tuning the storm’s audio and force.

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“Twister. . . Ride it Out” did not have ride vehicles. Instead, it was a weather simulator experience that relied on the buildup of the preshow for added anticipation.  And as someone who has experienced a tornado as a child in South Florida, I can attest to the fact that the depiction was pretty accurate despite some of the over-the-top embellishments like a flying cow and exploding gas station.

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Were you one of the thousands who “rode it out?” Please give us your weather report in the comments below.

SOURCE: Wikipedia, TV Tropes IMAGES/VIDEO: ITM Archive

6 Comments

  1. Clayton

    Say what you want, but Hudson will be missed. Game over , man !

  2. Jacoba

    It was a fun attraction! Hoping that there is some salute to the Twister in the new ride.

  3. Jacoba

    It was a fun attraction! Hoping that there is some salute to Twister in the new ride.

  4. Bill

    I will Never forget twister one of my favourite rides at uv shame gostbusters had to go loved that as well maybe iam just hanging onto to proper good movies and family memories at universal studios

  5. melissa sumby

    I used to be a Stormchaser long ago. The first day that I transferred over to Twister I made sure the computer in the Lead office had tiling Bill Paxton as the wallpaper. Serious business you know. He will be missed!

  6. Mario B

    RIP Bill Paxton.

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