Universal Once Again Transforms Blockbuster Movie Into Attraction

It seems the Universal Studios is making a second trilogy out of the popular “Transformers” movie series.

Florida’s Universal Orlando Resort has just announced the amusement park will unveil the third Transformers-themed ride in summer 2013. The ride, which is already attracting fans at Universal Studios Singapore and Universal Studios Hollywood, takes the hugely successful toy line and movie and makes it into a simulator ride that pits the Autobots and the Decepticons against one another, with riders as an audience.

Universal said constructing the ride in Florida is one of the company’s “most ambitious projects ever,” pointing out that the attraction will have one of the shortest build times in Universal history.

“The attraction combines the larger-than-life Transformers characters and an exciting storyline with life-like HD CGI media, state-of-the-art 3D technology and amazing special effects to place riders right in the middle of an epic battle between good and evil,” Universal said in a press release.

Earlier this year, the Associated Press reported the ride – which is simply called “Transformers: The Ride” – cost $100 million to create. It opened in Singapore in 2011 and earlier this year in Hollywood, and was done so under license from Hasbro, Inc., with close supervision of Michael Bay, the award-winning director of the “Transformers” film series.

Three blockbuster films released by Paramount Pictures have so far grossed more than $2 billion under the Transformers name: “Transformers” (2007), “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” (2009) and “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” (2011). The films were all directed by Michael Bay and executive produced by Steven Spielberg.

Guests who haven’t experienced the Transformers ride in Singapore or Hollywood but have ridden the Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man attraction located in Islands of Adventure in Orlando have an idea of what to expect from the new ride, in which thrill seekers watch a film while moving through the attraction.

Other films and film franchises made into amusement park rides include “Dumbo,” “Wayne’s World,” “Terminator,” “Indiana Jones,” “Shrek,” “Twister,” “Police Academy,” “Star Wars” and “Harry Potter.” What’s your favorite movie-turned-attraction?

[Photo credit: NBC Universal, Orlando]

Travel and Adventure shows offer expert help, inspiration

Chicago’s Travel and Adventure Show runs this weekend and features stars from the Travel Channel, professional travel photographers, writers and 20 informative seminars over two days. A great way to preview or plan travel, these shows are held around the country, offering expert help. In person. Close to home.

The Chicago show has information on destinations from New Zealand to Costa Rica, modes of travel from cruises to African safari tours and celebrities from Patricia Schultz (1,000 Places to See Before You Die) to the Travel Channel‘s Samantha Brown.

On the West coast, the Los Angeles Times Travel Show presents two days of informative and inspiring travel talks and panels featuring many of today’s leading travel experts. Organized by topic, there are areas set aside to feature destinations, a culinary stage, a travel in style pavilion and more. In the Xtreme Adventure zone, Don Wildman, host of Travel Channel’s Off Limits and Mysteries at the Museum, Leon Logothetis, author, Amazing Adventures of a Nobody and others.
A little later, in March, comes the king daddy of shows, the New York Times Travel show, hosted by American Express, will feature nearly 500 exhibitors representing over 150 countries focusing on travel destinations, packages and special offers, as well as tour operators, cruise lines and live entertainment.

“American Express is thrilled to once again be the presenting sponsor of The New York Times Travel Show,” says Claire Bennett, senior vice president and general manager of American Express Travel. “We know that consumers love travel, and we are always happy to play a role in bringing this passion to life for them.”

This one even has an iPhone app that allows access to show information, exhibitor lists,
schedules, floor plans, and show specials. Users can also sign up for text alerts to receive
additional special offers, prizes, & more.

Photo NYtravelshow