Monday, April 16, 2012

Why Radiator Springs Racer vs Transformers Ride Will be the E-Ticket Match of the Year

Something pretty unique is about to happen in a few weeks from now in South Cal. For the first time two major E-Ticket rides will open almost simultaneously and both rides are so good that i should even talk about them as "E+ Tickets"! The Transformers ride will have its Grand Opening on May 25th at Universal Hollywood while Cars Land Radiator Springs Racer will start on June 15. I had the luck to do recently the Transformers ride in its first version at USS - and in a few seconds i'll let you know all the good i think about it - and although i've never ride Radiator Springs Racer - nobody did except John Lasseter, Bob Iger and WDI Imagineers - i know almost all about it so i think i can also have an opinion or at least some feeling on this highly-awaited ride. And let me tell you that it's gonna be extremely interesting to watch what will happen in two months when both rides will be open as it surely will be "the E-Ticket match of the year".

Soooo, on my left we have the "heavy weight" Radiator Springs Racer, one of the most awaited ride in Disney theme park history, part of Cars Land, a brand new land including two others rides, the creation of a town, and the biggest rock work that WDI Imagineers ever built. And RSC is even two rides in one with an indoor dark ride part and an outside part using more or less the Test Track technology. One of the big asset of Radiator Springs Racer on the Transformers ride will be that your Cars vehicle will move not only in real decor, but inside a world totally recreated. No 3D projections here, all is "real", and WDI Imagineers even created "automatronics" that should make the ride memorable and exhilarating for each fan of the Cars movies - and even those who are not.

You've seen pictures of the huge Radiator Springs mountains and even videos of the vehicles in test mode but you don't know a lot about the dark ride part of the ride. I won't spoil any of its scenes but what i can tell you is that the whole ride is essentially inspired by the first Cars movie and almost all of the characters from it will be in the ride. There is so many clever imagineering ideas in how they create the scenes that you'll be amazed, really. And also, your ride will not be necessarily exactly the same each time you'll ride RSR. And don't ask me why! There is absolutely no doubt that Radiator Springs Racer will be an instant success, and no doubt too that the ride is definitely a E+ Ticket ride, one of these major rides that we see in Disney theme parks only each ten years, or more.

Now, on my right we have the "challenger", the Universal Hollywood Transformers ride. First, let me tell you that i'm not a big fan AT ALL of the Transformers movie. And also, i don't believe one second in any "Transformers mythology". For me these robots are just toys, and that's what they were at the start, and the whole thing for me is just a huge license operation. Which means that when i entered the Transformers ride in its USS version the Transformers mythology which is present in the pre-show didn't had any appeal to me. But the pre-show is so well done this top secret NEST military bunker with plenty of video screens explaining the ride's back story was designed so intelligently that i couldn't stop thinking that those who do care about Transformers are really going to love it. Note that you can see today pictures of the USH version pre-show in Mice Age preview report HERE.

And then it was time to get aboard EVAC, the ride vehicle, supposedly an Autobot transformer robot. As you know the Transformers ride use the same amazing technology that Universal used on the Spiderman ride, but improved. And - oh my God - "improved" is not a word strong enough to describe how amazingly good this ride is. Not only they indeed improved the 3D projections and the screens are even bigger too but you can feel that it was done with intelligence and that they were really decided to get the best from the technology. Wait until Optimus Prime tell you these simple words "Follow me!" and how you'll be amazed to watch your vehicle moving at high speed inside the city to escape the Decepticons. Of course it's all an optical illusion and your vehicle don't really move, but it's so well done that you'll really think that you're inside the screen, inside the city. Same when you'll be sucked into a whirling vortex generated by Devastator, another Decepticon created by several robots. Or when a F-15 fighter jet Decepticon will fling EVAC through the air, sending your vehicle crashing into a building - amazing, really! And i could go on and on as almost each scene of the ride - which includes not only 3D projections but also real decors and special effects - was done with intelligence - i mean, you can feel the intelligence behind it. And, good news, as Screamscape revealed last friday the Universal Hollywood Transformers version "will use Dolby 3D, the same incredible 3D system we first saw used on Star Tours last year, and which Universal also just put to use on the upgraded Adventures of Spider-Man at Islands of Adventure last month". In two words, the ride will be even better than the version which opened at USS last fall. Lucky Angelinos!

Considering that Radiator Springs Racer will be part of a whole new land and not a ride "only" as Transformers will be the match may seem unequal and that's may be the reason why the smart guys at Universal are opening Transformers three weeks before Cars Land opening - well, actually it might be even a month and a half before as it seems that soft-opening might start at USH at the end of April. Obviously Universal wants to create the buzz on their ride and count on all South Cal theme parks fans word of mouth to make a success out of Transformers. Honestly, as i've said, the ride is so good that people who will do the ride will probably, just like i did, have only one desire when they'll go out: to go back and ride Transformers again. And the same will happen for Radiator Springs Racer ! So, who will "win" this E-Ticket match of the year? Personally i think there will be no winner, the two rides are so good and so different that both will be a different and tremendously enjoyable experience. Depending of the kind of "world" you prefer you may prefer one or another, but one thing is sure: i strongly recommend you to ride both of them, as both will worth the price of admission!

Pictures: copyright Disney, Universal Studios


SP said...

Je viens de finir de lire votre article, Alain et je dois dire que je pense comme vous qu'il ne peut pas vraiment y avoir de "vainqueur" puisque ces deux attractions ne s'adressent pas vraiment au même public.

D'un côté, Cars Land qui vise majoritairement les enfants et la famille (les autres publics apprécieront aussi mais seront peut être moins attirés par l'univers coloré.)
De l'autre côté, Transformers qui s'adresse aux adolescents et jeunes adultes accro à l'action pure et dure. Et évidement, ce public représente une part importante des studios universal.
Du coup, marketing et recherche oblige, je pense que ces attractions sont au final parfaitement adaptées au public de chaque parc.

J'en arrive maintenant au point que je voulais soulever en vous lisant.
Petite parenthèse avant de commencer, une chose dont je m'étonne, le fait que vous n'ayez pas encore parlé du troisième parc à priori censé ouvrir vers 2020 à DLRP, à savoir le parc inspiré des licences Comics.
Peut être que si vous ne l'avez pas mentionné, c'est qu'il s'agit d'une fausse rumeur mais à priori ce serait une annonce ayant été faites au meeting des actionnaires...

Du coup, je me disais en lisant votre article, que si la direction de DisneyLand Paris créait effectivement ce parc, ils réussirait à capter ce public fan de films d'action et donc de montagnes russes et autres attractions mouvementées et plus "techniques".
Puisque le parc DisneyLand est surtout adressé aux familles et que les Studios réussissent plus ou moins bien cette tâche d'attirer les ados et jeunes adultes en manque de sensations fortes (la prochaine attraction sera Ratatouille, bien loin d'un Rock'n'Roller Coaster ou TOT...), je pense qu'un troisième parc avec plus d'attraction similaires à Transformers ou encore le Hulk des Studios Universal permettrait enfin de combler toutes les cibles marketing : enfants, parents, ados et jeunes adultes.

Qu'en pensez-vous ? Je suis curieux de savoir si vous avez déjà prévu tout ça dans votre boule de cristal...

James said...

Hey Alain,

I was just curious, how does a project like Carsland break down financially. What costs the most- the rockwork, the buildings, the ride systems or maybe even the labour? Thinking about it, the split is maybe quite even.
Is concrete a fairly major portion of the expenditure?
I was just wondering because we all know its these stunning pieces of architecture which make Disney parks the place they are, and what's more, we also know that Disney Studios Paris needs a lot more of this.

Surely for the TOT expansion, the surrounding buildings weren't nearly as much as the actual ride.

Just wondering if you could shed some light on the matter!
(Can't wait for carsland though, not that I'll be getting there any time soon)

Alain Littaye said...

SP, Si, j'ai déjà parlé, et même il y a pas mal de temps, de ce 3ème parc supposément inspiré par l'univers Marvel, mais comme il n'y a rien de neuf dessus, que ça n'ouvrira pas avant 2020 si ce n'est plus tard, que d'ici là tellement de choses peuvent se passer et qu'il y a largement le temps que même le thème du parc puisse changer, que je n'avais pas prévu de faire de nouvel article avant qu'il y ait vraiment de nouvelles infos dessus.

Alain Littaye said...

James, Unfortunately i don't have any numbers about the cost of Cars Land for each parts. Disney don't communicate on this and may be even less on the Cars Land price as the land might have cost more than what was originally planned. So, sorry, but i can't be of any help on this one.

James said...

Thanks. I guess I can understand why Disney don't release any figures- such knowledge perks are obviously for Disney HQ only! (ggrrrr!)

Marco Antonio Garcia said...

For me Radiator Springs Racer will be the best one, mainly for this reason: "Cars vehicle will move not only in real decor, but inside a world totally recreated. No 3D projections here, all is "real", and WDI Imagineers even created "automatronics" that should make the ride memorable and exhilarating", as even though I love the Spider Man attraction at IOA, I prefer a real decor than a 3D one any time, and I also prefer much more Cars than the Transformers franchise.

I can't way to go to LA again! I've even booked my next trip for after the opening of Cars Land!

And SP, even though I agree with you that the style of the ride is more for teenagers and young adults, I think that the transformers franchise is more for little boys, children and pre-teen, who likes the toys, and Cars is for people (especially males) of all ages.

spajadigit said...

I thought your initial comparison about Cars Land and the Transformers attraction a little weird. I mean, Disney based what, 12 acres on a single franchise that was rated one of Pixars worst pair of films solely because of merchandise. The Transformers franchise was based *on* merchandise!

So, mythology aside (and the Cars mythology never worked for me at all...) you have two new attractions in Southern California based on existing characters using updated ride systems. *sigh*

I am looking forward to both rides but I am disappointed in Disney, and I am hoping that they'll have some brand new experience (ride system) to offer up when Harry Potter opens at Universal in a couple of years. And preferable something not based on an existing franchise.

Anonymous said...

Je suis d'accord avec les commentaires plus haut, TRANSFORMERS est très adultes/ado et CARS pour les enfants. Pour avoir testé TEST TRACK à EPCOT qui ressemble à CARS, l'attraction est très moyenne, c'est "juste" un tour en voiture dans les décors du film certes jolis mais sans rien de plus et sans grandes sensations...

Pour TRANSFORMERS, on est plus proche d'un roller coaster avec des vitesses et mouvements mais forcement pour un public plus adepte des sensations fortes.

Arron said...

To answer Alain, the majority of the expansion/improvement budget for DCA went into the rockwork of Carsland. An addition to the original budget was the inclusion of the rockwork facing Paradise Pier, which was NOT address in the original design and was a last minute add on to the project when it was apparent a simple screen, like the one facing outside of the park, would not work. This addition has thrown the project a huge over run. Notice the cheap fix on Paradise Pier's remaining shops?

In regards to Transformers vs Carsland, spajadigit has hit the nail on the head. Once people ride Radiator Springs Racers, they are going to find there is no innovation in the attraction, we've seen everything done prior in other attractions down to the ride systems. When people ride the ride, the thing they will point out as impressive is the rockwork, reality check, when an "E-Ticket's" most memorable feature is the amount of rockwork it features that is a problem. Yes, the lines will be long, but after having the chance to ride the attraction I will tell you it suffers from the same flaws we see in The Little Mermaid Attraction, Radiator Springs Racers has no heart and no soul, it feels like an exploitation of a property to make more money for the company, not an experience which was created for longevity or with capturing the imagination of guest in the long term. It will be interesting to see where Carsland is in twenty years time when the franchise has been forgotten and the lack of innovation of any of the lands attractions has fermented.

Transformers, I cannot say much about since I've not walked through or ridden the attraction. I will tell you, Disney is a bit concern about it's use of more innovative technology contained within the attraction, they are also concern about the addition to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter coming to Hollywood also.

What develops in Southern California theme parks over the next few years is going to be a fun ride in itself

SP said...

Mince, j'ai du louper cet article... Je vais devoir passer des heures à le chercher dans les archives du site ^^

Et pas de prévisions 8 années en avance, quel dommage !Plus sérieusement je pensais que ce projet était assez concret mais si effectivement ils peuvent encore tout changer...
Je me contenterai des futures news sur Ratatouille, gourmand que je suis.

Encore merci de prendre le temps de répondre à chaque lecteur, c'est vraiment appréciable.

Alain Littaye said...

SP, Voici le lien:

Et aussi cet article qui montrait un concept de parc Marvel pour Dubai (mais pas par Disney, et jamais réalisé):

Marco Antonio Garcia said...

"Pour TRANSFORMERS, on est plus proche d'un roller coaster avec des vitesses et mouvements mais forcement pour un public plus adepte des sensations fortes". I really don't agree with that, in fact Radiator Springs Racer will be much faster than the Transformers ride.

I also don't agree at all that Cars is only for children, I remember when I went to see Cars 2 in the theatres (at night, with subtitles), 100% of the public were adults, there was no children in the theatre. I think that Cars is a very nice franchise for cars (I mean real cars) lovers of all ages.

Anonymous said...

While I'm excited that both theme parks will having something new to experience, I believe the winner will be Transformers. Why?

Never mind the fact that Transformers have been around since 1984, and a lot people do like the Bay-formers (the last sequel made over billion dollars) too. A lot of Transformers fans have been wanting a theme park to make such an attraction, and when Universal announced it, it made perfect sense, since Universal makes attractions like no other. I remember back in 1984 when Universal Studios Hollywood had a interactive Transformers attraction, remember that?

While Disney's Radiator Springs Racers may the upper hand of being apart of a whole new theme area called Carsland but when it comes down to it. Carsland is nothing more then a kids-land. I mean come on, Luigi's Flying Tires is lame, and wouldn't be surprised if that attraction is going to cause Disney a lot of headaches like it's predecessor, Tomorrowland Flying Saucers ride did back in the 60s. The Mater's Junkyard Jamboree is no different then the Mad Tea Party, wow, what breakthrough stuff.

After discovering Radiator Springs Racers won't go faster then it's sister counterpart like Test Track (top speed of 40mgh), it's nothing more then setback in Disney Imaginnering. It had so much potional, sure Michael Eiesner still isn't calling the shots? LOL. Souththern California hasn't seen anything like Transformers: The Ride, or anything the West of the Mississippi for that matter.

Not that many are lucky enough like us to visit Orlando and experience The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man. Once discovering that Universal Studios Hollywood will be making an attraction based on that technology but with newer innovations, I knew it was going to be an amazing ride. Hello, the rides top speed alone at one point is 60mph!

The appeal for Transformers: The Ride 3D isn't just for kids. The fact it's aggressive, and exciting (very Universal style). It will attract more then just teens. College students, adults and both sexes will enjoy the 'More Then Meets the Eye' attraction! Universal is a geniuous of making movie magic, and Transformers: The Ride 3D will prove that, and so much more!

Check out the on-ride experience:

Marco Antonio Garcia said...

Test track has a top speed of 65 mph, and I don't know about Transformers, because I've never been on it, but I'm pretty sure that Spider Man have a very low top speed, it has a big and well done illusion of speed, but the real top speed is not much.

Furthermore, I think that Luigi's Flying tires is going to be a lot of fun, but I agree with you about the other ride.

I also agree that probably the Transformers ride is going to be awesome and for all ages, even though I don't like the franchise much, but so is Radiators Spring Racers going to be, it's just that I (personally) prefer real decors and the Cars franchise.