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It's now official: 'Back to the Future' will be part of the past

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Published: September 7, 2006 at 9:52 AM

Who had Sept. 6 in the BTTF death pool?

If you did, you're a winner, as Universal Orlando confirmed yesterday the badly-kept "secret" that Marty McFly & Co. will be flying into oblivion when Universal Studios Florida closes its Back to the Future ride to make room for a new attraction.

BTTF opened shortly after the park did in 1990, but, like the film it is based upon, the ride has lost the public's interest over the years. Fans have clamored for a replacement, either based on the Fast & the Furious movies (why? won't those be as dated as BTTF by, oh, say, next summer?), Battlestar Galactica (yes!) or some other theme that would fit an indoor coaster, interactive shoot-'em-up or some other ride system more exciting than '80s-era flight simulators.

Personally, I think people are forgetting the obvious synergy from Universal's parents at NBC. Hey, couldn't USF cram a pretty big "Deal or No Deal" stage into that building? (Okay, I'm kidding. ...I think.)

Readers' Opinions

From Chris Walton on September 7, 2006 at 11:37 AM
I'll be honest when I say BTTF was overdue for replacement. However, it was one of the great rides of its time and it will be missed. Thanks for the memories.
From Adrian Walker on September 7, 2006 at 12:58 PM
(Censored)

Sorry, I just dropped my PG tips.

Well, I for one am annoyed this will be torn down. I mean, OK, it was getting old, people were complaining of roughness and the movie was getting old but I still believe they are getting rid of a classic. I believe the best decision would have been to refurbish it.

Now to wipe up the mess on the computer. Shouldn't take a minute.


Actually, this could take a while...

From Erik Yates on September 7, 2006 at 2:02 PM
Its not dead yet. They are still keeping it open for Rock The Universe. October 1st is the official closing day. Lets just hope they get this right and just dont replace the movie or make it another simulator.
I still like the idea of tearing down this ride and putting in a themed coaster...geez I know...that hits 88 mph...so you can see some serious sh!t
From Anthony Murphy on September 7, 2006 at 3:44 PM
I always thought this attraction was a classic!

It is sad to see it go!

Fast and Furious ride would be a mistake!

From Chris Walton on September 7, 2006 at 4:19 PM
Back to the Future IS a classic, without question!

Now it will go to theme park heaven and join it's friend Kong! So touching. LOL

From steve lee on September 7, 2006 at 8:02 PM
Love to hear your take on what a Battlestar Galactica ride would be, Robert. Personally, unless Universal can do a photo perfect animatronic of Number 6, I'm not sure it's worth it (it doesn't help that the show, while really frakking good, isn't THAT popular outside the geek community).
From Kimberly Johnson on September 7, 2006 at 10:10 PM
I hope they make a whole new ride (not another motion-simulator)--- I like the idea of an actual inside coaster... but there are plenty of other things they can do w/ the space!
From scott sorensen on September 7, 2006 at 10:22 PM
We were at Universal in April and had a wonderful time. I'm glad we had the opportunity to see BTTF before it closed. It was one of the better simulator rides we have been on, with Star Tours at WDW probably being the best. BTTF was probably the second best we've experienced. That being said, it still was a simulator and once you've done one, you've pretty much done them all. It's good to see that Universal is trying to update some of its rides at USF. Many of those attractions are based on movies that are 20-30 years old. Earthquake was so outdated that we were laughing at the end of it. Jaws was a major disappointment. These were cutting edge rides 20-30 years ago. Although classics, their time has passed and the park needs to move forward. It is good to see Mummy and Shrek being added in recent years. We rode Mummy 4 times in a row and never grew tired of the special effects. We enjoyed our day in USF however probably won't return until it updates its attractions. How about an indoor coaster similar to Mummy based on Peter Jackson's remake of King Kong? If Jackson can update the classic 1930's Kong movie and make it a hit, why can't USF come up with a remake of the ride? It could use special effects based on Kong's lost world similar to the Mummy ride. We loved our day at USF but I don't think we'll be back until it updates some of its attractions into the 21st century. The same could be said for WDW.
From Phil F on September 7, 2006 at 10:50 PM
Interesting, Screamscape is reporting rumors that BttF will be replaced with a Simpsons ride, in time for the Simpsons Movie.
From Paul Jeffs on September 8, 2006 at 2:14 AM
Although I'm sad to see it go, it doesn't come as a surprise to anyone.
When everythinmg's working it's up there with some of the best rides anywhere, but Uni has practically left BTTF to rot these last 5 years.
Almost none of the special effects are currently working on the half of the ride that is still open.

Whilst I understand the need to keep a park's attractions up to date, I think Universal will do the fans an injustice if they don't announce a definite "last ride" like they did with Kong...

From Rob P on September 8, 2006 at 2:10 AM
BTTF is definitely a classic ride. Why there has been a "dwindling interest" in it is not exactly clear.

The movies are shown regularly on TV and still have an audience.

If it ain't broke: don't fix it.

Not completely true as BTTF could have benefitted from a few tweaks here and there to freshen it up but IMHO closing it is a mistake.

From Anthony Murphy on September 8, 2006 at 6:18 AM
Yeah, improve it, dont change it! This movie is still widely popular after 20 or so years!
From Jessica Warburton on September 8, 2006 at 8:05 AM
IM glad its going. Last time i was on it it was making me hit my head on the side every few minutes and there was a big hole in the screen which just looked stupid. Something new please! - Battlestar Galactica???????????
From Erik Yates on September 8, 2006 at 8:46 AM
It has been confirmed by insiders, but not officially from Universal. The reason for the shutdown is the cost, the age of the screen and the cost of replacing it, and the building itself. It really is shaking apart,the base has been spreading about an inch a year for about the past 9 years.
Also, the Simpsons will go into that spot in time for the movie...working both into a fever pitch. I hope its not another simulator, but maybe a dark ride, though all signs are pointing to not only a simulator, but one that uses pretty much the same system...albeit a new one, but the same. It is very hard to understand why they decided to go this route and not take out Jimmy Nuetron, other than the fact of cost....but it will show in the attendance figures. Next rumor on the chopping block: Earthquake.
From Brian Emery on September 8, 2006 at 9:26 AM
This (is) was my daughter’s favorite ride. I also enjoyed it. We loved being chased by Dinosaur. I will miss it. I just hope the replacement will be as good.
From Robert Miller on September 8, 2006 at 4:01 PM
This past July, I took my now seven year old grandson on BTTF for his first ride. He loved it and wanted to go right back on it again. I said no, after being bounced on it one to many times from past trips to the future. It is or was a rough ride, especially in the back. I'm sorry now, that I didn't take him on a second time, because his first ride will now be his last one. With a new generation just getting to know and like the ride, it's a shame to get rid of it. Why not refurbish it or better still,use today's technology to upgrade it and bring it into the 21st century, where it should be.
From Gareth H on September 9, 2006 at 4:16 PM
75 minute wait time for this today! Not bad for out of season!
From Greg Mills on September 9, 2006 at 9:34 PM
Feh. Farewell to it and good riddance. Now, let's build something more up-to-date, eh, Universal?

Classics don't really harbor much meaning to me when it comes to themed rides, strangely. Unthemed, or mildly themed rides, when they go, are actually more missed by me. I'm not sure of the logic on that or how it works; I'll get back to you on that one.

But see, themed rides, after a while, just...fade out of fashion, in a sense. Not ALWAYS, sometimes the theming is something that's to stay. But movie theming, and video-game theming, etc...well, after a while, after a generation of The Next New Thing passes by the classic...you just kinda think, "Eh," when you pass it.

That's just me, though.

From Steven moffat on September 10, 2006 at 12:51 PM
Good ride quite dated now.I bet my last pound that the studios create something out of this word it needs to because you know disney will.
From James Adams on September 11, 2006 at 12:45 PM
Those are some really interesting points Greg and I do not think you are alone but with some caveats. Universal is based on pop culture - what is famous and exciting for the present. Therefore, it will be wildly popular when it comes out but then die off quickly. This is the trend that Universal struggles with. But rides that are based on core values or cultural ideals last longer. For example, Pirates of the Carribean, It's a Small World, Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain, etc. All are old classics that tap into deep cultural ideals that span throughout every generation.

C'mon, who doesn't want to be a pirate!

From matt mornan on September 11, 2006 at 2:38 PM
My wife wishes I was a pirate...
but seriously, does pirates now run the risk of becoming "pop culture" and not a classic ride?

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