Published: December 17, 2014 at 6:59 PM
E.T. SAID MY NAME— Brad (@midnightsky82) December 17, 2014
Listening to other followers on Twitter, the reaction to this news seems to be split between "Wait a minute, E.T. can say people's names?" and "Wait a minute, there's still an E.T. ride at Universal Studios Florida?" E.T. is the last remaining unchanged original attraction from the 1990 opening of the park, save for the coming and going of the namechecking, of course.
The use in the attraction of "passport" cards to E.T.'s home world, which then allowed E.T. to say each visitor's name at the end of the ride, represented one of the first widespread uses of interactivity in a major theme park attraction. Director Steven Spielberg recorded the preshow for the attraction, which makes a point of emphasizing the passports that visitors would collect as they told a ride attendant their name upon entering the inside queue. Ride attendants at the load area would collect the passport cards, which would be associated with each rider's name and would provide the input that would prompt E.T.'s farewell at the conclusion of the trip.
Of course, much fun was to be had in trying to come up with the most outlandish (and borderline inappropriate) names that you could get the USF team members to input. Over the years, though, the namecheck interaction on the ride became more and more inconsistent, adding to a general feeling among many fans that E.T.'s days in the park might be numbered. Universal Studios Hollywood closed its E.T. ride in 2003 and its show building is now used for that park's version of Revenge of the Mummy. Japan's version closed in 2009 to make way for Space Fantasy: The Ride.
Here's an on-ride video of E.T. Adventure that I recorded in Orlando last month. E.T. did not say my name, or anyone else's.
Have you ridden the E.T. Adventure? Did E.T. say your name?