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Ride / Terminator 2 3-D: Battle Across Time

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John: (looking at a robotic skull the Terminator is holding in his hand) Friend of yours?
Terminator: He was my college roommate.

Terminator 2 3-D: Battle Across Time (also known as T2-3D) was a theme park 3-D feature shown at Universal Studios Florida, Hollywood and Japan.

The ride was a quasi-sequel to Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and had participants take part in a demonstration of the T-70 Terminators by Cyberdyne Systems. During an opening presentation where Cyberdyne showcases its technological advancements in a product video, the feed is interrupted by Sarah and John Connor, who tell the assembled guests to get out of the building immediately before they attack. The company representative, Kimberley Duncan, quickly excuses the hacked feed as part of the act and the demonstration continues.

Midway through the demonstration, Sarah and John storm the stage and take the rep hostage, only to be surprised when a nearby portal opens and the T-1000 walks out. Just when it looks like they'll be killed, a second portal opens and the familiar T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) arrives to rescue them. What follows is a chase sequence where the T-800 and John are pursued through the time portal into the future by the T-1000, and work to destroy Skynet once and for all by infiltrating the AI's central hub and blowing up its main power source.

The ride was directed by James Cameron, who returned to helm the production (with a $24 million-dollar budget) along with original actors Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Robert Patrick and Edward Furlong. The Hollywood version of the attraction ran from 1999 until 2012, when it was replaced by Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem, and after operating for 21 years, the attraction's original incarnation in Florida closed on October 8, 2017 to be replaced replaced by The Bourne Stuntacular on June 30th, 2020. The Japan version closed on September 14th, 2020 in what was intended to be a temporary closure due to low attendance caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic. Over two years later on May 16th, 2023, Universal confirmed there were no plans to reopen the Japan version, and the space will be used for as-yet-unknown future plans.

Not to be confused with the 2017 3-D rerelease of Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

Tropes used in the ride include:

  • Alas, Poor Yorick: After the unskinned T-800 is destroyed, the good T-800 holds the head in his hands and refers to it (when asked by John if he's a friend of his) as his "college roommate".
  • All Part of the Show: Sarah warns the audience multiple times to leave before the building is destroyed. Take a guess how many audience members actually leave.
  • Attack Drone: John and the T-800 needs to avoid four mini-hunters, saucer-shaped hovering drones released by the Hunter-Killer, while infiltrating Skynet.
  • Big Damn Heroes: T-800 makes a dramatic entrance shortly after the T-1000 arrives, driving into the time portal and onto the stage on a motorcycle.
  • Call-Back: The shot where the unskinned T-800 aims its red-dot sight at John's forehead just before the good (Arnold) T-800 destroys it is evocative of the Tech Noir sequence from the original film, where the T-800 nearly kills Sarah before Kyle Reese attacks him.
  • The Cameo: Shaquille O'Neal cameo'd in the pre-show film as a basketball player utilizing performance-enhancing contact lenses; though the 2015 updates removed this scene.
  • Canon Discontinuity: T2-3D was initially said to be canonical by The Word of Godinvoked. However, it was later retconned from the series by T3. However, fans and Cameron prefer this over T3 and later installments. Then it was retconned again with the reveal of Terminator: Dark Fate, which rendered every movie post-T2 non-canon entirely. Fans speculated that this might mean the ride would return to canon status, but this seems to be implausible due to Dark Fate asserting that Skynet really was eliminated by the events of T2.
  • Canon Foreigner: The attraction depicts two Terminator models that had not been previously featured in the series, the machine gun-toting T-70, and the massive T-1000000.
  • Catchphrase: Kimberley frequently says, "Super!", usually at the end of one of her speeches.
  • Climactic Elevator Ride: Both John and the T-800 go down in an elevator before reaching the climatic scene in Skynet's central core.
  • Content Warnings: There are signs at the entrance that contain warnings that the attraction is rated "PG-13" and may frighten children.
  • Continuity Nod: The venue the pre-show is held in is called the "Miles Bennett Dyson Memorial Auditorium", after the titular creator's demise in the previous film.
  • Fake Shemp: Obviously the big stars like Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger aren't going to devote their time to performing this show live every half hour every single day of the year. They filmed their parts. Regular Universal Studios employees perform the roles on stage, with their faces hidden in shadow, and attempt to mimic the gestures the actors had made in their film. The filmed segments are shown on screens throughout the auditorium while the audience is watching all the Fake Shemps live on the stage.
  • Genre Shift: Of a sort; the first half is essentially a live stage show at Cyberdyne, while the second half is a dark ride and motion simulator — don't think too hard about how the audience is following John and the T-800 on their motorcycle...
  • Giant Spider: The T-1000000 is a spider-like machine that's about the size of a house.
  • Halloween Episode:
    • In 2000, the show received a minor change for Universal Studios Florida's Halloween Horror Nights, as right at the end of the show Jack the Clown would jump out at the audience in place of Sarah and John.
    • At Universal Studios Japan, there were a few years of Halloween Horror Nights where an alternate version of this attraction was featured. In the pre-show, rather than Sarah and John interrupting the Cyberdyne presentation, the presentation is instead briefly interrupted by Sadako. Things would seemingly go back to normal until the main show, when Sadako would reappear and then completely take over the attraction.
  • Happy Ending Override: Terminator 2 ended with the implication the Judgment Day had been averted. However, this attraction shows it is still very much on its way; Cyberdyne is in the process of creating Skynet, Sarah and John are still fighting to thwart them, and Terminators are still coming to the past from the future to kill or protect them. The apocalypse appears to be very inevitable.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The good T-800 stays behind to distract the T-1000000 (and ensure John makes it through the time portal) just before Skynet is destroyed.
  • Improvised Weapon: The good T-800 uses the Hunter-Killer as a weapon by throwing it at an attacking T-800, which causes its head to launch into the air.
  • Jump Scare:
    • The loud noise that comes from Sarah and the T-800 firing their guns were quite startling. This is because the show at Florida and Hollywood used actual guns, with blank rounds being fired. At Japan however, the guns are fake and make a pre-recorded sound that's far less startling.
    • Right after Skynet's central core is blown up, all of the seats in the theater suddenly drop down.
  • Lighter and Softer: Though the grim After the End atmosphere of the future is still present, the ride as a whole is much lighter (as it is intended to be suitable for kids and teenagers). Despite the copious amounts of gunfire, the only person who dies is Kimberley (the Cyberdyne rep), and the Arnold T-800 and John make more jokes throughout their quest than they did in T2.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: When the T-1000000 gets frozen in liquid nitrogen, the Terminator shoots it into a hundred pieces (John realizes too late that the Terminator was going to do this and just gets out a horrified "WAIT!"), which makes it slowly form itself back together. Had he not done this, the T-1000000 would've remained frozen and no longer would've been a threat.
  • The Nudifier: The fact that Time Travel does this is extremely averted, as the Terminator keeps not only his clothes, but his bike, his Cool Shades, and his shotgun. Probably enforced, since this is a theme park attraction.
  • Off with His Head!: A variation of this occurs when the Terminator blows up another Terminator endoskeleton; its head being the only thing that survived the explosion.
  • "Oh, Crap!" Smile: Kimberley gives one to the audience after Sarah and John's lengthy interruption of the Skynet presentation is thwarted.
  • Paddleball Shot: The show has several of them, most notably when the T-1000 stretches its head and neck out to search for John and Sarah in the audience, and when a Terminator endoskeleton gets blown up, sending its head flying towards the screen. Both of these shots were used extensively in the attraction's marketing.
  • Robo Cam: When the unskinned T-800 walks through the wreckage looking for John after the Hunter-Killers are dispatched.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: Though not a common occurrence, there is a variation of the show where the T-1000 does not kill Kimberley and she instead flees the auditorium upon realizing how insane the situation has become.
  • Sequel Escalation: In a way, T2: 3D is an escalation of the situation seen in the previous film. Instead of being held in the present day, the ride takes participants into the future (something that was wished for ever since the introduction of T2), has appearances from new Terminator models (including the T-70 and T-1000000) and features the characters attempting to destroy Skynet once and for all at the end of the Robot War.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Kimberley, the overly cheerful director of media and communications for Cyberdyne, is strangled to death by T-1000 right before the action begins.
  • Shout-Out: When the Terminator seizes a killdrone, he tells it to stop whining, straight out of another Ah-nuld film.
  • Suicidal Overconfidence: The Cyberdyne rep attempts to attack the T-1000 after it comes through the screen and demonstrates its capabilities, which inevitably leads to her demise.
  • Third Is 3D: If you want to count this as the third installment of the franchise.
  • Undignified Death: Kimberley is killed when the T-1000 very casually chokes her to death.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Both the "good" T-800 and the T-1000 are alive and kicking, despite both being dunked in molten metal in the preceding film. (Though it is possible the rebels were able to capture and reprogram more T-800s and T-1000s can be reproduced.
  • Unwanted Assistance: invoked When John and the Terminator are trying to outrun a Hunter-Killer's laserfire.
    John: Go right! Right—oh no, no! Go left! Left! Left! No, go right! Right, I'm sorry! Go right!
    Terminator: John, please stop helping.
  • Updated Re Release: In 2015, the pre-show in Florida's version of the attraction was updated, removing some of the more dated scenes and adding in references to some of the more recent additions to the Terminator franchise (such as the Terminator Genisys film).
  • Walk into Mordor: Though Skynet seems to have very strong air defenses, the same can't be said for its ground defenses; as after defeating some of its mooks, John and the Terminator are able to run out into the open and make it to Skynet's central core without any trouble.
  • We Interrupt This Program: The pre-show film of Cyberdyne's accomplishments is hacked into by Sarah and John, who use it to warn the audience that they're going to blow up Cyberdyne's headquarters.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Although the T-800 and John dispatch the T-1000 (namely, by shooting it in the head just like in the Pescadero chase scene from T2), he doesn't appear again and isn't around when Skynet is destroyed for good.
    • Hilariously, this ends up applying to you. The show begins as a live demonstration of Cyberdyne's new technologies that goes off the rails once the Connors arrive, but once things move into the future, it turns into more of 3D movie/stage play hybrid where the audience doesn't exist. It's not clear what happens to them in the aftermath of the demonstration.
  • You Do NOT Want To Know: The Terminator when John asks why they're headed towards Skynet headquarters.