The Simpsons Ride is an animated simulator attraction that can be found at the Universal Studios parks in Orlando and Hollywood.
Based on the cartoon series, the attraction spent many years in Development Hell, with the idea of it going all the way back to the early 1990s with plans to have it at the then-still under construction Islands of Adventure park, though it all fell through due to Fox not feeling ready to license out the property. It would not be until the late 2000's that Fox finally agreed to allow Universal to create a theme park attraction for the series.
The backstory of the attraction focuses on Krusty the Clown opening his own amusement park, known as "Krustyland". The park features a variety of unusual attractions which attracts the attention of all of Springfield, including the Simpsons family themselves.
The main plot of the ride follows the Simpsons and their visit to the park, particularly their excitement to experience the grand opening of the park's latest attraction, "The All-New Thrilltacular Upsy-Downsy Spins-Aroundsy Teen-Operated Thrill Ride". Things take a turn for the worst when Sideshow Bob, thirsty for vengeance once again, plots to kill the Simpsons and destroy Krusty's theme park. Disguising himself, he manages to break in and hijack the entire park, transforming it into his own personal death trap. As a result, the Simpsons along with the riders themselves are sent on the ultimate trip through this re-designed theme park.
After a little over a year of construction, the attraction opened in both parks on May of 2008, in place of Back to the Future: The Ride, which closed in 2007.
Tropes shown in The Simpsons Ride include:
- Absentee Actor: Harry Shearer decided not to participate in the attraction, and as such, his characters either don't speak or don't show up at all.
- Affectionate Parody: Krustyland, which parodies not only the Disney Theme Parks but SeaWorld, Six Flags and Universal themselves.
- Alternate Continuity: The ride does stretch some boundaries regarding the shows already-shaky canon:
- It implies that The Simpsons and Back to the Future share the same universe as it connects to the ride based on the latter (though, admittedly, thats also considered in a separate continuity from the films).
- Sideshow Bob gets crushed hard by the Simpsons couch, presumably killing him, or at the very least paralyzes him for life, yet hes A-OK in the show.
- Krustyland was already an established property in the show way before the ride, claiming it to be an absolutely new park would be disingenuous if this fits with the show.
- Maggie is now the size of Godzilla, thanks to radiation, and stays like that throughout the ride, with no way of changing her, yet shes perfectly normal in the show.
- Amusement Park of Doom: Krustyland becomes this once Sideshow Bob takes over.
- Anvil on Head: At the end of the ride, Sideshow Bob gets crushed by "Death Drop" ride vehicle with the Simpsons on it.
- Anything but That!: When Sideshow Bob informs everyone that before boarding they must watch a legally-required safety video, the Simpsons react by screaming in horror.
- Are We There Yet?: The commercial for the attraction has Bart and Lisa constantly saying this while Homer is driving them to Krustyland, much to his annoyance.
- One of the short clips that plays on the monitors in the rides queue pokes fun at this commercial, where Bart and Lisa continue saying the phrase until Homer finally snaps and goes crazy.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: When Maggie is exposed to radiation, she grows to gigantic size and terrorizes Springfield under Sideshow Bob's manipulation.
- Bait-and-Switch Comment: In this brief exchange:Homer: We're the first people ever to ride this thing! We're like that space guy!Lisa: Neil Armstrong?Homer: No, Chewbacca! [Wookiee noise]
- Barely Missed Cushion: A clip of Sideshow Bob's prison escape shows him about to jump into a truck full of pillows, but when he jumps the truck drives away and he instead lands in a truck filled with barbed wire.
- Best Served Cold: It's implied that Sideshow Bob had been waiting for the moment that Krustyland opened to put his elaborate revenge scheme into action.Sideshow Bob: A dish...best served cold.Homer: Is it ice cream?Sideshow Bob: NO, REVENGE!
- Big Bad: Sideshow Bob.
- Big Damn Heroes: Professor Frink shows up to prevent the riders from dropping down into hell.
- Big "SHUT UP!": Sideshow Bob does one when he gets annoyed by all the constant singing in the "Happy Little Elves in Panda Land".
- Blatant Lies: When Abraham Simpson is not allowed on the ride due to his medical conditions, he claims that he's in the best shape of his life whilst suffering both a heart attack and a stroke.
- Body Horror: Professor Frink mentions that if a human were to enter the nuclear reactor room, they could grow an extra arm or a third eye where their nose should be.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Right at the ride's end, Sideshow Bob acknowledges the fact that he only has "five seconds to kill somebody".
- Bus Full of Innocents: The riders are this, as they did nothing to wrong Sideshow Bob and were merely victims of bad timing.
- Call-Back: The gift shop for the ride sells "BORT" keychains.
- Captain Obvious: At the water stadium, Homer remarks, "Maybe that exit sign leads to an exit!"
- Cave Behind the Falls: A portion of the "Captain Dinosaur's Pirate Rip-Off" ride is set inside one.
- Chainsaw Good: Sideshow Bob at one point wields a giant sawblade against the Simpsons.
- Clip Show: The outdoor portion of the queue has a video loop alternating between original segments featuring Krusty showing off Krustyland and amusement/theme park-related clips from the TV show (such as the Mt. Splashmore song from "Brush with Greatness").
- Comically Missing the Point: At the beginning:Sideshow Bob: There's nothing you can do! You're about to die!Homer: You sound like my doctor!
- Couch Gag: The final minute of the ride is more or less the embodiment of this trope: The family arrives back on their couch after escaping giant Maggie, but the walls fall apart to reveal Krustys Death Drop ride, now stretching into outer space and under the control of Kang & Kodos. With the couch serving as a ride vehicle, the family & riders plummet out of the sky and crash-land right in front of Krustyland for one last confrontation with Sideshow Bob.
- Creator Cameo: In most of the pre-show rooms, there's a picture of Krusty having a drink with Matt Groening.
- Cutting Corners: The queue video has Cletus giving people instructions on how to save money when visiting Krustyland: by sneaking your own food into the park via disguising it as your own clothing or even another child.
- Department of Redundancy Department: While waiting in line, Homer explains to Bart that the snack he got is a "deep-fried cotton candy dipped in caramel, then re-cotton-candied, then fried again, and then fried again again".
- Disaster Dominoes: When Homer tries to take a mug of beer away from one of the animatronics in "Captain Dinosaur's Pirate Rip-Off", it creates a chain reaction that destroys the entire ride around them.
- Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: The "Captain Dinosaur's Pirate Rip-Off" attraction is filled with, well, pirate dinosaurs.
- Expansion Pack: In 2013 at the Florida park, an entire Springfield area that includes eateries such as Krusty Burger and Moe's Tavern was added on to complement the attraction. The Hollywood park received an even bigger version of the area in 2015.
- Flaying Alive: Played for Laughs in the safety video when Itchy nails Scratchy's tail to the floor; and when he tries to run to the ride vehicle, his fur and skin are torn off as a result.
- Gainax Ending: Just as Maggie is rampaging, we suddenly get a Couch Gag, before Kang & Kodos suddenly appear, and it turns out that they're on a space-high drop tower.
- Guilt by Association Gag: Sideshow Bob forces not only the Simpsons through his theme park of death, but the riders as well, merely because they were grouped alongside them.
- Haunted House: Krustyland has a Haunted Mansion parody called, "Haunted Condo".
- Hope Spot: The Simpsons attempt to head to the labeled "Exit" in the water stadium as a means of escaping, only for it to actually be a bomb that explodes on them.
- Hypocritical Humor: In the queue line video, Krusty talks about how much he loves and is inspired by children, but when Ralph drops his ice cream on Krusty's shoes, he angrily shouts, "You stupid kid!" and chases him while threatening to rip his head off.
- I Can See My House from Here: Homer does a slight variation of this while being flung from a wrecking ball, saying, "Hey, I can see our car!"
- Indy Escape: At one point, Homer runs away from a detached wrecking ball that's rolling after him.
- Just in Time: When Sideshow Bob starts shooting at the Simpsons inside a water stadium, a whale pops up for Lisa to grapple onto and lead the boat away.
- The Last Thing You Ever See: Said by Sideshow Bob just before the boarding instructions.Sideshow Bob: Now for the last thing you'll ever see! — A legally-required safety video.
- Leave No Witnesses: Presumably the reason why Sideshow Bob also wants to do away with the riders.
- Long Title: An in-universe instance with "The All-New Thrilltacular Upsy-Downsy Spins-Aroundsy Teen-Operated Thrill Ride".
- Losing Your Head: In the ride's safety video, Scratchy ends up decapitating himself while trying to lift the lap bar.
- Mondegreen: When Sideshow Bob shouts, "You've foiled my plans for the last time!", Bart mishears this as, "I've soiled my pants for the last time!"
- Mugged for Disguise: Sideshow Bob knocks out a drunk performer so he can wear his Scratchy costume as a disguise.
- Mythology Gag: The queue movie for The Simpsons Ride features an animated Doc Brown trying to save the Institute of Future Technology from Back to the Future: The Ride.
- A Simpson-ized version of Steven Spielberg (wearing an E.T. hat) is seen on line for Captain Dinosuar's Pirate Rip-Off.
- "No Talking or Phones" Warning: The ride features a safety spiel in the form of an Itchy and Scratchy short.
- Only a Flesh Wound: Scratchy gets one of his arms chopped off by the vehicle door in the attraction's safety video.
- Panda-ing to the Audience: Averted. Sideshow Bob converts one of the panda animatronics on the "Happy Little Elves" ride into a scary cyborg-ish monstrosity, which he uses to move around in.
- Pistol-Whipping: Sideshow Bob knocks Krusty out by hitting him with his pistol.
- Ramp Jump: Two of them occur in the water stadium scene, with one being enough to send the Simpsons and the riders into the stadium bleachers.
- Schmuck Bait: When the ride vehicles are being lifted up onto the roller coaster, it passes by a series of signs that say (in order), "DO NOT ENTER", "SERIOUSLY", "IT'S YOUR FUNERAL".
- Shameless Self-Promotion:
- Near the end of the ride, the vehicle crashes into a wall reading "SEND MONEY TO UNIVERSAL STUDIOS", which pokes fun at the severe financial issues that plagued the company up until 2015.
- Part of the guest videos is Cletus finding creative ways of sneaking food into the parks (like disguising hamburger meat as a kid to sneak a meal in) because, well, park food.
- Senior Sleep Cycle: Abraham Simpson falls asleep when he's supposed to be watching Maggie, which results in her wandering into the nuclear reactor room.
- Sickly Green Glow: Maggie gets one around her when she is affected by the radiation.
- Souvenir Land: Krustyland. Attractions include the Hall of Secretaries of the Interior, Captain Dinosaur's Pirate Rip-Off, and a log flume that is currently closed for a wedding.
- Stripped to the Bone: Happens to Scratchy in the safety video when he violates the no-photography rule and is blasted by a bunch of missiles as a result.
- Tempting Fate:
- When Bart bemoans the fact that he and Lisa landed inside a kiddie ride, Lisa mentions, "At least we're safe..." The two get attacked by Sideshow Bob a mere second later.
- While Homer tries to take beer away from an animatronic, he says, "How could beer hurt anybody?", shortly before an entire ride falls apart because of this.
- Title: The Adaptation: Though in this case "the" is in front.
- Updated Re Release: Over the years, some of Homer's dialogue in the attraction has been changed repeatedly for reasons unknown.
Original: I always get sick flying backwards!Update: I think my wallet just fell out of my pocket!
- His line while he was riding the wrecking ball.
Original: Maybe that exit sign leads to an exit!Update: By the way, now I'm very wet!
- Also, his line as he and the family are evading Sideshow Bob in the water show arena.
Original: I mean ramps!!Update: Okay! This is no longer fun!!
- And his line after he warns Marge to stay away from the ramp in the water show arena.
- What Does This Button Do?: Right at the end of the ride, Krusty asks this when he sees a mysterious button next to him. He pushes it, which makes the ride vehicle vibrate violently.
- You Already Changed the Past: Featured in one of queue line videos to humorously pay tribute to its predecessor, Back to the Future: The Ride, complete with voiceover work from Christopher Lloyd. Professor Frink arrives looking for Doc Brown's Institute of Future Technology (the setting of that ride), only to find it replaced by the Krustyland theme park. He decides to stop it, so he "must go back to the future! By which I mean the past." He gets into a Delorean and accelerates into a time jump. Two years ago, a broker is telling Doc Brown that he'll be able to keep the Institute open for years to come. At that point, the Delorean materializes and runs over the broker! Frink jumps out and Brown yells at him "You ruined everything! Now I'll have to sell the Institute of Future Technology to that mercenary clown!" Krusty promptly pastes a Krustyland logo over the IFT logo on the front sign. Brown then shows Krusty to his limo, and Krusty tells him to tear tickets at the front gate after he gets a haircut (Brown's fine with this, as his Einstein Hair requires a lot of upkeep).
- Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: The climax of the ride has most of the family back on the couch at Evergreen Terrace — only for Kang and Kodos to reveal the couch is the ride vehicle of a climactic "Death Drop"!"Foolish Earthlings! Don't you realize that all rides must end near the gift shop?"