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Ride / Twister...Ride it Out

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Helen Hunt: At a certain point, you can't tell the difference between the movie... and reality.
Bill Paxton: You start believing the twister is not just a weather condition. It takes on a life of its own, becoming an entity. A demon spirit, a devouring colossus bent on destruction. By the end, there's only one thing you can do — hold on for your life.

Twister...Ride it Out was a special effects simulation attraction at Universal Studios Florida. Based off of the film, Twister, the attraction recreated certain highlights from the picture.

The attraction also took a behind-the-scenes look of the film, as the film's two stars, Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt, would discuss on screen what they had gone through when making the picture, mentioning the incredible amount of special effects-work that was put into the movie and just how close they got to a real tornado. They would also discuss tornadoes themselves, describing them as terrifying yet beautiful forces of nature that should never be underestimated.

This would all culminate in the attraction's finale, where guests would get put right in the middle of the scene in the film where a Drive-In theater is terrorized by a tornado; also mixing in other elements from the film such as the flying cow and the "Dorothy" device.

After the park-original attraction, Ghostbusters Spooktacular, closed in November 1996, it would not be until 1997 that Twister was announced as its replacement. While designing the attraction, Universal Creative, consulted real meteorologists to get a decent idea on how the experience in the attraction should look and feel.

Initially slated to open in March 1998, it was delayed due to a series of tornadoes in Central Florida killing many people that same monthinvoked. It would finally open two months later on May 4, 1998.

After a 17-year run, the attraction was closed on November 2, 2015 due to declining popularity and expensive operation costs. It was replaced by Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon, which opened in 2017.

Tropes used in Twister...Ride it Out include:

  • Adaptation Distillation: The attraction essentially just combines certain bits from the film all into one scene; as a result, we have the Drive-In scene that includes a cow flying by as well as the "Dorothy" device.
  • Car Meets House:
    • The attraction's facade had a tractor lodged into a wall.
    • The second pre-show, which was themed as a destroyed house, had a car crashed through the roof.
  • Clip Show: The first pre-show was largely this, showcasing some of the most memorable moments from the movie.
  • Content Warnings: Signs at the entrance warned that the attraction is "PG-13" rated and may be too intense for children.
  • Do Not Touch the Funnel Cloud: In the main show, guests would see the tornado literally right in front of them without getting sucked in.
  • Description Porn: In the pre-shows, both Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt would go into extreme detail about tornadoes, describing them as a horrifically devastating force of nature, but at the same time a beautiful and awe-inspiring sight to behold.
  • Dramatic Shattering: The windows behind the guests would "shatter" when the tornado gets too close.
  • Dramatic Thunder: Occurred right at the end of the second pre-show, after Bill Paxton says, "Hold on for your life."
  • Dramatic Wind: In the second pre-show, guests would feel a sudden torrent of wind when Bill Paxton begins to describe a twister as "A demon spirit, a devouring colossus bent on destruction".
  • Drive-In Theater: The setting of the main show where the tornado attacks.
  • Emergency Broadcast: A TV could be seen playing a Tornado warning broadcast as the guests walked into the main show room.
  • Epileptic Flashing Lights: Strobe lighting was used in the main show when the windows shattered apart.
  • Ethereal Choir: One could be heard about mid-way into the main show.
  • Hydrant Geyser: This happened in the main show when the tornado moves a car forward enough to dislodge a fire hydrant.
  • Impact Silhouette: In the queue line, there was a metal door with a massive imprint of a cow.
  • Instant Thunder: During the main show, the thunder strangely comes before lightning strikes a tree.
  • It's Quiet… Too Quiet: With the exception of the distant sound of a tornado siren, the Drive-In is eerily quiet until the tornado and lightning shows up.
  • Jump Scare: At the finale of the attraction, the platform the guests stood on dropped a few inches, startling numerous first-time riders.
  • Monumental Damage: As seen above in the page image, advertisements depicted the tornado destroying the Universal Studios arch.
  • Never Trust a Title: Despite the second part of the title being "...Ride It Out", the attraction was not a ride, just a special effects show.
  • Ominous Music Box Tune: The faint sound of a music box could be heard amid the wreckage in the second pre-show.
  • "Psycho" Strings: A part of the famous shower scene music from Psycho could faintly be heard coming from the Drive-In screen, just before the tornado hits.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: The main show used a small piece of music from Waterworld at the part where the gas station pumps leak out.
  • Scenery Gorn: The second pre-show room was set inside a house that had been ripped to shreds by a tornado, and sounding as if it was ready to collapse.
  • Shout-Out: The Drive-In Theater in the main show played clips from The People Under the Stairs, and two of the movies shown to be in the theater's schedule were Psycho and The Shining.
  • Sinister Scraping Sound: The sound shows up when the tornado makes the porch the guests are on start to shake violently.
  • The Slow Walk: Initially in the main show, the tornado comes in at a frighteningly slow pace.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Some of the more cheerful music from the movie was used at the end as guests exited the attraction...right after having witnessed a Drive-In theater get torn to shreds by a tornado.
  • Spiritual Successor: To the Backdraft attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood and Japan, which just like this attraction is a special effects show going behind the scenes of a movie, though just using big fires instead of tornadoes.
  • Split Screen: The first pre-show had Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt on two separate screens, also showing them in two different locations. This was supposedly done because Bill and Helen did not get along during the shooting of the original movie, and afterwards never wanted to work with each other again.
  • Stock Sound Effects: The sound effect of what else but a tornado siren is used in the main show.
  • The Stoic: Bill Paxton talks about tornadoes in a completely monotone voice throughout the entire attraction.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Happens towards the end of the main show, when a gas tank leaks, leading to... predictable results.
  • Take That!: In the second pre-show room, as an Easter Egg there was a pair of Mickey Mouse ears crushed beneath a car tire.
  • Tagline: "It will blow you away!"
  • Updated Re Release: In a less-than-positive instance, the attraction used to have an extended queue line that featured props from the movie and set up the story better; but this was all removed in 2008/2009 to make way for the Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit coaster.
  • Vapor Trail: Towards the end of the main show, the carnage would result in a gas station tank leaking out a trail of gasoline. The trail then gets lit by lightning sparks, and the fire travels up to some explosives.