The 80-foot Transformer display plastered on the side of a downtown Orlando office building blinked the news Thursday morning: "Prepare for battle June 20," which means the highly anticipated Transformers 3D ride at Universal's Orlando theme park finally has an opening date.
At a recent behind-the-scenes tour granted to the Tampa Bay Times, ride designer Thierry Coup said he had just ridden the ride that morning, so there was much speculation Thursday on Twitter that park visitors will get a chance to ride it early during the "soft opening" days leading up to its debut this summer.
The ride uses stunning 3-D and flight simulator technologies to immerse passengers in an intense chase with Megatron where they feel wind, heat and water and smell smoke as they swerve and soar through downtown Chicago. The award-winning ride is estimated by industry analysts to have cost about $100 million to develop and is credited with boosting Universal's attendance and revenues at its parks in California and Singapore.
The Orlando version is a replica of the original ride and was built in what Universal says is a record pace of only 11 months.