Universal Studios: What's next in Springfield?

Universal Orlando officials have shared more details about the still-under-construction portions of its Springfield project, an area within Universal Studios theme park that brings to life the hometown of "The Simpsons" animated TV series.

A restaurant that serves "Simpsons" staples such as Krusty Burgers and a replica of Moe Tavern, hangout of Homer Simpson, opened to guests earlier this month. Remaining behind construction walls are a number of attractions going up along the theme park's central lagoon.

The new attractions, adjacent to the Simpsons Ride, will open "later this summer," says Mike West, an executive producer with Universal Creative.

West shared more tidbits during a media tour on Wednesday.

+ The sole new ride of the area, known as Kang & Kodos' Twirl 'n' Hurl, will feature cars travelling in a circle as guests take aim at targets and tentatcles.  The light-hearted goal is to help K&K "attack Springfield," and direct hits will get a "vocal response" from characters, West says. The one-eyed Kodos already is atop the ride, visible from outside the construction walls. Kang will be incorporated into the signage. The ride has 12 cars that can seat up to three people, West says.

The cars will go up and down but do not spin, and there will be no water feature.

"It's going to be full of action," West says.

+ There will be several photo ops with figures from Springfield, including Duffman, Chief Wiggum (near a water feature), Milhaus and the statue of Jebediah Springfield, founder of Springfield. (Walk-around characters Krusty the Clown and Sideshow Bob are already making appearances in the park.)

+ Bumblebee Man's Taco Truck, parked on the Animal Actors end of Springfield, will be 30 feet long, with "Ay Yi Yi!" painted on the side along with a three-dimensional representation of Bumblebee Man's head, sporting a 14-foot "antennae span." The truck will stay parked in that spot.

+ Lard Lad will be a walk-up shop for pastry and fronted by a statue of its namesake, which will be "taller than the Optimus Prime," West says, referring to the imposing 28-foot figure above the entrance to the new Transformers: The Ride -- 3D attraction. 

+ A Duff Brewery will allow folks to try Duff Light and Duff Dry. Flaming Moes, which have debuted in Springfield's Fast Food Boulevard, will be there, along with a selection of bar food, West says. The brewery will be fronted by the Seven Little Duffs topiary.

+ A VIP seating area is incorporated for viewing of Universal's Cinematic Spectacular, but it will be available to all guests during the day (and will be a nice spot to watch construction of Wizarding World of Harry Potter -- Diagon Alley, set to open sometime in 2014.).

"The Simpsons" creator Matt Groening and producer James Brooks have been "involved in every creative decision," West says. Although they have not been to the Orlando site, "we are on the phone constantly with them," he says.




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