SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

September 7, 2013

The Simpsons area complete at Universal Orlando

ORLANDO, Fla. — Walking into Universal Orlando’s new themed area is a bit surreal. First, you hear familiar music.

Then you spot the sign: “Greetings from SPRINGFIELD U.S.A.”

And then you get a faint whiff of doughnuts.

The hometown from the animated TV series “The Simpsons” has been brought to life in a theme park.

The full Springfield experience opened to the public in the park in August. Universal has slowly been adding to the area for years, building it around “The Simpsons” ride that opened in 2008. With a new ride — the Kang and Kodos Twirl ’n’ Hurl — and a food court that includes Moe’s Tavern, the show’s beloved watering hole, the area is now complete.

Other attractions found in both the show and the park include the Krustyland carnival area and the Kwik-E-Mart, a convenience store on TV and a gift shop at Universal.

Park designers worked with the show’s creators and writers to build a richly detailed environment where visitors can spend hours eating and snapping selfies in front of a statue of Chief Wiggum and his police car.

The goal: to make people feel like they were stepping into the cartoon.

“We call it ‘authentic fiction,’” said Ric Florell, Universal’s senior vice president and general manager of resort revenue operations.

There’s also a kiosk where visitors can have their photo taken on a replica of the Simpsons’ sofa.

While most of the details in Springfield mirror the TV show, there are a few tweaked concepts.

Take the Twirl ’n’ Hurl, for instance. It’s based on the two aliens on the show, and riders experience a spinning saucer movement while different Simpsons characters crack jokes. It’s a pretty calm ride, appropriate for all but the smallest of children.

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