Transformers: The Ride will celebrate its grand opening on June 20, 2013, at Universal Studios Florida — and you’ve just found the world’s most popular unofficial guide to the new attraction last updated May 24, 2013.
There is an incredible amount of information, several HD videos, and an enormous photo gallery on this page. We strongly encourage you to take the time to read everything we’ve put together for you here — top to bottom — to ensure you are fully prepared to join the resistance!
Transformers: The greatest battle you’ll ever ride
Production Central (map included at the bottom of the page).
Restrictions and access
40 inches; Express Pass access and a single rider line expected to be offered after opening day.
Early Park Admission
Starting July 1 this attraction will be open for Universal on-site hotel and vacation package guests one hour before the general public. Early Park Admission for Universal Studios Florida is scheduled to end September 2, 2013.
Two sentence insider summary
The Decepticons, lead by the ruthless Megatron, have brought the war to the streets of Orlando as they try to take possession of the AllSpark and enslave humanity. As a N.E.S.T. recruit, jump into this intense 3D simulator experience and join the new Transformer EVAC, Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, and the other Autobots to defeat Megatron and his Decepticon scum.
The ride houses 14 custom built screens towering up to 60 feet tall — Riders wear breakthrough 3D glasses that are far superior to traditional movie‑going 3D glasses — The ride races along 2000 feet of ride track at perceived speeds of up to 60 mph — 15 different Autobots and Decepticons are featured on the ride.
3 out of 5. The unique combination of state-of-the-art 3D projection, motion simulation, and intense battle sequences may be frightening to some. That being said, there is no actual high-speed movement and the storyline is no different than what you’ve seen in the Transformers movies.
Once open this will be the most popular attraction at Universal Orlando, likely to draw even bigger crowds than Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey (at least for a while). As a result, expect wait times to be 60 to 120 minutes — especially considering that the attraction is opening right in the middle of the busy summer season.
What you wish you knew before you experienced it
EVAC, your ride vehicle, is a Transformer and serves as the story’s narrator. This is important to know before the ride kicks off as it explains the voice your hearing and why your vehicle is getting involved in the fight.
OI fun fact
Orlando Informer giving away a $300 Universal Orlando gift card to celebrate the opening of Transformers — you can get much more fun than that! To enter our giveaway, click here (that link will open in a new window).
FAQ: When will I really be able to ride Transformers?
Here is the timeline to the best of our knowledge:
April: Construction finished and ride testing.
April 30 – May 3: An 80-foot tall Transformers ad appears downtown. Universal releases a video asking us to “Join the resistance” starting May 2nd. Later, Universal updates the ad with the grand opening date: PREPARE FOR BATTLE JUNE 20.
Early May: Team member training begins.
May 15: Universal holds ‘Battle Readiness Event’ for team members.
May 22: ‘Project Team Preview Day’ for those involved in the design and construction of the ride.
May 23: TODAY Show live broadcast at Universal Studios Florida, areas of the park opened at 7:00am for all guests. We were all really hoping for Transformers to open just for a bit, as this would be great publicity for Universal, but alas it did not happen.
Memorial Day weekend: Although we have no confirmation, we’re hoping the general public gets our first chances to ride Transformers this weekend!
May 28: Notification of Passholder “exclusive ride times” to be posted at UniversalOrlando.com/APlogin.
May 31: Last day to enter Universal’s sweepstakes to win a trip to the grand opening (more info below).
Early June: Technical rehearsals expected to first open to the public. There is a chance that rehearsals may happen in late May as noted above, but the more routine rehearsals — lasting for a longer duration and therefore easier to get to once word spreads — will likely not happen until the first part of June.
June 20: Grand opening! Still no word yet on festivities or whether stars from the movies will be in attendance.
July 1 – September 2: On-site and vacation package guests receive Early Park Admission to Universal Studios Florida to ride Transformers one hour before the general public. Despicable Me will be open too.
FAQ: What’s the best way to find out about Transformers soft openings?
Soft openings, or technical rehearsals, will likely begin in the first week of June. The easiest way for you to learn about them is to follow us on Twitter, where we will bring bleeding edge coverage just as we did for the Despicable Me technical rehearsals last summer…
By the way, remember when Universal Orlando’s Twitter handle was @UORnews?
If Twitter isn’t your thing, you can also like our Facebook page, where we will certainly post updates, just not as up-to-the-minute as our Twitter updates.
FAQ: What’s a soft open / technical rehearsal and how do I sign up?
Before major attractions like Transformers celebrate their grand opening, they open periodically to the public during the two or three week period leading up to the grand opening. This allows the park to get team members fully trained in running the attraction with actual guests, and it also allows the park to work out any remaining kinks in the system. These unannounced, unpublished openings are often called soft openings. The catch is that there is never a schedule given to the public, and these rehearsals may last an hour, a few hours, or just a few minutes… it all depends on how much training is needed and whether or not problems develop.
In many ways this is a “gotta be in the right place at the right time” situation. Hopefully when you get the word via our Twitter account that Transformers is currently open to the public, you’ll already be at the park! If you’re not already at the park, be aware that the ride could close again to the public before you have a chance to arrive, park, and run to Universal Studios Florida.
FAQ: What’s planned for the grand opening celebration?
Universal hasn’t released any details yet about the grand opening event (other than the date of course!). Once we know, we’ll update this page.
FAQ: Will Universal add Early Admission to USF this summer?
Yes, July 1 through September 2 Universal on-site and vacation package guests receive Early Park Admission to Universal Studios Florida to ride Transformers one hour before the general public, 8:00am to 9:00am. Despicable Me Minion Mayhem will also be open. Remember that this is in addition to Early Park Admission at Islands of Adventure, which includes the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
FAQ: Will there be an Annual Passholder preview?
Yes — well, sort of. Universal has said that notification for Passholder “exclusive ride times” will be posted at UniversalOrlando.com/APlogin on May 28. It is likely that the ride times will be offered during the first month of Early Park Admission for on-site hotel and vacation package guests, which starts in July.
Annual Passholders may also “show their allegiance to the Autobots” by purchasing an AP 2013 Transformers decal starting June 9 for $7.95 — limited time offer, while supplies last.
FAQ: Can we see inside the Transformers queue?
No one has been allowed to get complete footage of the Transformers queue in Orlando. But our recent visit to Transformers at Universal Studios Hollywood provided us with the perfect opportunity to get full coverage of the Hollywood queue, which I am happy to show you now. It is our understanding that the Orlando queue is shorter than the Hollywood queue, but the elements are essentially the same.
Once we are able to get our cameras inside the Transformers queue in Orlando, you better believe we’ll bring you complete coverage!
FAQ: How do I win a trip to the Transformers grand opening?
Universal is hosting a giveaway of their own on their Facebook page. The resort is drawing weekly winners through the end of May for prize packs. Then, at the end of May, two separate winners will receive a 2-night trip to Universal for the grand opening, including airfare and accommodations on-site at Universal Orlando. You can enter Universal’s giveaway by creating a N.E.S.T. ID, or read the official rules.
Sorry international guests, Universal’s sweepstakes is for U.S. residents only. But you are certainly welcome to enter the Orlando Informer $300 gift card giveaway!
FAQ: Let’s pretend I grew up in a cave… What are Transformers?
Okay, so not all of us were kids in the 80s, and admittedly the Transformer movies were far from cinematic brilliance — so it is very possible you may not know exactly what Transformers are, or why they would be battling at a N.E.S.T. facility.
To answer basic questions about Transformers and explain key concepts/characters, Universal created a one-page handout for their team members. Here it is as a PNG image file or as a PDF document file.
Transformers: A history of the Orlando resistance
Here’s a brief history of the Soundstage 44 plot where the construction is occurring: When work began in the summer of 2012, everyone at first thought it was going to be a small project to bring SS44 back up to code for use during Halloween Horror Nights. Then people started speculating that it was going to be Transformers: The Ride, which opened up last year in Hollywood. Then a rumor started that it was actually going to be a year-round haunted house to debut with HHN 22. Then people started saying that the haunted house rumor was a hoax, and it really is going to be Transformers. For several months I doubted the possibility of Transformers because, from what I’ve now experienced, the ride is quite similar to The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man — and Universal Orlando already has one of those. In addition, I couldn’t help but think we didn’t really need another simulator at Universal Studios Florida. But construction went on, and the only rumor that persisted was Transformers — and as time passed I found myself forgetting any misgivings and getting excited about meeting Optimus Prime. Finally, on the evening of November 1, during Cinematic Spectacular the following incoming transmission played for the crowd gathered around the USF lagoon:
So Universal has made the official announcement. Prepare for battle. June 20, 2013.
Full news release
Universal Orlando Resort announced that its next blockbuster attraction will be the widely popular TRANSFORMERS: The Ride – 3D. The groundbreaking ride – created under license from Hasbro, Inc. and based on its iconic TRANSFORMERS brand – will bring the intergalactic battle between the Autobots and the Decepticons to Universal Studios Florida in summer 2013. Already a “must-see” at Universal Studios Singapore and Universal Studios Hollywood, TRANSFORMERS: The Ride – 3D is a mind-blowing, action-packed ride experience that you have to see to believe. You will come face to face with Megatron. You will dodge explosions and attacks by the Decepticons. You will fight to save mankind alongside Optimus Prime and the Autobots. It will be the greatest battle you’ll ever ride.
Universal worked closely with Michael Bay, the award-wining director of the “TRANSFORMERS” film series and the ride’s creative consultant, to create an authentic experience that brings the non-stop action of the films to life. The attraction combines the larger-than-life TRANSFORMERS characters and an exciting storyline with life-like HD CGI media, state-of-the-art 3-D technology and amazing special effects to place riders right in the middle of an epic battle between good and evil.
“We broke the mold and have taken this ride to a new technological level in terms of blending seamless 3-D,” said Michael Bay, director of the “TRANSFORMERS” films. “TRANSFORMERS: The Ride – 3D is the perfect addition to Universal Orlando’s thrilling theme park experiences,” said Mark Woodbury, president of Universal Creative. “The ride has already proven to be a hit at our Hollywood and Singapore parks, and we’re excited that Universal Orlando guests will soon be able to join the Autobots in the fight to save the world.” TRANSFORMERS films, television shows and merchandise have captivated millions of people all over the world.
To date, three blockbuster films have been released – “TRANSFORMERS” (2007), “TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN” (2009) and “TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON” (2011) – grossing more than $2 billion combined worldwide at the box office. The three films were directed by Michael Bay, executive produced by Steven Spielberg and released by Paramount Pictures. TRANSFORMERS: The Ride – 3D is slated to open June 20, 2013 at Universal Orlando. The attraction will have one of the shortest build times in Universal history – making it one of Universal’s most ambitious projects ever.
Transformers gift shop now open – March 4, 2013
Supply Vault, the Transformers gift shop, is now officially open for business!
There is something for everyone here: clothing, bags, souvenir cups and coffee mugs, masks, toys, action figures, and even cells from the movies. However, while Transformers shot glasses are available, the famous Energon drink is not yet present.
The store itself will now be open continuously during regular park hours.
Transformers now appearing regularly at Universal Studios Florida
Starting the week of March 4, Optimus Prime and Bumblebee have begun regular appearances for guest meet and greets inside Universal Studios Florida. Although their hours are unpublished, the buzz around town is that they will be trading shifts between 10:00am and 4:00pm each day. UPDATE: Megatron has joined the lineup too!
These characters are AMAZING, and this is one photo opportunity you do not want to miss…
The appearances are a clear sign that Universal wants to build up a lot of buzz RIGHT NOW for the Transformers opening, which has to be a sure sign that the ride will be having technical rehearsals soon. And of course all this supports our estimate of an April soft open and a May grand opening (even though Universal hasn’t announced a date other than “summer” 2013).
In addition to our 19 photos, we also got this pretty incredible HD video of the characters. Enjoy!
For those of you who are interested in have Universal take your photo, I’m happy to let you know that they have an official photographer stationed at this meet and greet. (By the way, did you hear that the parks recently overhauled their Universal Photo Connect system? There were lots of changes, so I’d recommend that you check out our completely updated guide before you head to Universal!)
Construction update – April 5, 2013
Well my friends, Universal has been able to turn that pile of rubble into Transformers: The Ride in less than 12 months. In fact, we’re so close to an opening that this will be our last construction update. As you can see, all the walls have been removed from around the new attraction building (Remember, you can click any image to view it full-screen):
As I’ve stated before, the building really looks like a movie-quality set. There is no part of it that wouldn’t fit perfectly in any of the Transformers films. The only issue, which many fans have noted, is that the building looks a little out of place smacked right in the middle of the Universal Studios backlots. But, it is what it is, and despite the somewhat odd placement in the park I still think it looks great, especially at night…
In addition to the construction walls disappearing, there is a new Transformers character appearing, and his name is Megatron:
Megatron, along with Optimus Prime and Bumblebee, continue to make appearances daily near the Transformers building. Although the meet-and-greet hours should be 10:00am to 4:00pm, keep in mind that Universal does not publish this schedule so it can change or be starched at anytime. However, that’s not likely to be the case, since we’re so close to an opening.
Decepticons attack downtown Orlando – May 1, 2013
This video was just leaked by someone inside N.E.S.T…
Orlando, are we prepared for battle?
Of course what you see above is just a media campaign, but by anyone standards is it pretty impressive. The aftermath of the video is an enormous “sticker” on the side of the Fairwinds Credit Union tower at 135 W. Central Blvd in downtown Orlando. In addition to the 80-foot tall visual, Universal has added rubble, crushed vehicles, and N.E.S.T. team members at the base, along with sound affects and smoke.
Here’s our video shot this morning…
It feels like an extremely elaborate Halloween Horror Nights set!
The end of Universal’s video also gives us a key piece of intel for Transformers — it says “Join the resistance” May 2. Then, on May 2, Universal announced the Transformers grand opening date: June 20.
Photos of the project in downtown Orlando…
FYI: Rumors about this project and the other construction work at Universal Orlando come and go so quickly that it’s a challenge to track everything on this page. Lucky for all of us we publish a weekly rumor round-up column on our blog! If you’d like to catch up on the current speculation and theme park gossip, you can skip over to the latest rumor posts.
Below you will find all of our new photos in addition to our complete gallery with images dating all the way back to demolition of Soundstage 44.
Transformers: The Ride – photo gallery
Click any image to view it full-screen. When the full-screen image is open, click to the right or use the right arrow on your keyboard to advance through the gallery.
Decepticon attack – May 1, 2013
April 2, 2013
Transformers gift shop now open – March 4, 2013
March 1, 2013
February 8, 2013
February 2, 2013
Transformers merchandise – January 22, 2013
December 31, 2012
December 10, 2012
November 29, 2012
November 3, 2012
Bumblebee – November 3, 2012
October 18, 2012
October 6, 2012
September 12, 2012
August 10, 2012
July 23, 2012
June 29, 2012
Transformers: The Ride construction – map
Click any marker to display the attraction or venue name. To scroll or zoom, use the controls on the top-left of the map. You may also switch to different map views by using the buttons on the top-right of the map.
View OI’s map to Universal Studios Florida in a larger map