In its quest to be the biggest and most high-tech theme park in Orlando, Universal Studios Orlando will have to make room for some upcoming attractions. This means that something has to go, and unfortunately, that something is Terminator 2: 3-D. The long-standing attraction based on the Terminator franchise won't be standing for much longer, closing its doors forever on October 8 of this year.
Universal made the announcement on Thursday (via Entertainment Weekly) that it would be shutting down Terminator 2: 3-D. The attraction has stood in Universal Studios Orlando for more than 20 years, where it was frequently one of the first rides greeting guests after they entered the park. Universal Studios Hollywood already shut down its own version of the ride, replacing it with Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem. Universal is set to close the ride down on October 8, so if you happen to be planning a trip to Orlando in the off-season, maybe stop by for one last ride.
While not a ride in the traditional sense, Terminator 2: 3-D is a 3-D live-action show that utilizes filmed segments to tell a new story in the Terminator saga. It's common for actors and directors to get involved with theme park attractions today (just look at the Guardians of the Galaxy ride), but the Terminator ride was a bit of an oddity when it first opened back in 1996. James Cameron was serious about making the ride a technological spectacle and directed all the filmed segments himself. He even rounded up the main players of Terminator 2 -- Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong and Robert Patrick -- to reprise their roles.
The ride was unique in that familiar celebrities would act out their parts on screen, walk "off" screen and then actors would continue the action on stage for the audience. The story followed Sarah and John Connor infiltrating a presentation of prototype Terminators at Cyberdyne, only to be attacked by the T-1000. Then Arnie-Terminator showed up on a motorcycle and took the audience on a time traveling journey filled with big spectacle and giant robots bursting off the screen. Funnily enough, this was one of James Cameron's first experiences with 3D, which would serve him well in the future.
As for what Universal's future plans are, they promise an "all-new live action experience based on a high-energy Universal franchise" will take Terminator 2: 3-D's place by 2019. That's some seriously fast turnaround for a theme park ride, but Universal doesn't waste any time. Fast and Furious seems like it fits the "high-energy" bill, but the franchise is already getting a ride at Universal. I would have guessed The Mummy or Dark Universe, but that franchise launch didn't exactly turn out so hot this past summer.