So, today marks the end of an era. Back to the Future is no longer cool. (Jumpin’ Jigowatts!)
At least that’s what the folks at Universal Studios think. Today is the final day of Back to the Future, The Ride at Universal Studios — Orlando. Rumor is they’re shutting it down to make room for a Simpsons ride (Transformers has also been thrown around). But it doesn’t soften the blow at all.
Granted, the movie is now more than 20 years old and most Flagler College students weren’t even born when Marty McFly first went back in time on a botched time travel experiment and ended up making out with his mom and turning his dad from a hopeless geek into a Biff-pounding hero.
You’d never know that the movie is outdated though, thanks to Ted Turner running it 8,000 times a month on cable. All three movies can be seen regularly (usually run back to back) on TBS. And Direct TV recently gave Christopher Lloyd’s career a boost when they chose to use Back to the Future in a commercial. (I’m so glad they finally stopped running the Jessica Simpson one.)
Maybe I’m being overly nostalgic. The ride itself is at least 15 years old. But even in its haggard condition, it beats the pants off of outdated Disney counterparts like “It’s a Small World” and “Spaceship Earth.” Why is it Disney can get away with its politically incorrect view of the world’s nations, and pathetically rickety views of the “future,” but Universal has to dismantle one of the coolest theme park rides of all time?
Don’t get me wrong. I love the Walt Disney World Resort. I have season passes. But it seems to me, they can draw crowds without any true thrill rides. While Universal, on the other hand struggles even with groundbreakers like “The Hulk.”
Then again, this is the same theme park that shut down King Kong just months before the Peter Jackson version was released. I know the film wasn’t a Universal release this time, but I think the resurgence Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean has seen is in no small part thanks to the recent movie trilogy.
I could lament all day about how Disney has monopolized the theme park industry, but that’s not really the point of this blog. I just wanted to share my sadness at the closing of the first ride that made us all feel like we’d been swallowed by a dinosaur in a fight to keep Biff from ruining the future.
A trip to Orlando will never be the same without having to bump Biff’s DeLorian at 88 mph. But I’ll never forget it.
For those of you who feel my pain, I’ll leave you with this final phrase: “Hasta la bye-bye!”
Well said, Biff. Well said.