Most fans are aware of the amazing Terminator themed attraction titled T2 3-D: Battle Across Time. Originally developed for the theme park ‘Universal Studios Florida’ in 1996, this ride where live performers interacted with 3D film was produced like a sequel to the blockbuster film “Terminator 2: Judgment Day”, reuniting director James Cameron with actors Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong, and Robert Patrick.
The attraction became an instantaneous hit, and spawned two more duplicate attractions in 1999 at Universal Studios Hollywood, California as well as Universal Studios Japan in 2001. But in 2014 there were rumors that the ride that started it all in Florida would disappear forever, but fortunately for fans, apparently the Terminator has received a stay of execution.
Of course, it is inevitable for older rides to be taken down at all theme parks. Classic attractions at Universal Studios Florida like “Jaws”, “Earthquake”, “King Kong” and even “Back to the Future” have all met their unfortunate demise. And even the T2 ride in Universal Studios Hollywood closed its doors in late 2012, replaced by the “Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem” attraction. Yet, the original “T2 3-D: Battle Across Time” ride in Orlando, Florida still stood strong.
It wasn’t until sometime in 2013 that the heads at Universal Studios Florida started considering closing the T2 ride for a more contemporary attraction. But suddenly, the decision makers at Universal reportedly received word that Skydance and Paramount were scheduling a new Terminator film trilogy starting with “Terminator Genisys” in the summer of 2015! This was said to be a key factor in their decision to keep the T2 ride going, in expectation of a renewed public interest in Terminator.
Apparently, Universal Studios Florida went even further and approved the old T2 attraction for refurbishment. That meant upgrading the digital projectors, updating the Cyberdyne Systems portion of the pre-show film, upgrading the sound, the lighting but keeping the show itself exactly the same.
They even added “Genisys” to the pre-show as one of Cyberdyne’s new products in development.
It turned out to be a good business decision. When the summer of 2015 came along, general tourist interest in Terminator (especially with foreign vistors) was indeed renewed thanks to “Terminator Genisys”, and attendance for “T2 3-D: Battle Across Time” rode an uptick for the entire year. But unfortunately, domestically in the United States, the performance of the latest Terminator film was disappointing, leading to the cancellation of the trilogy’s remaining two films.
Then, in late 2015, the word was Universal Studios Florida’s “T2 3-D: Battle Across Time” was reportedly in the crosshairs again. Insiders suggested that executives were considering replacing the Terminator ride with a new “The Walking Dead” attraction. But once again, T2 3-D was saved, apparently due to James Cameron’s plan to release a new 3D conversion of the film that inspired the ride: “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” in 2017.
So how long can the lifespan of this beloved T2 ride (that has already lasted for an incredible 20 years) be extended? We don’t know, but with a “Terminator 6” announcement expected sometime this year, we hope the sky is limit, and another 20 years of fans enjoying this fantastic attraction becomes a reality.
We’ll be back.