In Memoriam: Backdraft at Universal Studios Hollywood
Backdraft at Universal Studios Hollywood was one of those (now rare) attractions that showcases the awesome impact of physical effects in Theme Park attractions. In today’s World of 3D and 4D attractions, Backdraft was among the ranks of Jaws, Kongfrontation and Earthquake that showcased the movies in a spectacular way. Opening in 1992, Backdraft was based on the Ron Howard movie of the same name. Located on the Lower Lot, Backdraft opened to favourable reviews, and joined the ranks of ET and later Jurassic Park: The Ride to round out the new early 90’s offerings at the Universal Studios Hollywood.
The attraction featured three stages, and guests first entered a Soundstage, where the Backdraft movie was supposedly being filmed. There were then two video presentations, featuring Ron Howard, Kurt Russell and Scott Glenn, the stars from the film, who discussed making the film. Guests then entered the third room of the attraction, standing on a tiered viewing platform, overlooking a recreation of the Warehouse scene from the film. The Warehouse would then explode spectacularly, recreating the famous scene from the film, inches away from guests.
In 2009, Universal Studios Hollywood announced that Backdraft would close after Labor Day, to make way for Transformers: The Ride 3D. However, because of the roster of annual maintenance for the Park’s other attractions, the attraction remained open until April 11th, 2010. The attraction can still be found at Universal Studios Japan.
All in all, whilst not the most amazing attraction, Backdraft was a stellar example of the physical effects dominance of Universal Studios in the early 90’s. Think of it what you will, Florida didn’t have it, and for a lot of Universal Studios Hollywood fans, that was all the justification they needed to love Backdraft. Did you enjoy Backdraft? Let us know in the comments! Also, check out a video of the attraction below, courtesy of Youtube User sharpproductions: