This is the first article in a new series here on RexandtheBeast.com entitled “Rex Reminisces.” In this series Rex will reminisce (see how that works) about various trips, events and/or memories from Rex and the Beast’s history.
Considering the news of the moment, it seems appropriate to write about a few great memories I have regarding Twister: Ride it Out at Universal Studios Florida. For those who may not have followed it, a permit has been filed to start demolition on the interior of the building for Twister, foreshadowing the end of this classic attraction at USF.
Before getting to the attraction itself, one aspect of this that makes me a little sad is the end of the classic USF attractions based around the “ride the movies” concept on which USF was built. With the removal of Twister: Ride it Out, three of the classic “ride the movies” attractions will be gone: Jaws, Back to the Future: the Ride and Twister: Ride it Out. Although we have additional attractions based on movies, the classic concept has generally been usurped by new types of attractions and rides. That’s fine, but we can still take our hats off for some classics that brought us many years of enjoyment.
When I think of Twister, the first thing I think about can be summed up in one word: Paxton!
RATB have spent so much time laughing with (not at, with) Paxton at Twister, that it is impossible not to think about how much we will miss him and the “lean.” This, of course, is not unique to us as the Paxton became quite a legend over the years.
The second thing I think about is how Twister is one of those relaxing attractions (sounds odd for a tornado-themed attraction) at USF. We would typically head over to Twister later in the day at USF when we wanted a break from the heat or were a little tired from the intensity of Revenge of the Mummy or from shooting aliens at MIB, knowing we could relax in air conditioning, catch our breath and enjoy Twister’s simple pleasures (and even a little splash of water based on where you stood). We have discussed on various podcasts how important having those “quiet” moments are, and losing an attraction that allows for those is always unfortunate as parks continue to amp up the volume.
Another memory I have of Twister comes from my trip to Universal with my college roommate, Barry (who you may remember as “Keys” from MissionIOA2: Universal Revenge). He and I hadn’t seen each other in years and he had never been to Universal, so it was awesome when we decided to go to Universal together for his first visit. And, when we went to Twister on that trip, an interesting thing happened. As we went in to watch the show (which I had seen a bunch of times and was barely paying attention), I noticed Barry lean forward on the rail and intently pay attention to the tornado and the Drive-In destruction. Afterwards, Barry told me he wanted to feel like he was actually there and think about what he would do if the twister was actually happening to him. It reminded me of something important–we have to remember to allow ourselves to be amazed. Theme parks spend millions to entertain us and we end up arguing over whether the wing of a bird was red when it should have been blue. Allow the wonder, the (pardon the expression) magic to overtake you and be entertained! Thanks Barry, and Twister, for reminding me of that.
So, I (and RATB) am sorry to see Twister go, but that is the way of the world if we want to have new, exciting attractions, so we wave at the past and wait expectantly for the future. And, if I get too sad, I know one person who can give me the ability to ride Twister again: