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Theme Park Geekiness: R.I.P. Terminator 2: 3D at Universal Studios Hollywood

A part of me is leaving forever. To explain in a rather roundabout way: In December of 1997, I started work at Universal Studios Hollywood as a park attendant.  It was an interesting job to be sure.  Emptying garbage cans and sweeping up trash wasn't exactly my top choice of job but it helped pay for stuff.  And I got to experience some insane moments like chasing garbage cans down the street in torrential downpour.  While it was not my top choice of job, it certainly was more fun than I expected.

I wound up leaving there briefly for another company and when I was let go from there I returned to Universal; this time as part of the day one crew of Terminator 2: 3D.

For those not familiar with T2:3D, it was, at the time, a show with some really cool cutting edge technology and a sequel of sorts to Terminator 2: Judgement Day.  This particular attraction was so ingrained in the Terminator mythos, the auditorium where the action takes place was named the Miles Bennett Dyson Memorial Auditorium in memory of the character from T2.   Matter of fact, the footage shot in the attraction was written and directed by James Cameron, and starred Arnold Schwarzenegger, Edward Furlong and Linda Hamilton all reprising their roles from the movie.  Here is the video of the experience below...(From the Florida Park but aside from some minor differences, it is the same)

What they don't show in the video is the moment where the Terminator rides in on his motorcycle and jumps off the screen and appears in front of the audience in person. It was an incredible effect that wowed the audience every single time.

Anyway, as I said, being part of the opening day crew was something that I will always remember fondly as the theme park geek in me eats this kind of stuff up.  Day 1 was not as hectic as one would think.  The reason being that the attraction had been open for a few weeks prior to the grand opening for tech rehearsals or "soft openings" which allowed several people (myself included because I was an annual passholder for a long time before, during, and after my tenure with the studios) to enjoy the attraction before the big crowds really hit.

Needless to say I would end up somewhat jaded by the attraction in the time I was there due to watching the film footage so many times working in that theater.  I haven't seen it in over eight years now so seeing it now, I am sure I would find it enjoyable again.

Unfortunately, seeing it again in Hollywood will no longer be an option for me as Terminator 2: 3D is closing its doors forever.        

At the end of it all, I take with me many fond memories of the attraction, and the friendships that developed between the employees and myself during this time and continue on to this day.   For more information on the technical specs of the attraction, please visit our friends of the show at the fantastic Inside Universal website.  Chris is a buddy of mine from these days and his wife was opening day crew with me as well.  Much love to those who stayed with the attraction all 13 years.  I know there are at least a few of you who did!

Terminator 2: 3D at Universal Studios Hollywood.  1999 - 2012

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