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Arts and Entertainment

Photos: The Simpsons' Springfield Comes To Life At Universal Studios

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There's now an entire Springfield to visit when you hit up the Simpsons Ride at Universal Studios Hollywood, complete with actual Krusty Burgers and plenty of fun details for fans.

LAist checked out Universal Studios' Springfield last night for its 'Taste of Springfield' preview, including an opening ceremony that featured a slight 'malfunction' from Springfield's dubious nuclear power plant.

Springfield—the fictional town that the Simpson family has called their home for the past 26 seasons—has been rendered into real life. It's a collaboration among The Simpsons' Matt Groening and James L. Brooks, Fox Consumer Products, Gracie Films, and Universal Creative. The new attraction surrounds the pre-existing Simpsons Ride. Now, guests can actually enter landmarks from the cartoon and pose for photos with favorite characters, and there are plenty of easter eggs for diehard fans.

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On our visit, we first popped into Cletus' Chicken Shack, which serves up grilled chicken and chicken 'n waffles sandwiches, but decided what we really wanted was a Krusty Burger ($10.99). A Krusty Burger is a lot like a standard burger—meat, lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion, Thousand Island—and came with seasoned, crinkly fries. Don't expect any healthy food here (though they do have a veggie burger and I think we saw a fruit cup at Luigi's Pizza), but do expect the kind of greasy carnival food Homer Simpsons would enjoy. For instance, they also serve a foot-long chili dog and the Ribwich ($9.99)—the all-meat sandwich Homer gets addicted to in "I'm Spelling As Fast As I Can." You can find seating upstairs, or you can take your food through the connected series of buildings to Moe's Tavern. Here, you can get a Duff Beer or a Flaming Moe from a bartender in a bowtie and apron, just like Moe Szyslak. Note: the Flaming Moe is visually appealing, but non-alcoholic. Though the jukebox had an 'out of order' sign slapped on its case—the soundtrack to Springfield remains a loop of cuts from the show's score—you can check your sensuality at the Love Tester. It sucks to be a cold fish, but we saw at least a few Casanovas.

Other eateries include Luigi's Pizza which features Meat Hater's and Meat Liker's slices ($7.99 for a big slice, plus a side Caesar salad) and Bumblebee Man's Taco Truck. For dessert, you can hit up Phineas Q. Butterfat's Ice Cream Parlor or Lard Lad donuts. While the Lard Lad maple bacon and s'mores donuts were a little too much for us after a Krusty Burger, we did enjoy a small, creamy sample of Butterfat's vanilla soft serve with a ribbon of chocolate.

The Kwik-E-Mart serves as a gift shop in this Springfield, selling a variety of Simpsons-themed merchandise including T-shirts, Duff beer glasses and a Lard Lad donut (pink with sprinkles, of course) that must weigh a pound. The restrooms are over by the Springfield DMV, where Patty and Selma have posted a sign offering $100 to anyone who catches them smiling. Throughout the attraction, there are a number of TVs running episodes and clips from The Simpsons.

The facade also includes the Springfield Police Station, Disco Stu's (closed until disco returns), Sideshow Bob scaling down the side of the Springfield Penitentiary and Springfield Elementary proudly flying the American flag.

Simpsons characters roam the exhibit, and may even cheer guests on as they compete in the gallery for Simpsons toys. You can try to toss a ball into a bucket at Thar She Throws or race your Santa's Little Helper to the finish line first by spraying water at a target, but our favorite sideshow game was definitely Swing Batter. You use a baseball bat-shaped canon that shoots out a plastic bat (the mammal) to knock over a tower of Duff beer cans. Makes sense.

The attention to detail is pretty striking, especially if you're a big Simpsons fan. You'll find subtle nods everywhere, including a bookcase where the spine of each novel is an episode title, and pennants for Springfield's minor league baseball team, The Isotopes, on the walls of Moe's. Be sure to pop into the top floor of Krusty Burger to check out signed drawings from animators on the walls.

Springfield officially opens to the public today at Universal Studios Hollywood. Ticketing information is available here.

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