Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Shell Shock Interview

In 1984, the very first Ninja Turtle comic hit the shelves as a joke. Though this crazy idea turned into one of the biggest franchises in the 1980’s and 1990’s.  From toys, movies, cartoons, toothbrushes, blankets, dolls, shoes, bikes and so much more, it seemed like everywhere you turned there was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  Though there was one thing that the Turtles never did, until now.

This March at Nickelodeon Universe in the Mall of America, there is going to be a new thrill ride and for the first time ever it will be based off of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  This exciting event is the beginning of the 2012 hype for the new TMNT series going to Nickelodeon this fall.  And those of us at Cowabunga Corner are excited to say that we’re getting to ask the Director of Park Marketing, Jennifer Lauerman, a few questions about the new ride.

First, I’d like to say thank you for taking the time to answer these questions about the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Shell Shock Ride!   This is really exciting for all Turtle fans.

CC: How long ago did the idea of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle ride get brought to the attention of Nickelodeon Universe?  Was this something in the planning since Viacom purchase in 2009?

Jennifer: Nickelodeon has been looking for an opportunity to bring the Turtles closer to the guests ever since acquiring the property.  When the mall decided it wanted to add a major thrill attraction in 2012 we worked together to find a piece of hardware that would suit TMNT.

CC: What is the inspiration to mix the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with this type of thrill ride?

Jennifer: The narrative for this attraction is that you are preparing to join the brothers in an epic battle of good vs. evil.  You join the four Turtles in your own Turtle shell vehicle and take flight to help fight against Shredder.  This thrill ride was ideal because it offered an experience that allows guest to “master” their skills through training, just like the Turtles.

CC: Can you tell us a little bit about the process of getting this ride planned out, approved and in the making?

Jennifer: This is the first time this hardware has ever been installed and it is a collaboration of ride engineers, Nickelodeon and Mall of America creativity.  Conceptual design began in the Summer of 2011 and the attraction has been in construction for several months.

CC: The full design of the ride is based off the new CGI Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, did the designers get to work with any of the Nickelodeon crew in doing this design or was the character sheets sent in and it went from there?

Jennifer: The team at Nickelodeon responsible for all themed guest experiences worked closely with the Nickelodeon production team creating the new look and feel for the Turtles to create the conceptual design.  We then worked together closely with the ride manufacturer and MOA to bring the best experience possible to the guest.

CC: One of the things that fans have been wondering is if the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Shell Shock ride will be one of the rides included in the Unlimited Ride Wristbands or if this is going to be a Wristband Add-On like The Flying Dutchman Ghostly Gangplank and Moose Mountain Adventure Golf?

Jennifer: Yes, Shell Shock will be included with the unlimited ride wristband. Shell Shock will be 6 points if you purchase a point pass.

CC: A lot of theme parks are known for having characters that come out and greet the kids, is there any chance of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle characters being seen walking around Nickelodeon Universe?

Jennifer: We are excited that the Turtles will be attending the Shell Shock grand opening event on March 17 and hope to have them back in the Fall after the show has premiered.

CC: Will there be merchandise at the park for the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Ride?  If so, what should we except to see?

Jennifer: We have developed a Half Shell Heroes tee that is now available for sale. We will also have lanyards and figurines in new style and retro as well as other merchandise available for purchase later this year.  All items will be available on-site at Nickelodeon Universe or online atshopnicku.com

CC: We ask this of everyone who gets interviewed for TMNT on our page, do you personally have a favorite Ninja Turtle character?  If so, please let us know and why they’re your favorite.

Jennifer: All of them – it’s too hard to choose a favorite!

CC: Is there anything that you can tell us about opening day of the ride, which may help inspire fans to come to this event?

Jennifer: We are very excited about the grand opening event. We are attempting to break the Guinness World Record for the largest gathering of Ninja Turtles.  Everyone that participates will receive a free t-shirt, mask and 6-point pass to ride Shell Shock. All of your readers are invited to join us on March 17 at 8 a.m. Visit nickelodeonuniverse.com for more information.

CC: Is there anything that we forgot to ask which you would like to mention to the Ninja Turtle fans reading this interview?

Jennifer: The new CG look for the show was actually a huge asset when it came to making Turtles sculpture for the ride.  We used the character models (in very specific poses) to create the sculpts of the four brothers and Shredder that will be featured at the entry to the ride.  Additionally everyone at Nick and MOA is really excited about this one of a kind experience coming to life featuring the ultra cool new Turtles design.  We think guests are going to love it.

Thanks again for taking the time for us.  Some of the Cowabunga Corner crew members will be at the opening day event and look forward to meeting everyone there!

Entertainment Earth



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