Simpsons Fans Rejoice! Here’s Where You Can Actually Visit Springfield
Down a Duff At Moe's Tavern.
Fancy heading to Springfield to down a Duff at Moe’s Tavern?
Home to the butter beer-soaked Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the truly terrifying Walking Dead attraction, and Jurassic Park, Revenge of the Mummy and Transformers-themed rides that make you scream “can we go again?” like an overexcited ten-year-old, Hollywood’s Universal Studios is at risk of buckling under its own weight of attractions.
Despite this, those theme park geniuses just went on ahead and added Springfield, a city block dedicated to the fictional town every hardcore fan of The Simpsons has fantasised about living in at some stage of their lives. And who hasn’t dreamed of downing a Duff in the presence of Moe Szyslak? And what child of the ’90s didn’t dream about trying a Krusty Burger, the official meat-flavoured sandwich of the 1984 Summer Olympic Games?
From Phineas Q. Butterfat’s Ice Cream Parlor, to Cletus’ Chicken Shack and the Kwik-E-Mart (thankfully minus the rancid hotdogs covered in hair and band-aids), Springfield is everything you’ve ever dreamed of. After spending an ungodly amount of time in Springfield, eating, drinking, touching and trying everything on offer, here are some of highlights (but let’s face it, every square inch of the place is a highlight).
Founded by none other than Mr Herschel Shmoikel Pinchas Yerucham Krustofsky, Krusty Burger is where you can chow down on a genuine clown-endorsed meal. Choosing between the Clogger, Ribwich, Mother Nature Burger and Krusty Burger wasn’t easy but with so many calorific things to try throughout Springfield, I opted for a classic Krusty Burger, fries and Buzz Cola.
While the series depicts Krusty Burger as a low-rent fast food establishment fond of breaking health and safety laws, the real Krusty Burger is anything but. My burger is simple but effective – meaty, cheesy, salty. Sitting in a comfy booth with classic episodes playing in the background and a framed photo of Krusty himself adorning the wall, my inner teenager is beyond-stoked with the situation (even if Lisa Simpson would be outraged that I snubbed the Mother Nature burger in favour of meat).
Responsible for the creation (well, theft) of the Flaming Moe, Moe’s Tavern has seen the likes of Aerosmith, Red Hot Chili Peppers, U2 and REM stop by over the years. Most of the time it’s just Homer, Barney, Lenny, Carl, Sam and Larry sitting at the bar though. While Moe once claimed that no ladies have been in Moe’s Tavern since 1979, on the day I visit there’s plenty of women ordering orange (cough syrup-free) Flaming Moes and glasses of Duff Beer (we can’t get enough of that wonderful Duff).
Sitting up at the bar, the attention to detail is truly impressive with plenty of hidden Easter eggs to delight Simpsons tragics. There’s Springfield Isotopes pennants up on the wall, a pool table, an old, flickering tv behind the bar just like in the series and even a phone laden with recordings of Bart’s relentlessly cruel prank calls at the end of the bar.
No trip to Moe’s would be complete without encountering Barney – who could forget the episode where Barney’s astronomical bar tab was so big it had to be calculated by NASA and was ultimately valued at an impressive 14 billion dollars? We find Barney standing in the corner by the Love Tester machine, looking forlornly into an empty glass. Trying my luck on the Love Tester, I breathe a sigh of relief when I register as a ‘Hot Tamale’ and avoid the sad fate of being publicly shamed by a piece of equipment that obviously has the ability to accurately judge someone’s sexual prowess.
While theme parks tend to remain the domain of kids, Moe’s Tavern provides a nostalgic sanctuary for adults. It’s the perfect place to load up on Duffs before going on the stomach-churning Simpsons ride (for the love of god learn from my mistake and do not do this).
The Simpsons Ride
Which brings me to the ride itself. Knowing that the Back to the Future ride was removed to make way for The Simpsons ride, I felt conflicted going into this one. Thankfully, the ride is a winner. Lining up is half the fun, with classic theme park moments from The Simpsons played on screens located throughout the queueing area making the wait time whiz by. After a safety demo provided by none other than Itchy and Scratchy, the simulated, 3D roller coaster experience starts and it’s a non-stop barrel of laughs from beginning to end.
Made in collaboration with the show’s producers, any fan would know instantly that the masterminds behind the show are also behind this ride. It’s brilliant (even with a gutful of Duff). Can we go again? Please Dad. Please Dad. Please Dad. Please Dad. Please Dad. Please Dad. Please Dad. Please Dad. Please Dad. Please Dad. Please Dad. Please Dad. Please Dad. Please Dad. Please Dad. Please Dad. Please Dad. Please Dad.
Dr Nick Riviera’s Office
There’s actually nothing to see here (the door doesn’t open), however who wouldn’t get their cheap thrills from seeing a real-life reference to one of the best recurring characters of the series? With ‘If you can put it in, we can take it out’ emblazoned on the front of the office door, the people behind the creation of Springfield have done well to tip their hats to the characters so many of us know and love.
While Doctor Nick himself can’t be found, honourable mentions go to Lard Lad Donuts for selling donuts as big as your face, Duff Brewery for pumping out Duffs all day long, Side Show Bob turning up for a photo session with fans and Chief Wiggum for crashing his car into Lard Lad Donuts (no doubt as a result of a donut-related emergency).
In short, Springfield isn’t just better than Shelbyville… it’s the best.
(All images: author’s own)