The Simpsons Ride involves a simulator ride similar to Back to the Future: The Ride (which it previously was, before it was closed and replaced). It uses 80 foot IMAX Dome screens to give the riders a virtual-reality trip through a theme park called "Krustyland" and Springfield. Made by Gracie Films.
Several videos play while guests wait in line. One video shows Krusty opening the theme park and announcing the opening of the new "Thrilltacular, Upsy-downsy, Spins-aroundsy, Teen-operated Thrill Ride.". Another video shows Professor Frink going back in time to save Doc Brown (A reference to the former Back to the Future ride) from having the Institute of Future Technology closed and replaced with Krustyland (and accidentally running over the banker who would have kept it open). Several clips from the show's history are also played.
Once inside the central queue (about to enter the boarding stations where you watch the plot videos), there are stalls starring well-known characters such as Moe, Apu, Hans Moleman, Patty and Selma, etc. They take turns talking to each other and the guests animatedly while inviting them to play their games. On the main screen, Krusty sings a rhyme, hinting at who will try out his new (and dangerous) ride first. However, Sideshow Bob has slipped into a Scratchy suit stolen from Barney and stomps on Homer's foot, finishing Krusty's rhyme: Will be the first to utter- D'oh! Bart then selects the waiting guests as a travelling group and it is then taken into an advertisement which was featured outside and throughout the ride. In a small room, you watch a short video while the first group rides. A video is shown showing the plot:
The highlight of the queue is Krusty letting the Simpsons (including Grandpa) backstage to where the ride is operated. Frink comes in and warns the family about how dangerous the nuclear reactor is. About to board the ride, Jeremy Freedman tells Grandpa not to ride because of his heart problem. So, he sits out with Maggie, who crawls into the reactor and due to the radiation, enlarges to about 50ft tall.
About to board the ride, Krusty tells the Simpsons to enjoy the ride, only to be knocked out by a Scratchy walk-around, who turns out to be Sideshow Bob. He forces the Simpsons on the ride, and presents an Itchy and Scratchy safety video to the waiting guests.
Once the guests are seated, Jeremy Freedman tells riders to enjoy themselves and to keep their screaming down, so he can study for a Math test, because if he doesn't get a C or higher, he'll get kicked out of the audio-visual club. He begins reading the book upside down and the video continues for less than 30 seconds, but the ride doesn't start. Finally, Sideshow Bob cuts off his signal, and starts the ride with the Simpsons in front. Bob is mounted on a crane, and attempts to kill the family with a wrecking ball. Instead of the car being destroyed (the guests always follow from behind), the family is blown off the tracks, and into numerous rides including parodies of Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean and Sea World's Shamu Stadium. Sideshow Bob is hiding in each one of them. Bob is then captured by a giant Maggie (who was enlarged by the radiation in the preshow), who accidentally knocks the riders into "hell" . However, they are rescued by Professor Frink who then takes them to Springfield. There, Bob tells Maggie to destroy Springfield in order to get her pacifier back. The guests fly through Springfield and encounter Maggie again, who gets her pacifier back. Sideshow Bob then pulls it away again, and Maggie shortly uses the guest's car as a pacifier. This stops when Marge tells her to spit it out. The guests follow the Simpsons back home, and over to their couch in a recreation of the show's opening. The Simpsons and riders are then captured by Kang and Kodos, who turn the couch into a Drop Tower, telling them that "all rides must end near the gift shop". As the couch falls out from the sky, they pass various other characters and Marge tells the riders to smile for the on-ride photo. They land on Sideshow Bob, at which Homer proclaims relief at the ride being over. At the last second, Maggie pushes the giant Krusty head found at the park's entrance on to the riders.
In preparation for the ride, the Florida version of "Back to the Future: The Ride" closed on March 30, 2007, while the Hollywood version closed on September 3, 2007.
In October, a gift shop modeled after a Kwik-E-Mart was built, replacing the old Back to the Future gift shop. The store sells Simpsons-related merchandise.
All the actors from the show reprise their roles, with the exception of Harry Shearer, who declined to participate in the project. On June 13, 2008 an unidentified mechanism failed, resulting in a ride vehicle (and its occupants) being sprayed with vegetable oil. The guests were given a change of clothes and allowed to be showered at the property. An opening ceremony for the ride took place on May 27, 2008 and an estimate was made that over 1,000,000 people had attended and 888,000 wore "Marge Hats", a hat that imitated Marge's Beehive hairdo.