An IMAX 3D motion simulator ride in Las Vegas, Nevada at Caesar's Palace, located in the Forum Shops. It is billed by IMAX as the only IMAX 3D motion simulator attraction in the world.
Update, July 13, 2004: This ride has apparrently been permanently closed; a recent visit to Caesar's Palace reveals the cashier lines and booth, waiting area, and ride itself decommissioned, along with the paltry video arcade and sales kiosks arranged in the entrance area. Bummer. With the new Star Trek: The Experience ride sucking and the older one no longer an "all you can eat" style arrangement, Las Vegas has one less good-value-for-the-money source of entertainment.
Obviously, tickets for the ride can be purchased at the ticketing booth. As of this writing (July 25, 2003), non-discounted tickets are $10 per person. Las Vegas residents are charged $9 per person. It is rumored (but currently unconfirmed) that holders of the casino's slot club card are given either a 50% off discount or a two-for-one discount for tickets. Currently, Caesar's Palace is running a promotion (a free slot pull, ostensibly to win a million dollar shopping spree in the Forum Shops) with an estimated one-in-eight chance of stopping on one of the many reel combinations that grant you a "special gift". For the past few months (at least), this gift has been two free passes to the ride. Handing in the paper you receive from the machine at the ticketing booth yields two free tickets.
Update, August 19, 2003: Unfortunately, the promotional "free pull" has changed significantly in the past two weeks. You can still get a free pull once per day, but the chances of winning two free passes for the ride have been reduced significantly. Previously, having any three "oval" shaped symbols come up on the reels won two free tickets (but only if the combination didn't pay something better -- like all slot machines, it pays the highest winning line only), and all of the other "special gift" combinations awarded the passes. Now, it appears you must actually hit the "special gift" combinations exactly; just landing three oval symbols (there are other symbols on the reels than these, so even this is at least a 1-in-8 proposition) now yields a "lucky medallion". It's shiny, but you can't get a free ride with it. Presumably, no one has hit the million dollar shopping spree yet, either.
"Pre-race" Muckings About
The attraction is situated in the back of the Forum Shops, past the aquarium display, inside the arcade (at its end). Within the arcade, you can't hear anything but the noises of the arcade, but as you approach the gift shop and ticketing booth, the attempts at ambience become apparent. Oddly enough, it's actually not that bad; lots of Atlantis-themed decorations (these are fairly tacky) fill the area, and a short, three minute music loop plays repeatedly introducing anyone who pays attention to the overall theme of the score used throughout the attraction.
SPOILERS BELOW -- Quit reading if you haven't experienced this attraction yet, but want to, and don't want to know what else awaits you.
Once you get your grubby paws on a ticket for everyone in your group, a short hike upstairs (or an elevator ride if your body doesn't do stairs very well) deposits you into a cavernous waiting area. A minion will tear your ticket stub and send you onward to queue up in line to wait for the next ride. The waiting area is huge; it's filled with water vapor (many people mistake it for artificial fog produced by those hot fog machines, but this is actual evaporated water belched into the air constantly), and decorated with lots of advanced rope lights that change color frequently. It looks nicer than it sounds. Another music loop, this time roughly ten minutes long, plays constantly. A strobe light, simulating lightning flashes, is accurately timed to flash along with the thunder mixed into the music loop.
Normally the wait is less than five minutes, but my wife and I have waited up to half an hour when it's busy. In general, though, it's not that bad.
As you're admitted to the "pre-race chamber", you're handed a standard IMAX 3D headset and lectured on its use at great lengths by another minion. Then, the pre-show movie begins. It lasts approximately four minutes, explains the premise of the ride, admonishes you not to ride if you're pregnant, injured, or otherwise broken (in the form of a corny, but appropriately silly safety rap), then shows off the 3D projection system (the intro movie is also shown in 3D).
After the pre-race show, you're escorted to the actual racing chariot, a platform (with 27 seats) mounted on gigantic hydraulic pistons and other motion aparatus. The room surrounding it is appropriately large for an IMAX theater; the projection screen is rounded instead of the normal flat IMAX screen.
For the bumpiest ride, sit anywhere in the back row. The middle row gets an "average" ride, and the front row is reserved for whimps. Oddly enough nobody working at the attraction will explain this to you, and most people think the front row is the bumpiest spot. This works out nicely for fans of violent, jarring motions.
The actual ride itself is a paltry three minutes in length, but makes up for its short duration with spectacular visuals, good music, tons of very accurate motion simulation (including two particularly frightening drops/falls if you're not prepared for them), and a big evil scary demon god (who ends up looking like a sort of "cute" version of Doom's flaming skulls) who threatens your life several times.
Is it worth it?
Worth paying for? Nope. Not full price, anyway. Look for a coupon, lie and claim to be local (they rarely, if ever, actually card anybody), or try the free pull to win some free passes (or maybe a shopping spree, but who wants that? :).
Worth going if it's free, or if someone else is buying? Sure! We've ridden it dozens of times for free, and it is most definitely a fun ride. After a few times through, the pre-show gets pretty boring, but there's still a good amount of humor thrown in that makes it tolerable on repeat viewings. The ride itself doesn't get old much at all; I guess it depends on your tastes, but for us getting thrown around on the motion simulator is still great fun.
And yes, you win the race.
After the ride
Not much happens afterwards; you turn in your 3D headset, and walk down a ramp that spits you out into the gift shop (damned tourist traps). That's it. Trivia for the curious: that music loops too, about every two minutes.