It took something really despicable to get the Terminator out of Universal Studios Hollywood, but it looks like the Minions from “Despicable Me” were finally able to do it.
Today visitors to the park, including this former theme park show designer, got a chance to see the new attraction Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, as it was being readied for its official grand opening, now announced for April 11, 2014.
Housed in the building that was the headquarters of Cyberdyne and the Terminator 2 3D attraction for many years, the new attraction has park guests entering Gru’s house, and finding some typically “Gru”esome decorations. It’s very similar to the same-named attraction that opened at Universal Orlando in Florida in July of 2012. But Universal Studios Hollywood has done it on a bigger scale, adding neighboring houses to the facade.
Video – Despicable Me Minion Mayhem preview at Universal Studios Hollywood
Gru and his girls are outside for character meet-and-greets.
Once inside, guests receive “Minion Goggles” and find out they have been recruited for a secret mission to become a new Minion. From that point forward, the ride very much mirrors its Orlando counterpart, presenting the same pre-show entertainment.
Before entering the main theater, there is an initial grouping zone where lab-coated attendants group your party. In this area, Gru gives his version of a safety spiel, including a warning not to wear the Minion Goggles until instructed to do so by his assistants.
The next room, known as the “Minionization Prep Room,” sets up the main thrust of the story, that you, the audience, are being recruited by Gru to be new Minions. He will achieve this by shooting you with a new ray gun developed by Dr. Nefario.
There are a couple of fun special effects in the preshow, including showering guests with the Minions’ Fart Gun, which does not smell as bad as it sounds at all. In fact, you might find that it smells very much like a yellow fruit you peel to eat that Minions also love.
For comparison here’s a look at Orlando’s version, including the same pre-show video that Hollywood has.
Video: Universal Orlando’s Despicable Me Minion Mayhem queue
From here you enter the ride’s main room, where you are seated in “Minion Transformation” ride vehicles and the lap bars lowered, so that there is no escape. Of course now you put on the Minion Goggles” (3D glasses) and are ready to be Minionized.
What follows is a 3D simulator-type ride that takes you on a journey that “turns you into a Minion” then sends you on a series of tests to see if you can survive as a Minion. Below is a video clip of the ride’s action.
Video: On-Ride scene – Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
You get help along the way from Gru’s adopted daughters: Margo, Edith and Agnes. Agnes, the youngest, has a present she is trying to give Gru on this day, the anniversary of their adoption. But it turns out that in spite of his “evil” intentions, Gru knows it is their anniversary and there is a big bang/party at the finish, which also turns all the guests back into people.
Upon exiting, there is a room where guests have a chance to dance with some Minions. Following that, guests exit into the “Super Silly Stuff” shop, which has all manner of Minion and other “Despicable Me” souvenirs, along with a photo op for guests with some Minions.
Outside the shop is an area known as “Super Silly Fun Land,” completely unique to Hollywood. The still under-construction land has a dry and wet play area for kids of all ages, along with a ride called “Silly Swirl,” a ride similar to the Dumbo ride at Disneyland.
There is also a carnival arcade zone and a buffet style restaurant called “Gru’s Lab Café” that features a variety of “Despicable Me” fare including Dr. Nefario’s Lab Salad, Gru’s Grilled Cheese with BBQ Pulled Pork and a Minion’s Kid Meal.
We’ll have more from the Super Silly Fun Land when the attraction officially opens next month.
The following is a former Disney Imagineer and theme park designer’s review:
I thoroughly enjoyed the attraction, though I lament the loss of an attraction I helped develop (T2:3D). The whole experience has been well thought out, with lots of fun “Despicable Me” touches throughout the area. (Hint: ring the doorbells to the “houses” outside.)
The pre-shows and main show are lots of fun. The main show has some great 3D and motion surprises and Minions throughout. The 3D is bright and I did not have any motion sickness issues.
The Fun Land was not yet open to guests when I was given a preview, so I cannot give that area a review as yet.
My one critique is the queue space that is very typical for Universal. It is a huge queue line with some themed touches, but mostly all there is to do is look at video monitors with snippets from “Despicable Me” on them. But unless you are visiting on a super busy day, it’s not that big a deal.
I particularly liked the post show “Dance with the Minons” space. I think kids will love the chance to see themselves dancing with Minions on the large video monitor.
All in all Despicable Me Minion Mayhem is a great addition to Universal Studios Hollywood the whole family and certainly Minion fans will love.
Check back next month for a look at the grand opening of Despicable Me Minion Mayhem. For a preview of what it may include, take a look back at the opening of Orlando’s ride a couple years ago.
Video – Grand opening of Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem at Universal Orlando
Until April 11, Despicable Me Minion Mayhem at Universal Studios Hollywood will remain in technical rehearsals, which means it may or may not be open on any given day.