Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem has opened at Universal Studios Florida for Technical Rehearsals. This is Universal’s term for a soft opening. We were lucky enough to ride and will share our review below (Spoiler alert!).
Workers were still making adjustments
An extended queue has been set up on the side of the show building
Minion Mayhem is a retheme of the previous Jimmy Neutron’s Nicktoon Blast, which was a retheme of The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera. And although the Neutron re-theme was rather low budget and required few changes, Minion Mayhem has had a considerably larger budget, and it shows.
A new facade has been built, the entrance has been relocated farther down the building, and the store and post show have been pushed to the far corner of the facility. The attraction also now has two preshows, and they are both completely new and tons of fun, so let’s get started!
Let’s begin with the queue. It enters through Gru’s House. Gru’s house is just a false facade with a back, so once you enter you’re once again outside in the same switchbacks that Neutron used. Although this time, the queue is themed to explain what you’re in for. The queue would have you believe that you have decided to become a Minion. (Think Recruiting for the US Army) Video screens above show edited footage from the film to get you reacquainted with the characters. There’s Gru, his three adopted daughters, and Dr. Nefario, Gru’s scientist and inventor. And don’t forget the minions! There are tons of minions! And they’re so loveable and cute, that you just want to be one.
The covered queue holds about a 35 minutes wait, without the use of Universal Express, which was not in use during our visit. Once they begin using Express, you can expect the covered queue to hold a considerably longer wait. we moved into the rest of Gru’s house. Many details from Gru’s past are on the walls as you would expect… most are directly lifted from the film. In this room you are grouped into your row and given your digital 3-D glasses… these are the same glasses used at the new HD Spiderman and Transformers attractions, and similar to the Star Tours glasses.
Once grouped, a video begins on the television with Gru and his daughters explaining what you are in for if you want to become a minion. These preshow videos are where the attraction really shines. We don’t think we’ve ever seen a funnier preshow video, aside from maybe the subtle humor in the Spiderman videos. (Seriously, if you haven’t watched them, watch them, they’re a gas) After learning about 20 different ways not to wear your protective goggles, you continue on to the next room.
The next room is somewhat darker than the first, as you’re entering the minion facility and evil laboratory of Gru’s house. You once again see Gru and the girls, and they explain that Dr. Nefario has created a device that can turn you into a minion. The device was tested profusely, with not-quite-perfect results, but now it is finally ready for prime. Gru then gets quite threatening if you are not paying attention, and threatens to use his fart cannon on you. He eventually does, but for some reason, it smells of bananas. (Remember from the movie, the Minions love and are paid with bananas. Gru then leaves you and lets the girls start the process to train you into minions. It is now that you discover that it has been exactly one year since the day the girls were adopted by Gru, and they have been trying to give him his present all day long, but he is too busy with one of his projects to care about it. But no matter, time for you to get turned into a minion and begin your training.
You will then enter the theater. The room is the same used for Jimmy Neutron, though the screen has gotten a lot bigger and everything has a new Gru inspired style to it. You sit down and put on your glasses as a lab tech. lowers the lap bar, and then your training begins. The ride from here on out is a ton of fun, as you move through the minion training course. At one point, the girls drop the present to give to Gru, so you do end up chasing after it, almost ending in peril. We don’t want to give away the entire ride experience, but let’s just say that the ride stays true to the film, and there is a very happy ending with wonderful family values. (And yes, they do turn you back into humans before you leave.)
The post-show area is a Minion Video Dance Party (complete with dance-around Minion Characters) that seemed to be a lot of fun for kids, and from there you exited into the gift shop.
All in all, the attraction is a lot of fun. The quality of Minion Mayhem is high, especially the preshow portions. This is a great family attraction, and the humor is wonderful. Although we don’t know what the schedule is like for Universal’s Technical Rehearsals, we anticipate that the attraction should be open for most days from here on out, as the attraction did look 100% complete. So, next time you’re in the park, be sure to check it out, we think you’ll be glad you did. Though you might leave craving for bananas, and maybe you’ll want a fluffy too! It’s so fluffy I could die!!!!!