Universal Studios Hollywood Brings Despicable Me Minion Mayhem to Life

Written by Norman Gidney. Posted in Features, Universal Hollywood

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Published on March 21, 2014 at 1:39 am with 21 Comments

Earlier today MiceChat was invited to take a sneak peek at the brand new Despicable Me Minion Mayhem attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood.  The California version of the ride is brimming with interactive elements, goofball humor, and the mischievous minions that scamper around, spouting gibberish, and chasing bananas.

Despicable Me Minion Mayhem

We were escorted to the impressive façade of the new attraction, which is located on the upper lot, in the former location of the Terminator 2: 3D attraction.

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Looming at the far end of baker street is the tall, dark, angular home of Super-Villain turned dad, Gru.  He is holding an open house and inviting all who want to join the ranks to become one of his doughy, yellow minions.

Outside there are a number of funny little hidden gems.  Try the doorbells in the neighborhood next door to Gru’s abode.

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Once inside we enter the foyer to Gru’s Mansion.  It’s a lovely area, complete with a suit of armor that has a bouquet of flowers for a head.

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We exit this area and this is where things get a little wobbly for a bit.  Instead of continuing the interior theme, there is a generic sky blue switchback queue with monitors overhead.  Yes, the speakers disguised as bombs are a nice touch, but it is sad to see this large space wasted by bland showmanship.

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We reach the top of the ramp and grab our “Minion Goggles”.

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Entering the first of two pre-show rooms, we find ourselves in Gru’s entryway.  It is a warm, albeit austere space.  The found gags hidden throughout the room are a lot of fun here.

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We are given instruction and enter the second pre-show room.  It is here that the premise for the ride is really sold.  We are about to undergo transformation into minions.  We will then undergo rigorous training which will be overseen by Gru’s adopted children, Edith, Margo, and Agnes. Gru hates an unclean minion and wants to make sure you take a shower before joining the crew.

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Finally we get to the ride portion of the attraction, a “training space” where we board the ride platforms that are facing a large “mechanical wall”.  Once seated, and with goggles on, the training begins.  You wouldn’t think that a room full of motion platforms pointed at a movie screen would work very well.  But it does.  The dazzling hi-def digital 3D is surprisingly effective and inviting.
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Things move at a rapid pace as we are put through the rigors of training.  We are thrown for a loop, hit with fly swatters, shot at with fuzz-inducing lasers, and sprayed by fire hoses.  Another thing that works so well here is the humor.  Filled with universal gags that transcend language, the minions are the perfect foil for any situation.

We don’t want to give away all of the details, but it is truly a much-needed family addition to the Universal Studios Hollywood roster.  The themeing is a step above what was accomplished over at The Simpsons Ride and brings Universal Studios Hollywood up another tight notch on the quality scale.

Exiting the attraction we walk through a disco dance party that is a little larger than the Florida version, and then down the ramp into, you guessed it, a gift shop.

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It is already open and totally stocked with tons of minion dolls and other accouterments.

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The addition of Despicable Me Minion Mayhem is reason enough to at least go and check out the park.  But they are in the process of building a whole new mini-land just outside the attraction based on the fictitious (well not anymore) theme park, Super Silly Fun Land.  The area is not open just yet, But MiceChat got an early look at the progress behind the walls and we’d like to share a few exciting things.

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The area attempts to recreate the look and feel of the unhinged, goofy, Super Silly Fun Land from the movie. Serpentine lines and flowing curves populate ever turn.  Bright, almost gaudy, color combinations assault the eyes.  There are four main areas.

To the far right will be a massive water play area.  Every so often a large spill of water will cascade down, drenching guests below,  There  will also be water cannons and hidden effects throughout.  This area will also come complete with changing rooms.  That should give you an idea of how wet you’ll get here.

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Next is a first for Universal Studios Hollywood, the Silly Swirly Fun Ride.  This is a spinner flat ride in which guests can control movement up or down.  There are no interactive effects here like the Kang and Kodos spinner in Florida, but it looks great nonetheless.

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Further past the flat ride will be a dry play area for the kiddies and those less inclined to getting soaked.

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And the final area is a game zone.  Guests will be able to step right up and attempt to win their very own unicorn.  IT’S SO FLUFFY!!!

There are also TWO new food locations designed specifically for the Despicable Me area.  Gru’s Lab Cafe features eats and drinks with the signature Gru stamp of approval.

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Next door is the snack stand, Despicable Delights.

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We can’t wait for the rest of the area to open.  Despicable Me Minion Mayhem is sure to be a huge success for Universal and a wonderful family draw in a park that could benefit from it.

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About Norman Gidney

Norman Gidney, also known as Fishbulb, produces and edits many of the articles on MiceChat. Tune in every Tuesday for the Orlando Parkhopper and every Friday for In The Parks. But you'll also find his photos in the Weekly Round Up, SAMLAND, and numerous other columns on the site.

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  • unclemike

    Another terrific job by Universal. I can’t wait to ride this!

  • cruise

    Looks great, but the bland waiting area is a missed opportunity. It would be very cool to move through Gru’s entire house.

  • BradyNBradleysMom

    I don’t like that they cheaped out and kept most of the queue that blue color and generic. I don’t know why Universal does this…go 80% of the way to greatness. How much extra would it have cost to theme the whole queue to Gru’s house? Such a dumb value engineering decision.

    • Zero56

      I don’t think ‘cheap’ is the right word. If they wanted to be cheap they could have pulled a BTTF/Simpsons retrofitting. I totally agree though it sucks they cut corners. Doesn’t take away from the amazing job they did though for the rest of the area. Baby steps haha. Glad to see Universal stepping up their game.

    • danielz6

      I agree with you BradyNBradleysMom. Generic unthemed cues, albeit partially, are certainly not up to the harry potter new Universal standard. If we’re going to cheer on universal when matching and sometimes exceeding Disney, then we also need to be honest when they fall short. And frankly, I’m not excited for another simulator ride.

      • Wreckless Abrandon

        What’s up with USH only going 80% anyway? The Mummy isn’t quite as good as USF’s. The Simpsons was a nice idea, but it still feels rough like BttF. Transformers has a very anti-climactic ending and the pacing is flat… almost non-stop the same level of adrenaline-rush type of action.

        And I agree, I’m not excited for another simulator ride. I won’t be visiting USH for a while because you can still see and do everything in less than a full day there.

        I’m not hating on Universal, and I’m not a Disney fanboy, but what Universal does on the West Coast seems less interesting than what Universal does on the East Coast and internationally.

  • dazyhill

    Can’t wait to get my picture taken with the Minions!

  • Internitty

    Maybe when Universal see the comments about the bland queue they will start thinking of a way to improve it. They seem to be trying hard and it’s not unheard of for a theme park to make changes to a ride based on customer dissatisfaction, look at the changes to The Little Mermaid at DCA only a couple of months after opening and now more to come. I can’t wait to see all the new stuff coming to Universal next time I’m in the USA (soon I hope)

  • Country Bear

    Looks like this will be a great addition for the kids mostly. It is clearly a move to attract more families to the park and that will likely work. I have personally not been that excited about this attraction since it was announced, though I’m sure I will still appreciate it once I ride it. I dearly miss the T2-3D attraction, which I thought was brilliant; though admittedly, more adult. I think T2-3D had more appeal to me and seemed more “unique” to Universal than this moving seat 3D movie attraction. I could be completely off base with this as I haven’t ridden it yet, but my initial interest is quite low. It doesn’t attract me as an adult, and I liked the Despicable Me movies. It just seems to be a completely child targeted attraction. I’m not seeing anything that says “don’t miss this”, like T2-3D did.

    • Malin

      Funny because that’s the exact feeling I get towards Diagon Alley and the disappointment towards them removing Jaws.

    • DuckyDelite

      I had not heard of Despicable Me before I rode the attraction in Florida. I almost passed it up assuming it was just some kids movie.

      It turned out to be a lot of fun and I’m really glad I decided to give it a try. And that was just a box of a building without Gru’s neighborhood or Super Silly Fun Land. I am disappointed they did not theme the entire queue in Hollywood, but I am looking forward to seeing all the additions when the entire area opens.

  • Malin

    Have to say I think this report is nitpicking the un themed queue too much and not pointing out all the great little details like the interactive door bells which other sites have highlighted. I think this is a huge improvement over the version in Orlando. Love the whole Despicable Me mini land concept. Should help with overall crowd flow at the Park. I’d be interested to know what the food taste like seeing all of it seems to have been created especially for this area. Although the menu seems to feature items that were lost recently with Doc Browns closing down. One thing I do have to question is why has Universal has spent so much money on theming an area which will likely have a lifespan of 10-15 years before needing replacing all over again!

    • Zero56

      Not to start a flamewar between fanboys but the same can be said for Cars Land in DCA.

    • http://micechat.com Dusty Sage

      Sorry Malin, but I don’t agree with you. We gave a 99.5% positive review and stated that this attraction will be a big hit. But it’s not perfect and that unthemed switchback was a missed opportunity that we felt deserved mentioning. It doesn’t diminish the ride, it’s just something worth mentioning that many of our readers will want to know.

      • Design

        I personally think that with as much work that was put into this ride, the switchback, for whatever reason, may have been something that they had no other choice but to drop the ball on. Projects like this are complex and they did A LOT. I’m pretty sure there is a reasonable reason they chose not to theme that part of the queue.

      • Ryan120420

        I’m guessing the reason they did not theme that part of the queue is Horror Nights.

      • Zero56

        John Murdy has already said this area will not be used for Horror Nights.

  • Photoshop Falcon

    Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, look like its going to be SUPER!!! I will always miss the SUPER Lady!

    • danielz6

      Haha yea, they should’ve put a homage to her like maybe have a minion in the cue say that. I love it when disney nods to previous attractions when they’re replaced.

  • Haven

    While I am not personally the biggest fan of the Despicle Me films for some reason even not completely clear to myself, the new area looks fabulous. Universal has done a great and COLORFUL job that it makes me want to ride this nonetheless. Love the new spinner and kids soak area too. Fun location too with the great views of the SFV that were never fully utilized in past lives of this particular corner of the upper lot. Now the question is, do I go this year to Universal or wait until next year and do Potter California style too…decisions, decisions.

    • Ryan120420

      Potter WILL NOT be done next year.

      Your going to have to wait until 2016 for Potter.