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What's in a name? Is it Despicable Me: 'Minion Mayhem' or 'The Ride'?

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Published: February 5, 2014 at 11:54 AM

Sure, it's frustrating for some theme park fans to hear other park visitors get the names of attractions wrong. ("Hey, let's go to the Spooky Mansion next!") But what are fans to think when the parks themselves can't settle on the names of their attractions?

Disney fans encountered this several years ago, when Walt Disney Imagineering completed Toy Story Midway Mania at Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disney California Adventure. However, advertisements and press releases for those carnival-inspired shooter rides called them "Toy Story Mania" instead, dropping the word "Midway."

To this day, the disconnect continues. The marquees above both rides use all four words, but Disney World's website references both versions of the ride's name on the same page.

Now it appears that Universal is embracing the same type of confusion with its newest attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood. For months, we've been watching the construction of USH's version of Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem, which Universal is building on the old Terminator 2: 3D site. The construction signage and new attraction marquee have used the same name as the original version of the attraction, from Universal Studios Florida.

Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem, under construction at Universal Studios Hollywood

However, this week, ads started appearing online for "Despicable Me: The Ride."

USH web ad

So which is it? "Minion Mayhem" or "The Ride"? As we did with Toy Story Midway Mania, we defer to the ride designers over the PR people when there's a conflict over the name of the attraction. So long as the ride marquee and the Universal Creative people use "Minion Mayhem" instead of "The Ride," that's how we will list it here on Theme Park Insider.

It's understandable that a park would want to use a new attraction's name to tell people what to expect. Let's not forget that Universal's new Transformers ride debuted in Singapore as "Transformers: The Ride" then became "Transformers: The Ride 3D" when it opened next, at Universal Studios Hollywood. For whatever reason, Universal executives decided that the ride needed that "3D" element in there to appeal better to American fans.

But there's got to be a limit. After all, Disney didn't call what's probably its most popular attraction "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Singing Animatronic Indoor Boat Ride." (Which, one supposes might now be called "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Singing Animatronic Indoor Boat Ride, now with Johnny Depp!")

Let's play focus group for Universal. What do you suggest Universal should call this ride?


Tell us how you'd like to rename some popular theme park rides, in the comments.

Readers' Opinions

From Nick McKaig on February 5, 2014 at 12:11 PM
It should be called "Despicable Me and the case of the Minion Mayhem - The Ride Extravaganza Spectacular now in 5D".
From Jay R. on February 5, 2014 at 2:42 PM
Another attraction that has this issue is The Little Mermaid.

In DCA: The Little Mermaid - Ariel's Under Sea Adventure

In MK: Under The Sea - Journey of the Little Mermaid.

And with the exception of the queue, the rides are exactly the same.

From Anon Mouse on February 5, 2014 at 2:54 PM
I prefer short names for rides. Minion Mayhem is my choice. Who doesn't know a minion? Despicable Me doesn't sound like a ride. It is the movie.

DCA's problem is the rides are 3 words or longer, while Disneyland's rides are usually 2 words. What's wrong with calling it the Toy Story ride? Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is tongue twisting. Just call it Tower of Terror.

Disney's California Adventure is most wrongly named. Not only is it three words, it is three multi-syllable names. They had a chance to change it during the premiere of Carsland. It came and went. Call it Disney's Adventure.

From Robert Niles on February 5, 2014 at 3:29 PM
For the record, I'm okay with calling the same ride by different names in different parks. It's a little confusing for big fans who travel, but not as bad as using two names for the same ride in the same park.

As for DCA, I'd kinda like to see Disney go with the name "Disney's Hollywoodland" for DCA, DHS and Walt Disney Studios Paris. But I don't know that it could get the trademark.

From DPCC inc. on February 5, 2014 at 4:00 PM
I'm thinking "Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin" is a bit lengthy. How about "Zurg Attack"?

"Journey into Imagination with Figment" should just be "Figment"

"Expedition Everest: Legend of the Forbidden Mountain" becomes either "Everest" or even "Expedition Everest"

"Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey" should be "Harry Potter"

From Robert Niles on February 5, 2014 at 4:07 PM
>> "Journey into Imagination with Figment" should just be "Figment" closed.

Fixed.

From Jay R. on February 5, 2014 at 5:13 PM
I think certain rides, like Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, may have to include the name (Twilight Zone) for licensing purposes.

I think for some of the other rides, and this is just my opinion, is the "long ride title" is simply a way of making the attraction sound more exciting & enticing.

Looking at the examples listed by Anon & DPCC Inc, it's true, those ride names can easily be shortened. Spider-man, harry potter, toy story, Everest, Buzz Lightyear all work.

But I think by adding words like, "journey", "adventure", "legend" or other adjectives, it's meant to convey a specific feeling or objective.

From Robert Niles on February 5, 2014 at 5:35 PM
FWIW, two years ago we did an inventory of the number of "adventures" vs. "rides" vs. "journeys," etc. that Disney included in its attraction names: themeparkinsider.com/flume/201206/3101.
From Ian Robinson on February 5, 2014 at 5:49 PM
Hey, what about DLP's new ride? Officially called "Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy" for the non-French speakers it's been renamed the slightly simpler "Ratatouille: The Ride" (lots of thought gone into that one)

Regarding Despicable Me, either PR folks think we need everything explaining... OR there's plans for tie-ins with The Minions Movie out next year, and those attractions could have similar names.

From Robert Niles on February 5, 2014 at 5:57 PM
Good catch on Ratatouille, Ian.
From 69.164.180.103 on February 5, 2014 at 6:05 PM
This is often done on purpose to protect trademarks. Normally when naming 'mistakes' are this obvious it is to protect name variations - as used first is normally a better protection than costly registration. Of course they will do both.
From Daniel Etcheberry on February 5, 2014 at 6:27 PM
I would rename Jungle Cruise to TH Creative Presents: Jungle Cruise.

From Kelly Muggleton on February 6, 2014 at 6:34 AM
Stitch's Great Escape: Save Yourself and Walk On Past
From Tony Duda on February 6, 2014 at 3:21 PM
I would think an obvious choice would be...Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem - The Ride 3D Electric Boogaloo 2

and TH Creative Presents: Jungle Cruise - The Ride

From 98.162.245.45 on February 6, 2014 at 5:07 PM
Epcot's version of Soarin' should have a subtitle of:
Soarin: Over a dull Imax film that has nothing to do with Florida. And a further post script of (Yes, you just wasted +40 minutes waiting to ride this).
From Jaiden Cohen on February 10, 2014 at 5:48 AM
Keep the minion maham name in USH because new visiters who have been to USF will not be confused. Rename Forbidden Journey because I hate when people call it the Harry Potter ride.

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