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Despicable Me Minion Mayhem begins its soft open at Universal Studios Hollywood

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Published: March 20, 2014 at 1:41 PM

The new Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride started "technical rehearsals" at Universal Studios Hollywood this morning, soft-opening the ride to the public for the first time. Universal invited local reporters to go on the ride this morning, and we were there to share this first look.

Minion Mayhem

Gru was out front, meeting fans...

Gru

... while his daughters posed outside their old home.

Gru's daughters

For theme park fans who've experienced the original Minion Mayhem at Universal Studios Florida in Orlando, the show here is the same. But Universal's taken this opportunity to substantially expand the experience around the show itself for its Hollywood installation. If you haven't been on the Florida version, we'll take a photo tour through this "Despicable Me," a 3D movie and motion simulator experience.

Before you enter, don't hesitate to ring the doorbells on the homes along Gru's street. There are some surprises awaiting you! But if you want to experience life as a minion, you'll have to walk through Gru's front door.

Inside the house

Once through, you're in the bulk of the queue for the ride, which is the one place where the attraction still looks like its previous incarnation as the Terminator 2: 3D show.

Queue

Be sure to look for the back of Gru's car, though.

Gru's car

Recruitment posters line the queue. Gru's looking for a few good minions, and he wants to convert you. Literally.

Poster

A big difference between this version of Minion Mayhem and the original is the addition of a second theater, which should help slash the long waits often found on the east coast. Once you pick up your 3D glasses, you're ushered into one of two versions of Gru's living room.

Living room

On the screen, the minions explain the right, and wrong, way to wear your 3D glasses.

Minions

After this initial preshow, you walk through the doors into Gru's lab.

Gru's Lab

Inside, you'll meet Gru, who explains his "minionizing" ray, and subjects you to a laser body scan. "Do not worry," he says, "this will not hurt... me."

Gru and the minions

After a blast from Gru's "fart gun" (which smells suspiciously like bananas), it's into the theater for the show. You'll sit four across in motion simulator seats, with a lap bar helping to hold you in place.

The theater

The show offers one sight gag after another, including a neat moment when it feels like you're riding upside down through a corkscrew slide. It's the anniversary of Gru adopting his daughters, whom he's left in charge to blast you with the minionizing ray, then put you through your minion training. Of course, it all goes horribly wrong, but I don't think we're spoiling anything to say that it all works out okay in the end.

There's even a minion dance party awaiting you!

Dance party

The exit is through the gift shop, of course, but there's more awaiting you outside.

Gift shop

In addition to the impressive front facade, Universal has added Super Silly Fun Land to the mix in Hollywood.

Super Silly Fun Land

A wet and a dry play area will surround the Silly Swirly spinner ride, which were not yet completed today.

Silly Swirly

But Gru's Lab Cafe was getting ready for business.

Gru's Lab Cafe

Gru's is a slide-tray quick service restaurant that will serve barbecue chicken, grilled cheese with pulled pork and BBQ sauce, meatball sandwiches, chicken nachos in a tortilla bowl, and "Dr. Nefario's Lab Salad," a mixture of Udon noodles, greens, chicken, and shrimp, in a Ponzu dressing.

Inside Gru's Lab Cafe

Despicable Me Minion Mayhem and Super Silly Fun Land will open officially on April 10.

Readers' Opinions

From Annette Forrest on March 20, 2014 at 2:10 PM
Universal did a really gorgeous job with this. I am so thrilled that they have upped their game lately and no longer just go the "good enough" cheap-o route. I like seeing real competition for Disney. It means Disney will ultimately at some point have to raise their standards higher. Having Universal move into such rich theming and attention to detail is a dream come true.
From 64.12.116.206 on March 20, 2014 at 2:21 PM
Universal is following the model set down long ago by Disney. I guess now Disney has to emulate their rival.
From 74.202.118.163 on March 20, 2014 at 2:33 PM
What a kick!

I had the extreme thrill of lucking into being one of the test-riders on the very first day of technical rehearsals for this ride in Florida back in early June 2012. I enjoyed reading your description of the ride, because it matched my experience as I detailed it in my trip log - practically word for word. Okay, I exaggerate - a little. But you describe it just exactly as I remembered it. With one small exception. I really felt for the employees who were so green at this ride that they struggled horribly with their clipboards to try to figure out how to properly fill up the rows of seats. I now understand why they have to do tech rehearsals on these things. It has nothing to do with the ride itself. That they can test without bodies, am I right? It was about working out the higher level mathematics of calculating the correct combinations of butts in seats. So glad I was there to help!

Can't wait to compare my Florida experience with the new ride/land when I visit USH in just three short months!

From Rob Pastor on March 20, 2014 at 3:56 PM
This looks great. And even better themed than Florida. Despicable Me, with it's two excellent pre shows, great simulater ride, and fun dance party, was better than we expected. My GF loves it so much, we rode it many many times during last fall's Orlando vacation. I'd like to see the restaurant & Super Silly Fun land in Florida if they could find the space. Universal hit a home run with this attraction, and it probably didn't cost an arm & a leg.
From Anon Mouse on March 20, 2014 at 3:57 PM
I find it odd that they did nothing to the Terminator queue line. I am disappointed that they did not open the fun area yet.
From N B on March 20, 2014 at 5:41 PM
Definitely more elaborate than the USF version. Glad to see they didn't skimp on this.
From Tony Duda on March 20, 2014 at 8:57 PM
Looks great. The DM ride looks just like the USF version even though they didn't have to retro fit Jimmy Neutron. It also looks like they took the best pieces of USF's Springfield USA on new food places and themed them for DM.

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