A theme park gift under $10? Theme Park Insider: 2016 Year in Review
As was their master, super-villain Gru...
And his daughters.
After a performance of "Happy" from Despicable Me 2 by the same high school dancers who performed the song at the Academy Awards (minus Pharrell Williams), host Mario Lopez introduced several speakers before the big grand opening.
NBCUniversal Vice Chairman Ron Meyer trolled rival Disney by declaring "the Minions are Universal's 21st-century Mickey Mouse."
And Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti thanked Universal for helping drive Los Angeles to a record number of visitors last year: 42.2 million. Garcetti said that the city aims for 50 million visitors a year by 2020, and that Universal Studios Hollywood would account for nearly half that increase.
That's a stunning number. According to the TEA/AECOM attendance report, Universal Studios Hollywood drew 5.9 million visitors in 2012 (the latest year reported). If you do the math, Garcetti's expecting Universal to draw more than 3.5 million new visitors to the LA area by itself, which would push the park's attendance near the 10 million mark. That's ahead of California Adventure, both the Universal Orlando parks, and on par with the smaller two Walt Disney World parks. Granted, those parks will enjoy their own attendance gains between now and then, but Garcetti's words remind that Universal's spending $1.6 billion on expanding and improving its original Hollywood park for a reason — to drive attendance up toward Disney levels.
After Garcetti, Lopez welcomed Gru and the voices of his daughters, Miranda Cosgrove (Margo), Dana Gaier (Edith) and Elsie Fisher (Agnes) to the stage to blow up the ribbon and open the ride. They're joined here by Tom Williams, Chairman of Universal Parks & Resorts.
And then the fireworks exploded, the balloons dropped, and the confetti flew as Universal declared the latest addition to its Hollywood park open.
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