Despicable Me Minion Mayhem opens officially at Universal Studios Hollywood

April 11, 2014, 1:56 PM · The Minions were out to celebrate the official opening of the new Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride at Universal Studios Hollywood.


As was their master, super-villain Gru...


And his daughters.

Agnes, Margo and Edith

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."

Ron Meyer

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.

Eric Garcetti

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.

Pushing the button

And then the fireworks exploded, the balloons dropped, and the confetti flew as Universal declared the latest addition to its Hollywood park open.

Grand opening


Replies (4)

April 11, 2014 at 4:11 PM · NBCUniversal Vice Chairman Ron Meyer: "the Minions are Universal's 21st-century Mickey Mouse."

I Reply: Actually Mr. Meyer, Mickey Mouse is the 21st-century Mickey Mouse.

April 11, 2014 at 10:35 PM · Those character costumes are amazing looking. Its crazy how far they have come. In my opinion they look just as good, or better than Disney's costumes. They really do look like they've came right out of the movie screen. I remember seeing Woody Woodpecker as a kid, the costume was no where near the quality of these. Big improvements.
April 12, 2014 at 8:44 AM · Somewhere in cyberspace Mr. Meyer pantomimes the motion of casting a lure and catching a fish.

Aren't you the one who is usually on the other end of the line, THC?

I hope you're not losing your edge. ;>)

April 12, 2014 at 10:34 AM · I don't want to get "meta" here, so I promise that this will have a point, if you stick with me for a moment.

One the fascinating things about running Theme Park Insider is having access to data on which pages of the site get the most traffic, and which links in our weekly news emails get the most clicks. For the most part, reader interest in posts and review pages tracks strongly with the TEA/AECOM attendance report. Which makes sense. The more people that go to a park, the more people there are interested in reading about and discussing those parks.

Though there's a correlation here, it's not always strong. And this week reveals one of those exceptions. People really don't seem to care all that much about reading about Universal Studios Hollywood, even factoring its lower annual attendance than at the nations'a other Disney and Universal theme parks.

Hey, I'm proud of the coverage we've provided this week, and I think what's happening the park merits that coverage. But, man, clicks and readership aren't anywhere nearly where they would be for similar news from Disney World, Disneyland, or Universal Orlando.

So here's the point: Universal Studios Hollywood is going to need to do something — heck, a lot of things — to draw some attention to itself as it remakes its park if it wants to build its audience. Trolling Disney fans with outrageous statements is one, very Universal, way of doing that. Universal's always done cheeky, snarky attitude better than Disney and ought to embrace that difference.

USH is like a candidate who's trailing in election polling. It needs to do something to shake up the race and draw attention to itself, beyond simply building a solid track record. That's important, of course, but it's not enough to disrupt a status quo that's not working in Universal's favor.

Hey, I'll keep posting stuff from USH whenever I believe merits the attention of Theme Park Insider readers. But as much as Universal loves to quote Theme Park Insider, I really doubt that it's going to rely on us alone to make the case for the Hollywood park. ;^) So, go get 'em, Ron. Troll away!

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