UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD
Universal Studios Theme Parks
Review by: Steve Rowin
Despicable Me Minion Mayhem & Super Silly Fun Land
(4/14/14) Despicable Me at Universal Hollywood opens with a bang!
Gru and the girls were joined by celebrities, dignitaries and a dozen minions for the grand opening of The Despicable Me ride at Universal Studio’s Hollywood! As the event got under way no less than a hundred reporters from all around the world fought for the a chance to photograph minions! One reporter even teased the minions with a banana at which time they danced hoping he would give it up. But of course he did not. Later the banana would be used as a microphone to interview show producer Jon Corfino who discussed the production aspects of the project. As the excitement grew, the voice actresses behind Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Agnes (Elsie Fisher) and Edith (Dana Gaier) arrived for the celebration. With plenty of celebrities on hand to witness the spectacle, a dance troop took to the stage performing to Pharrel’s hit “Happy” kicking off the big event!
Mario Lopez from the television show “Extra”, then introduced Universal executives who highlighted the hard work and dedication it took to make this dream a reality. Larry Kurzweil, President of Universal Studios Hollywood, explained how the immersive design behind Despicable Me and the introduction of the “Super Silly Fun Land”, a Hollywood exclusive, is an example of the direction Universal is going to provide world class entertainment for its visitors. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti spoke eloquently about the economic value Universal Studios provides for the city while dazzling visitors with the “Hollywood” experience they travel for. Shortly there after the time had come to open the doors and start turning park guests into minions!
As Gru took the stage, a large box with a big red button appeared. With large balloons hovering above our heads and all eyes on Gru, he pushed the button setting off a bonanza of fireworks, streamers and so much confetti our shoes disappeared! The large 4 foot balloons over head burst dropping hundreds upon hundreds of little yellow balloons for all to pop as they danced with joy. As the excitement peaked everyone rushed inside to experience the new Minion Ride!
Running, jumping, bouncing along in our “training” as minions was non-stop fun! If you’ve ever played the “Minion Run” mobile game you’ll recognize the action but from a minion’s point of view, it’s an exhilarating experience. Just as we think the action is over Gru has a surprise for the girls; a birthday party to celebrate him adopting them! Vibrant colors and music surround us as the party begins and we go for a coaster ride. Plain and simple, being a minion is tons of fun!
The Minion ride replaces the Terminator 2 experience, an impressive addition to the park in its day. Unique to the Hollywood Minion ride is the addition of a second theater to keep the lines moving. In combination with Ultra-HD 4K resolution projectors running at 60 frames per second, the 3D “Minion Goggles” provide a spectacular and transparent viewing experience on 36’ high by 52’ wide projection screens. But it’s not about the 3D technology, it’s about becoming a minion. The wind, water and a host of other special effects make being a minion super silly. The technology is the star of the show without being in the forefront as the star of the show.
Kids of all ages love minions! Even those under the 48” height requirement to ride Despicable Me. For them, Universal Hollywood has re-created “Super Silly Fun Land” from the film featuring a mini water playground and the “Silly Swirly Fun Ride” that soars and spins kids of all ages. Additionally, the area is complemented with “Gru’s Lab Cafe” and some midway style toss games. There’s no doubt that this will be a huge hit!
- Reporting for Screamscape.com,
Steve Rowin - Themepark Technology Enthusiast