Universal Studios’ “Despicable Me” ride is one part of the theme park’s five-year expansion plan. // © 2014 Samantha Davis-Friedman
Guests of Universal Studios Hollywood now have even more to be happy about with the arrival of Despicable Me Minion Mayhem. Already a popular attraction at Universal Orlando, this 3D simulator ride takes guests on an immersive journey into the world of the hugely successful “Despicable Me” movies.
In dire need of more minions, the movie’s super villain Gru has developed a machine that will “transform” average theme park-goers into legions of bug-eyed yellow henchmen and put them through a series of minion training drills.
Jon Corfino, show producer and project director of the Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride, noted that the Hollywood version is not a replica of the Orlando ride.
“We tried to bring more of the film to life by bringing in the entire neighborhood and levels of interactivity with the doorbells,” said Corfino. “And with Super Silly Fun Land, we had the opportunity to create a land.”
As guests exit the ride, they get the chance to party like a minion in an interactive dance party and experience the all-new Super Silly Fun Land carnival-themed area and water fun zone — complete with changing rooms, so kids can get as wet as they want.
“The premiere of Despicable Me Minion Mayhem represents more than just a ride opening,” said Larry Kurzweil, president of Universal Studios Hollywood. “It’s an integral part of Universal Studios Hollywood and the five-year transformation that’s already underway.”
Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti noted that Universal’s success is not due just to its films alone but relies on Los Angeles tourism that evokes “movie-making magic.” He reported last year’s record-breaking number of L.A. tourists (more than 42.2 million) and stated the goal to increase that number to 50 million by 2020.
Garcetti believes that the theme park’s makeover will contribute significantly to the city’s tourism goals.
In addition to the new Despicable Me area, the expansion plans also include West Coast versions of The Simpsons’ Springfield area and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, both of which are expected to be complete by 2016.
“The minions are Universal Studios’ 21st century Mickey Mouse,” said vice chairman of NBCUniversal, Ron Meyer.
With the release of “The Minions” spin-off in 2015 and “Despicable Me 3” in 2017, the goal is to capitalize on the ongoing popularity of the franchise and make Universal Studios Hollywood a can’t-miss L.A. destination for visitors of the city.