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New 'Despicable Me' ride opens Monday at Universal Studios

Minions at UOR
Universal Studios opens its newest ride today: Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem, a motion simulator ride that, like the Simpsons ride at the same park, doesn’t go anywhere but might make you feel like you did.

Although the ride doesn’t officially open until today, it’s been operating for a couple weeks in a “technical rehearsal” and was often open to park visitors during that time. I got to ride it over the weekend. The whole experience, not including time waiting in line, takes about 12 minutes with a pre-ride video and post-ride dance party; the ride itself is four to five minutes.

The storyline picks up where the 2010 movie leaves off, with the same actors voicing the same characters. Gru is seeking to claim credentials as the world’s greatest criminal. For his latest evil deed, however, he needs more minions, and the human riders are recruited. We don goggles for the 3-D animation, get scanned for germs, and take our seats on benches with lap bars.

From there, it’s a wild ride to nowhere, the seats shaking and jerking in sync with the animation that shows a lot of ups and downs. Signs at the entrance warn that people prone to motion sickness shouldn’t take the ride, and the combination of movement and the 3-D pictures could indeed induce nausea. There are some stationary benches for people who have disabilities or who want to see the animation without the motion.

The ride has a warm and fuzzy ending, with Gru recreating the movie’s theme park, Super Silly Fun Land (and it feels like we’re zooming along its roller coaster) to celebrate the anniversary of the day he adopted his daughters, Margo, Agnes and Edith; he is a better person now.

The ride is cute – cute minions, cute daughters, cute concept. The attraction uses the new Infitec 3-D projection system, which produces excellent animation. It’s a little less jerky and a little less sophisticated than Disney’s Star Tours but along the same lines. It’s also aimed at a younger audience.

Then we walk into the next room for a short disco dance party with a couple minions, and from there into the gift shop, with minions, fluffy unicorns and all manner of minion paraphernalia.

Minion Dance Party

Photo credits: Universal Orlando