Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem is an animated simulator ride that is located at the Universal Studios parks in Orlando, Hollywood, and Japan.
Based on the Despicable Me film series, the attraction features Gru (Steve Carell) seeking to create more of his Minions by outright enlisting everyday folk that he can transform into Minions, via a new device created by him and Dr. Nefario (non-speaking rolenote ), known as the "Minionizer." At the same time, he is also working on his ultimate present to Margo, Edith and Agnes (Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier and Elsie Fisher respectively) in honor of their first anniversary together as a family. This leads to him quickly rushing the guests through the Minionization process, and ultimately letting the girls be in charge of training the new Minions.
In the attraction, the guests are lead through two pre-shows, one being inside Gru's house and the other being inside a prep lab. Once on-board the ride, the guests are "turned" into Minions and led into training course where many obstacles lie. While coaching the Minions, the girls also are trying to deliver their own anniversary present to Gru, which winds up causing more trouble than imagined.
Development of the attraction began swiftly after the success of the first film in 2010, and a mere two years later opened in the Orlando park on July 2, 2012; in place of the Jimmy Neutron's Nicktoon Blast ride. The popularity of the attraction would then kick start the development of a duplicate for the Hollywood park, which opened on April 12, 2014; replacing the Terminator 2 3-D: Battle Across Time show. Along with the ride itself, Hollywood also received an adjacent sub-area that's themed around Super Silly Fun Land; featuring a small spinner ride, a water playground, and several midway games.
A third version of the attraction opened at Universal Studios Japan on April 21, 2017, replacing Back to the Future: The Ride. This iteration of the ride has some minor differences from the first two, most notably featuring an extra safety video on how to board the ride vehicles, and an intro animation not seen in the other two iterations due to what the ride replaced in Japan. Japan's take on the ride also includes a surrounding "Minion Park" area that contains a candy store, midway games, and numerous photo-ops.
A fourth iteration of the ride, along with another Minion Park, has been announced for Universal Studios Singapore. It is expected to replace the Madagascar area sometime in the 2020s.
The Orlando and Hollywood versions of the ride were originally presented in 3-D, but, for reasons unknown, this aspect of the ride was done away with in 2019.
Tropes shown in Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem include:
- Adaptation Expansion: Hollywood's version of the attraction is much more extensive than its original Orlando counterpart. It includes a recreation of Gru's entire neighborhood as well as the Super Silly Fun Land park, which includes midway games, a small restaurant, a kids' play area, and a small ride.
- Adult Fear: Margo, Edith, and Agnes at one point end up inside Gru's anti-gravity room, where they very nearly end up being crushed by the machinery.
- Alliterative Title: The second part of the title, "Minion Mayhem."
- Alternate Continuity: The attraction is not meant to be canonical to the Despicable Me series, it's just a fun little side-diversion that takes some liberties with the films' continuity for the sake of the ride experience. This explains why Gru is openly embracing villainy in front of his daughters, among other inconsistencies.
- Amusement Park: Towards the end, it's revealed that Gru built a giant one inside his lab in honor of his anniversary with the girls.
- Ascended Extra: The first movie had the Minions being minor comic relief characters; whereas this ride marks the first time in the series that they serve as a central part of the plot.
- Baleful Polymorph: Averted and subverted. The guests being turned into Minions, though it wasn't against their will. Unless you hate Minions.
- Balloon Belly: Footage of Gru's failed tests of the Minion Gun at one point show one volunteer being turned into a bloated-looking Minion.
- Big Damn Heroes: Gru shows up at the climax to save the girls from being crushed just in the nick of time.
- Blind Mistake: When Gru warns the riders of putting their goggles on too early, he shows a clip of a Minion walking around with them on and subsequently running into things and getting hurt.
- Break the Cutie: The girls end up being sent through what is essentially an industrial hell, where they very nearly avoid being killed by sheer luck.
- Camera Abuse: In the first pre-show, the camera recording Gru's message to the riders gets a dose of this when Kyle smacks right into it.
- Chekhov's Skill: The Minions' ability to form into giant objects, which comes very much in handy for the climax.
- Confetti Drop: The ride's finale has confetti dropping down in celebration of both the anniversary and the riders passing the Minion training.
- Cruel Twist Ending: In the end, it seems as though the riders will finally be able to serve as one of Gru's Minions...until one Minion ends up crashing into the ray gun, which transforms the riders back to normal.
- Dance Party Ending: The ride exits out into a dance-party room where guests can meet the Minions and Gru.
- Deadly Training Area: The Minion training course is this, being filled with virtually every hazard you can think.
- Demoted to Extra: Dr. Nefario only receives a couple of non-speaking cameos in the pre-shows.
- Extendo Boxing Glove: A gigantic one is used as one of the many obstacles in the training.
- Failure Montage: A brief one is shown when Gru plays clips of his earlier attempts at making the "Minionizer" work.
- Fake Boobs: While Gru tells the guests about the Minion goggles, one of the Minions is shown wearing the goggles like a bra.
- Fartillery: The fart gun makes a return in the attraction, although it's ineffective when Gru uses it on the audience.
- Finger-Forced Smile: Happens at the end of the first pre-show, when all three of the girls pull on Gru's mouth to make him smile for the audience.
- Fire-Breathing Diner: During Gru's instructional video, a Minion is shown eating jalapeno dip, resulting in him breathing out fire and burning the Minion next to him.
- Forbidden Zone: The riders plummet into the "Restricted Area" of Gru's laboratory, where some of his more dangerous experiments are.
- Forgotten Anniversary: At first, the girls are left to believe that Gru had forgotten their 1-year anniversary together, but really he was just prepping up for his surprise gift to them.
- Goggles Do Something Unusual: The "Minion Goggles" are mentioned as being able to function as a flotation device.
- Gratuitous Disco Sequence: The ride's Dance Party Ending has the "Boogie Fever" song from the first film showing up.
- Harmless Electrocution: One Minion gets electrocuted by a red laser and is only fluffed up as a result.
- Laser-Guided Karma: When two Minions get hit by a giant punching glove, two other Minions laugh at them just seconds before they get hit as well.
- Laser Hallway: A part of the Minion course. When a Minion accidentally touches a laser, they get electrocuted.
- Literal Ass-Kicking: During the training course, a Minion ends up landing on a cactus.
- Made of Indestructium: The "Minion Goggles"note given to the riders are shown as being able to withstand any force, whether it be a hammer or a giant laser.
- Mix-and-Match Critters: More footage of Gru's failed Minionizer tests show two volunteers being turned into Minion/Human hybrids, and another one into a Minion/Elephant hybrid.
- No Antagonist: Unlike the movies or even the attraction's predecessors, there is no villain involved in the storyline.
- No OSHA Compliance: Gru's inner-factory is filled with giant blades, rotating screws, toxic goo, and fire everywhere.
- Retcon: An updated preshow plays footage of Gru and Lucy's wedding from Despicable Me 2, yet Lucy herself is nowhere to be seen.
- Shout-Out: The fart gun having the scent of bananas, while a reference to the Minions' love of bananas, is also an homage to the famous "banana breath" smell from the former Kongfrontation attraction.
- Smashing Hallway Traps of Doom: Gru's factory area is loaded with industrial hazards from left to right.
- Spikes of Doom: Several of the industrial hazards mentioned earlier have these on them.
- Stuff Blowing Up: Two Minions accidentally make one of Gru's missiles drop, which hits the floor and causes all the other explosives in the area to ignite.
- Synchronized Swarming: The Minions get together to form a giant arm that acts as a bridge, and later form into a giant hand to catch the protagonists.
- Tagline: "Become one in a Minion!"
- Tested on Humans: Gru's "Minionizer", as shown in his testing footage. Justified since the gun is meant for humans.
- This Ain't Rocket Surgery: When the Margo, Edith, and Agnes beg Gru to let them train the Minions, Margo mentions, "It's not like it's rocket science!"
- Toilet Humor: The "fart gun" from the first movie makes a return in the second pre-show.
- Transformation Ray: The "Minionizer" that Gru uses to transform the riders into Minions.
- The Un-Smile: At the end of the first pre-show, the girls try to manually make Gru smile, to which he miserly states, "I hate smiling."
- The Voiceless: Dr. Nefario.
- Uncle Sam Wants You: On the side of the building in Orlando's version of the attraction, there's a parody of the "I Want You" poster with a Minion on it.
- Wolverine Publicity: Thanks to the Minions being insanely popular, the ride opened to standby waits of over an hour. This caused the ride to quickly become the second-most promoted attraction in Universal Orlando, right behind The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.