Sneak Peek at Universal Orlando's Despicable Me Minion Mayhem

The billboards along I-4 promoting Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, the new family-friendly 3-D simulator at Universal Studios Florida, don't even state an opening date, only saying "ride soon." Yesterday, I arrived at the park in time for an unannounced "technical rehearsal" that allowed guests to experience the attraction for a limited time. I had time to try the ride twice, both times with a posted wait of 60 minutes, and an actual wait about half that.

While you'll have to wait for an upcoming issue of the Orlando Weekly or the 2013 edition of Intrepid Traveler's Universal Orlando to read my full review of the ride. For, now suffice to say that it's a marked improvement over the Old Jimmy Neutron ride, which it replaced and still resembles.

There are now two richly-detailed pre-show rooms, featuring very funny film clips voiced by original film star Steve Carell. The main show is still a theater of moving benches, now with a larger screen and HD projections, simulating a jerky 4-minute joyride. Think a slightly less intense, more juvenile version of The Simpsons Ride.

In an amusing touch, the post-ride dance party allows you to boogie with costumed characters, and see yourself onscreen with CGI minions.

The ride appears to be functionally complete, though I did experience 15 minutes of "technical difficulties" while waiting in the queue, and the employees appear to need practice moving guest through efficiently. There is no way right to know if the ride will run or not on a given day, so don't buy admission just to ride it until its official opening is announced.

No recording is allowed in the attraction, but enjoy my selection of photographs from the queue and preshows.