Universal Orlando’s latest interactive attraction held its grand opening on August 11th, and we’ve already got your complete Unofficial Guide to the new Villain-Con Minion Blast ride in Minion Land at Universal Studios Florida.
Villain-Con Minion Blast, Universal’s second Minion-themed attraction, lets guests attend the annual evildoers’ convention—inconspicuously held inside an Orlando theme park—and compete to join the Vicious 6 (as introduced in Despicable Me 2) by wreaking havoc with interactive blasters.
Televisions tuned to the Villain News Network brief aspiring baddies on how to use their E-Liminator X devices, which riders receive after touring a brief indoor queue of trade show booths bursting with comical sight gags; be sure to get a selfie with the animated alligator in an aquarium.
Unlike Buzz Lightyear or Men In Black, there’s no ride vehicle here; rather, guests stand on a moving walkway that can navigate corners, gliding like luggage on an airport conveyor belt past giant video screens surrounded by static physical sets.
The wireless guns have two triggers—one for unlimited single shots, and a second for launching big blasts that must be reloaded by hitting marked ammo crates—and each sports a tiny circular screen displaying your score and ammo. Competitors battle the Vicious 6’s five current members (voiced by the original actors) through an art gallery, a futuristic sports stadium, and a seizure-inducing discotheque, before arriving at a final showdown against Scarlet Overkill and other rivals above Universal’s CityWalk.
Tip: Hit the large glowing cubes to upgrade your primary pew-pew, then target the villain until a special ammo crate appears, and use it to launch the villain’s own weapon against him for massive points.
Villain-Con Minon Blast’s massive screens are impressively sharp and colorful, and there are more Minions than you can shake a banana at, although their humor is largely lost amid the ceaseless explosions. Crucially, the attraction’s gameplay is disappointingly unsatisfying in comparison to its aforementioned predecessors. The onscreen action is often overwhelmingly chaotic, making it difficult to discern which of the tiny targeting reticules belongs to you (your gun will display your color and symbol briefly before you board the belt).
At press time, there are also intermittent issues with the screens stuttering, as well as lag time when trying to aim; hopefully, these issues will improve with further updates.
Although the blasters vibrate with every shot, there’s little haptic feedback or sense of accomplishment when you connect, making the whole experience feel like a succession of video game boss battles that you can never win. It’s worth a try (or two) if the line isn’t long, but it lacks the long-term replay value of similar interactive attractions.
Villain-Con Minion Blast Touring Tips
Like its Minion Mayhem sibling across the street, Villain-Con’s location near the park’s entrance dooms it to draw crowds all morning; luckily, the conveyor system (which is capable of carrying a guest every 2.5 seconds) should keep the queue moving consistently. We think Villain-Con is worth about a 30-45-minute wait at most; if the standby queue fills the barely shaded overflow lot, skip it and try again later.
Use the Universal mobile app to track your scores and virtual trophies by tapping your phone against your blaster between pickup and stepping on the belt.
You can set up your player name and weapon preferences in the app ahead of time, and then see which optional challenges you successfully completed afterwards.
Ask a team member if you have trouble linking your phone and gun; you’ll need to enable your NFC reader, and you may have to remove your phone’s case.
Once aboard, stay put atop your designated dot, or your weapon will stop working; if your gun reports network errors throughout your ride, ask at the exit for another try.
Minion Blast has no minimum height requirement, but children must be able to stand up on their own, and kids under 48″ must be accompanied by an adult; child swap is available. There is also an Express Pass lane, but there’s no single-rider option.
Wheelchair users can roll right onto the belt, but ECV drivers must transfer to a standard chair.
The two-handed blasters weigh nearly 4 pounds, and the triggers have a heavy pull with no repeating auto-fire, which may tire out adults (not to mention kids or disabled guests) by the end of the surprisingly lengthy attraction, which lasts nearly 6 minutes.
Lightweight non-interactive toy E-Liminators are offered for little villains and are not-so-coincidentally sold in the exit gift shop. Now that’s truly evil!
We rate Villain-Con Minion Blast as 3 1/2 (out of 5) stars.
What do you think of Universal’s new Villain-Con Minion Blast attraction? Let us know in the comments below!
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