Universal Orlando has officially removed the wraps from its first new themed land in nearly a decade, and today we’re taking you on our Unofficial Guides tour of Minion Land on Illumination Avenue at Universal Studios Florida.
Minion Land on Illumination Avenue, which officially opened on August 11, 2023, occupies most of the area originally known as Production Central. This is now the first land guests see upon entering the park and passing through the Front Lot. Fortunately, what was one of the most meh main streets of any theme park got a much-needed glow-up, with its bland beige buildings now brightened up by colorful Minion-themed additions.
Incidentally, the remnants of Production Central that weren’t transformed into Minion Land were reassigned to New York, including the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit and Transformers 3-D rides, as well as Music Plaza Stage, a Hollywood Bowl–inspired amphitheater with an artificial turf viewing lawn.
Minion Land Attractions
Minion Land includes the Despicable Me Minion Mayhem simulator ride and the new Villain-Con Minion Blast interactive attraction, which we’ve detailed in a previous post.
Despite its age and the removal of its 3-D effects, Minion Mayhem remains popular with guests, and it has more of the humor and heart the Despicable Me films are known for than the newer ride.
Minion Land Dining
In addition to the new attraction, Minion Land has added several shops and eateries, surrounded by a streetscape of fanciful business facades referencing the films. The main munching place in Minion Land is Minion Cafe, which replaces the former Universal Classic Monsters restaurant. (Frankenstein fans will be compensated with an entire land in the upcoming Epic Universe.) The mischievous Minions have revamped the old haunt with plenty of natural light and eye-popping colors.
You can dine in their dormitory, kitchen, or break room, all packed with references to the films fans will love. While eating, guests enjoy a soundtrack of pop songs performed by the Minions and friends. Unfortunately, the Rube Goldberg-style statue in the restaurant’s center isn’t animated, nor are there video “windows“ to watch Minions wreak havoc in the kitchen (like in Toadstool Cafe at Super Nintendo World).
A major improvement over the Despicable Me restaurant in Universal Studios Hollywood, Minion Cafe introduces foods you don’t traditionally find in a theme park setting. The closest you’ll find to pizza here is Mel’s Meatball Mountain, which is more of a stuffed calzone.
Standout options include Chicken Stuart’s Szechuan Surprise (a sizable half-bird with stir-fried noodles); the “Cheese Ray” roast beef sandwich with pimiento cheddar; Carl’s Crispy Cauliflower, a vegan dish with sweet chili sauce and blue coconut rice.
Pay to upgrade your sandwich’s side from plantain chips to the crispy Minion-shaped Tots with mashed-potato filling.
For dessert, the peanut butter-and-jelly Pet Rock is as adorbs as it is delish, as is the Minion sweet roll (if you like pineapple and passion fruit).
Guests at Minion Cafe are strongly urged to use Mobile Order, with options in the app for pickup or table delivery. Pickups are from a window near Freeze Ray Pops.
Table-service guests will be seated and then use the app to scan their table number (tapping as directed often fails, so use the QR code or manual entry options). After that, a team member will bring your food and utensils. If you are unable or unwilling to mobile order, you can order in person at a small counter just to the right of the entrance, which can sometimes get you served more swiftly. Even so, our mobile orders usually arrived within 15 minutes.
Between the two nonalcoholic signature drinks, we far prefer the yellow banana Antidote over the lemonade purple PX-41 Punch, but both have far too much sweet buttercream topping.
You can get both of those signature drinks, along with banana-flavored popcorn, at the Pop-A-Nana stand just outside. Souvenir Minion popcorn buckets are available for $29-$30, but you can also refill standard souvenir buckets with banana popcorn here at a discount.
Also located around the same building as Minion Cafe is a window selling Freeze Ray Pops. They specialize in Nutella Gru and Banana Minion popsicles but have a variety of more ordinary flavors (including several plant-based options).
Around the corner is Bake My Day, which stocks character-shaped cookies and cupcakes, as well as sweets-inspired merchandise. Sadly, at press time none of the available snacks are vegan.
Minion Land Characters
In addition to the Minion-focused areas, the land also includes a theater-themed outdoor meet-and-greet area shared by both Despicable Me favorites, as well as other Illuminations characters.
In addition to the ubiquitous yellow Minions (who also appear at the exit of Minion Mayhem), you might find Gru, Agnes, or Vector, as well as Johnny, Gunter, and Rosita from Sing.
Minion Land Interactivity
Universal has hyped the connectivity between its smartphone app and the blasters in Villain-Con, but less publicized is the interactive scavenger hunt hidden throughout all of Minion Land.
Keep an eye out for these V6 symbols scattered through the queues, shops, and restaurants along Illumination Avenue, and scan them to add to your stockpile of digital collectibles.
Minion Land Shopping
In addition to the existing carnival-themed Super Silly Stuff shop at the exit of Minion Mayhem, Minion Land now lets guests load up on gruesome gear at Evil Stuff.
The obligatory gift shop at the exit of Villain-Con Minion Blast stocks toys and souvenirs celebrating Despicable Me’s bad guys, including replicas of the attraction’s blaster and customized convention badges. Even if you aren’t buying, be sure to check out the statues of Minions cosplaying as their favorite fiends.
Minion Land Touring Tips
If you are arriving at Universal Studios Florida before park opening (which we recommend in our touring plans) be aware that even on days when the park does not offer Early Park Admission, the gates may still open about 15 minutes prior to the official opening hour, with Minion Land attractions open to all.
You may be tempted to rush at rope drop right into Villain-Con. We’ve observed modest wait times for the new attraction throughout the day, especially in comparison to its older sibling Minion Mayhem. In fact, the other Despicable Me ride remains so popular that we recommend making it your first or last stop of the day, while you can safely save Minion Blast until after you’ve experienced all the other headliners.
Finally, be sure to read our earlier list of Five Things to Know About Minion Land before strapping on your blue overalls and heading out to Universal Studios Florida!
For all there is to see and do at Universal Orlando, check out The Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando. If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to our YouTube channel and sign up for our newsletter here. Be sure to follow us on Threads, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube.