Universal Announces ‘Despicable Me Addition,’ Spider-Man Upgrade

When we wrote about the closing of the Jimmy Neutron ride in early April, we noted that “Despicable Me” was rumored to be a replacement. Universal Orlando 2011 co-author Seth Kubersky surmised that as well, stating on Fox 35 News, “It’s a recent film hit of Universal’s. It’s a film that Universal owns so they don’t have to pay licensing rights.”

In addition, Kubersky says Universal would not have to spend a lot of money to convert the Jimmy Neutron space over to Despicable Me, and they could use existing hardware to make a high tech simulator ride.

So it came as no surprise when Universal announced May 19 (after weeks of teasing on its Facebook page) that Despicable Me, which grossed more than $540 million worldwide, will indeed be the replacement. Kubersky, in his subsequent Orlando Weekly blog, describes the ride as a family-friendly 3-D simulator.

Kubersky writes,

Despicable Me, based on the recent hit Universal cartoon, was introduced by the film’s producer Chris Meledandri, who is involved in the ride’s production. The attraction will feature Gru and his daughters taking a trip to a theme park, and it will “transform” guests into little yellow Minions, culminating in an interactive dance party.

The existing hardware will indeed kept in place, Kubersky says, with the addition of new Infitee 3-D projectors. Park officials said Despicable Me is the first Universal animated film to used as the basis for a theme park ride.

However, as the late Billy May would annoyingly say, “But wait, there’s more!”

Universal also detailed the upgrades to the popular Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man ride, which is in progress. Very sharp-looking digital projections have already been implemented in two scenes. When complete, says Kubersky, the ride will feature Infitec projectors throughout, displaying updated animations re-rendered at top-of-the-line 4K resolution. He adds,

A sample frame from the new ride film reveals much more sophisticated lighting and texture effects, down to the stitching on Spidey’s costume, with new scenic details visible in the background. Universal promises the refreshed ride will also feature set enhancements and new hidden details for guests to find.

According to WKMG Local 6-Click Orlando, the ride

will be updated with the highest-quality HD resolution available, special effects and new details from the film, which is projected onto a towering screen. The cars hurtle riders along ravaged city streets as Spider-Man battles his archenemies, protecting innocent citizens from the likes of Doc Ock and Electro.

Officials did not pinpoint closing and re-opening dates for Spider-Man, which debuted in 1999, but both attractions are expected to be completed sometime in 2012.

Kubersky, with his bead on theme park inside information, believes Universal timed the announcements to deflect focus from Disney’s imminent relaunch of its Star Tours ride, combined with rumors of additions such as King Kong and Transformers.






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