In 2022, Universal made the decision to permanently close the Shrek 4-D attraction at Universal Studios Orlando. The attraction had been steadily declining in popularity over the years and was no longer a must-do for many vacationing families, but many fans were still disappointed to see it go.
With the recent opening of a brand-new Minions-based attraction occupying the space once dedicated to everyone’s favorite green ogre, eyes are on Villain-Con Minion Blast to make a good first impression. So, did Universal make the right decision to switch over this classic attraction?
When the theater-style Shrek 4-D attraction first opened in 2003, it offered an exclusive video along with motion-based effects, but after the video release of Shrek in 2001, the short film used for the ride was included as a bonus feature. This clip, called Shrek 3-D or the Ghost of Lord Farquaad on particular Shrek DVDs, was no longer a park exclusive and as a result lost a bit of its shine to the general public.
Regardless, the attraction remained open for an impressive nineteen years until the plug was finally pulled in 2022 to make use of the space for the new Despicable Me expansion. Universal had been hinting at this expansion for a handful of years, and Shrek was not the only park staple to be selected as part of the overhaul. The fan-favorite Classic Monsters Cafe closed in 2022 to make way for a new Minions food stand.
Before Shrek’s closure, guests could step through the queue and be transported to the fictional land of Far Far Away. Clips from the Shrek films played on loop as guests were greeted by the familiar voices of the Three Little Pigs, Pinocchio, and Gingy who have all been captured by the evil Lord Farquaad. After being guided into the main theater, visitors would sit and enjoy the short film while their theater seats would tilt, rise, vibrate, and blow air.
After the short film had finished, guests could have their picture taken with Donkey, Shrek, and Fiona outside the nearby Donkey’s Photo Finish attraction. After the closure of Shrek 4-D, the Photo Finish was temporarily moved to the Woody Woodpecker’s Kidzone where it occupied the former Barney souvenir shop.
In January of 2023, the Kidzone along with Dreamworks Destination, Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster, Fievel’s Playland and of course Donkey’s Photo Finish were permanently closed to begin construction on a new experience. With the closure of the Kidzone, Shrek and friends’ presence has dwindled within the park. However, with the expansive land for Dreamworks properties underway at the upcoming Epic Universe park, it will not be long before the inhabitants of Far Far Away find a new home at the Universal Orlando Resort.
Villain-Con Minion Blast opened in Universal Studios earlier this summer as part of the Minion Land expansion. The ride is a moving walkway interactive shooter-style attraction similar to Disney’s Toy Story Midway Mania. The ride opened across the street from the existing Minion Mayhem ride and opened alongside the new Minion Cafe to create a new themed area near the entrance of the park.
So, does Villain-Con live up to or surpass the quality of its predecessor? Although the overall opinions on the ride itself are mixed, many families agree that the new addition to the Universal roster is a fun and unique upgrade offering a more active experience. Unlike Shrek 4-D, Villain-Con requires rider participation and provides an interactive environment. While Villain-Con may be a new favorite for younger audiences, other visitors preferred Shrek 4-D for the moments of reprieve it offered from the hot Orlando sun and the opportunity to enjoy a somewhat more leisure activity between thrill rides.
Although it is too soon to tell whether Villain-Con will endure in the park longer than Shrek’s successful nineteen year run, one thing is certain–the Minions craze won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. Have you gotten the opportunity to experience the new ride for yourself? Do you believe it is an improvement or do you have a particular fondness for the iconic green ogre?
So, let us know what you think. Did Universal make the right decision to close Shrek 4-D and open Villain-Con Minion Blast? Let us know by voting in our poll or by leaving us a comment below or on our Facebook page.