• Thursday, September 24, 2020

The Evolution of Soundstage 42 at Universal Orlando

Soundstage 42 at Universal Studios Florida was one of the first ride buildings built at Universal Orlando. Three different motion simulator rides have moved into the ride buildings in the last 30 year. First up, the Funtastic World of Hanna Barbera

The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera

The Funtastic World of Hanna Barbera was one of Universal Orlando’s original attractions, opening on June 7, 1990. The 8-minute ride was Universal Orlando’s first-ever simulator and was the first attraction to use predominantly computer-generated images.

The ride queue began outside, with Hanna Barbera cartoons played on a loop from overhead televisions all throughout the line. Cartoons included full episodes of “short shows” like Yogi Bear and longer clips of The Flinstones and The Jetsons.

In the preshow area, there were three large projection screens, one rectangle screen with oval screens on either side. The screens were used to set up the ride’s storyline. On one oval screen, Yogi Bear showed up and started badgering guests for snacks. Then, Boo Boo popped up on the other oval screen to introduce a demonstration by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. The animators appeared on the square screen in the middle and explained how they create animated cartoons. After drawing Elroy Jetson, he jumped off the paper as a 3D character. Next, Hanna demonstrated computer animation by creating Dick Dastardly’s space ship. Dastardly and Muttley popped out of the ship to ask if they could be in the next Hanna-Barbera project. They were told they would have to wait in line behind The Jetsons, The Flintstones, and Scooby-Doo.

This is where the trouble began. Dastardly and Muttley angrily kidnapped Elroy by pulling him into the computer with a toilet plunger gun. Then, the computer self-destructed. Yogi and Boo Boo jumped into action, pleading with guests to join them and the main theater doors opened.

Inside the motion theater, riders boarded a giant rocket ship for the adventure. Yogi piloted the flying vehicle, powered by a giant rubber band slingshot. The chase moved through Bedrock, a haunted house, Orbit City, and a futuristic amusement park. Several familiar characters made appearances during the quest, including Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble, Shaggy and Scooby-Doo, and the Jetsons.

The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera had a minimum height requirement of 40″. Smaller kids were required to sit in non-motion seats. The ride officially closed on October 20, 2002, in order to be re-themed to keep up with popular television.

Jimmy Neutron’s Nicktoon Blast

In April 2003, Jimmy Neutron’s Nicktoon Blast flew into Soundstage 42. The new attraction’s story revolved around the evil Ooblar from the Yolkian planet, who stole Jimmy’s latest rocket creation.

Televisions playing clips of the Jimmy Neutron Movie and other Nicktoon shows kept guests entertained while waiting in line. At the end of the queue, a Universal crew member took riders into a briefing room. In the briefing room, Jimmy Neutron unveiled his latest invention with the help of his best friend Carl.

During Neutron’s welcome presentation, Ooblar broke into the lab to steal the Mark IV Rocket and flew through Nickelodeon Studios. Jimmy and Carl then asked riders to join them on a mission to get his invention back from Ooblar.

When riders entered the motion theater, they boarded into the Mark I, which was piloted by Jimmy via remote control. The epic adventure began with a nervous Carl counting down from ten. Before he made it to one”, Jimmy started the rockets and boosted out of the lab.

The chase for Ooblar began in the home of the Rugrats, narrowly missing a run-in with Angelica. Riders flew into the next scene and found themselves in Fairy World, where Cosmo gave his wand to Carl. Carl accidentally used the wand to send the rockets to Ooblar’s home planet, where they were captured and the Mark IV was destroyed. After escaping, the rockets took a dive down to Bikini Bottom. Spongebob unintentionally caught Jimmy in his jellyfish net, blinding him and causing a major crash in the middle of town. Jimmy and Carl ended the ride by leading everyone back to his lab after a final confrontation with King Goobot.

The post-ride experience at Jimmy Neutron’s Nicktoon Blast was almost as entertaining as the ride itself. Guests were let out of the theater into a store/play area called Nickstuff. It was filled with interactive games, exhibits showcasing the history of Nickelodeon Studios, character meet and greets, and more. After an eight-year run, the ride was shut down to make way for yet another new attraction.

Despicable Me Minion Mayhem

On July 2, 2012, Despicable Me Minion Mayhem officially opened at Universal Studios Florida. The simulator ride is inspired by the Despicable Me film franchise. It is also located at Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Studios Japan, Universal Studios Singapore, and Universal Studios Beijing.

While guests wait in line to enter Soundstage 42, they learn all about the Minion recruitment process. Televisions in the queue also highlight the profiles of various characters, scenes from the movies, and Minion Mini Movies. There’s also an in-queue Minion quiz to see just how ready riders are to become a Minion.

For the first little pre-show, guests file into Gru’s living room. Gru, Margo, Edith, and Agnes welcome the audience via remote camera. The family explains to riders that they are about to endure a Minion training experience. After going over all of the ride’s safety instructions, riders are let into Gru’s Laboratory.

Inside the lab, Gru and the Minions tell the crowd that they are helping with his latest scheme; turning humans into Minions using his new Minion Gun. The girls beg to help Gru with the training, but he thinks they are too young for the job. However, Margo, Edith, and Agnes take matters into their own hands. The trio initiates the training session on their own by letting riders out of the lab and into the attraction.

The wild journey takes humans-turned-minions through a series of crazy challenges. Trials tests the trainees’ speed, strength, and “ability not to die”. To find out how the zany adventure ends, take a ride for yourself! Despicable Me Minion Mayhem is still operating daily at Universal Studios Florida!

Looking for more theme park history? Check out all the shows that have taken the stage in Theater of the Stars at Disney’s Hollywood Studios!

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