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Live Active Cultures

Universal's new Despicable Me ride provokes genuine joy

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Universal is anticipating attention for this capstone in their "Year To Be Here" summer marketing campaign, but some unexpected demolition in the neighborhood may steal the spotlight. During last week's press preview I pestered Universal Creative's Mike West on the future of Soundstage 44 (former home of the long-closed Hercules & Xena show) which was recently torn down after sitting dormant for almost a decade. His entertainingly evasive answer: "Just airing it out, letting some light in."

My money is on a year-round haunted house, but fanboys are foaming for Transformers. After experiencing the brand-new Michael Bay-approved robots-in-disguise adventure at Universal Studios Hollywood last month, I can't imagine fitting that multistory masterpiece of mind-blowing metal madness into USF's available footprint. And while the ride's intensity and immersion have been amped up to 11, its story beats and ride system are too similar to Island of Adventure's Spider-Man to comfortably coexist at the same resort. For the foreseeable future, you'll need to fly west to meet Bumblebee and Optimus Prime in person.

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