Illumination’s Villain-Con Minion Blast is the latest ride to open at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. As passholders, we got to experience the ride a few days ahead of its official opening date, and we’re sharing all the details here about how to prepare and prevail at Villain Con!
When does Villain-Con Minion Blast open?
Villain Con officially opens on Friday, August 11, 2023, but Universal is running technical rehearsals now, available for all parkgoers. Universal’s connected gameplay app adds a digital experience to the ride, so be sure to check that out!
Where is Villain-Con Minion Blast located?
Universal Orlando Resort consists of several locations. There are two theme parks: Universal Studios Florida and Universal Islands of Adventure, one water park: Universal’s Volcano Bay, and a shopping, dining, entertainment concourse known as Universal CityWalk.
Villain-Con Minion Blast is located in Universal Studios Florida. It replaced Shrek 4-D which closed in early 2022.
Welcome to Minion Land
The front entrance to Universal Studios Orlando is now fully rethemed as Minion Land, with minion-themed attractions, dining, treats, and photo-ops!
Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem is a popular ride that opened back in 2012 — as you enter Minion Land, you’ll find the Minion Mayhem attraction to your left and Villain-Con Minion Blast to your right.
Further down Illumination Avenue, you’ll find the treat shop and bakery Bake My Day, and Freeze Ray Pops, a walk-up window where you can get popsicles and drinks.
Next, you’ll come to the new eatery, Illumination’s Minion Café, where you can sit inside and enjoy a meal or one of their delicious desserts.
Outside the cafe, you’ll find the Pop-A-Nana popcorn kiosk (try the banana-flavored popcorn)!
And visit the nearby shops, including the Villain-Con gift shop, to find a unique selection of minion-themed gifts and Villain-Con merchandise.
I’ll admit it — at first I didn’t like the idea of having the whole front section of the park dedicated to Minions, but after seeing it in person, I’m converted! The land is whimsical and bright, and both rides are fun for the whole family.
Do you have to use the app on Villain-Con Minion Blast?
Villain-Con Minion Blast has an extra level of fun built in, with an interactive app you can engage with on your phone. However, you can have a full and fun experience on the ride without using your phone or the app at all. If technology gives you anxiety, don’t worry about the extra layer of complexity!
But if you like the idea of recording your score, unlocking achievements, and claiming digital collectibles, I recommend checking out the app before you head to the park. We didn’t pull up the app until we were in line for the ride, and it would have been better to spend a little time with it before then.
You can find the app by first downloading and opening the official Universal Orlando Resort app, and looking for the Connected Gameplay info card.
Villain-Con Minion Blast Review
Villain-Con is a very unique ride, unlike any we’ve been on before. It’s a moving walkway (similar to the people movers you’ll find in airports and in Universal Orlando’s own parking garage) that takes you past large screens where you’ll use a wireless handheld blaster to shoot at digital targets.
Villain-Con is listed as a kid-friendly ride, but young ones must be able to walk on and off the moving platform. Children under 48″ tall will need to be accompanied by an adult.
Guests may board the ride while seated in a standard wheelchair without having to transfer.
The premise of Villain-Con is that the premier conference for evil villains has come to Universal Orlando! As you enter the main building, you’ll find yourself on the trade show floor and pass a welcome desk and several booths of the latest gadgets and weapons, technology, and other villainous products.
The whole ride experience takes place within this immersive setting with an impressive amount of detail. You’ll feel like a true villain, ready to improve your villainous skills!
As you approach the moving pathway where you’ll have your blasting skills put to the test, you’ll pick up your “E-Liminator X.”
Small children who cannot handle the regular-sized blasters will be given a child-size version, but these do not actually interact with the digital screens. They are, however, adorable.
When it’s your turn to step onto the moving walkway, a Villain-Con employee will guide you toward a blue or orange circle. You’ll remain on this circle for the duration of the experience.
The moving walkway moves slowly, with smooth curves and slight turns as you make your way through several rooms and screens. You’ll alternate shooting to the left and to the right.
On the screen, you’ll encounter each member of the supervillain group, Vicious 6, from the movie, “Minions: Rise of Gru.” Your job is to shoot at…well, pretty much everything as you cause general destruction.
The first time we rode Villain-Con, we were not prepared with any strategy. Actually, we weren’t prepared the second time around, either. And, it wasn’t until the third time that I realized there were actually two triggers on the gun (face palm).
But you can absolutely ride and have fun without really knowing what’s going on. Just move your blaster around a bit to see which crosshairs is yours (it won’t necessarily match the colored light on your gun as I first assumed), then aim at targets, and shoot! There are boxes, coins, minions, villains and other favorite characters, and lots more to shoot and interact with.
We learned that the trigger on the front of the gun allows you to use any power-ups you gain. My favorite was shooting disco balls in the jukebox scene. The banana bombs were fun, too.
If you’ve figured out the app, after you’ve picked up your blaster but before you enter the moving walkway, you can scan your blaster to sync it with the app. Also, you can choose special missions to try to complete during your ride.
On our most recent ride, I activated the V6 Super Fan mission where I had to blast 12 V6 medallions. I was successful!
In fact, I had the high score in our family and even made the daily top 30 chart, which you’ll see as you exit the moving walkway and enter the gift shop.
Around Minion Land, you can use the app to gather digital collectibles related to the Despicable Me and Minions franchises. Just look for the V6 tap points, open your app, and scan.
Overall, we really enjoyed Villain-Con Minion Blast. It’s always great to have a ride that works for guests of all ages — all six of us had tons of fun, from Dad, who was especially interested in the app integration, down to our 6-year-old who just shot at anything and everything and enjoyed making evil faces!
One of our favorite Universal rides is Men in Black because of the opportunity to get better and increase our scores, so I see us riding Villain-Con again and again, to compete with one another and our own PRs, complete missions, and unlock all the achievements.
I probably wouldn’t wait longer than 45 minutes to ride Villain-Con, but because of the continuous loading, I’d be surprised to see the wait time exceed an hour. And, if you hit it at a busy time, you’ll actually get more of a chance to take in all the details of the Villain-Con trade show queue.
That’s our review! If you’re headed to Universal Studios Florida soon, we highly recommend riding Villain-Con Minion Blast and checking out the app ahead of time to get the full experience.
Have a bad day!*
*This is what the Villain-Con employees will tell you as you pass through the queue line and ride. They’re so evil.