They’re yellow, they love bananas, they are virtually inescapable worldwide, and nowhere is Minion madness more evident than at Universal Studios Japan. Whether it’s the Minion-themed merchandise that has dominated park sales for the last two years, the hundreds of visitors dressed as them even outside of Halloween, or the Minionese renditions of popular songs that greet visitors upon entry, USJ has gone gaga for the Minions! In fact, as of April 2017, USJ now features the world’s largest Minions area, the Minion Park, where anyone with a love of overalls, bananas, and mayhem can immerse themselves in the world of the popular characters.
The Minion Park
Located between the New York and Jurassic Park areas, the Minion Park is packed with things to do. It includes two eateries (Pop-A-Nana, where everything is banana-flavored, and the Delicious Me! Cookie Kitchen), the Minions Marketplace goods stores (including Sweet Surrender where the Minions themselves are your sales staff), two dedicated play areas, two photo spots, and the Despicable Me Minion Mayhem 4D ride.
The featured attraction, however, is the street show where visitors can enjoy seeing their favorite Minion antics come to life in front of them, and meet their favorite characters face-to-face. The first show, Hacha-Mecha Time, was to celebrate the opening of the Minion Park, and from June 30th through September 3rd, it will become Hacha-Mecha Snow Party, because not much is wackier and more fun than being showered in snow and icy water during the height of Japanese summer!
At the same time as the Hacha-Mecha Snow Party, the Minions will be invading the rest of USJ with the Minions Water Surprise Parade, an interactive giant water fight between the Minions and visitors that takes place all over select areas of the park. You can even purchase Minion water cannons and water guns if you need that extra bit of mad Minion magic to get into the spirit! Special passes are required to enter those areas, to make sure those wanting to stay dry don’t get dragged into the battle.
Future events are also being planned, of course. During USJ’s annual Halloween Horror Night, the Minion Park will be one of the areas designated as zombie-free (for children and those who want to avoid jump scares). However, Minion costume contests and a Hacha-Mecha Halloween street show will debut. Even more exciting are the rumors about the winter holiday events, such as hidden Minion candy stashes, blue-and-yellow illumination displays, and the Minions meeting Santa Claus. Here’s to hoping the rumors of snowball fights during the street show turn out to be true!
Getting the Most Out of Minions Park
Since Minion Park is the newest area at USJ, the lines are excruciatingly long for all the attractions. As of now, there are no timed entry tickets but during peak times they do limit entry to the park, so it’s best to either go early or check back for quieter times. The shops are small and crowded, plus most of their merchandise can be bought elsewhere in the park, so unless you have your heart set on a Minion cashier or a specific item, it would be advisable to head elsewhere. The restaurants are cute, especially Pop-A-Nana, but between the lines, lack of seats, and the sugar content, they’re not necessary unless your kids are dying for a snack right now you guys! The play areas are a lot more entertaining and are arguably the most fun part of Minion Park, especially since they are out in the open with no lines. Despicable Me Minion Mayhem is definitely worth trying out but currently boasts lines of up to four hours on a regular basis. Luckily, the USJ Express tickets include this ride on all tiers (though you must specify wanting Minion Mayhem on the 3- and 4-ride ticket purchases), and reduces the wait to usually an hour or less. A great option if you want to enjoy all of Minion Park instead of just one ride.
The Minions can be delightfully whimsical or incredibly annoying, depending on who you are, but there is no doubt that USJ has gone all-out on this new park. The wait has been well worth it. Every theme park needs a little more mayhem, and what better way to bring it than with tiny yellow creatures with snow blowers and a propensity to burst into the Beach Boys at a moment’s notice? Whether you love or hate them, it’s worth checking out the Minion Park at least once, just to get a little taste of Japan’s Minion madness.
All images are courtesy of Universal Studios Japan.
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