Universal Studios Florida
MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack
(April 4, 2000 - present)
History and photos of the MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack shooting gallery ride in the World Expo section in Universal Studios Florida.
It's time to wear the black suit, put on the black sunglasses, and head out and fight alien monsters just like Agents Kay and Jay in the Men in Black films!
On April 4, 2000, MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack opened in the World Expo section in Universal Studios Florida. The ride takes guests straight into the Men in Black universe and has them battling aliens while on a shooting gallery-type dark ride.
The exterior of MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack is themed to a 1964 world's fair exhibition called "The Universe & You - Are We Alone?" Two towers outside of the building have what look like flying saucers, but one of the posters in the line queue refers to the saucers as a "Sky Lounge," something that will be opening soon. It looks like fun.
Outside of the exhibition is an area of "free" lockers ("free" meaning actually free for the first 30 or 45 minutes of use; hopefully enough time to go through the ride). Once our items are secured in the lockers or with a non-rider (absolutely nothing is allowed on this ride --- the workers strictly enforce this policy), we proceed through the outside line queue. This part isn't that special except for the retro-style world's fair attraction posters advertising "The Universe & You - Are We Alone?" and other exhibits.
WARNING --- SPOILERS!
We're ushered into the building in a small group, the door closes, and an audio presentation for "The Universe & You - Are We Alone?" begins to play. The tape stops a few moments after it starts playing. Chief Zed (Rip Torn) welcomes us to the secret Men in Black facility. We're new recruits at a top secret training facility. It turns out that "The Universe & You - Are We Alone?" is just an elaborate cover-up to hide the organization.
INTERIOR LINE QUEUE
We're loaded onto an elevator, and lights and sounds make it seem like we're descending to the the main part of the facility. Think of the effect as the old Hydrolator experience (now extinct) in the original version of The Living Seas at Epcot. The "elevator" here at MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack isn't anywhere nearly as original or interesting as the version that used to exist at The Living Seas. Universal redeemed itself when it did a newer and much more elaborate "fake" elevator in the line queue over in Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts.
After the elevator we walk through a series of hallways and ultimately make our way to the training facility. Several of the doors along the way have hidden special effects (try a few door knobs and see what happens), and the break room has the worm-like aliens talking to each other like in the movie. Universal did a great job with them, and seeing the break room is a highlight of the MEN IN BLACK line queue.
Just past the break room is the large monitoring room for the Men in Black agents to monitor the current aliens on Earth. Below you'll see some familiar aliens hard at work. In the early days of the ride it was common to see real people walking around and pretending to work.
After passing through a weapons locker we descend down a flight of stairs and to the loading station. The ride has a twin set of tracks, and it simultaneously launches the ride vehicles. As you travel through the ride there'll be a sister vehicle on the opposite track. All of the scenes are the same, so it doesn't really matter which side you ride. Each vehicle seats six riders in two rows of three people. Each person has a laser gun, a red button (do not push the red button until you're told to do so), and a display that records their score.
The ride begins as we move forward into the practice shooting range. We're to familiarize ourselves with our laser guns by shooting at the alien targets. Some of the targets move and pop out of hiding places. Each valid hit is acknowledged by a green light on our gun and a sound effect. Suddenly the training session ends and Chief Zed informs us of an intergalactic emergency. It turns out that a shipment of aliens has crash landed in the city, and it's up to us to shoot and kill them. As we leave the training facility we're informed that our laser guns have been energized to full power. It's time to kick some alien ass!
"Outside" the training facility is a detailed section of New York City that's now crawling with all sorts and sizes of aliens. Some of the aliens are playful, some are wearing disguises, some are bigger than you can imagine, and some of them have laser guns that shoot back at our vehicles. Each time our vehicle is hit with a laser, our vehicle spins just like on The Cat in the Hat next door in Universal's Islands of Adventure. The spinning is primarily why we're not allowed to carry anything onto the ride; just whatever fits securely in our pockets.
The spinning is what keeps most people from enjoying this ride. There's no way to not experience any spinning. No matter what, some of the aliens will always shoot your vehicle and cause it to spin. Otherwise, the rest of the ride moves slowly and is incredibly tame.
There are so many aliens running around that we split away from the other vehicle with MiB agent trainees. We head into an alley where an alien begs us not to shoot it. Too late! It's an ambush. Our on-ride photo is taken and the aliens shoot us, making our vehicle spin again.
We leave the alley and head into a tunnel with a special scanner. It looks like some of the aliens are so well disguised that they're posing as MiB agent trainees on the opposite ride vehicle. We're told to shoot at the small thermal exhaust port on top of their ride vehicle. Hitting the target will make their vehicle spin. Of course, those people have just received the same instructions, so they'll also be shooting at you. The two ride vehicles briefly face each other and the two teams of MiB agent trainees battle it out.
If your aim is true, the dueling segment is a great way to score a LOT of points. You can quickly receive over 100,000 points with a few well-aimed shots against the opposite vehicle. Of course, this is providing that the people opposite you aren't hitting your vehicle and making *you* spin. The best way to prevent this is to make them spin!
When the duel with the opposite vehicle ends we find ourselves in Times Square. Agent Jay (Will Smith) is on a large screen warning us about a very BIG alien right around the corner. It's a giant version of the Edgar cockroach alien! Our laser guns are useless against it. Our only weapon now is to finally push the red button. Just as we're being eaten by the bug, Chief Zed tells us to push the red button. The red button actives the Subatomic Thermonuclear Disruptor which destroys the giant cockroach alien. The first person in the vehicle to press the red button is awarded an extra 100,000 points.
After defeating the alien there's another screen with Agent Jay. Our vehicles; average scores are displayed on the screen, and Jay gives us some commentary depending on which vehicle has the better score. We split from the opposite vehicle and are faced with one of two outcomes: if we did poorly then an animatronic "boss" alien yells at us and wants us to go back out there and do it again. If we had a high score then an animatronic "tailor" alien is seen cleaning our new MiB suit and mentioning that it'll be ready in a few days.
MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack ends with yet another video screen with Agent Jay. He pulls out a neuralyzer and "erases" our memory of the event. The ride vehicle pulls into the unloading station and once again we find ourselves in "The Universe & You - Are We Alone?" exhibition. The conclusion at the end of the exhibit is that, yes, we are alone in the universe. Oh well. The exit ramp plays Will Smith's "Men in Black" song and takes us straight into the MiB Gear Shop store.
END OF SPOILERS!
MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack is a great ride and an overall fun experience. The theming is outstanding, there are some fantastic details in the interior line queue and while on the ride, and it's a lot of fun shooting lasers at all of the aliens roaming New York City. The re-ride factor is high as you keep challenging yourself and competing against your friends. Although the ride is pretty much the same for each visit (except for the ending), your score will vary depending on how well you shoot the aliens.
The biggest problem keeping potential riders from enjoying the ride is the spinning. If you were to remove that, then nearly anybody could easily ride and enjoy this attraction. In 2014, Universal removed the spinning from The Cat in the Hat ride in Universal's Islands of Adventure. That one move easily increased the number of people who can now go on and enjoy the family-friendly ride. Will the company make a similar change in MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack, or at least have designated non-spinning ride vehicles? Disney successfully did that with Mission: SPACE. At Mission: SPACE, riders have the option of choosing the spinning or non-spinning version of the ride.
|TIP #1||The best way to score hits on the aliens is by holding down the trigger (Don't worry, you have unlimited ammunition.) and aiming for the aliens' eyes and shoulders. Some aliens need multiple hits before it registers as a "kill." Your gun will light up green and make a chirping sound when you've "killed" the alien.|
|TIP #2||The laser beam from your gun slightly widens the farther it travels. You'll have a better chance at both hitting targets and scoring quicker kills by aiming for the aliens farthest away from you.|
|TIP #3||Near the end of the ride, keep shooting at the opposite vehicle immediately after you have the duel. You will not make it spin, but you can still register hits and earn lots of points.|
|HEIGHT REQUIREMENT||You must be at least 42" tall to ride MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack.|
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