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Universal: Spidey Is Going Hi-Def, Hello Gru

ORLANDO (CBS4) - Spidey is going hi-def 3D and say good-bye to Jimmy Neutron.

Universal Orlando has announced that its iconic "The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man" ride in the Islands of Adventure will be getting a major upgrade with new digital hi-def Infitec 3-D projectors, two which are reportedly already in place. They also announced that a 3D Gru and his minions from the animated movie "Despicable Me" will replace the Jimmy Neutron-theme simulator ride.

Both revamped attractions will open at the park sometime in 2012, but specific dates were not been announced.

The Spiderman ride, whose combination of 3-D animation, roving motion vehicles and special effects has made it a crowd favorite for more than a decade. The cars hurtle riders along ravaged city streets as Spider-Man battles his archenemies, protecting innocent citizens from the likes of Doc Ock and Electro. In addition to the new projectors, it special effects will be updated and new details will be added in the film segments.

"A big part of it is bringing it to a point where the imaging, the characters, the animation, the clarity, the details will be at a point where it's larger than life," said Thierry Coup, senior vice president of Universal Creative. "You'll feel even more like you're in that world."

Universal hasn't yet announced closing and reopening dates for the Spider-Man ride, which debuted in 1999 in the Islands of Adventure park.

In the Universal Studios park, the "Despicable Me" ride will replace the Jimmy Neutron's Nicktoon Blast simulator, which has been running only part-time since April and closes permanently Aug. 18. Like the new Spider-Man experience, it will also utilize a sophisticated Infitec 3-D projection system.

The animated film "Despicable Me," which came out last year with Steve Carell voicing Gru, grossed more than $540 million worldwide. Like the movie, the Universal ride will feature Gru, his three adopted daughters and, of course, the minions. Universal says riders will be transformed into minions before embarking on the 3-D adventure and get to participate in a minion "dance party" at the end of the ride.

"In the same way comedy and sweetness and emotion were critical parts of the film, they will also become very essential parts of the experience in the ride," said Chris Meledandri, who produced the film and is involved in creating the ride. "That tonality that people loved in the movie is absolutely going to be consistent in the ride as well."

Park officials said "Despicable Me" is the first Universal animated film to be become the basis for a theme park ride.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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