Travel Tuesday: Men in Black Attack still scores high with fans after 20 years

(Photo by Kevin Kolczynski/Universal Orlando Resort via Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin Kolczynski/Universal Orlando Resort via Getty Images) /

Universal Studios Orlando’s Men in Black Alien Attack turns 20, and it’s still a must-ride during every visit.

Tucked in the back corner of Universal Studios Orlando is Men in Black Alien Attack. While many people make a fast dash to head to the Wizarding World and stroll through Diagon Alley while enjoying a Butterbeer, some people anxiously await their special briefing. Will this visit finally produce the ultimate 999,999 score?

Whether you have visited Universal Studios hundreds of times or have walked under those arches just a few, each visit to the theme park brings a new adventure that can make you say “whoa.” From special-themed experiences to the comforting familiar of your favorite bartender at Chez Alcatraz, no two visits are the same. In some ways, that idea is why people keep coming back to the Men in Black Alien Attack ride.

With the MIB movies proving to be such a huge success, the idea that a MIB ride would be a hit with fans seemed likely. Still, bringing those aliens to life 20 years ago isn’t as easy as it seems. While today’s technology can blend screens and live action, this ride didn’t have that option. And, today it still doesn’t need it.

After putting all your possessions in a locker, you submit yourself for training. Although the agents might not have a black suit in your size, they are ready to welcome you into the experience. As you wind through the path ways and wait for your car, there are so many things to see.

Looking down into the headquarters shows all types of interesting pieces of MIB fun. If you are fortunate to ever do a VIP tour, you actually get to enter the headquarters floor. Without giving away too many of the secrets, it is a good idea to look around closely. There are many clues hiding on the work desks.

Still, there is one big quest on the Men in Black Alien Attack mission: get the high score. The concept is straightforward. Hit the aliens that are popping up all over — and hit the red button (at the right time ONLY).

Whether it is the competition within your ride vehicle or a desire to bear your best score, each and every MIB experience is different. That idea is why this ride is still as popular today as it was when it debuted 20 years ago.

Whether it is the quest to achieve that perfect 999,999 score or just beat your brother for family bragging rights, the ride hits a special chord. When people go to a theme park, the collective experience brings them back. It isn’t that you achieved the best score, but you saw everyone else’s reaction when you prevailed. The collective experience is more important than the individual.

By today’s technological standards this ride might not impress in the way that it did 20 years ago, but it does not matter. Each ride is a new experience. It is unlikely that you’ve ever scored the same score twice and that’s part of the draw.

While you might search for the little Easter eggs hidden throughout the ride or try to bribe the agents for the special high scoring trick, this Universal Orlando ride never gets old. Next time the wait for Rip Ride Rocket is too long, head over to Men in Black and try to save the world from aliens. And, if you do get that high score, hopefully there is no neuralyzer at the exit door.

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What is your favorite ride at Universal Studios Orlando?