We come to you from the entertainment capital of Los Angeles, Universal Studios Hollywood. We have been enjoying a new golden age at this park with the openings of both Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem and, more recently, Springfield U.S.A. Without skipping a beat Universal is barreling into Summer 2015 with even more unprecedented expansion as they introduce the new Studio Tour addition, Fast and Furious Supercharged and the Nighttime Studio Tours. Not missing a beat, Universal also used this time to announce more about the upcoming Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Aside from newer technology in the flagship ride, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, we will see the addition of Flight of the Hippogriff and tons of new shopping. Speaking of shopping there is even some Harry Potter merchandise in the park already! Let’s get started.
Fast and Furious Supercharged
Universal completed their Road to Fast campaign by releasing a 6th and final piece of promotional art
Below we see the other pieces.
At the Universal Plaza inside the park, they have set up displays featuring picture cars from the popular franchise.
Out on the tram route the actual attraction that the tram will drive through is completed and landscaping has begin. Tall trees and greenery obscure the façade at the far end where trams will enter the show building.
The other end of the building is fully visible.
Sharp-eyed visitors will also notice more greenery on this end.
Fast and Furious Supercharged is set to open on June 25th, however technical rehearsals could happen
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
This week Universal Studio made more news by announcing specifics of the upcoming expansion, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It was a foregone conclusion that we were going to be getting the amazing Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. It was also a safe bet that we would see Olivander’s Wand Shop and the Three Broomsticks restaurant. The rest, however, was uncertain. Now we know, and the announcements have really got us excited.
Hogwarts castle will sit as the big draw into The Wizarding World of Harry Potter where the land’s signature ride, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey™ will transport guests through iconic scenes, with characters Harry, Ron and Hermione. Guests will fly high through and above Hogwarts, compete in a Quidditch match, escape a fiery dragon attack and nearly be clobbered by the Whomping Willow.
“Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey” is, without question, the best attraction this writer has ever experienced. This version of the attraction will have riders wearing Quidditch-inspired 3D goggles and make its U.S. debut as a dynamic 3D-HD adventure designed to further immerse guests in an already engrossing storyline.
The breaking news continues as Universal Studios Hollywood announces its first outdoor roller coaster, “Flight of the Hippogriff”. This family-style coaster is a gentle, yet zippy contraption that will give the land more to do than just the single tentpole attraction.
According to the release there will be a total of eight shops to explore including Honeydukes™, Ollivanders™, Owl Post™, Zonko’s™ Joke Shop, Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment, Dervish and Banges, Gladrags Wizardwear and Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods™.
Let’s explore the construction site now, shall we?
The profile view of Hogwarts affords another interesting view.
Feature Presentation Store
Although it is early you can now get your Harry Potter Merchandise just inside the front gates at the Feature Presentation store.
RIP House of Horrors
We now move on the the sad fate of the old House of Horrors location. Here we see the steel framework construction for retail and dining options.
No More Pink’s in the Park
Speaking of dining, Pinks Hot Dogs has moved out of the park and into CityWalk. This left the brand new food location structure for Universal to fill. They do a fine job here and normal park goers will not notice a difference.
There are a few bits of interest along the Studio Tour worth mentioning.
Work continues on the parking structure at the far end of CityWalk.
Speaking of CityWalk, there is pavement work happening near Buca DiBeppo.
That should wrap up our Universal Studios Hollywood update this week. Soon, very soon, we will be delivering a full report on Fast and Furious Supercharged so keep checking back. Until then we will see you In The Parks!