We have magical things for you today.  It’s been a while since we have had a chance to cover Universal Studios Hollywood and suddenly there is a ton of news to share.  Major changes are happening in the park on a daily basis, leaving us scurrying around the park to get pictures for you.  Let’s begin at the front and work our way back.  There are brand new, permanent metal detectors installed at the front of the park, just in front of the rotating Universal Globe. We also see that the new shops at the front of the park have opened along with a fancy new Starbucks.  Universal also announced a brand new The Walking Dead maze which will be open year-round. Next, Mel’s Diner has returned from refurbishment and it is beautiful.  That’s not all.  On the lower lot, Jurassic Park has reopened, a brand new cafe is getting ready to serve guests.  That’s not to mention the last minute touches being installed in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. There’s a lot to see today folks!

Brave New World

Permanent metal detector structures have been installed  at the front of the park.  Once reserved only for the more rowdy crowds of Halloween Horror Nights, the safety measure now have a forever home in front of the iconic Universal Globe.  While an unfortunate sign of the times we live in at the moment, it is also a signal that Universal sees it necessary to fully embrace this measure in a tasteful, yet thorough way.

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Entry Plaza

Once in the front gates of the park, we now see that the brand new stores along the entry plaza have opened.  This includes a brand new, swanky, art deco style Starbucks.

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Guests ever through this main thoroughfare. To the left we see the line of new shops.
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Great early Hollywood details.

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Beautiful facades.

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Here we see the new Starbucks with the entrance to the park in the distance.
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Inside the coffee palace, warm tones of gold and brown with a sleek deco motif.

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Yes there is power.
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No Clover machines though.

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The shops and Starbucks are all connected.  We wander into the new Universal Store to check it out.  Now that this portion of the new store is open, the older portion is closed to be renovated.

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Elegant new design to the store.

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Of course there is another Harry Potter section here.

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At the moment you can see one Harry Potter shop from another Harry Potter shop.

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The Walking Dead Walk-through Attraction

On March 14th Universal announced a brand new attraction based on the hit TV series The Walking Dead on AMC.  Located in relatively the same place as the old House of Horrors attraction this will be a year-round scary walk through that will connect guests with the terrifying sights and sounds of flesh-eating zombies.

Just to the right of Starbucks, down the newly extended Baker Street, is where the attraction appears to be constructing an entrance.

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You can see more pics on the show building and the progress of on HorrorBuzz.com

 Mel’s Diner

In a beautiful update, Universal has completely refurbished Mel’s Diner.  The classic burger joint on the upper lot was showing its age and management found a way to maximize the use of space in the building while updating a classic menu.

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Jurassic Park

The wet and wild Jurassic Park attraction has reopened after the annual refurbishment.  It looks great too.  The falling car effect was nonfunctional however, a real bummer.

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Studio Cafe

Near the Transformers ride, they have taken the old Universal Experience space and turned it into yet another, classy and fresh, scramble serve eatery.  It isn’t open yet, but it pretty much looks like a sandwich and wraps place near Mel’s Diner on the upper lot.

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The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Finally we close the update with a look at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  The land is still a work in progress as the official April 7th opening looms in the near future.  With just 14 days to go, the designers are attempting to obscure some of the more obvious visual intrusion from outside the land that we’ve pointed out in previous updates.

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The Frog Choir sings as the back of the Shrek 4D building is being painted.

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The left side of the show building for Forbidden Journey is coming along too.  They are painting it a lighter tone.

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Meanwhile they have given a brick facade look to the show building on the right.

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While not perfect, it’s much better than before and will blend away as the trees in the foreground fill out.
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Now, what to do about the office buildings in the background?

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We will end with some beauty shots from this beautiful addition to Universal Studios Hollywood.

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And that’s our update from Universal Studios Hollywood. Who’s ready for Potter to officially open? Are you making plans to visit?