Universal Studios Hollywood is ready to light up the summer. We’ll bring you the latest blockbuster Uni news, how the park looks, construction updates, enhancements at CityWalk and a glimpse at what’s in store for this theme park in the coming years.

Illuminating Enhancements for Wizarding World!

A brand new nightly projection show called Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle has begun shining new magic on the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Officially beginning Friday, June 23, the five-minute show features projected effects on the castle and around the village of Hogsmeade.

A new musical score was written by composer John Williams for the show. Per a release from Universal Studios Hollywood, The London Symphony Orchestra recorded the music. They’ve also enhanced the area around the castle with a variety of high-tech lights. It all looks as beautiful (or perhaps better) than the concept image below.

Dusty and I arrived at the park a bit before the event to partake in Butterbeer and dinner at the Three Broomsticks. Then we headed to the courtyard in front of Hogwarts for the big show.

SPOILER ALERT!!!! Dusty goes live at the press preview of the new castle show. Take a look and let us know what you think!

Needless to say, we loved it. This isn’t a fireworks show or even a nightly spectacular. But it’s a great 5 minute kiss goodnight from your favorite witches and wizards. The music is sumptuous and enveloping and the visuals are nothing short of stunning. How they illuminate ever nook and cranny is mind boggling.

Universal Studios Hollywood on Facebook will host a Facebook Live event to stream the all-new “The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle” experience at “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” on Friday, June 23 at 8:30pm PST. If you want to relive the magic from Dusty (above) in what will no doubt be a higher quality video (sorry Dusty), check out the Uni page on the 23rd!

Christmas in Hogsmead!

Along with these added mapping projectors, Universal Studios has also announced a Holiday overlay for the Wizarding World. Starting November of this year you can celebrate Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter with festive décor and new holiday-themed food, drinks, and entertainment. We have embedded the official video below.

Now lets look around the land. As always you are greeted by a conductor who just loves taking photos with all the Muggles.

Forbidden Journey has removed the 3D aspect of the ride and upgraded all of the projections to 4K HD.
This photo report was done on a wednesday and though the park felt busy, there was only a 20 minute wait for Harry Potter mid day. That wait ebbs and flows, so don’t assume it’s just going to get longer.

Three Broomsticks still has great food and the quality has not dipped in our opinion. Have you eaten here yet? We highly recommend the Potted Cream!

NEW Shrek 4D, Whats Next?

Also just announced by Universal is that this prime real estate next to Wizarding World, will not be used for more Harry Potter, instead Universal and Dreamworks have announced this space will be changed into a showcase for a series of short films based on DreamWorks animated movie franchises, starting with “Kung Fu Panda” in 2018.

The new DreamWorks Theatre will host a variety of attractions from the animation studio, whose hits include “Madagascar,” “Penguins of Madagascar,” “How to Train Your Dragon” and “Trolls.”

Current Look.
Concept Design of what’s to come.

Around Universal Studios Hollywood

We wanted to cover the latest news about Harry Potter land first before we covered the rest of the park. Welcome to universal studios, the entrance is always a great spot to walk down that infamous red carpet.


We ran into quite a few characters in the park. Most were able to entertain guests without handler’s in sight, granted this was a Wednesday, but even on busier days these characters run around entertaining guests.

Who is in front of a Dental Office Window? Beetlejuice

These window interactions are by far the best thing at universal, great way to interact with guests and have some fun.

The Fate of the Furious, Wax Figure?

Universal is promoting the Fate of the Furious with the normal car props we have seen for past promotions. One new addition is that there is now an odd addition, you can take a photo with a Vin Diesel Wax figure from Madam Tussauds.

Jurassic Park area is looking great, the raptor experience that was put in when Jurassic World came out is still here and still draws a crowd.

Hollywood Horror Nights

Universal has announced that Stephen King’s The Shining will be coming to Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood for the first time, bringing one of the greatest horror/suspense films to life.

Behind the Mummy Ride you can already see they have started construction on one of the many mazes you will be able to go through this October!

Look Crowds and Wait times

Crowds were moderate to busy at times.

Tour De France had light crowds.
Walking dead was 5 minutes to 15 minutes throughout the day.
Crowds around Harry Potter.
Crowds around Simpsons, which area a bit heavier.
Crowds around Transformers, which were focused around Optimus Prime. He always draws a crowd.

This and That

Universal is a smaller park and easier to wander through, there are quite a few areas where you can get some great photos and look at details.

Universal has been doing a great job with propping and adding little details through out the park.

Looks authentic even down to the phone booth without a pay phone!

Puns, everywhere in the Simpson land!

Universal Construction Updates

The former location of Cartooniversal has seen some additional movement since Waterworld returned from its refurbishment. The new structure that will be erected will house a new animation studio, merchandise store along with the theme park’s first family care center.

Waterworld Reopens

WaterWorld went under refurbishment in January 2017 to re-open in April, with some delays it reopened with no notable changes to guests. This refurbishment brought a new control system (Called Qlab) for the show as well as new LED fixtures, updated audio equipment and the general paint and touch ups this show needs.

Star Way expansion

As Universal’s long term plans will expand the lower lot considerably, they will need additional escalators to compensate for the crowds. Here is what you will currently experience on your journey down to see Dinos, Mummies and Transformers.

Soundstage and New Ride Construction

More and more dirt is being moved around next to Transformer ride, this is going to be home to a new unannounced project. Some suspect this will be a Secret Life of Pets dark ride.

This is the first phase of a major expansion for universal studios, which includes new rides and moving multiple sound stages to different areas to make room, this will greatly expand the offerings of the lower lot area.

Current working plan for Universal Studios.

Stores and New Merchandise

Let’s take a quick look at merchandise to be found in the Studio Store inside and outside of the park.

This Feature Presentation Store is still set up with Harry Potter items
Flying Ford Anglia prop still on display in the park, with a copy of it at the Forbidden Journey ride.

You can find so much Harry Potter merchandise it is almost overwhelming, but throughout the park we saw guests wearing the robes and scarves in 80 degree weather.

Universal Citywalk

CityWalk has seen some great changes recently, most notably multi-million dollar renovation of Universal Cinema, brand new Margaritaville and the famous VooDoo Doughnuts are all now open!

MINI Monster

Mini Monster is a boba tea company that specializes in small batch production and serving the boba still warm when you order. There was no ETA when this location will be open but we will keep you posted.

Mini Monster – Yes please!
Fate of the Furious plastered all over the entrance.

Meizhou Dongpo popular in China has a new location here at Citywalk for you to feast on traditional Chinese fare. Have you eaten here? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville

Margaritaville opened end of March, it is the first-ever Los Angeles-based location. Escape the everyday and dine within a casual seaside retreat environment amid palm trees, thatched enclaves, island music and surfboard tables.

The venue’s expansive 5 O’Clock Somewhere Bar features such hand-crafted cocktails and signature margaritas as the Who’s to Blame® Margarita or the 5 O’Clock Somewhere boat drink while live music and entertainment below are some photos of the new addition to universal citywalk.

Yes, you can have your very own Bicycle for $200.00

Voodoo Doughnuts

This famous doughnut shop has a brand-new Los Angeles spot and the classics like Bacon Maple Bar, Grape Ape and Voodoo Doll doughnuts.

As you wait you can look around at the space, served up in all its neon glory. There’s lots of predictable pink, in keeping with the company’s theme, plus gaudy-gothic chandeliers, retro floor tiles, and tons of art on the wall.

Universal Cinema Complete Overhaul

Congratulations to Universal Studios Hollywood on the inauguration of the new state-of-the-art Universal Cinema theater after a multi-million dollar renovation.

Steven Spielberg and Jordan Peele attended the inauguration of Universal CityWalk’s newly revamped AMC movie theater, now dubbed Universal Cinema.

This extensive renovation brings together Christie laser projection, Christie Vive audio and Dolby ATMOS surround sound and also offers reserved recliner seating in all 18 of its auditoriums.

The split-level structure features a Director’s Lounge Cocktail Bar on the upper level with a full-service bar in place of a typical concession stand. Guests can bring their drinks into the second-level auditoriums.

Auditoriums were designed as “black boxes” with black walls, speakers, seats and floors, allowing for minimal light interference. The renovation also included the addition of more than 700 speakers with an average of 40 per auditorium.

Thats a Wrap!

Have you visited Universal Studios here in California Recently? Leave a comment below and tell us what you thoughts on all the changes.

All of us at MiceChat would like to thank you for joining us today.This universal update was done by our very own CakvalaSC with support from DustySage.

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