It’s been a few weeks since our last Universal Studios Hollywood update. Change is afoot in movie city. We’ll show you the latest construction and some Hollywood magic we stumbled upon this week.

Kathy Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb of NBC’s “Today” show were filming on location on CityWalk as part of a LA tour. The pair pre-recorded five shows in two days. The shows will air daily during the fourth hour of “Today” starting Monday (2/18).

Just moments before vampire Hoda attacked Kathy Lee.
Citywalk also celebrated its 20 year anniversary on the show with a huge cake that was offered to the audience… However, nobody in the audience actually got a slice. Weird.

Upper Lot:

Walls, Walls and more walls. Now that T2:3D has closed to make room for Despicable Me, work walls have sprung up all over the Upper Lot, including around the old Wild, Wild West Arena.

The current construction areas take up a lot of space:

Two large construction areas in this photo. Everything beyond the red line on the left and within the box at the center right are all now active construction zones.

The closure of T2:3D on New Years Eve also marked the end of the Coke Soak water play area. The whole area has been torn down and it is speculated it will be rebuilt as a Despicable Me themed play area that will replace the Curious George play area on the other side of the Upper Lot. It is rumored the The Adventures of Curious George will meet the wrecking ball as that area becomes part of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Themed construction walls block off the old Terminator building:

From the Lower Lot one can see a construction elevator affixed tot he Frankenstein parking structure Below the Terminator 2 3D building.

T2:3D and Coke Soak have been removed from park maps. A Fast and the Furious prop zone has been installed in that area to add something to do in this corner of the park. The Fast and Furious Zone is nothing to write home about and is nothing more than a couple of picture cars and the creepy wax figure of Vin Diesel.

It’s unknown what kind of Despicable Me based attraction we are getting because nothing has been officially announced yet, but it’s interesting to see the Universal Studio Store selling several types of Minion Mayhem merch.

Walls surrounding the former Wild West arena have pushed into the walkways. While nothing has been officially announced for this area (it’s rumored a multipurpose stage and park area is being built), construction has been brisk. In just a few weeks, the entire area has been reduced to dirt and even removing several large trees. Currently there are several earth movers doing a lot of digging.

Walls near Mel’s Diner
Walls near Universal Animal Actors
Construction walls along New York Street have been dressed with props. It’s a nice touch.
Behind the walls, mounds of dirt are being moved around.

All of the construction walls have displaced the Upper Lot smoking area and the Hollywood Ticket Outlet (where you can upgrade your tickets). Ticket upgrading has been relocated to near the main entrance at the Universal Trading Post next to Guest Relations. Smokers must either go to the Lower Lot smoking section or exit the park and use the smoking section near the bus drop off area which is past the bag check and Globe fountain.

Studio Tour:
To help make the Studio Tour more guest friendly, a couple of digital signs have been added in strategic locations. The signs display the wait time and when the next alternate language tour will depart. USH offers multiple tours daily for Spanish and Mandarin speaking guests and can offer other languages with advanced notice.

The boarding area has been repainted to make the stars more visible. Each star represents a seat on the tram. If you are standing on a star, you are guaranteed a seat on the next tram. Sometimes guests cannot grasp this concept – this should make it easier.

Lower Lot:
Megatron has joined Optimus Prime and Bumblebee as a full body stilt walk around character. The three characters are available to meet guests on a rotating schedule.

With that, we close out today’s Universal Update.  Despicable Me is well underway at the Terminator building and an unknown project is under construction in the old Wild West theater.  We’ll be back soon, until then, we’ll see you in the movies!

  • Trumpet

    Great Update Norman

    Love all the construction at the moment. Hopefully, the Wild West area will have a new show in the area, or maybe a new attraction… I doubt the last idea, but you never know with Universal at the moment.

    Also, there was a cheer in my house when we heard that Coke Soak was being destroyed. Sadly that was extinguished when I has been replaced with a creepy Vin Diesel and a couple of cars. I know it is temporary, but they would have better had nothing there, as the park has too much promotion for Fast and Furious, such as the Close Up on the Tour. Still, it is promotion for the next film and all of the previous films are out on DVD!!!

    Megatron looks so cool. I can’t wait to meet him!

    Thanks Again Norman


  • Haven

    So sad for me to see the final demise of the Wild West Stunt Show arena. This is one of the final attractions from my childhood that still remained at Universal. I always found the stunt people to be a great fun cast even as the show plot evolved over the years. I appreciated the “live” special effects and timing required for them, especially in this age where so many of those things are now technologically produced. I guess it is a reflection of movies themselves, so much is rendered in CGI anymore rather than “in camera” effects it is hard to find a real show. So, as our cowpokes ride off into the sunset, I bid them a well deserved farewell.

  • eicarr

    The studios was designed to take the tour and watch a few shows before leaving. It’s now a confusing mess of twisted pathways, crazy escalators and mediocre rides designed for Florida audiences(non-locals who visit only once or every five years).

    While the tour is still solid, I welcome the amount of construction walls from DCA 1.0 in the non-tour embarrassingly bad mess. While despicable me and Wild West removal won’t help, I’m hoping Harry potter will combine the best non cheap roller coaster elements from Harry potter phase 1&2 to create their cars land park reboot.

  • jcruise86


    I want Hogwarts, Hoggsmead and Diagon Alley with Grongott’s.

    I Also want Universal to take make much better use of some of it’s potentially beautiful hilltop views of the San Fernando Valley with bars and restaurants.

    And I want all of this before 2016.


    • jcruise86

      Oops, HoggsmeadE.

      P.S. I also want some of Universal’s resident neighbors to be moved out via eminent domain to help make way for a Disneyland Resort-worthy park that will entertain millions and bring in 100s of millions of $ to L.A. County.

      • Marko50

        You’re upset about HoggsmeadE but not about Gringott’s, which is what my eye caught? (I capitalized the “i”, but it just looked like an “l”. [Like that.])

        Eh, whatever. Sundays aren’t meant for catching anything. Except games on TV. And, evidently, this cold I have.

      • jcruise86

        I was just correcting my own post.

  • Westsider

    So apparently USH has not even begun on the Potterland construction? Will a Potterland even show up in Southern California at all? Ever?

    T2:3D becomes Despicable Me: The Ride in Summer 2014 at the earliest, maybe Spring 2015.
    Wild West Show becomes Entertainment Stage in Spring 2014.

    And Potterland?… Hasn’t even had a scoop of earth turned over for ground breaking. That means the very earliest Potterland would show up would be Spring 2016. Perhaps later in ’16 or ’17.

    It would then seem that TDA was wise to pull back on the Tomorrowland plans and re-evaluate what DLR really needs long term now that DCA is a roaring success.

    • Fan

      Work has started on Potter but nearly all of it is back of house work. The biggest (and most important) thing being done right now is underground utilities that will provide the new area with gas, water, electricity and everything else it needs to operate.

    • mondo

      Why do you think it is good for TDA to wait on a Tomorrowland re-do? I think it is one of the top things DLR needs.

  • G24T

    We went to the park today and found that the construction walls surrounding the wild west arena caused horrendous bottlenecks. I hope this area gets finished sooner than later.

    • Fan

      I’m hearing September.