Universal Studios Hollywood Construction and Harry Potter news

Written by Fievel Hitchcock. Posted in In the Parks, Universal Hollywood

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Published on May 06, 2013 at 2:00 am with 13 Comments

We have big news and photo update for you from Universal Studios Hollywood.  The Wizarding World of Harry Potter finally has a place to call home, but the Gibson Amphitheater and Curious George will be sent packing to make it happen. In other news, the Despicable Me attraction is under rapid construction, as is the new multi-purpose plaza at the heart of the park. Let’s get this tram on the move . . .

WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER:

By now, you likely know that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will be constructed at Universal Studios Hollywood.  But the question everyone was asking is, “Where the heck are they going to put it?”  MiceChat was the first to break the news that the Gibson Amphitheater and the Curious George water play area will be going away, to make room for the new additions to the park.  No word yet on the fate of Shrek or Waterworld.  If they aren’t going right away, the would be very easy expansion plots. The park has been wanting to get rid of Waterworld for nearly a decade.

CityWalk:

With more and more guests flocking to Universal City, parking has been at a premium. To help ease the congestion and prepare for future crowds, the Jurassic Parking garage is being expanded into an adjacent flat lot. The new addition to the garage is expected to be completed in the Fall and will add roughly 600 spots.

Upper Lot:

Work continues on the “Universal Plaza” which is promising to have a multi-use stage as well as other “entertainment, dining, water play and more”. While not pretty, sections of New York Street show scars of essential underground utility work. This new area is expected to be completed in time for the Summer season. 

The flex retail location “Feature Presentation” has swapped Minions for Transformers and now is home to a large selection of Despicable Me merchandise to tie in to the new movie that opens this summer and Minion Mayhem attraction opening next year.

These cute sipper cups are a great buy if you are a passholder or are a thirsty person. All USH sippers can be refilled at any time for just $0.99 whenever you visit.

The restrooms behind Doc Brown’s Chicken are being expanded into an adjacent patio area. The current setup is small and often times would create a bottleneck. The new restrooms will be very modern and energy conscience with waterless urinals and paperless hand dryers.

T2:3D/Despicable Me:

The world’s worst kept secret, Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem coming to USH, was finally officially announced. The attraction is set to open sometime in 2014. The USH version of the attraction will be a carbon copy of it’s Orlando counterpart but it’ll be interesting to see how the facade and queue will translate considering the size of the massive T2 complex and adjoining Coke Soak area.

Upon taking a closer look at the work walls, you can find little additions that make them look like they are the real deal. One of the walls near Baker Street is “home” to a fish and chips restaurant.

From a distance it looks like a guest left their uneaten food on the table. Up close you realize it’s a fake meal with all the fixings.

The Fast & the Furious picture zone received a new back drop promoting the new film which is out next month.

Lower Lot:

The NBCUniversal Experience is now home to one of the original traveling DeLoreans featured in the Back to the Future movies. The car was fully restored and is displayed with props and documents from the movies.

A small display case next to the car has some BttF artifacts including concept art, scripts and a letter from John DeLorean, the creator of the DeLorean, to the producers.

Not to be outshined, some new items were also added to the rotating museum collection. New additions are costumes from Les Mis, 30 Rockand various movies as well as the truly creepy Timmy doll/puppet from the daytime show Passions.

So, to sum it all up, things will be crazy the next few years at Universal Hollywood.  They are going to be adding major, new attractions in 2014 and 2015. That means lots of construction walls. But the results should be nothing short of spectacular.

About Fievel Hitchcock

Fievel Hitchcock is MiceChat's Universal Studios Hollywood insider. He's so frequently at the park that he considers the commissary to the stars his kitchen. Fievel update's MiceChat's In The Parks columns on all things Universal Hollywood.

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13 Comments

Comments for Universal Studios Hollywood Construction and Harry Potter news are now closed.

  1. Great update, thank you!!

    Any word on how long the DeLorean will be on display! I’m a major BttF fan.

    • The DeLorean is on permanent display inside the NBC-Universal Experience! Assuming Universal holds true to their statement, it’ll always be there, unless of course they decide to close the museum, at which point I’m sure they would just relocate the DeLorean to another area of the park. The other props and artwork will be rotated out though.

  2. Cool update. I wish they’d focus on old style prop displays (like the delorian) stunt/fx shows and a longer tram tour. The rides they’ve been putting in since the 90′s are half hearted and non repeatable. Mummy coaster? Despicable Me? Come on!

  3. Very excited for Harry Potter, but sad USH has to lose the Gibson in the process. Does anyone know when they are permanently closing it? I’m going to a concert there in June, and possibly in August. Will they stop scheduling concerts there right before tearing it down? Or will they tear it down when USH feels like it and cancel any concerts scheduled?

    • From Live Nation’s Press Release:
      “This fall, a celebrated chapter in Los Angeles’ rich musical history will come to a close when the Gibson Amphitheatre shuts its doors in September. The landmark venue will cease operations at that time due to the end of the building’s lease agreement. ”

      and then..

      “Fans with tickets to shows that are scheduled after September 2013 should hold on to them. Live Nation is currently working on moving these events into other venues and will notify fans when there is more information. If a show cannot be moved then fans will receive a full refund. “

  4. Great report. I’m really excited for the Potter construction to start!

  5. “MiceChat was the first to break the news?” I love MiceChat, and its the first website I visit everyday. But, it was at least the fifth or sixth site the break the news about Harry Potter and the Order of the Gibson Amphitheater. I think Westcoaster was the first.

  6. [...] easy expansion plots. The park has been wanting to get rid of Waterworld for nearly a decade. Quelle +++ 31.05 – 02.06 Belgium Jump +++ 12.07. – 14.07. Tief im Westen II +++ 09.08. – 17.08. [...]

  7. Looks like enough room for hogwarts and forbidden journey, but where is hogsmeade gonna go? That’s my favorite part, ambiance wise.

  8. Wish I could fast forward to 2015!

  9. Looking forward to Harry’s west coast debut. The site of Hogwarts at the parks entrance is exactly where I would have expected it. Cannot say I will be disappointed at the demise of the Amphitheater, with so many larger venues in LA now, it’s time has come, Harry or not. Any word on the location of the two new resort hotels? When I interviewed at USH Creative MANY years ago (1997) they were hoping to build themed resort hotels along the Barham Blvd. side of the studio. Back then they lost out to the nearby neighborhoods complaints. Funny anyone would move to Hollywood, buy a house NEXT to an active movie studio and then complain about it. That’s like moving to Las Vegas and complaining about gambling…..oh wait, we have those kind of people here too.

    • One hotel will go more or less where Fung Lum stands (the old Chinese restaurant near the Frankenstein structure) and the other will be part of the CityWalk expansion that’s taking over the Woody Woodpecker flat lot parking area in front of the main entrance.

  10. I would love it if Universal would do something special for 2015, which is the future Doc Brown and Marty traveled to back in 1985. Maybe they can try to recreate the city from the movie and give us a legit Cafe 80′s with a Max Hedroom TV guy for our waiter. And maybe Universal can even make Jaws 19 exclusively for Universal Theme Parks. And if it’s not already asking too much, maybe even a thrill ride flying through the skyway on a hover-converted vehicle?