We have something sinister from Universal Studios Hollywood to share, exclusive artwork from one of their terrifying scare zones for this year’s Halloween Horror Nights.  But that’s not all.  We also breeze through the park to share some of the latest happenings.  Did you know that the new Universal Plaza is now open to guests?  We have pics.  We also update you on the progress of Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem and share more news on the recent shifts of construction on the upper lot.  Finally, we begin the long process of covering Harry Potter construction with the closing of the Gibson Amphitheater.

Universal Halloween Horror Nights 2013

Joining the collection of Scare Zones which have already been announced (The Purge: Survive the Night, Chucky, and Scarecrowz) is the terrifying Klownz, which will be residing on French Street.  We have an exclusive look at some of the characters that we can expect to find lurking in the fog shrouded alleys of French Street on the upper lot.




To fit the European feel of the area, the Klownz scare zone will have a very Grand Guignol feel to it with angular, rugged-looking creatures trolling the streets for a scare.




We are anxious to meet these creations and get the bejeezus scared out of us, that much is true.  But why did it have to be Klownz (I’m terrified of them)?

El CuCuy (French Street/Baker Street)

Moving on down the list we see that the El Cucuy maze on the upper lot has been built out and lighting has begun installation.  We will have more for you this Friday on this maze with a full walk-through.  Be sure to check back soon for that exciting coverage.



Insidious: Into the Further

The craftsman-style facade that begins the Insidious Maze is totally visible.  But otherwise, they have done as much as they could to obscure vantage points from the tram tour by installing temporary walls.




Terror Tram: The Walking Dead

The Terror Tram will follow the same path as it has for the past several years.  The drop-off will happen right in front of Whoville and guests will snake their way around the Bates Motel, through the hills and up through the War of the Worlds set.





The path through the woods behind the Bates house toward the War of the Worlds is being prepared.






MICECHAT MEET-UP, Saturday, September 21st

Come join your fellow MiceChat friends in a meet-up event surely to scare the tar out of you.  Universal Hollywood Halloween Horror Nights is one of the most intense Halloween experiences in Southern California and it is here.

This is a MiceChat MEET-UP which means that no tickets are sold through our site.  Instead, you will need to purchase your tickets through Universal’s official site HERE.  The group will be purchasing the
FRONT OF LINE PASS for $119 per person.
This will get you entry into the event and one-time use front of the line access at all mazes and shows.

  • If you do not purchase the front of the line option there will be no guarantee that you will be able to remain with the group.
  • We will be meeting at the front gate one half hour before the event begins, in front of the globe.  We will then proceed into the event as a group.
  • We will also be arranging a dinner reservation in Citywalk.  We will be posting information on this shortly.
If you have ever been unsure about Halloween Horror Nights in the past, this is the perfect way to go check it out.  You will be surrounded by your MiceChat pals and having the time of your life.  So, who’s coming?

Universal Plaza

The Universal Hollywood park final has a center.  Yes, the walls came down recently from around the brand new Universal Plaza.  Entering the gates, you can see, like a beacon, the new spire and central icon.  It resembles what it would like like if the Chrysler building had a baby with the a movie palace.



Just under the tower, to the right, is a new snack bar that carries basic food and refreshments.



To the left of the tower is a sort of asymmetrical addition of an archway that leads to the center of the plaza, where an interactive fountain dances, inciting dehydrated kids to come and play.










At the far end of the plaza you’ll find the new Pink’s Hot Dogs food location.







Flanking the plaza are shade structures and dining tables.






Upper Lot Construction

Curious George’s Water play area was shuttered on Labor Day.  The next day, Walls shot up, dividing the still open Shrek 4D from the little monkey’s former play place.  The walls cut straight across the previous artery of traffic that led from the front gate back to the Studio Tour.  To get to the signature attraction of Universal Studios Hollywood (the Tram) you’ll have to make a longer trek.




To get to the tour, guests make a left at Shrek4D and pass by the now closed Flintstones midway games.  Rounding the corner to the right we see that The Flintstones barbecue food location is still open for now.  But just beyond that the construction walls appear again, blocking off the patio and lagoon dining area.  We also see that the Cantina mexican restaurant is closed now too.  In fact the Studio Souvenirs store is now closed too.  At this point we finally reach the entrance to the Studio Tour.  See?  Not that bad.








Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem

The Despicable Me attraction continues to morph into something huge.  We are seeing a fascinatingly intricate facade taking shape.






The Super Silly Funland area is now totally cleared and ready for construction.







 Studio Tour

Along the Studio Tour route we see a number of interesting bits of info.  Of course the tram route is now altered due to portions of Halloween Horror Nights moving into the New York Backlot.


We also see that Fast and the Furious has, mercifully, been out of service for months now.  Could we possibly be getting a show change or, better yet, a farewell to this misuse of technology?



EXTRA Moves to Universal Studios

Yes, that’s right!  Mario Lopez and company have left The Grove and are now taping at City Walk at Universal.  The press release reads…

Universal Studios Hollywood will serve as the new headquarters for “Extra,” hosted by Mario Lopez and Maria Menounos in front of a live audience. Mario and Maria will broadcast from a variety of locations throughout Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal CityWalk, home to the iconic world famous Studio Tour, groundbreaking thrill rides, chance encounters with celebrities, the world’s largest working movie and television studio and a wide array of dynamic retailers and restaurants.

Fans of “Extra” and theme park guests visiting from around the world will have a chance to participate in “Extra’s” daily “entertainment event,” which takes place Monday through Friday from 10:00am to 4:00pm and will include live appearances from A-List film and television actors, musicians, athletes and newsmakers. Fans will also be able to interact with Mario and Maria, with a chance to ask questions, pose for pictures, get autographs, enjoy live musical performances and see their favorite stars up close and personal.




Harry Potter

The Gibson Amphitheater closed last week with the final show, Pepe Aguilar on September 6th, 2013.  Thus begins the long process of demolition and construction for the Hollywood version of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.




And that should just about do it for Universal Studios Hollywood for this update, but as we told you above, we have some very exciting tours to share with you soon.

So, who’s ready for Harry Potter in Hollywood?



  • Gregg Condon

    Awesome update. Can’t wait to see a look at the mazes, had so much fun doing that last year.

  • Mousecat

    Good description for the tower. Hey, and it lights up and changes color at night!

    More on Thursday.


  • eicarr

    Of all the new additions going in, I mostly look forword to seeing Maria Menounos.

    • gboiler1

      Good call! You nailed that one.

    • Zorro825

      LOL!!! Well played

  • gboiler1

    Sorry if this is already common knowledge, but what’s the timeline for Minion Mayhem? Will it be a direct clone of UO?
    Universal Hollywood is in our sights summer of 2014 and hoping it will be ready to go by then. Any other additions expected by that time?

    • Gregg Condon

      Next Summer for Minion Mayhem. The ride itself is a direct clone of UO but the queue and surrounding area will be different as USH actually has more room to work with than UO (for a change).

      Only major addition is Minions for next year (as far as I know) unless they are fast-tracking Springfield. Lots of Potter construction I’m sure. There are always smaller things going on.


      the sign does say spring 2014… i actually believe it will be spring unlike transformers which “opened” in may

  • pineapplewhipaddict

    I SO cannot wait for Harry Potter! I have dreams of butterbeer dancing in my head…

  • DisneylandMaster

    Really after seeing all this, I would rather wait to go Universal. Maybe I’ll go once in a great while, but I don’t want to pay $80+ for a park with few attractions. Being a Disneyland passholder, I was always pumped for what was behind the walls of DCA, because I knew that I would come back eventually to experience it one day. With Universal, I feel like the park is shrinking to less and less, but by the time everything is open and done, I will be heading down the freeway and reunite with everything there.

    And it’s final great to see some progress on HP. It is sad to have to see a USH icon depart though.

    • CaptainAction

      Universal Hollywood best value is always the annual pass I think. I agree $80 a day is expensive but there is almost always deal for an annual pass for just a few dollars more than a one day pass. Then its possible to visit whenever and see all the progress and changes. Spring is only six months away. They move pretty fast here.

  • Gregg Condon

    What USH icon is leaving? Gibson Amphitheater? I went to concerts there for bands such as Rush, Yes and Paul Simon over the past few years. The sound in the Amphitheater was TERRIBLE. There are much better sounding venues in LA.

    You’ll also notice that, unlike DCA, no attractions are actually closed through this construction. The lower lot isn’t changing at all.

  • Crazee4mm

    I too think the $80 one-day ticket is way too expensive. The passes have always been a great value, and continue to be. Under $200 for a Premium AP! One of the best values in town. I only wish they could expand the footprint of the park. It has always seemed cramped and has never absorbed crowds well.

  • Haven

    So let me make sure I am clear about this…..USH started and FINISHED construction on their new central plaza and all associated buildings since the start of construction on WDW’s Seven Dwarfs Mine Train coaster (which, by the way is still NOT finished).

    WOW. Kudos Universal.

    • CaptainAction

      It’s even worse than you state, I think. The WDW folks didn’t even want to build the Dwarf Coaster but the guests were screaming for a new ride. Mermaid, which is a lame dark ride by 1960 standards, only “replaced” the Snow White Ride, which was torn down for a revenue princess meet and greet.
      WDW only planned revenue driving restaurants, stores, and snack stands to grab more money from the guests which they only look at as wallets today.
      So, WDW has been working on this kiddie coaster which is described as a little longer than Goofy’s Barnstormer, with one dark portion, for OVER THREE YEARS NOW! Now that is embarrassing on it’s own but when you compare what Universal Florida and California have done during these three years, that embarrassment goes to an unheard of level of disrespect toward the guests
      You bet, kudos to Universal indeed.
      That’s where my hard earned money is going. Not giving my money to WDW leadership who just slapped us in the face with their arrogance and disrespect with this “New Fantasyland” and nothing but more money grabs everywhere you look.

      • Haven

        You know, with the VAST collection of animated Disney films in the last 60 years since Disney got into the theme park business (well, started the theme park business) you would think that Fantasyland (all of them) would be the biggest, baddest lands at all Magic Kingdoms. Nowadays you could even build a whole Magic Kingdom with Fantasyland alone using their animated catalog. I’m not suggesting every film gets a ride, certainly not, but the films could be used to greater extent in more themeing rather than just souvenirs. Imagine all the ride technologies that could have been spawned from all those stories….

  • ex-wdi

    Man, I was looking forward to the new central plaza but the photos/description make it look like a complete mess. What the heck are they thinking? It doesn’t match the older buildings thematically or design-wise, it’s a spaceship dropped into the center of the park. The archway is an architectural dongle hanging out there for no reason, and the water area is in the middle of walking traffic. What a mess.

    • Actually, it isn’t a mess at all. It’s usable flex-space in what was the unused Wild West stunt show area. It very much matches the look of the entry area and helps unify the upper lot. Not fancy like Buena Vista Street, but it looks good and will be important as more walls go up for Potter and further reconfigurations.

      More importantly, it gives Uni a spot to host Grinchmas and Halloween activities which doesn’t have to remain walled up for the rest of the year. It’s actually quite brilliant.

      • ex-wdi

        It could just be the pics make it look that way, I guess I’ll reserve judgement for when I go. Fair enuff.

  • socalkdg

    My biggest problem with USH has always been that they don’t expand, they just change. Don’t like Mummy, miss ET. Love Transformers, but miss Back Draft and the monster effects show next to it. Having all three would have been great. Liked Back to the Future, Simpsons, blah. Terminator was right up there as my favorite show with Waterworld, now its gone, replaced by the Minnions, which will be great, but once again, no gain in rides or shows. I want both.

    I have a pass good through next August, but not much incentive to go back. We finished everything in 5 hours last visit.

    Are we getting one ride, or more than that when Potter finishes?

    • MickeyFickey

      I agree. It’s largely been no new expansion, just replacement of older attractions at USH for years. The argument has always been “they just don’t have the space,” but as we all know, that’s not 100% true…they had plenty of “space”–125 acres worth, actually–to build condos and luxury homes on the backlot during the older, darker days of the “Vision” and Evolution plans. Fortunately, sanity prevailed and the housing project was canned and Steve Burke got his hands on the theme parks. I think we’ll see new development come under his leadership.

      Details on Potter at USH are pretty scarce compared to Orlando, however, it sounds like USH will get a clone of the Forbidden Journey ride from Orlando, as well as a small family coaster. It looks like a new family spinner ride (along the lines of the Simpsons spinner that just opened in Orlando) is coming to the Despicable Me area as part of Super Silly Funland. There are other areas of the park that they’d like to expand into as well, if rumors are to be believed. It also sounds like we may see Diagon Alley come to USH in the future with a Hogwarts Express train ride to link Phases 1 and 2 together. Where would DA go? Out in the backlot area somewhere.

      Rumors are nothing more than rumors until confirmed. With that being said, I genuinely think we’re going to see some expansion/redevelopment come to Hollywood over the next 10 years or so. Just look at the Evolution Plan map for more hints. And don’t forget that there’s at least 1 if not 2 new hotels coming to CityWalk and the USH property in the not-too-distant future as well!