Hooray for Hollywood folks! While Disneyland has no major attraction projects under construction down in Anaheim, Universal Studios is wasting no time lining up projects for the next few years. Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem, Harry Potter, Springfield, and a host of other things are already being built, along with one or two projects we are still getting information on. So let’s jump right in and see how things are shaping up for Universal Hollywood in 2014.
As we enter the upper lot there is a lot of action and darting about as people plan out their day at the park. Along the entrance corridor we glance at the productions happening on the lower lot.
The Universal Central Plaza finished hosting its first Grinchmas. The Plaza was behind walls for most of the week as the whimsical holiday event was removed.
The massive tree was flanked with cranes and workers as they worked to dismantle this massive tree on Wednesday the 8th.
Heading to the left of the Central Plaza we enter Baker Street. It is still covered in a winter set dressing. But, a new vendor has popped up. Care for a personalized leather bracelet?
DESPICABLE ME: Minion Mayhem
Let’s just call it right now, Hollywood has a better façade than Orlando for this attraction. Minion Mayhem is a family friendly simulator attraction ported over from Universal Orlando. But here, there was much more building to obscure. So, they built out Gru’s neighborhood and the orphanage to hide the massive show building that was originally constructed for Terminator 2: 3D.
The façade is truly impressive and a sight to see. But, it’s a little odd in that it’s butted up so close to Baker Street, an England style setting. Nit picking to be sure, but it leads one to wonder if they will address this in the future.
If we go around the right side of the construction walls we can see the exit area for the attraction coming along as well. It is themed to the film’s fictitious theme park, Super Silly Funland and will feature a spinner flat ride. Think Dumbo but far more irreverent.
You can see the cement foundation already set and the perimeter of the attraction outlined by the whimsical flagpoles.
As we wander away from Despicable Me, we head towards another large project, the addition of Springfield to the area around the Simpson’s ride. The Springfield expansion in Orlando proved to be a huge success and now Hollywood wants its own version. Soon, those in the LA area will be able to drink a Flamin’ Moe or eat a Ribwich.
As you can see, everything from the Cantina to Doc Brown’s Chicken has now been shuttered. Expect to see these food service locations return in the form of a food court, Simpson’s Style.
There is even some work happening in front of the Simpsons Ride. We have reason to believe this is where they will be putting the new midway games, similar to the ones installed in Florida near the Simpsons Ride there.
Yessir, soon we will be embiggened with the spirit of Jebediah Springfield as the town comes to life.
The Studio Tour is still, to this day, a unique experience among theme parks. A dynamic attraction that can change day to day, based on the availability of the backlot due to live filming. There was a ton of filming going on at the studio this week, but the tram is a noisy beast, so we experienced multiple quiet areas where the tour guide could not talk.
There are a few things to note about the tram tour. To begin with, we couldn’t be happier that, since the summer, we have not had to be subjected to Fast and the Furious Tokyo Drift (or cars on a stick as Dusty likes to call it). A curious development, to be sure since this was not a very complicated attraction on the studio tour and hasn’t been there for very long.
Over near Falls lake, we can clearly see now that the old Mummy Tunnel has been removed. The tunnel dates back to the days of the Six Million Dollar Man and has received many updates over the years. But no more. Though, it looks like this is an active project area, so something new appears to be on the way for the tram tour.
We now look at the major expansion in the center of the park, Harry Potter. The land for the new expansion has been leveled and vertical construction should begin soon.
Just off to the south of the construction site, Universal is using an area to fabricate the steel frame for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and possibly whatever is going on at Falls Lake.
Seeing the Harry Potter construction from another angle, we see that there is a bit of vertical construction already happening.
And that’s a wrap from Universal Studios Hollywood. It’s an exciting time to be a fan of this park, as massive projects are set to completely transform it in the next few years.
Stay tuned for more updates from Universal and we will see you In The Parks.