Universal Studios Hollywood Wizarding World and Simpsons Update

Written by Norman Gidney. Posted in Features, In the Parks, Universal Hollywood

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Published on March 26, 2014 at 2:01 am with 23 Comments

Late Thursday night we posted our early review of the brand new Despicable Me Minion Mayhem attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood (review here). In short, it is wonderful sugar-coated confection of a family ride full of the heart and humor you’d expect from the franchise. But we also spent some time running through the park to grab an update for you as well. Let’s check on the progress of the upcoming Wizarding World of Harry Potter expansion, look at the mystery project on the Studio Tour and the opening of the new midway games in front of The Simpsons Ride.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

The highly anticipated Wizarding World of Harry Potter is framing up now.  We can see what should be the show building for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey on the former footprint of the Gibson Amphitheater.

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Closer to the Studio Tour load/unload area wee see concrete foundations being built into the hillside.

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Looking from behind the project, towards the rest of the park, we can peer through the steel beams of Forbidden Journey.

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The massive cranes tower over the hilltop portion of the park.

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As frames are installed, more pieces are assembled along the tram route.

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By Monday of this week things had gotten even further…

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Springfield

As we wander further into the park, closer to The Simpsons Ride, we see more progress on what we believe to be the Springfield expansion.  Behind the walls they have leveled all of the buildings which were there before and are building new structures from the ground up.  We expect to see A brand new Moe’s Tavern, Krusty Burger and more in this spot.

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Midway Games

Speaking of The Simpsons Ride, the new midway games that we said were on their way have finally opened.  They are filled with the same verve and silliness you’d expect to find from the show.

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Studio Tour

We hop aboard the world famous Universal Studios Hollywood Studio Tour for a trip into the movies.

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After all these years the Flash Flood stop on the Studio Tour is still effective and fun. Gotta love it.

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The Jaws stop along the route is still receiving some maintenance.

 

During the tour, we spotted the brilliant art director of Halloween Horror Nights, Chris WIlliams, strolling through the War of the Worlds set.  Could his errand have anything to do with Halloween Horror Nights?

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We then come upon the new construction project along Falls Lake.  The scale is huge and we are hoping this means another addition to the Studio Tour rather than infrastructure.

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Passing by the project on the tram tour

 

That about does it for the park update from Universal Studios Hollywood.  We will be back soon with more news information from the entertainment capital of Los Angeles.  This would include coverage of the yellow carpet premiere and official opening of Despicable Me Minion Mayhem.  It’s a great time to be a fan of Universal Studios Hollywood, and it will only get more exciting from here!  See you again real soon.

About Norman Gidney

Norman Gidney, also known as Fishbulb, produces and edits many of the articles on MiceChat. Tune in every Tuesday for the Orlando Parkhopper and every Friday for In The Parks. But you'll also find his photos in the Weekly Round Up, SAMLAND, and numerous other columns on the site.

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23 Comments

Comments for Universal Studios Hollywood Wizarding World and Simpsons Update are now closed.

  1. For me, Universal is all about the tram tour. While it saddened me to see the 70′s ice cave classic butchered over the years and finally demolished(big Six Million Dollar Man fan) glad something new/big is going in, and classics like the flash flood is still going strong.

    • I’m right there with you. The whole point of Universal is the working studio and the tram tour is the best way for an average guest to experience that. For me, Jaws, Earthquake, the Flash Flood, King Kong and the other surprises on the tour are just the icing on the cake. What I really go to see are the studio sets and the occasional brief glimpse at live filming. The allure of the film industry will always be the draw for me. Though, I’m really glad to see them constantly working on the tour and adding/replacing things.

      • If you like the studio tour concept, you should go do the Warner Brothers Studio Tour sometime. I went about 8 years ago, and I really enjoyed being able to walk through sets for current shows.

      • I LOVE the WB tour. I’ve done both the short and long versions. WONDERFUL. Uni also has a special VIP tour where you get off the tram and walk around on live sets (it also includes front of line for the attractions in the park as well as lunch).

    • Remember the dropping bridge? That was a cool effect.

  2. The radio ads are indicating an opening date of April 10th for Despicable Me. Does anyone know if that includes all of Super Silly Fun Land?

  3. That’s a lot of excitement for one park. Everything is looking pretty cool.
    Hoping to be there with the family to check it out in end of May. I guess Simpson’s Land will still be under construction.

  4. I take it that the kitchens for the Simpsons food establishments will be situated below grade to maximize space? If so, kudos USH!

  5. Thanks for the update Norm. Exciting to see construction for Harry Potter. Maybe I missed it but does anyone know if there will be another ride when this new area opens or are we just getting the big forbidden journey attraction?

    • We are getting everything that Islands of Adventure’s Wizarding World currently has excluding Dragon Challenge.

  6. Awesome… Is there any concept art for USH anywhere?

  7. The Sony and Paramount tours are also worthwhile if you want to see working studios. (And I agree that the WB studio tour is also great if you are into American movie history and how movies are made.)

  8. Thanks, Norm! I loved all of the Harry Potter construction photos! It looks like they’re going for a 2015 opening rather than a 2016 opening. That would be smart because they’d make tens of millions of dollars more.

    I don’t like the Simpsons carnival games (and I don’t like them at Knotts or in DCA either) because even if they try to be tongue-in-cheek, I still associate them with sleazy fair rip-offs.

    Other than that, with its incoming Harry Potter land and attraction (s?!), Universal Hollywood is the Southern California theme park I’m most excited to visit about visiting in the future, though it still has a LONG way to go to catch up with the Disneyland Resort.

    • Harry Potter wont open until 2016. What you’re seeing now is the fast part of construction.

      Next year will be Fast and Furious: Super Charged tram experience and Springfield.

    • “I don’t like the Simpsons carnival games (and I don’t like them at Knotts or in DCA either) because even if they try to be tongue-in-cheek, I still associate them with sleazy fair rip-offs.”

      I agree, it makes it feel like a carnival. But then again I find myself playing them. Especially basketball, I am a sucker for the basketball games.

  9. Great update Norm, thank you!

    I am always amazed at how quickly Universal (both coasts) seems to be able to build things. Harry Potter is epic in scale and Universal announced it only about 6 months ago and they are already well into building it. I wish Disney would be a little more like Universal in this way.

    Universal really forces you to look at them on a regular basis now because of all the activity they have playing out. So much going on and so much to look forward to. I’ve always liked the Universal experience because of the movies and how they integrate them into their theme parks. They are certainly more theme park focused now (or so it seems) and this is delivering spectacular experiences to its guests.

    It’s hard not to be a fan with all this excitement going on.

    • Wizarding World of Harry Potter for Hollywood was announced in 2011. Haha.

      • Uh no, nothing was official until much later than that and they had to remove many buildings before they could begin construction.
        WDW however, the last 10 years, spends 5 years talking about Marvel, Star Wars Land, Avatar, and then begins construction on a 4-5 year plan.
        Universal Hollywood will open Harry Potter faster than the construction phase of Dwarf Mound, which still isn’t open to the public and is a C Ticket single attraction.
        Look for Avatar, if it remains on schedule, to have soft openings in time for your grand children to ride.

  10. I’m pretty sure their 2011 press event was an official announcement, they just didn’t reveal any of the plans on how it would incorporate it into the park.

  11. Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem is open NOW. Just like Transformers, they are doing “Technical Rehersals” on a daily basis until it officially opens on April 10th. This is a great time to ride this attraction before the general public descends upon it in April. I rode it 5 times last week and the line never went past the 15 minute mark.

  12. They sure are adding lot of stuff, compared to Disneyland, which is adding only safety railings and a bigger Club 33 for the rich elites. I got just an annual pass for less than the price of one day at Disneyland. Give my regards to Justin Beiber if you see him on the Club 33 balcony. Hope he doesn’t throw an ice cube at you…

  13. The reason that I dropped my AP to Universal Studios is that I was worn out by the loud music everywhere in the park. Am I alone on this? Also, even on a crowded day, you can do every attraction you want to do so it makes it so I don’t want to return time and again. Oh, and it is almost a 3 hour drive each way for me.

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