Universal Studios Hollywood Construction Update: Harry Potter, Springfield, Horror Nights

Written by Norman Gidney. Posted in Features, Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood, Universal Hollywood, Universal Studios

Tagged: , , , , ,


Published on June 27, 2014 at 3:00 am with 15 Comments

It’s a big update from Universal Studios Hollywood where we find thrills, chills, and the promise of greater things to come. There has been quite a bit of progress at the three major construction projects happening throughout the park: Fast and Furious: Supercharged, Springfield, and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We also have the first bits of news coming to us about the terrifyingly fun Halloween Horror Nights event coming this fall and look at some of the work happening on the Starway escalators.  It’s time for lights, camera, action!

Fast and Furious: Supercharged

Near the end of the World Famous Studio Tour we find Fast and Furious: Super Charged construction. The attraction will be a feature of the tour that uses HD 3D screens to envelop the tram in action. You can see that this building is quite a bit bigger and wider than the King Kong building.













Halloween Horror Nights

News about this years Halloween Horror Nights is finally trickling out. Fans of the event have already voted and chosen the first Scare Zone.


Online voters said “Bon appetite” and selected “Mask-a-Raid,” a Scare Zone concept based on a hoard of blood thirsty cannibals masquerading as French aristocrats, in the first-ever Universal Studios Hollywood “Halloween Horror Nights” Choose Your Scare online voting competition. The winning Scare Zone concept will materialize in disturbingly real detail at the terrifyingly popular event in Fall 2014.

The new Scare Zone, staged in the theme park’s French Street location, will transport guests to a time when masquerade balls were a staple of the social calendar in pre-Revolutionary War France. However, visitors will soon learn that behind the elaborate, jeweled masks of powdered and perfumed party-goers are members of a blood-thirsty cannibal cult.



Jurassic Park Queue:

Maze construction has begun in the overflow queue for Jurassic Park. While nothing has been announced yet for this location, we can make out the beginnings of a menacing house.



Mummy Queue:

Likewise, the usual construction has begun behind the Revenge of the Mummy Coaster.  Still no word on what the maze will be.



Stage 747:

With all of the construction continuing throughout the park it is safe to assume that Stage 747 will be used again to house another maze. Let the speculation begin . . . PLEASE let it be better than Black Sabbath.



Terror Tram: Invaded by the Walking Dead

The Terror Tram invaded by The Walking Dead returns again.  According to Universal, the experience will send guests on the road to Terminus, featured in season 4.  The path will be interspersed, as usual, with themed landmarks. Charred walkers from the burned moonshine cabin will be after wandering guests.

This is the third time that the Walking Dead have invaded the Tram Tour, and it has kept nearly the same pathway for just as many years.  It is a sort of double-edged sword really.  On the one hand it is a very effective franchise that still remains wildly popular with guests.  But the problem is that we have seen this before, many, many times.  Scare is about surprise and the unexpected. Let’s hope that they shake things up a bit.

Nothing is visible just yet on the Terror Tram route, but that’s normal.  It’s usually one of the last things to get themed out for Halloween.


 The Walking Dead: End of the Line

The Walking Dead: End of the Line returns to Halloween Horror Nights with another incarnation of the flesh-eating monsters.


This year’s bone-chilling maze will place guests at the heart of a harrowing journey to seek sanctuary at Terminus, an elusive destination that promises community for all.

Simpsons Springfield

Here, in the center of the upper lot, we take a look at the burgeoning buildings of Springfield.  More vertical than its Orlando counterpart, Springfield will feature Moe’s Tavern, Krusty Burger and more. We can’t wait for a Ribwhich.





The construction is right across from the Simpsons Ride.




There were tons of workers climbing the framework the day we were there.



The Kwik-E-Mart sits in the foreground as more of the neighborhood is constructed nearby.


It seems that more work is being done on the underside of the Starway escalators.



The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Finally, we round things out by summing up the outlandishly huge project at the center of the mountain.  The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, including the blockbuster Forbidden Journey attraction, is moving full steam ahead.


Backstage, surface and paint tests are being conducted.


The show building for the feature attraction is massive.







We can make out the jagged and angular rooftops of Hogsmeade that will act as the entrance to the land.



Here is the gate into Hogsmead.




If we peer though the Hogsmeade gates, we can see the facade for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey being built.




The crooked chimneys are a really cool design element.





That’s Waterworld in the background.


Here’s a different elevation for the Forbidden Journey.


The front of the show building where the facade will face the land.



This view is from the exit of the Studio Tour.









Parking Garage

Outside City Walk construction of another large parking structure is still in the prep stages. This structure will also be used to house the many tour busses that line up every morning along Buddy Holly Drive, but the main purpose is to absorb the masses that will be descending upon the park in the coming years.



We are really excited to see so much construction happening at Universal Studios Hollywood. This is lining up to be a major themed entertainment destination. Who’s ready for a Butter Beer?

Until next time, we will see you . . . In The Parks.

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.

Browse Archived Articles by

  • jcruise86

    Thanks for the exciting update! I hope our Wizarding World Hogsmead/Hogwarts is not an exact clone of Universal Orlando’s (first half of their) HP world.

    They’ve already started construction on a Halloween maze? Cool.
    Hey Knott’s, why not get started?

    • unclemike

      Knott’s already has, if you know where to look :-)

  • Director_Guy

    “The show building for the feature attraction is massive.”

    You ain’t kidding. I’m gobsmacked every time I see it from the 134 freeway. I can’t wait to be driving along and looking up to see Hogwarts castle looming over the San Fernando Valley.

  • Algernon

    Can’t wait to visit Springfield.

  • explodingboy

    Are we sure that the Terror Tram is returning with a Walking Dead theme? I am pretty sure only the maze has been announced (End of Line). Murdy stated that everything else this year will be brand new to HHN.

    I haven’t seen an announcement for the Terror Tram yet..

    • Norman Gidney

      To quote the actual press release…

      This year, Universal Studios Hollywood will bring multiple interactive experiences from “The Walking Dead” to life throughout its “Halloween Horror Nights” event. “The Walking Dead: The End of the Line” will channel the many iconic scenes from Season 4 into a new maze, inviting guests to encounter the terror they viewed from afar. From infected walkers whose bleeding eyes struck a new chord of fear throughout the prison to the walker-filled tunnel on the crusade to Terminus, the ominous attraction will evoke a countless barrage of distressing images that will traumatize guests over and over again. The contemporary urban city streets, towering skyscrapers, brick-faced facades and industrial exterior movie sets that make up Universal Studios’ world-famous production facilities will serve as the backdrop location for this all-new, frighteningly realistic maze. Swarms of walkers will also reawaken in an all-new terrifying scare-zone located adjacent to the maze.

      The engrossing cult favorite television series will seep into other parts of Universal’s backlot with, predatory walkers prowling the secluded wooded areas of the movie studio. “Terror Tram: Invaded by the Walking Dead” will send guests on the daunting path to Terminus, interspersed with landmarks and walkers from Season 4, including the “burned moonshine cabin,” “charred walkers” and “mud walkers.”

      Yep its on the Terror Tram

      • explodingboy

        Thank you! I hadn’t seen the official press release, so I wasn’t sure.

  • http://micechat.com Dusty Sage

    It is just so exciting to watch a theme park under massive renewal. It reminds me a lot of those wonderful years where DCA was adding new things like crazy.

    While I’m not a big fan of Fast and the Furious, it is a major franchise and I’m sure would make a good accent on the Tram Tour. But the size of that building leads me to believe that it will be more than just a 3D movie.

    As for Springfiled and Potter . . . BRING IT ON!!! :-)

  • brandonshah97

    although i am very excited for both potter and springfield, it feels as if they are just too close together. when i went 4 days ago, you couldnt really tell the boundary of where springfield ended and where potter started (other than the fact that there are crooked chimneys and rooftops) but still, with 2 lands so different from each other, it makes me nervous to see them visible from the opposing land. also the fact that the show building is so visible from the tram exit makes me upset as i feel like the magic will be taken away when guests find out that they’re just entering a soundstage with castle pieces glued on the front of the building rather than actually entering hogwarts school (which orlando does a great job of hiding) any thoughts people??

  • aashee

    I was hoping walking dead wasn’t going to be back. I know it’s popular and the scare-du-jour, but HHN’s original mazes are so damn good, I hate seeing the same old thing.

  • imaginashton

    The facade going up in the JP queue looks to be the Slaughtered Lamb from An American Werewolf in London.

  • Mandog76

    On June 20th, I went to the park and rode the Studio Tour. When passing Soundstage 747, our guide said that a maze will go in there. Not sure how much to trust the guide, but she is most likely telling the truth in my opinion.

  • Susan Hughes

    Nice to see something that (hopefully) will thin out the crowds at The Disneyland Resort. Unlike WDW, there really is no solid competition out here in Southern California to Disneyland and California Adventure.
    Although when the construction is completed, it’s highly unlikely I’ll be hearing and seeing those yearly “Buy One Ticket, Get The Rest Of The Year Free!” commercials. Can you imagine that type of promo at The DLR? Nightmare!

  • Susan Hughes

    Nice to see something that (hopefully) will thin out the crowds at The Disneyland Resort. Unlike WDW, there really is no solid competition out here in Southern California to Disneyland and California Adventure.
    Although when the construction is completed, it’s highly unlikely I’ll be hearing and seeing those yearly “Buy One Ticket, Get The Rest Of The Year Free!” commercials. Can you imagine that type of promo at The DLR? Nightmare!

  • the702senior09

    Great Update :)

    I’m very excited for the Harry Potter expansion, about time they brought it to the West Coast and I’ll definately be going during the opening season.

    I did the Halloween Horror Nights back in 2012… and I have to say I was completely disapointed. It seemed with the amount of people they sold tickets to and the number of mazes they set it up so almost every house had an hour wait, with the best (Mummy and Walking Dead) having 2 hour waits. And I get scared extremely easily… but most of the stuff wasn’t that scary. For the money and short hours, it seemed like a waste to me. But that’s just my opinion.