Universal Studios Hollywood is a movie studio, theme park and family attraction in a state of masive transformation. Springfield continues to take shape across the midway from The Simpsons Ride. Meanwhile, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is working some magic to expand the attraction space on the upper lot to nearly twice its current size.  Along the Studio Tour they are working on adding a big, grand finale to the world famous attraction with the all new Fast and Furious Supercharged.  That’s not to mention all of the announcements recently released regarding the annual Halloween Horror Nights event that runs from mid-September through October.  There is quite a bit of ground to cover, including a new Starbucks on the Lower Lot.

Universal Studios Hollywood


Inside the park, additional wait time boards have been posted.
They still have the wonderful Brooklyn characters in the windows.
They have also begun staging the Universal Character Cavalcade show in the Universal Plaza.



There were also these fun characters milling about on French Street.


Harry Potter Construction

We begin todays Harry Potter construction update with a look at a partial model for the façade of Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. Situated backstage, this model shows the rock work that will be installed to obscure the show building.  It also offers a rough idea of how the Hogwarts School for wizards will be situated in the corner.



Nearby, the wire framing for the rocks begins in sections.





The test textures that we saw weeks ago.
Blocks of rocks.
Supplies sitting around the corner.
The massive construction crane looms above the site.


From behind, we see scaffolds surrounding the backside of the show building.
A close up reveals just how large the attraction is in comparison to the construction team member.
Anything visible? Nope.

Let’s go inside the park now and see what we can see.

From the main entryway we see the spires of Hogsmeade.
How can Shrek possibly survive a wizard?








Through the gates of Hogsmeade we see the front of Hogwarts.





We poke around the major construction near the existing pathways to look further into Hogsmeade.  Not too much happening just yet.  But one thing is for sure, the look of this park will forever be changed.

In the distance we see the backside of the Shrek 4D building with steel framing going up next to it.
In the center of the construction site, behind Waterworld, we don’t see too much yet.


Looking at the show building from the front side we can still see inside the structure.
If you look carefully you will notice that the framework for walls inside are going up.




The concrete backing for the façade on the corner of the show building.





From the Studio Tour drop off we get another idea of the immense scale of the attraction.

Halloween Horror Nights

This week there was another interesting bi-coastal Uni announcement.  It seems to be quite the trend for the Halloween Horror Nights brand to have tandem subjects for their mazes/haunted houses.

Face Off: In The Flesh

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The most twisted and gruesome character creations featured on Syfy’s hit competition series “Face Off” will be live and “In the Flesh” at both Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood’s “Halloween Horror Nights” events, beginning Friday, September 19.  Nightmarish creatures will surround guests on both coasts as the macabre visions of some of the most talented up-and-coming make-up artists’ from the show are brought to life.

Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights will feature an all new street experience with ten different character creations inspired by the acclaimed Syfy series, including a look designed by season 5 “Face Off” winner and Universal Orlando make-up artist, Laura Tyler. The hair-raising, horrifying characters will inhabit five unique and immersive environments within the scare zone, from eerie scarecrows that go to great lengths to protect a spine-chilling farmland to ghoulish brutes that haunt dilapidated castle ruins.

Universal Studios Hollywood’s all-new “Halloween Horror Nights” maze, “Face Off:  In the Flesh,” will recreate the morbidly disturbing inventions masterminded by visionary make-up special effects artists over the course of the show’s past six seasons.  Twenty-two original “Face Off” designs – from human-insect hybrids to horror villains, ancient mummies and zombies – will cascade throughout the dark corridors of the terrifying new maze bringing to life multiple incarnations of these select characters and adding to the cast of characters designed to scare the life out of every guest.  “Face Off:  In the Flesh” will also feature new sounds from acclaimed electro house artist “Figure,” who returns to Universal Studios Hollywood’s “Halloween Horror Nights” with a haunting mix of electronica-inspired dance music.

The Walking Dead

 After rave reviews from fans on both coasts, Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood are bringing back AMC’s “The Walking Dead” to Halloween Horror Nights for an unprecedented third consecutive year. Horror-hungry fans will experience all-new terrifying mazes inspired by Season 4 of the critically-acclaimed, Emmy Award®-winning television series.

This year’s bone-chilling mazes will place guests at the heart of a harrowing journey to seek sanctuary at Terminus, an elusive destination that promises community for all. Mirroring the terror that befell the residents of the West Georgia Correctional Facility, now overrun by savage walkers, the experience will send guests fleeing from the fallen prison into unknown territory as they once again stage a desperate battle for survival against flesh-eating walkers and ruthless humans.

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From Dusk Til Dawn

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From cult horror film to breakthrough television series on El Rey Network, “From Dusk Till Dawn” will add a terrifying maze to its credits when filmmaker Robert Rodriguez’s acclaimed supernatural show debuts as a menacing new “Halloween Horror Nights” experience at Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort, beginning Friday, September 19.

This all-new maze, inspired by the critically acclaimed television series, will thrust guests into the deviant world of “From Dusk Till Dawn,” where they will encounter sordid mythological creatures known as “Culebras,” serpent-like vampires who have tormented the earth for centuries.  Residing within the elusive and sinister nightclub, “The Twister,” located just over the Mexican border and above cursed ancient ruins, the “Culebras” prove to be a band of immoral and depraved beasts with a deadly agenda. As guests navigate the maze and venture deep within the bowels of “The Twister,” they will find themselves face to face with a cast of perverse characters, including exotic dancer, Santanico Pandemonium, a mysterious and irresistible “Culebras” femme fatale and Queen Vampire.

Based on the film of the same name, “From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series” is a supernatural crime saga centered around bank robber, Seth Gecko and his violent, unpredictable brother, Richard “Richie” Gecko, who are wanted by the FBI after a bank heist leaves several people dead.  While on the run to Mexico, Seth and Richie encounter former pastor Jacob Fuller and his family, whom they take hostage. Using the family RV to cross the border, chaos ensues when the group detours to a club populated by vampires and are forced to fight until dawn in order to get out alive. The series deepens the tone of the film, From Dusk Till Dawn, upon which it is based, adding new characters and backstories that expand the Mesoamerican mythology behind the creatures inside the club.


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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.

“We are always listening closely to what our fans want, but this was the first time ever that we actually went out and put the power completely in their hands to determine part of ‘Halloween Horror Nights’ content,” said John Murdy, Creative Director, Universal Studios Hollywood and Executive Producer of “Halloween Horror Nights.” “The avalanche of votes we received confirmed our fans’ desire to be part of the process, and we are happy to give them exactly what they want.”

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

It is in the Jurassic Park queue that we see one of the new mazes being constructed.  Which one is this?  Or, is it one yet to be announced.





Mummy Extended Queue

We have construction in the usual spot behind the Mummy coaster.  It always amazes us how well they utilize this slender footprint.






In the backlot, we see that a tent has been constructed in the same spot as last year’s Walking Dead maze.  Will this become Terminus or be used for something else?



Stage 747

We can also see the beginnings of maze construction and pathway inside Stage 747.



 Fast and Furious Supercharged

Enough of the Halloween stuff… for now.  We next check on the progress on the grand finale of the Studio Tour, Fast and Furious Supercharged.  They are moving relatively fast on this one although it is not set to open until 2015.



Interesting that there appear to e two separate show buildings connected by a tunnel.
Building one.
Building two.



Workers atop the show building.
Inside we see a multi-level construction due to the motion platform that the tram will be stationed on.





behind the building are what appear to be the facilities and control rooms.
To the right we can see the framework of the elephant door that the tram will exit through.







Another 2015 addition will come in the form of a food court based on the popular Simpsons TV show.  Facing the Simpsons Ride attraction, Springfield will bring to life all of your favorite locations from the quirky animated town in one spot.  Moe’s, Krusty Burger, and more will be here to enjoy by this time next year. As you can see, it is all framing right now, but soon enough we’ll start seeing familiar details.









Starbucks™ on the Lower Lot

Life is now complete.  We no longer have to go up the Starway and out of the park for a drinkable cup of Starbucks™ Coffee.  A new location has opened up near the Revenge of the Mummy Roller coaster on the Lower Lot.





That was a HUGE construction update.  But we aren’t done with Universal Studios Hollywood just yet.  Tomorrow we will share an update on CityWalk.  There’s more to it than you think.

  • Great update Norm! Neat to see the big Hogwarts model backstage.

    So much major construction going on!

  • eicarr

    Kinda weird that since they’re allowing chains in the park they have the same coffee shop in DL and Universal.

    Everything is looking good, glad I won’t have to leave the state to experience Harry Potter for the first time.

  • jcruise86

    Norm, that was a most excellent update, even by Micechat standards! THANK YOU!

    Will there be a Micechat Universal Hollywood Horror Nights outing, and if so, when will it be?

    Is the Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor still worthwhile?

    • GDub80

      Yes!!! QMDH is amazingly well-themed!!! It is a must see every year!

  • bamato

    So much is going on in Universal. I can’t wait to see the park after this major overhaul!

    Thanks for the update Fish!

  • Kenny Loggins

    Incredibly exciting to see so much going on at once. 2015/16 is going to be rad.

  • Zeathos51

    With word that this Hogwarts is gonna be full size, the Springfield expansion and the fact that I haven’t been since both Transformers and Minion Mayham opened; I’m definetly getting a season pass the next time I save the money up. Plus this will be the first Harry Potter attraction I’ll get to see since I probably won’t be going to Florida by then.

  • Jabroniville

    I’m amazed they were able to fit this all in there- Universal didn’t seem like that big a park when I went there a couple years ago. Is their Hogsmeade/Diagon Alley section going to be anywhere near as big as the Florida version?

    • jcruise86

      ^ ^ I thought they weren’t going to have Diagon Alley in 2016. They could add a Disgon Alley over the Shrek and nearby area to the north of it where the wet playground was (is?). They don’t need a London or a Hogart’s Express. We’ll get APs here again before or in 2016.

      Disneyland could use an announcement of something new. Maybe they think the 60th is enough for now, then they might use the first new Star Wars movie to tie into a revamped Tomorrowland. I hope they update rather than replace Buzz. Star Tours could just get some new clips. The rest could all go, though I ‘d like a larger Space Mtn. RANGE featuring Star Wars.

  • Illusion65

    The amount of construction at the park is just crazy, cant wait til its all done. The camera shots really offer a peak into all the work that goes into making these great attractions. Your coverage of Halloween Horror Nights has got me all revved up and excited about Haunt season… let the count down begin!!

  • ayalexander

    I hate how 3-D experiences advertise that they are “4-D”. You would need quantum mechanics to create a 4-D experience and even then, there is no telling whether the human eye can see in 4 dimensions. 3-D screens aren’t actually three dimensions, they are the illusion of three dimensions, however, adding smoke, scents, water and etc DOES bring the experience up to 3-D, but you can’t advertise 4-D. (I’m not talking about Universal Studios, I’m just saying, they opened a 4-D cinema out in LA and the name is a misnomer)

  • tigga please

    awesome update!