It sure was an interesting visit to Universal Studios Hollywood! We’ve got a whole lot of Springfield to look at it. It’s ‘open’ to the public, and looks very nice. In addition, we have a bit of Studio Tour news. Wizarding World of Harry Potter is progressing immensely fast as well, we have some pictures of that. Then there’s Shrek 4D changes, and a whole lot more that we’ll be talking about! Continue reading “Universal Studios Hollywood Update – April 6th 2015”
Jurassic Park- The Ride opened on June 21st 1996 as a major attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood. Totally transforming the Lower Lot. All other rides on the Lower Lot have since been replaced. But Jurassic Park- The Ride is going strong. Perhaps because Jurassic Park- The Ride was a massive project… so massive, that the following 5 facts can clarify that for you! Continue reading “5 Amazing Jurassic Park- The Ride Facts”
Jurassic Park the Ride has finally reopened from its refurbishment, and we have an in-depth overview. Additionally in this update, we have a crazy amount of other Universal Studios Hollywood things to discuss, such as the walls of Springfield coming down, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter construction, the Furious 7 promotion, Studio Tour construction, and more! Continue reading “Universal Studios Hollywood Update – March 25th 2015”
For weeks it was known that Jurassic Park was to reopen on the 14th of March, after a big refurbishment! So we didn’t want to miss out, and headed over. Then things didn’t go as planned, and many angry guests later, Universal Studios still didn’t manage to resolve the issues in time. Nonetheless we’ve got a wonderfully diverse update for you! Continue reading “Universal Studios Hollywood Update – March 14th 2015”
This day was a very interesting day at Universal Studios Hollywood. What started off as quite a sunny day, lead to floods. And not the staged type that guests find on the Studio Tour! In this update, we’ll have some Springfield, Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Jurassic Park refurbishment, DIG, and more! Continue reading “Universal Studios Hollywood Update — March 1st 2015”
“For 50 years, Universal Studios Hollywood has given guests unprecedented access to the world’s most alluring business by inviting them to peek behind the velvet curtain and become part of the exciting movie-making process,” said Larry Kurzweil, President of Universal Studios Hollywood. “We are reimagining over 75 percent of our destination as we build upon our incredible success and expand our vision for the future, and we look forward to entertaining and inspiring guests for generations to come with what will ultimately be an entirely new theme park experience.” Continue reading “Universal Studios Hollywood 2015 – 50 Years of Amazing Entertainment”
Universal Studios Hollywood is ever changing, and here’s the start of our more frequent coverage. This update includes the celebration of the Chinese year of the Ram, Springfield construction, Studio Tour work, Wizarding World of Harry Potter construction, and other things around the park!
Springfield is coming along very nicely, and parts of it will start to open up late March. Springfield will have a wide selection of food options, recreated from the popular Simpsons series. The version found in the Orlando resort was a huge hit with guests, convincing enough to use the -already limited- space at the Hollywood park to recreate Springfield. The old Ben & Jerry’s next to the Special Effects stage is under reconstruction to meet the Springfield needs. Look at that Springfield Skyline, in a couple of months that’ll be in the shadow of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!
Shrek 4D has reopened after the Wizarding World of Harry Potter buildings next to it were finalized. The line now maneuvers under the WWoHP scenery, to an all new switchback line (similar to Studio Tour line) on the back side of the 4D theater. But the Wizarding World buildings sure look spectacular alright! The construction is moving rapidly, there are workers seriously everywhere you look along the Wizarding World lot. Shrek line! I meant… Wizarding World… The huge ride building is enclosed, receiving AC vents. Lots of work going on inside! And then just to imagine how massive Wizarding World will be for Universal Studios Hollywood! Lots of progress on the castle.
Happy Lunar New Year! Today was the first day of Universal’s celebration of the year of the Ram. All of Universal Plaza was beautifully decorated with lanterns and flowers. With an amazing center piece! All chines horoscopes were presented on different lampposts around the plaza. Even the selling of snacks was done in style! Beautiful decorations. I found it really unique. Looked wonderful! There was almost no one as I entered the plaza, at about noon. Later, when I left the plaza, it was definitely a lot busier. Curious George, in style! Even though there weren’t many people out on the plaza, as soon Mandarin speaking Megatron came out, people came running from everywhere. Quite funny, there were many Asian tourist tours at the park today, and as soon as Megatron came out, many of them were surprised to hear Mandarin, and came over. Very exciting to see. And indeed, this ‘event’ speaks to a large Universal audience.
Some interesting Jurassic Park River Adventure details. The first animatronic Dino from the second scene of the ride works again, and better than the last couple of months. The tall animatronic Dino in the first scene has been fixed, its ‘skin’ ripped, and looked horrible. this has been replaced. The car scene is still not functioning, at least the audio that was going with it has been turned off. The last times the audio of a sliding car was on, but the car itself didn’t move an inch. And then I figured something really cool/interesting… Jurassic Park isn’t only home to Dinosaurs, but also to MICE! I was taking shots of the splashdown from this angle, at the ride’s building, when I noticed mice running out of the drop tunnel onto the rocks, some disappeared inside the tunnel again, and I decided to keep watching one of them, that after a certain splashdown got wet, and returned inside the tunnel, in a hole in the wall. I find it hilarious that actual tiny mice live in a ride that is to portray a world of gigantic creatures. How’s that for irony!
The Studio Tour’s new entrance! Looking very nice! The exit and entrance are divided by a huge set of planters, on the other side of the entrance plaza appropriate stylish lights have been added! On board Studio Tour. The Psycho mansion is being reconstructed and receiving some love!
That was it for today! Thanks for reading, we will be posting Universal Studios Hollywood updates more frequently, as our coverage has expanded here as well!
We all know and love that great attraction at Universal Studios that offers a potpourri of just about everything a theme park/studio has to offer known as the Studio Tour. But did you know that the Studio Tour has been bringing thrills to Studio visitors since 1964. Although some the tried and true events that occur on the tour have been around for years, many have not made the cut and been defunct for more modern attractions. The following is a list of said attractions, what they featured, and what they were replaced by.
Rock Slide (1974-1979): The tram would stop by a mountain which would begin to rumble. Suddenly, boulders would begin to fall from the cliff, and the tram would have to dodge the boulders. The finale of this attraction was the tram colliding with the final boulder, which would later be explained to be paper machet as most heavy looking objects in film are. The attraction closed in 1979 to make space for the new state of the art Battle-star Gallactica attraction.
Runaway Train (1974-1985): The tram would cross a train track that riders were told was defunct, however, just as the tram went to cross the tracks, a train would come rushing up and have to brake causing screeching and sparking on the track, just barely stopping before hitting the tram. Tour guides would explain how sparks were artificially created beneath the train and then shot out to create the effect that the train was actually emergently braking. The attraction closed due to technical difficulties, however, the train can still be spotted on the studio tour today.
Avalanche Tunnel (1974-2001): The avalanche tunnel was a rotating tunnel that would simulate an avalanche, complete with destroyed avalanche warning signs and fake snow, as well as sound and temperature affects. This part of the studio tour was re designed to be the Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb in 2001.
Battle-star Gallactica (1979-1992): This attraction was a crown jewel for the park. It featured both audio animatronics and actors head to head in a high tech laser blast off. It was the first ride to utilize audio animatronics outside of a Disney park and was the first dark ride to incorporate live actors. The attraction was shut down in 1992 and replaced with Back to the Future: the Ride.
King Kong Encounter (1986-2008): The tram entered 1976 New York City where King Kong is on the loose and grabs and shakes the tram, which eventually escapes his grasp and gets out of the city safely. The 7-ton, 30-foot-tall (9.1 m) Kong figure was the largest and most complex animatronic figure in existence for many years. The sophistication of the attraction broke new ground and paved the way for today’s themed attractions, including a Universal Studios Florida version. This attraction was completely destroyed by a fire in the early morning of June 1, 2008. As of June 3, 2008, Universal Studios officials stated that the experience would not be rebuilt, and instead was replaced by the new King Kong: 360 3-D attraction, based on the 2005 film.
The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb (2001-2013): Riders are supposed to be taken to see props from the film The Mummy but instead enter the cursed tomb of Imhotep, and are sucked into a viscous sandstorm, before just barely escaping the dead kings wrath. The wash demolished in 2013 and will now be the location for Fast and Furious Supercharged.
Fast and Furious: Extreme Close-Up (2006-2013): Extreme close up showed the magic behing the movement of the cars in Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift, however, Universal was not happy on how this attraction portrayed the series and was closed in 2013. Planning for Supercharged began shortly after.
On our visit to Universal Studios Hollywood last week, we visited for Grinchmas, and decided to put together a quick construction update of everything going on at the park!
Let’s start with the new Lower Lot entrance that has been placed! Notice the walls on the left, they go all the way around the buildings to the special effects theatre.
The entire pathway from Universal Plaza all the way to the Simpsons ride and the Studio Tour is surrounded by construction walls.
Construction on the Wizzarding World of Harry Potter and Springfield continue. Springfield will open in 2015, so will nigh-time Studio Tours and Fast and Furious Supercharged. The WWoHP won’t open ’til 2016.
Fast and Furious Supercharged’s core building has completed construction, they’re now working on the interior.
Last but not least, the House of Horrors is nothing more than a pile of scrap now!
Oh, and speaking of construction, I really hope Jurassic Park the Ride will soon receive some serious love, because it’s literally tearing apart… The animatronics are ripped (exterior material) and slow. Some don’t even work any longer. The car falling into the water no longer works, and in general it’s tearing everywhere. Compared to the other attractions at Universal Studios Hollywood, Jurassic Park looks mal-maintained and outdated. It could be so much better if they just updated the animatronics. I absolutely love this ride, and thus I’d like for it to be around for a while longer, hopefully in a better state.
Grinchmas is back at Universal Studios Hollywood, and we were at the park to see it run in full production!
Let’s start off with Studio Tour. During Grinchmas, the Whoville set on the Studio Tour is filled with characters from ‘How the Grinch stole Christmas’, which perform a small musical-esque act for each tram on the tour.It starts of with singing ‘Trim-up the tree…’ And then the Grinch sneaks in from behind! The actors gather as if they’re afraid of the Grinch. After which they all sing ‘You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch’. And of course, Max the dog makes an appearance!
At the Universal Plaza the tree-decorating/ ornament making seemed very popular! But sadly I saw no-one writing Letters to the Grinch. Which might have been due to the fact that I didn’t step by this side of the plaza till about 8 o’clock. Throughout the day, and as well at night, the meet ‘n greet with the Grinch was very popular. The line seemed filled all day long. The Grinch himself! It was probably the most popular aspect of Grinchmas, understandably.
There’s a lot more info on the activities at Universal Plaza for Grinchmas in our Whobilation post here.
Then it was time for the Tree Lighting! Of course the Grinch was a great part of the ceremony! Ahh, look at the tree lighting up! It’s probably still the most impressive Christmas Tree at any Holiday event! And it snowed, of course!
I always very much enjoy the tree lighting performance, I highly advice you all to check it out, a great atmosphere and entertainment! There’s a tree-lighting every half hour till closing, starting at 5 PM.
Let’s take a look around the park at some Holiday decorations! Universal Plaza’s entrance looked beautiful! The Upper Lot NY buildings were wonderfully decorated! The Studio Tours line-covers were decked in decorations and lights as well! We’re loving the wreath on the Minion Mayhem entrance! Most trees on the upper lot were decked in lights!The decorations throughout the streets really added to the atmosphere of Grinchmas, the fake snow on the buildings is awesome! Some more lights 😀 Look at the immensity of the theming!
We have a lot more pictures of the decorations for Grinchmas in our Whobilation post HERE, which we advise you check out! We simply discussed the event at the time of being open to the public in this post.
A quick Universal Construction Update will follow within the next couple of days, so stay tuned! Check out the Six Flags Magic Mountain Holiday in the Park report here; Six Flags Discovery Kingdom Holiday in the Park report here; and Knott’s Merry Farm report here!
Today, the 4th of December 2014, Universal Studios Hollywood kicked off Grinchmas with their annual Whobilation! The park hosted a media/ annual pass-holder tree lighting, and a preview event! The Whobilation honored a couple of celebrities as well this year!
Before we get to the actual ceremony, let’s take a quick look at some holiday decorations around City Walk.
The front plaza outside the park is very nicely decorated!
Of course at night as well!
Inside the park it’s great looking. It’s not overdone, but it’s there. Perfect. Oh LOOK! It’s the old House of Horrors being destroyed. How ‘horrifying’… 😀
Let’s move on to the actual Whobilation. Always liked this tree, one way or the other I’m fascinated by it, don’t ask me why. The celebration started off with 2 songs and dances by the whoville citizens, and then the Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti came on stage to talk about Grinchmas and the tourism in Los Angeles. He spoke in both English and Spanish for the different audiences of the press and celebration. Stating that Universal Studios Hollywood is a great tourist attraction for LA, and that thanks to USH, LA can count on passing the 50 million visitors a year by 2020. He also presented a poem, related to Grinchmas. And then the character whom the event is based of showed up… the Grinch! Then celebrities Alexa PenaVega, Carlos PenaVega, and Yvette Nicole Brown joined the mayor and whoville characters to eventually light the tree! (Here’s some pictures of them doing the interviews, as my picture of them on stage is blurred). And then there was the tree lighting… BOOM! Brighter than bright. Best of all, they had some awesome fireworks for this lighting!
The tree lighting is held at the Universal Plaza each night of Grinchmas. I’m loving the decorations! Here’s the Trim up the Tree Lot, where guests design their own ornaments, after which they can use them to decorate the trees at the plaza, or take them home as a souvenir.
Some Whoville characters interacting with the crowds! Mainly children. The traditional Cookie Decorating station is back, next to Who-Bilicious Treats, where they sell more pastries. Something really awesome is the Whoville Post Office. Where, as part of the Grow Your Heart 3 Sizes campaign, guests (children) send in cards to the Grinch with good deeds and ideas. In return, the Random House Children’s Books publishing company will pay it forward by donating a book to a child in need, on the behalf of the sender! The funky Whoville police car in which the Grinch arrived! Here’s where guests will be taking pictures with the Grinch!
The good ol’ photo op taxi is back! And the main characters of the event, in all happiness, the Grinch and Max the dog! Some more cool patterns on the tree!
Around Universal Plaza it looks very neat as well! Look at that cool French street!
As you enter and exit Universal Studios Hollywood this Holiday season, you’ll be greeted by the statues. Grinchmas style of course!One last good-bye to that amazing looking entrance/exit…
Make sure to check out Grinchmas this year! It’s a great event, at a great place. Universal Studios Hollywood!
UNIVERSAL CITY, Ca., ORLANDO, Fla., (July 14, 2014) – From cult horror film to breakthrough television series on El Rey Network, “From Dusk Till Dawn” will add 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<http://www.halloweenhorrornights.com/hollywood> and Universal Orlando Resort<http://www.halloweenhorrornights.com/orlando/index.html?ref=>, 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.
“Universal Studios’ ‘Halloween Horror Nights’ event is the ideal platform to take fans of ‘From Dusk Till Dawn’ to literally experience the terror of stepping into the show,” said Robert Rodriguez. “It has been an incredible opportunity to work closely with the Creative teams at both Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort to bring this maze to life with such detail and authenticity. This maze will capture the visceral excitement and thrills of the series, and I can’t wait to experience it myself.”
A versatile and award-winning filmmaker, Robert Rodriguez is renowned for directing a variety of successful and groundbreaking film sagas, including such cult horror classics as Planet Terror, Machete, Grindhouse and From Dusk Till Dawn, upon which El Rey Network’s hit television show, “From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series” is based. Rodriguez is also the Founder & Chairman of El Rey Network, a 24-hour, general entertainment English-language cable channel which debuted in the U.S. in December 2013.
“Robert Rodriguez’ genius in pushing the boundaries of the horror genre is a perfect pairing for ‘Halloween Horror Nights’ as we continue to intensify our event with the most credible horror voices within the entertainment industry,” said John Murdy, Creative Director for Universal Studios Hollywood and Executive Producer of “Halloween Horror Nights.” “This radical new maze will give fans of ‘From Dusk Till Dawn’ an unprecedented opportunity to experience the show’s Mesoamerican mythology and will come to life with the same attention to detail and production value that Robert’s work is known for.”
“Robert Rodriguez’s vision of ‘From Dusk Till Dawn’ has translated so well into a maze experience,” said Michael Aiello, Director of Entertainment – Creative Development, Universal Orlando Resort. “We will feature the over-the-top gore that the show does so well and our guests will come face-to-face with Robert’s unique and wickedly cool take on the vampire mythos that is completely authentic to the show. From the Nightclub interiors to the inner sanctum of its tombs, these bloodthirsty beasts will be everywhere and have a thirst that can’t be quenched.”
Universal Studios’ “Halloween Horror Nights” events have a more than 20-year history of creating incredibly entertaining, horrifying Halloween experiences that are consistently rated the nation’s best. The events on each coast feature highly-themed, disturbingly real, haunted mazes based on everything from films to nightmares – and streets filled with hundreds of specially trained “scareactors.” In addition to the “From Dusk Till Dawn” maze, other announced mazes include, “The Walking Dead: The End of the Line.”
This week, while at Universal Studios Hollywood, we finally had a chance to check out it’s newest attraction; Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem! The ride and its new designated themed area look wonderful, especially since last time we visited the park it was still in an earlier stage of construction.
Riders will enter the brand new attraction through Gru’s house after they approached the ride through either ‘little England’, or ‘little France’. After entering the house, Gate-A riders will be sent up to the boarding level, where they receive their 3D ‘minion’ glasses. Riders that do not use Gate-A passes will exit Gru’s house on the left, merging into the switchbacks. Most of the switchbacks are covered and filled with many interactive TVs, though the overflow switchbacks (located off to the side off Stage 22, behind the ride) do not have shade or TVs.
Once riders have received their minion goggles, they will be sent to either pre-show room. This is different from Orlando, as the new Hollywood version features 2 theaters. The rooms where guests board feature 6 rows, in which the crowds will be divided equally. In the rooms, which are themed to living rooms, riders will watch 3 screens on which the Minions, Gru, and his three daughters give instructions and entertain the crowd.
The doors of the living room will open, and guests are now moving on to the prep-lab pre-show, where Gru speaks to the guests, before they’ll enter the real ‘lab’, where the guests will be ‘turned into minions.’ In the prep-lab, guests will experience antics such as being scanned by high-density lasers, and shot by a ‘fart-gun’, as featured in the film. Through a series of events, and a humorous approach, riders will find out that Gru’s daughters will be training them how to be minions.
Once riders enter the actual theater, they will take place in one of the several rows of seats, that match their boarding rows from the first pre-show. Once the attendants lower the lapbars, riders are required to start wearing their 3D ‘goggles’, and the ride can begin!
The ride begins with riders with one row of riders being put on screen, while the minion transformation gun is shot at all riders in the theater. Once riders are shot, the row on screen shows all riders being changed into minions, as well as does a monitor on each row. Riders, now as minions, are dropped into a rigorous training course in which they must pass obstacles, such as dodging lasers, jumping over a prickly cactus, and stopping on cue to avoid being hit by a giant boxing glove. Unfortunately, through a series of mishaps, the riders end up on Gru’s restricted floor, where he is clearly testing large explosives, and then into the anti gravity recycling room. Before riders and Gru’s three daughters are crushed to death, the anti gravity room is turned off by Gru, and he takes everyone to the girls adoption anniversary party. This is set up to be an elaborate theme park like room, where riders experience some rides, before being hit by accident by the transformation gun again and being turned back into humans. The ride ends and riders enter the post show, a room surrounded by screens, one showing a minion DJ, and the others showing the riders on screen partying with minions.
For what may be considered a ride for younger audience, this ride is surprising forceful and a must ride for all visitors looking for a good time. Looking like an obvious family ride, we were very surprised with the ride. It’s a great ride for people of all ages, and it’s one of the very few rides in the world where the pre- and post- shows really match the ride-experience, in a fun and interesting way.
The lines for Minion Mayhem are likely to get long, but the waits are totally worth it. The line moves at an incredible pace, and due to the double theater, guests will find themselves walking through the many switchbacks rather than standing still. We were required to wait through all covered switchbacks, and the wait-time was indicated to be 55 minutes. But, due to the quick boarding we got through the line in a mere 30 minutes. Also, there are plenty of drinking fountains throughout the line.
Overall, the new Minion Mayhem is a great ride experience, and we advise everyone that visits Universal Studios Hollywood to check it out during their next visit! Stay tuned for our Super Silly Fun Land article, reviewing the other side of this brand new area and ride!
Next to the awesome new Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem ride, the movie famous Super Silly Fun Land can be found!
In Super Silly Fun Land, all riders that just exited the Minion Mayhem ride will walk into the new area, which includes a ride similar to Dumbo at Disney, a water playing area, Gru’s Cafe, and several stores and games.
The Silly Swirly ride is located in the back of the area, but is actually a really nice small ride. It’s themed particularly well, and is fun for the whole family!
This is the store through which Minion Mayhem riders exit, and enter Super Silly Fun Land
Here’s some games, adding to the ‘boardwalk’ feel. A silly boardwalk. ;D
And now a quick Springfield picture report, Springfield that will include many new stores and restaurants next season now has added some stands and games to its themed area. Let’s see what kinds of improvements have been made sofar! (for the Springfield/WWoHP Construction update, click here).
Wizarding World of Harry Potter is coming to Universal Studios Hollywood as many of you know, and the Wizarding construction, together with the Springfield construction is going vertical! See all the construction pics we collected here, after a quick bit of WWoHP and Springfield info; Inspired by the magical world created by J.K. Rowling and brought to life in the Warner Bros. films, “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” at Universal Studios Hollywood will be a fully immersive land designed for the entire family that brings the Harry Potter fiction and films to life with impeccable detail and authenticity. Similar to the dynamic Universal Orlando Resort themed land that opened in 2010, the Hollywood experience will be faithful to the visual landscape of the fiction and films, including Hogwarts castle that will serve as the iconic focal point of the impressively themed environment. “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” is a collaboration between J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros. Entertainment and Universal Parks and Resorts.
Springfield (2015); The former layout of the park will become unrecognizable when “Springfield” hometown of America’s favorite family, The Simpsons, breathes new life to the sprawling and vibrant space surrounding “The Simpsons Ride.” “Springfield” will capture the spirit of the town and engage visitors and fans of the show in the intensely absorbing and colorful world made famous throughout the series’ 25 seasons.
“Springfield” is being designed to make guests feel as if they are being propelled through their television sets into the accurately depicted city, complete with signature eateries from Krusty Burger to Luigi’s Pizza and Phineas Q. Butterfat’s 5600 Flavors Ice Cream Parlor to iconic watering holes like Moe’s Tavern and Duff’s Brewery.
Here’s all the construction pictures;
More current Springfield improvements will be published with our Super Silly Fun Land post soon!