Derrion: Hello coaster royalty! I have been eager to get back to Universal Studios Hollywood as a guest after my recent impromptu trip to the Universal Orlando Resort for the first time. Universal Studios Orlando was a larger park but I noticed the quality and aesthetics of the buildings here at Universal Studios Hollywood were less outdated and more welcoming. Rather than focus on the positives and negatives of both Universal parks, this update will include recent updates and changes to Universal Studios Hollywood with a hint of contrast between the two Universal parks.
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It was such a beautiful day at Universal Studio Hollywood today. We were extremely excited to visit today because the park offered a “Lights On” Stranger Things maze walk through that was open to daytime guests.
The experience kicked off with a video presentation from the creative director of Halloween Horror Nights, John Murdy. He spoke highly about Stranger Things incorporating many “Easter Eggs” that guest would be able to point out in the maze that came directly from the show. Murdy mentioned that Universal Studios Hollywood recycles many of their props and you can find some props in the maze that date back to the retired E.T. Adventure attraction that was once at Universal Studios Hollywood. The E.T Adventure is still operating at Universal Studios Florida.
This was the first time that Stranger Things was a theme for a haunted maze attraction and that a maze was done completely in one of the sound stages at Universal Studios Hollywood for Halloween Horror Nights. Many movies were filmed in this sound stage that include To Kill a Mocking Bird and The Grinch.
Unfortunately this was the last day for the “Lights On” experience but, Halloween Horror Nights continues to be in full effect until November 4. So get your last minute scares in while you can, I know we will! I just love the Halloween season and I am sad to see it go. Now time to ride some rides!
As mentioned earlier, I recently visited Universal Orlando and while there are many differences I wanted to focus on, I have to discuss Revenge of The Mummy:The Ride. Both rides are manufactured by Premier Rides and its clear that space definitely stops Hollywood’s version from reaching its full potential. The plot of the ride was beyond amazing in Orlando as it incorporated the team members into the story. The immersive experience that Orlando provides with many of the special effects creates one of the best dark ride experiences that keeps guest guessing throughout the entire ride. It easily became one of my favorites and I cannot wait to return to Universal Studios Florida. This being said here in Hollywood the backwards direction of that the trains travel is unbeatable and I will continue to enjoy this experience on my visits to the park.
Another experience that was completely unexpected at Island’s of Adventure in the Orlando resort was Flight of the Hippogriff. It did not offer a single riders line and forced single guest, such as my self to wait in an excruciating line that was longer than the attraction itself. Fortunately at Universal Studios Hollywood there is a single riders line and I was able to easily marathon the attraction 5 times in a row today.
This attraction is very family friendly, but I cannot but help enjoy the feeling of flying around the castle on a hippogriff every time I ride. The castle is always so aesthetically pleasing and I’m excited to see the beginning transformation of the Hogwarts castle for the Christmas season. The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle light show returns and it is truly a spectacular to see.
Down in Hogsmeade, many of the buildings are beginning to showcase the holiday décor . New this year will be nightly snow fall and I am excited for the return of holiday treats that include the fan favorite hot butter beer.
The Trick R Treat scare zone is still in place for the last few nights of Halloween Horror Nights. This section of NY Street will be transformed into a winter wonderland with snow on many of the facade that include the additional Christmas lights that are already added. I cannot help but think that it would be great to have a Christmas in Halloween zone or attraction for the coming holiday season, similar to Haunted Mansion Holiday at Disneyland. I just love Halloween!
The Universal Plaza has construction beginning on the Grinch-mas back drop that will return. When Grinch-mas begins, the plaza will offer holiday treats, performances, photo opportunities with the Grinch himself, and even a tree lighting ceremony of the iconic 65 foot Suessian tree. Grinch-mas this year will start select days in December.
Universal Studios has 3 current construction projects going on in the park and only 1 of the projects have been announced to the public. The other two projects however have been confirmed to include two new attractions for the park.
This could possibly be the rumored “Super Nintendo World” that caused the demolition of three major sound stages on the back lot, with the companies goal of expanding the Lower Lot section of the park. Given the space of the projects we may not be far off from this nudge. It would be great to see a second outdoor rollercoaster of any theme to add to the parks line up.
Thus Jurassic Park: The Ride was not open this time around due to the change. The new Jurassic World attraction will receive updated animatronics and visual effects. Im excited to see the changes in the coming months, and will regularly provide updates on this project.
It would not be a “Hollywood” experience without live filming in the park. This is one of the many strengths of this park because you never know what celebrity sightings you will see on a given visit. After all it is the Entertainment Capital of LA.
The holiday season is here and this will be a wonderful time for the theme park industry. Thank You all for reading, until next time!
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