March 12, 2013 – Spring changes are here!
As everyone continues to adjust to the time change, Universal Studios Hollywood is still making changes of its own. Following the long awaited official confirmation of Despicable Me and the pending completion of the Universal Plaza area, two Inside Universal members – Bruce and myself (Miss B) – have made trips to the park within the last 3 days. In addition to updates on the status of the Terminator demolition and mild construction on the backlot, we turned our cameras this week to Jurassic Park and a few other little details. Read on for a closer look!
Tour groups and field trips make up most of the visitors to the park right during the week, while passholders are showing in droves on the weekends. Even early in the day, there’s a bit of a crowd at the Universal globe out front. Is there really going to be a hotel behind this park icon in the future like the evolution plan would have us believe?
A bit more of a crowd developing at the main gates. With the kind of foot traffic that a hotel close by would bring, this could be the lightest crowd we would see in the front gates in the future.
Studio first, theme park second – still holds true! A busy filming schedule on the backlot for a Saturday for sure.
Another poster in the Universal 100 series, this time featuring Jaws. Universal seems intent on carrying on the 100th anniversary celebration a bit longer, as evidenced by the constant mentions of it throughout the park. Hopefully we continue to see more of those wonderful posters!
And here we get to the sad part – the deconstruction of Terminator 2:3D in high gear. Since the time of this photo on the 9th, the metal roofing over the extended queue featured on the left hand side has been completely removed.
A closer look at the roofing that was removed recently. Also note the Rowan Atkinson photo op in the lower right corner. The themed work walls are here to stay a good while it would seem.
We can vaguely see under the tarps covering the majority of the removed portions of wall and roof in a few pictures, such as this one. The tarps were put into place to protect the building from damage in the rainy and windy weather we had a few weeks ago, and continue to keep the skeletal structure of the gutted extended queue areas and former snack shack / Cyber Grill areas safe from the high winds that are known to blow through sometimes.
This was an interesting thing we noticed – a small hole in the wall near the top. No idea what this could be for. Ventilation? Getting supplies in and out to a certain position on a catwalk? If you have an idea, please let us know!
A close up of the work being done above the food-related areas of the building.In the top right, we see the last remains of the backlit Terminator 2:3D sign.
A bit of the structure is peeking through here, above the former entrance to the Cyber Grill. Still too early to tell how this building will be shaped – literally and figuratively – in the end.
The chains holding this tarp in place clearly didn’t do their job! They’ve stripped this part of the wall down to the insulation, suggesting that this portion of the building will either be totally removed, or re-built and re-insulted in another manner.
The lights and nails that once held the lettering of the sign still remain on the building. Fitting in a way that the skeletal sign currently resembles the building it advertised!
Despite the rather strange pairing of Fast and the Furious cars with the themed walls in this area of the park, the photo ops seem very popular, as you can see.
The item sticking out over the top of the dumpster here has us puzzled. Are they some sort of remains from the gift shop decor? They look strangely familiar…
The crane and lifts are still here on the side of the building as the parking structure is worked on along with the surface structures.
When we look closer, we can also see a ramp leading from the lift on the edge of the roof, as well as another dumpster off in the distance. They must be gutting out everything to need so many containers up here!
On the other side of the upper lot, the Studio Tour boasts a short wait time, and something I never noticed before – a star on the top left of the sign that says “World Famous” across the middle.
Construction to expand the bathrooms near the tour entrance continues – much to the dismay of people who had to go down to the tour bathrooms or across to the Animal Actors bathrooms.
Look at the amount of rubble and rock tossed over here – what kind of construction is all that debris coming from?
Speaking of construction – its still happening on the backlot too! This is rumored to be related to Potter, specifically related to plumbing and electricity, which will both need to be increased to this side of the park for Wizarding World before principle construction begins.
The trenches that these plates are covering must be fairly deep – the tire tracks here seem to indicate that heavy machinery was used to dig them out. Perhaps for pipe laying?
The machinery behind the truck in this photo adds a bit to that deep trench theory. Definitely some heavy lifting work going on here!
More plating was being laid out of the camera’s range, so this particular project is going further into the hillside than we can see. We’ll continue to check back on this area.
The weather is finally calm again, and you can really see the way that the theme park – especially on the lower lot – is carefully fitted together in the relatively small space. Plus it’s a great view!
As we come closer to April, the park has ramped up advertising for Jurassic Park 3D, which hits theaters on April 5th for a week long engagement. These banners are featured along the Starway.
And this billboard on the side of the Mummy building is visible from the Starway as well. Expect more mentions of it throughout the park as the day draws nearer.
And while we’re talking about Jurassic Park – here’s a little photo feature on the River Adventure with the best shots from today’s ride through! Starting with this shot of the opening gates. From here you can see the enclosure around the first ultrasaur, which was being re-skinned again.
A closer look at the enclosure, which thankfully managed to hide the skinless dinosaur – at least for the most part.
This sign is one of three on the enclosure fence. It’s nice to see USH at least trying to keep some kind of theme going even with a dinosaur down. It helps riders stay immersed in the story of the ride.
The dancing large stegosaurus looks pretty happy today!
The real emergency exit and employee pathway is somewhat hidden here in the fake backstage rock structure scene. Forced perspective makes the top part of it look larger than it really is.
The pump station entrance looks a little strange in reverse – especially with a dilo still up and looking around!
A photo inside the pump station, showing a bit more of the themed details in the ride, such as the biohazard warning sign and the labeled chemical pipes.
The surfing raptor as I like to call him, still dropping in on every raft.
I think this is the closest I want to get to these teeth for awhile…
The abandoned work station just before the final drop. Again, the details in this ride are really nice if you get the chance to see more of them.
Back safely on the upper lot, we spotted this new photo op in place of Biff’s car near Mel’s. Where did that car get off to anyway…?
After a long day, it seems some of our members found a good way to unwind! And got some pretty neat drinking glasses out of the deal too.
That’s all for these two trips, but the month is barely half over, so stay tuned for more updates as they come in! If you would like to contribute photos to one of our reports, please contact us!
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Photos and captions by Adriana Morgan. Additional photos provided by Bruce Babcock – thanks Bruce!