June 7, 2013 – We’re back with a new photo update from the Entertainment Capital of L.A. – this time from one of our own! Chris was in the park today to check on the progress of the construction projects consuming Universal Studios Hollywood right now.
Without further ado, let’s dive into the very interesting developments at the site of Despicable Me and the ever-evolving Universal Plaza.
The day begins! Moderate crowds starting to become the norm as the area schools let out.
The new price increases are already up. They wasted no time changing the signs around. Still, with only a 4$ price increase on one day admission, and the prevalence of Buy A Day, Get A Year, 84$ is a good value for an entire year compared to other vacation and entertainment destinations.
A new podium near the main entrance and a gated off entrance to the VIP Experience Lounge. An attempt to make it look more intriguing and exclusive perhaps?
Minions EVERYWHERE! And fluffy unicorns galore. Despicable Me is certainly making its presence known around the park. They even have the cookies that the girls were selling in the film available. Love it or hate it, Despicable Me spawned a merchandise powerhouse.
Fairly light crowd up near the entrance – and a huge metal structure in the distance! Universal Plaza is taking shape, enough so that you can see it almost from the moment you enter the park.
A closer look. We’re still leaning towards this being one of the dining options taking shape, but it’s still a bit too early to tell for certain.
From the start of Baker Street, you can see a smaller wooden structure taking shape near Mel’s Diner, which WAS opened last weekend, but not open today. Wondering if Mel’s will end up being a weekend-only option…
So from here, the wooden structure looks like a small quick-dining option could be going in. Or, it could be a small shop. It could be anything at this point. But let’s take a look at a few other features in here.
What’s with the center of the Plaza? Could this be the water play area we’ve been speculating about? Either that or they’re summoning something and we’re gonna need a bigger plaza…
The metal structure could also very well be the rumored stage. Each time we get an update on it, it looks like it’s getting bigger. The next few weeks will be very telling if it keeps developing at this rate.
Off down Baker Street to check on the progress at the site of an old friend…
Now THIS is the first real sign of facade work we’ve seen in a good while. Note the triangular shaped points at the top of the mesh. These heavily resemble the houses of Gru’s neighbors in the film Despicable Me. This could be a clear sign of a very detailed facade soon to come.
Meanwhile on the other side of the facade, nothing much has changed. But the scaffolding is a sure sign that something is still going on in that area, and will continue on for awhile.
And in true Hollywood fashion, the hottest stars pose with the hottest cars as Vin Diesel came to – oh. Nevermind. It’s just a figure created by the famous Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum that the park has on display with other vehicles from Fast and the Furious 6. It’s a nice touch for fans of the franchise to enjoy and a distraction from all the construction work in the area.
A look at the Universal Plaza progress from the Mel’s side of things. They are definitely not afraid of building upwards for this.
Slight road and concrete work going on near Animal Actors and Special Effect Stages. Still unsure of what it’s for, but in the case of Animal Actors, it’s likely just a light refurbishment in preparation for summer.
Again, note how high this metal structure is. This spot is going to be quite large when completed.
A few of the good folks working on this project hard at work. And a ridiculous amount of dirt as far as the eye can see. I personally am loving the way that the design is already looking.
Disney has the backside of water, and we have the backside of…dirt. The poles and such here are interesting. Will there be some kind of shaded walkway going around the plaza?
This view from a possible pathway into the Plaza gives a great sense of the scope of it. It’s much more elaborate than we first thought, and I think the space is bigger than we thought too.
The workers are even at it during the day now, not just after park hours. They must really be putting the jets on now to finish it during the summer.
Casual reminder that Despicable Me 2 is coming. In case you forgot, Universal was very sure to make it very, very obvious for you.
The restrooms near the tour entrance are still undergoing their expansion. Despite rumors of other things happening here, it’s really just a bathroom expansion.
It looks like they’re strengthening or putting in a foundation for something over here, possibly water related as it looks like piping could be fitted into those grooves. There’s been a lot of work in the hillside areas of the backlot these past few months.
Did we mention there’s a lot of dirt in the park right now?
The new talking Transformers interactions are a hit with fans. The voice actors and stilt walkers are doing a beautiful job of working together, though the stilt walkers are getting worked over twice as hard now in terms of gesturing and directing their focus.
This shot shows a bit more of the permanent background for photos – which also hides the voice actor somewhere in its midst.
Also featured in the photo op spot now is one of the vehicles from the movies. This is near the entrance to the ride.
And lastly, a look at what will soon be a parking expansion to help ease the insane parking situations that arise in summer and fall during Horror Nights. It likely won’t be finished for summer, but will be completed by the time HHN rolls around.
That wraps up this update. Universal Plaza continues in its ever-changing state, and Despicable Me looks to be developing quite nicely. For once, it looks like Hollywood might get the better facade.
Anyhow, be sure to check us out at USHForums.com, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. We love hearing from you, so be sure to continue the conversation in the comments below. Thanks for reading, and we’ll see you in the next update.
Photos by Chris Lord. Captions by Adriana Morgan.