November 4, 2014 – This year’s Halloween Horror Nights event has just passed, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the park will be slowing down anytime soon.
As you’re about to see, Universal is continuing its ambitious efforts to completely revitalize the Upper Lot. With the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Springfield on its plate (coupled with the up-and-coming Grinchmas holiday event), Universal has continued to add walls in and around the Upper Lot – practically blocking off the entrance to both the Studio Tour and the Lower Lot. Perhaps more surprisingly, Universal is also working on a few smaller infrastructure developments in the park as well – most notably to the entrance of the StarWay and the trash compactor that sits adjacent to the Simpsons Ride building.
We have a fairly comprehensive photo update in store, so let’s get started.
As the NBCUniversal Evolution Plan notes in its description of P-3, Universal’s latest parking structure will to CityWalk by way of pedestrian bridge.
In similar fashion, Universal should also begin work on P-4 (located near the entrance of the park) and P-9 (located on a grassy field right next to P-3) in the coming months, dramatically expanding Universal’s current parking infrastructure. In the interim however, heavy construction has resulted in a complicated parking system that remains difficult for guests (and annual pass holders!) to navigate – a necessary evil while work continues.
Judging by the progress thus far, it looks like P-3’s foundations are already in place with the first floor of the parking structure beginning to take shape.
Awkward detour notwithstanding, long-time Curious George patrons (the path on the left) probably know that the parking structure’s parking booths are now located on the first floor of the lot. For those that bypass the lot, they are then directed to either Frankenstein Parking or Jurassic Parking.
The beginning stages of Universal’s latest parking pedestrian bridge, which will connect to the lot to the CityWalk complex
Meanwhile, Universal’s up-and-coming 500-room hotel has been picking up steam, with Lankershim Boulevard receiving the brunt of the construction.
Not only has Universal closed off the pedestrian side leading to 10 Universal City Plaza (constructing a temporary walkway in its place), but they’ve also fenced off both sides of the road in what appears to be a lane-widening project. The former site of Fung Lum’s (and the current site of the 500-room hotel) has also been receiving some rather substantial work, as we’ll note in a few…
Looking at the Evolution Plan, Universal should be constructing a new hotel (and its parking structure) on this plot of land.
The old Lankershim sidewalk has been demolished, and it looks like Universal is building a retaining wall in its place.
Fast and Furious: Supercharged – on the other hand – hasn’t seen much exterior work as the bulk of the construction resides inside the massive show buildings. On an interesting note, Inside Universal reader Kolby did see some internal track located inside the building. Will we be seeing some mechanical effects? I guess we’ll have to wait and see….
@insideuniversal track on the side of the road in the building. Looked like it could be for a kuka.
— Kolby Konnection (@kolbykonnection) November 2, 2014
In the meantime, if you want an idea of what we expect, be sure to read our Fast and Furious predictions article for what this tour animation could entail.
Universal’s largest expansion to date continues to be the focal point of Universal’s recent redevelopment efforts on the Upper Lot.
If you look closely, you can begin to see some resemblance between Hollywood’s current structures and the existing Wizarding World installations in both Florida and especially Japan.
Pre-made set pieces have been placed in the parking lot adjacent to the Curious George parking structure.
A look at the massive Forbidden Journey show building from its side. Will Hogwarts Castle extend to the side? All indicators point to a resounding no, but one can wish right?
Hogsmeade’s facade, from the perspective of Universal Plaza and Shrek 4D, is beginning to take a familiar form.
Are you ready to buy a wand yet? They’re 50 bucks a piece…
More construction walls have littered the Upper Lot – this time guiding guests to the Lower Lot and Studio Tour. Interestingly enough, the wall appears to border next to Pink’s Hotdogs and Production Central.
The pathway from Universal’s Animal Actors to the Special Effects Stage has also been walled off with a detour leading to WaterWorld and Shrek 4D.
A combination shot of Springfield in the forefront and Hogsmeade in the distance. Notice anything odd about the chimney stacks?
Another look at the Forbidden Journey show building from the vantage point of the Studio Tour bridge.
Work continues on the elaborate Springfield foot court as Universal continues to implement its Simpsons expansion plan. A quick look at Universal’s concept art gives us a very good idea of what to expect come Spring 2015.
Finally, we’re going to be ending this update with an overview of some of the smaller projects currently taking place at Universal.
A sizable portion of Universal’s Animal Actor’s secondary exit has been walled off as crews appear to repave the surrounding road.
From the perspective of Universal Plaza, guests now face a walled off section of Production Central – with the left pathway leading to Pink’s Hotdogs and the right leading the Studio Tour, Simpsons Plaza and the Lower Lot. Production Central, on the other hand, has been closed while the walls are in place.
The Simpsons trash compactor looks to be…compacting? Either way, it’s already two stories high.
Some minor infrastructure work is occurring right next to the Studio Tour bridge.
…and in a refreshing change, the StarWay entrance has now been refreshed to reflect its pathway to the Lower Lot. Hopefully this will resolve some of the most frequently asked questions in the park.
Jon Fu is the editor-in-chief of Inside Universal.
Jon originally founded InsideUniversal.net in 2006 as a summer hobby aimed at providing families and fans a resource for all things “Universal Studios Hollywood.” Since then, the website has taken him throughout the United States and around the world – including to places like Universal Orlando Resort, Universal Studios Japan and Universal Studios Singapore.
Jon currently resides in Santa Cruz, California. You may reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.