We’re back with another photo update from Universal Studios Hollywood, this time focusing on the park’s ongoing refurbishment of its entrance plaza, some developments occurring in CityWalk, the Lankershim projects, the ongoing refurbishment occurring at Jurassic Park: The Ride and some projects happening on Universal’s Lower Lot.
This is a jam packed update, so let’s begin.
Park Update Index
» Lankershim Project
» CityWalk Hollywood
» Universal Studio Store / Park Entrance
» New Retail/Dining/Entertainment Complex
» Mel’s Diner
» Jurassic Park: The Ride Refurbishment
» Revenge of the Mummy: The Ride
» NBCUniversal Replacement Project
» Studio Backlot
With the opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter fast approaching, construction crews from Metro have been working to finish the project by the end of April. As you can see in the photos below, elevator shafts and escalator pathways have already been installed at the intersecting ends of the street with Metro passengers directed to the other side of Universal to cross over.
Focusing on the drive up the hill, crews have also created an underground private tunnel that will be used to connect the larger NBCUniversal office building to the adjacent studio. This should help mitigate traffic along the pathway, and allow Universal employees unfettered access to the office building and studio without affecting traffic to the theme park.
Heading over to CityWalk, Blaze Pizza has begun to make its presence known by adding an all-new marquee. No specific opening date is known, but our reader response shows that Blaze was a popular choice to replace Hollywood Pizza & Gelato. On the other half of CityWalk, LudoBird is also showing signs as life as crews continue to deconstruct Jody Maroni’s facade.
Switching to the fountains, crews at WET have been slowly constructing the new water feature in the heart of CityWalk. LED fixtures have been attached, and already it appears that the current installation dwarfs the previous fixtures. On a side note, one has to wonder if we’ll be seeing the fountains move in unison to music. Think World of Color, but on a tinier scale. One can hope!
Moving on over to the entrance plaza, Universal has once again placed half of its entrance behind walls, this time focusing on the back half of the property near the globe. The Billabong fountains have been removed in favor of a wider walking space, while half of the Universal Studios Store still remains walled off as crews refurbish its interior.
Heading closer to the park, Universal has completely brightened up the arch at night with new, incredibly bright LED fixtures. Gone are the dual poles that obstruct the arch, and in their place, carefully placed lights on top of the ticket booths. This new arrangement has a gorgeous effect on the entryway at night, and it’s great to see the arch livened up at night. Oh, in a somewhat small addition, Universal has also added fixtures near the arch’s ticket kiosks. Neat!
Moving inside, Universal continues to work on the new combined retail/dining and entertainment building facing the entrance by adding the final layers of paint onto the structure. With a facade inspired by the streets of Hollywood and Universal’s original office building in California, the new structure – combined with palm trees – matches the pathway leading to Universal Plaza. Construction walls now extend to the digital display board as crews continue to work on the entrance’s flooring.
Looking at the other side of the park, Hollywood and Dine, Hollywood Photoland and the locker station remain closed as construction crews also work to repave and revitalize that side of the park. All in all, there’s a lot of work being done to make Universal Studios Hollywood’s entrance more polished and refined than it was in the past.
Mel’s, on the other hand, has seen little exterior progress.
While crews are certainly working on refurbishing the diner’s interior, the exterior still retains its construction-disheveled state. With the opening of Harry Potter fast approaching, Universal will hopefully reopen this classic diner up soon to take in hungry crowds.
Meanwhile on the Lower Lot, Jurassic Park: The Ride continues to undergo its lengthy refurbishment with crews using water-filled manikins to test the consistency of the splash down track. While the full extent of this refurbishment is not known for the entirety of the ride, it is apparent that Universal is spending a lot of manpower and energy on the splashdown. Here’s hoping the same dedication is given to the rest of the attraction.
Heading deeper, Revenge of the Mummy has seen some construction crews digging up the extended queue. Whatever the project may be, it may be worth watching in the future months.
One thing’s for certain: Halloween Horror Nights will occupy the space for the 2016 season.
With inclement weather now behind us, construction crews have finally revealed the new facade for the NBCUniversal Experience replacement project.
Matching the same decor as the rest of the Lower Lot, this new facade extends upward, slightly obscuring the Transformers mural.
Finally, we’ll be taking one last look at the backlot to complete this update.
What remains of the storage facilities are now gone as Universal continues to revitalize its studio property. Whether or not Universal intendeds to build new soundstages remain to be seen, but we’ll be watching this space closely for any new developments.
That does it for this photo update.
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