We’re back with another photo update from Universal Studios Hollywood, this time focusing on several ongoing demolitions on the property, some impending openings at CityWalk, Universal’s StarWay expansion, backlot work and more.
Let’s get started.
Park Update Index
For the most part, construction on Universal’s Lankershim entrance is complete. That being said, the Sheraton Universal has yet to receive its permanent sign, with the on-site hotel still relying on a temporary vinyl sign. Given how much time has passed, one has to wonder whether or not the Sheraton will ever have a permanent sign in place before the start of the new year.
Of course, for those of you following our ongoing minion coverage, crews have finally completed construction of a large minion on top of Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem’s show building. The new sign features a three-dimensional minion, though the back of the sign is unthemed and painted blue to match the rest of the building. If you dare walk up Universal’s Lankershim entrance, you’ll have the opportunity to have your picture taken next to the towering figure.
As we approach the holiday season, CityWalk Hollywood has been dressed with holiday decor. The entertainment and shopping district now features a Santa photo opportunity, holiday lighting and a large tree in preparation for Christmas.
In the meantime, crews continue to work feverishly on Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville’s, which is expected to open soon after the new year. Universal has begun posting job openings for the restaurant and bar, suggesting an impending opening once construction crews finish refurnishing the former home of Jillian’s Hi-Life.
Work on Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt and Voodoo Doughnut, however, has seemingly stalled, with no visible work occurring on both exteriors.
In happier news, Universal Cinema has officially opened, though construction continues on the left hand side of the building as construction crews remove AMC’s original branding. Crews are also installing light fixtures in place of the popcorn LED lights which used to hang above the theater’s entrance.
Meanwhile, construction crews have constructed what appears to be a storage area behind the CityWalk Universal Studio Store. The structure has been themed to match the back of the store, complete with posters and lighting fixtures.
With Cartooniversal demolished, construction crews continue to work on the retail store’s former plot of land and the surrounding area. The store will be soon replaced by a two-story multi-use building featuring a plethora of guest amenities and retail space. But, in the meantime, guests can catch a unique behind-the-scenes glimpse of WaterWorld and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
As we reported earlier this month, the famed Universal StarWay will be receiving a significant expansion in the coming months. Universal will be adding a fourth row of escalators to the continuous walkway from the Lower Lot to the Upper Lot in a preemptive move that will prepare the Lower Lot for additional expansion. Construction walls have already lined the side of the StarWay escalators, preventing guests from overlooking the backlot. In addition, construction crews have also begun work underneath the first, second and third banks of StarWay escalators.
While construction takes place, work on the StarWay has impacted the neighboring Mummy Treats on the Lower Lot. Crews have begun dismantling the structure to prepare for the StarWay’s wider footprint.
With Mummy Treats and the adjacent lockers now closed for the StarWay expansion, crews have begun the careful process of dismantling the structure without disrupting Revenge of the Mummy. Construction walls now surround the Revenge of the Mummy locker and snack room, with guests now being rerouted around the building to accommodate ongoing construction.
In the meantime, Universal has constructed a tent housing temporary lockers in the Revenge of the Mummy queue.
While Universal’s two newest soundstages are now open to production, Universal has begun demolishing Building 3213 and Soundstage 31 on the Universal backlot. The demolition will continue on through December and into January as construction crews attempt to minimize impact on surrounding production. Soon after, crews will likely begin demolition on Soundstage 29 given its close proximity to Soundstage 31.
Finally, Jurassic Park: The Ride and the Special Effects Show both underwent a brief refurbishment earlier last week as Universal gears up for the busy holiday season. Both attractions remain largely the same, and we didn’t spot any major changes to both the ride and the show. If you’re curious to see Jurassic Park’s current state, you can watch a complete ride-through video of Jurassic Park on our Facebook page.
That does it for this update, so be sure to stick with Inside Universal for the latest developments on these stories and more originating from Universal Studios Hollywood.