The rumors always seem to fly fast here in Hollywood. As usual, we’ve gathered up some of the biggest things getting talked about right now. Here’s the latest buzz on rumors from the park.
Also rumored to be touched up is the queue. Though we’re not sure if it will be the front or the extended queue, sources say that one of the queues is also to be touched up in an effort to be more welcoming to guests and to help with the flow of the crowds in busy times for the park. We think this rumor, while still quite vague, has potential due to the frequent bottle-necking of crowds in this narrow corridor area, especially in the summer. This isn’t the only rumor to deal with crowd control issues however…
As the cleanup from Grinchmas continues, the arena space for the snow play and tree lighting – formerly the arena area for the classic Wild Wild Wild West Stunt Show – is being completely flattened and cleared out. Rumors currently point to this area being used in the long run as the site of a new attraction or show, while in the short run being used as a sort of picnic / park area. Since this area is so close to the New York Street, many believe that this space will be Central Park themed.
This seems fairly likely currently, as we get ready for the Spring Break mini-peak season and larger crowds. This area in the upper lot is always a nightmare in terms of traffic control, so a wide open space is a good idea to keep crowds moving. This also leaves the area ready to build on in the future, as they work clearing costs into the Grinchmas demolition budget. We’ll have more information on this rumor within the next few weeks.
With the closure of T2:3D, the water play area Coke Soak is also being removed. Currently on the map for the park is the Fast and the Furious Zone, featuring cars from the films. Following the removal of the Coke Soak, the Fast and the Furious Zone is scheduled to remain through June, according to the current printing of the park map.
With Despicable Me coming to the park with what we believe is a Summer 2013 target date, Coke Soak is also rumored to become Despicable Me themed. The two rumors currently out are that it will become a playground area for children, or a carnival game area similar to the amusement park that the Gru and the girls visited in the film. Though we’re a bit divided on which one is more likely, we believe that it is also possible that they will combine both the carnival games and a play area. The carnival game move seems highly likely due to the current removal of half of the Flinstones Rock Vegas Casino Games in the Wild West Area. (We also feel that the games themselves are due for a re-theme, as the movie they were based on dates back to 1997.)
Following the current refurbishment of the Palace Theatre shop next door, it is rumored that Mel’s Diner will also undergo a closure and refurbishment period in the near future. This could be coming within the next few weeks in an effort to touch up that area of the park following the closure of Terminator, to encourage guests to still walk through that side and visit the Fast and the Furious Zone coming in.
This rumor is one that’s been bothering me for a few days now, so I’ve saved it for last in what I like to call Rumor Shushing. This is not to completely discredit the rumor, but rather to put a simmer on it with a quick look at why it isn’t likely.
Rumors have been going around that Universal is in talks or has already taken the rights to have Lord of the Rings characters and themes in their parks around the world. While this is possible for Universal Studios Orlando, which has entire park areas that they could replace, such as Lost Continent or Toon Lagoon, it just isn’t feasible for Hollywood.
Hollywood simply does not have the space – despite what management may say – or the resources to handle any more major fantasy franchises (Potter we’re looking at you!) in this tiny park. With Potter construction barely in the pipe-laying stages, the earliest we could even expect to see anything LOTR related would be 2017. At this point, it seems unlikely and near impossible for Hollywood to even dream of taking on anything Tolkien. For Orlando, there is still a possibility, but it still seems that they would not want LOTR to compete with Wizarding World on any level, as Harry Potter is a more marketable franchise in terms of merchandise alone.
For this Tolkien fan, as interesting as it would be to see a theme park take on the lush world of Middle Earth, it just doesn’t seem likely for us here in California.
That’s it for this month’s roundup! As work begins on Despicable Me and other construction begins around the park, we’ll have a more in-depth look at some of these rumors, and hopefully more news on upcoming refurbishments and closures. Thanks for reading, and feel free to contact us on Facebook or via email with your questions, comments, or rumors.
About the Author: Adriana Morgan
Adriana Morgan – also known by her internet handle Miss Betty Juice – is a contributing editor and one of the field reporters for Inside Universal.
Adriana made her first trip to Universal in 1995 during Nickelodeon’s Big Help-A-Thon, and was hooked from day one. Since that first trip, her passion for films and for Universal Studios has grown, and she continues to enjoy the park and its history today as an annual passholder and a reporter for Inside Universal. Her areas of Universal expertise include Jurassic Park, the Beetlejuice Graveyard Revue, and the Studio Tour.
Adriana currently resides in Los Angeles. You can reach her at her blog on Tumblr at MyUniversalExperience.tumblr.com, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.