July 8, 2013 – Much has been happening at the park lately. We’ve seen moderate progress with Universal Plaza and Despicable Me, the curious refurbishment and retheming of Universal’s Animal Actors and the start of construction for this year’s Halloween Horror Nights.
Let’s dive in.
Another gorgeous day in Hollywood. Sure beats the humidity. (sorry Singapore, Florida and Japan!)
In case you wanted to stay a bit longer. Shame about the no-fireworks policy though.
Starting at the entrance, we have…a minion?
That’s more familiar.
Wait times seemed to be a bit light. Surprising, given the holiday weekend.
Looks like they’ve added some covers to shield guests from possible work debris. That, or they’re doing a bad job of hiding what’s already there.
From the side…
…and another side.
We’ve seen photos of the wooden canopy before, but it’s great to see the entire area finally taking shape. We’ll have more photos of the canopy in a bit.
Ah! A snack stand! Looking good. If this is a sneak preview for what’s to come, I think we’ll all be pleasantly surprised.
Just so you know.
Back to the Plaza, we have…more structures.
Another shot of the wooden canopy taking shape.
Shot from across the entrance of Animal Actors. If you look closely, you can see the circular structure surrounding the Plaza.
I wonder if they’re widening the streets. Hard to tell, but you can get a sense at where the Plaza ends and the main street begins.
Heading over to Despicable Me…
Looks like they’re still doing…stuff.
You have to wonder if they’re going to try to conceal the main show building. After all, it doesn’t resemble anything you’d find in the Despicable Me franchise.
Moving on to Universal’s Animal Actors, we have…Stage 57?
Oh, I see what they did there. Special Effects Stage is Stage 56, so Stage 57 would naturally be next door. Smart.
Eh. I guess they should have done a better job hiding the old marquee.
Animal’s new entrance.
More light soundstage theming.
You should really zoom in and read these letters. Some Hollywood-fans might catch the inside references.
Main stage. Looks pretty decent. There are just some aspects that seem a bit awkward, but I can’t pinpoint what.
Regardless, I guess you can say this was an improvement.
Main screen remains the same.
Overall, not much has changed. I’m glad to see Animal doing a few more bits, but the end still seems a bit unusual and haphazard. Whatever works. After all, I still can’t get my cat to do anything – so who am I to talk.
Angled shot of the…restrooms.
Close up of the…restrooms.
Side shot of the…restrooms.
Nope. Can’t do a 55 minute wait.
Moving on (and fifteen minutes later)…looks like maze construction already underway in the Jurassic Park extended queue.
Side note: I’m glad they’re still investing money into this stop. It’d be simple to cut all the fire effects away from Earthquake, but it’s good to see them investing time and maintenance into making sure this effect works right.
So kudos to Universal.
George now does the wiggle.
Bruce? Not so much.
Mummy’s tomb is closed.
Finally, maze construction on the Lower Lot.
That does it for me. We’ll have further updates as work on Plaza and Despicable Me progresses. Judging from the construction so far, it’s looking promising.
For now, be sure to check us out at USHForums.com, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. If you have any comments or suggestions, feel free to leave them below. For now, thanks for reading and I’ll see in in the next update.
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 with his bamboo plant. You may reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.