November 15, 2013 – Halloween has come and gone, leaving the holiday rush around the corner. The park remains in a state of half-completion as the season changes around it, and the festivities are…well, we’re still unsure ourselves.
Here’s a look at the hot topics of the moment here in Hollywood.
If you’ve been to see WaterWorld recently, you may have noticed a few differences in the action packed stunt show – namely, fake guns. In a particularly distressing turn of events, the guns featured in the show have been replaced by cartoonish rubber guns. Prior to this change, various sound effects in the show and the live ammunition were also replaced by cartoon sound effects.
There’s been no official statement on the reason behind these changes, but sources have been pointing to noise reduction as the likely cause, probably from the neighbors of the theme park. The sound system that was placed in the arena last month is specifically designed for precision and control of the direction and leakage of sound. Given the amount of construction around the park and the noise that it must be causing, it’s a little perplexing that they’re putting such an emphasis on WaterWorld’s sound all of a sudden.
One thing is for certain – the quality of the show has been reduced by these changes. While the actors are phenomenal as ever, the cartoon sound effects are jarring. As we learn more about the reasons behind the changes, we’ll be sure to share whatever information we can with you.
In less exciting news, there are new bathrooms on the Upper Lot. They look exactly the same as the other bathrooms in the park, with the dark purple and blue tiled floors with stars, and the same silver metal stalls.
The new, larger restrooms are in place of the smaller restrooms near the Studio Tour entrance, which are being removed to make way for Wizarding World of Harry Potter construction.
Speaking of the Studio Tour entrance…
As construction on the Upper Lot continues, the Studio Tour entrance is in the process of being moved over. Currently, there are barriers in place to guide guests to the new temporary entrance as the new permanent entrance is worked on.
An interesting feature of the temporary queue is the themed construction walls, which feature images of movie posters from various films in Universal’s sizeable library. This is a very nice touch to the long wrap-around line, giving guests something interesting to look at as they wait. With crowd control a number one concern on the Upper Lot right now, the direction of the new entrance and keeping guests entertained was a priority. This at least is a step in the right direction.
The much anticipated Minion Mayhem ride continues to take shape over the remains of Terminator 2:3D. The facades of Gru’s house and his neighbor’s homes are now visible above the construction walls, and from what we can see of them, they look quite impressive. The tarps and scaffolding of the exteriors have been removed, and the skyline has been added to the top of the old Cyberdyne building.
There doesn’t seem to be much progress happening on the Super Silly Fun Land side of things, but this is likely due to extensive work being done on the interior of the buildings. We’re not really expecting much to change with SSFL until we get nearer to the opening date of the attraction, which has not been announced thus far.
Be sure to see this month’s photo update for more on the Despicable Me construction progress.
It’s that time of year again! The Grinch and the Whos of Whoville will soon be taking over the park on select dates. We’ve already talked about this year’s happenings in my Grinchmas Preview article, but here’s the main topic in regards to that: the tree lighting.
As more of our sources have been echoing, this year’s Tree Lighting seems to be a no-go. Even the rather vague PR posting on Universal’s website seems to go out of its way to avoid any mention of the annual ceremony. Nor has there been any mention made of the Snow Play or the Grinchmas Celebrity readings.
This does not look to be a stellar year for Universal’s Holiday event. Crowding on the Upper Lot due to construction and lack of activities seem to be threatening the Hollywood holiday cheer. It will be interesting to see crowd turnout after the first weekend of the event. We’ll have complete coverage of this year’s Grinchmas event in the coming weeks.
That’s all the news that’s fit to print in this edition! Stay tuned with us for our upcoming Grinchmas coverage and next month’s photo update. Feel free to join in the conversation with us over on our forums! As always, thank you for reading!
Adriana Morgan – also known by her internet handle Miss Betty Juice – is a contributing editor 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.