December 29, 2013 – The New Year is approaching – as are even more changes in the park. After the confetti falls on New Year’s Eve, there’s little time to rest as construction ramps up and the highly anticipated Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem nears its completion. The next year will mark a time of dramatic change in the park, continuing along with a rapid series of closures and developments that began this year. Amidst the large scale closures and changes, there are many smaller changes happening every day.
Here’s a look at some of the current hot topics for the park.
The opening date for Minion Mayhem has been a buzzing topic for quite awhile now. Inside Universal has believed for some time that the goal was to have the attraction open in time for the first wave peak season rush during spring break in early 2014. A recent contest announcing a Grand Prize of a trip for 4 to Universal Studios Hollywood for the official Grand Opening of the ride lists the trip happening in early April.
If the contest is accurate, then it seems that Minion Mayhem is on track for an April opening, and will be open for the Spring Break rush. If this follows previous attraction openings, then it’s possible that we could see soft openings or “technical rehearsals” in mid to late March. If this is the case, pass holders and lucky parkgoers could see the ride ahead of its public opening.
The ride is finally being promoted within the park as well, as a themed construction sign has appeared in front of Gru’s house, which appears to be the main entrance of the attraction. Minion merchandise is at an all time high in availability in nearly every park shop, and the characters are appearing with much higher frequency in the park.
Universal is certainly touting Minion Mayhem, but has said very little on Super Silly Fun Land. However, even this is beginning to show signs of life, as walls hiding the view into the rest of the park have started to pop up.
We’ll certainly be on hand throughout March and April. We’ll keep an eye on the development as more news comes out in the coming months.
It’s that time of year again! Holiday spending coincides with the ticket price hike, as inflation, supply and demand, and a busier tourist economy mean a boost in ticket prices. It’s an annual thing, and nothing that SoCal residents aren’t already accustomed to.
The price hikes seem to apply mostly to the higher level annual passes, with price increases as high as $20. Renewing online still offers the best discount, and the Buy A Day, Get A Year Free pass remains the most thrifty of the pass offers. Higher passes come with a parking discount, front of the line boarding priority for the Studio Tour, a higher discount on food and merchandise in the park, and special deals through the year. The lower end passes are cheaper, but with more blackout dates throughout the year and less of a discount.
The pass options are still rather reasonable, and offer flexibility depending on what your needs or funds are. However, some feel that with so much construction going on, the raised prices aren’t justifiable. This has become a hot button issue for passholders, and is currently being discussed over on our forums. Will you be renewing your pass this year? Are you considering getting one for the first time? Or skipping out till there’s less construction and more to do? Join the discussion and tell us!
There’s something new on New York Street on the Upper Lot – tap dancing construction workers! The lively little street show joins the current roster of the Street Sweeping dancers at the Blues Brothers Stage, the Mod Squad British Invasion dancers on Baker Street, Mrs. Clause and the Santa Dolls near Cartooniversal, and the Moulin Rouge dancing girls in the Parisian Square.
The short dancing shows offer a quick burst of entertainment, drawing in crowds and delighting through spontaneity. Pay attention to the characters walking around – you never know when a show will begin! They’re more common during peak days, and some shows are seasonal. These performances are at random and could happen at any time of the day, anywhere, so keep your eyes and ears open to see one.
Have pictures from the shows? Share them with us! If you’ve got tips or info on any of the street entertainment, drop us the line!
To meet with demand and keep the holidays rolling a little longer, USH has extended the Grinchmas celebration into the New Year! The annual seasonal event will be open 4 days longer than anticipated, giving guests a chance to have a little more cheer into the new year.
This could work out great for those who avoided the park the past few days due to the Christmas Day crowds. If you haven’t been down yet, the next week is your chance!
(Whether the park will attempt to include Hop in the Easter festivities during Spring Break remains to be seen. I’m hoping they don’t.)
That’s a wrap from Hollywood this month! Be sure to stick with us for continuing coverage of all this and more! As always, thanks 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.