July 17, 2014 – Despite the summer crowds and the blistering heat, Universal Studios Hollywood continues to embark on a comprehensive transformation plan aimed at revitalizing the entire park. While that obviously benefits Universal in the long run, the park now – as it stands – is in a state of painful transition. In fact, it’s difficult to set foot in an area of the park that doesn’t have some form of work going on.
So with that in mind, we’re going to take a look at some landmark additions (which include the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Springfield and Fast and Furious: Supercharged) alongside some smaller projects in the park (such as the continued WaterWorld seating expansion and the ongoing work occurring on the StarWay).
Let’s get started.
» Universal City Pedestrian Bridge
» Park Entrance / Universal Plaza
» The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
» Halloween Horror Nights Construction
» WaterWorld Seating Expansion
» Transformers Photo Opportunity
» Fast and Furious: Supercharged
» StarWay Construction
» Parking Lot Expansion
In a much needed move to alleviate pedestrian traffic across the base of Universal, Universal and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority have agreed to erect a pedestrian bridge. Construction has already begun and portions of 10 Universal City Plaza and the Universal City Metro station have been walled off, with construction crews still digging a dirt foundation.
As Inside Universal noted in late June, the proposed pedestrian bridge will connect the Universal City Metro station to the base of 10 Universal City Plaza. Contrary to what we had originally reported, the bridge is now expected to be completed in Spring of 2016.
Meanwhile, the entrance of the park has received a few small modifications – with a few metal hooks installed to the side of the Universal Studio Store and Feature Presentation. If previous seasonal events serve as any indication, these will probably be used for Halloween Horror Nights and Grinchmas.
Universal Plaza – on the other hand – has received a new stage for the summer season, becoming the new home of the Blue Brothers and CityBeats. Scheduled entertainment occurs throughout the day as the Universal Plaza fountains turn off for group gatherings.
Meanwhile, structures for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter have continued to receive additional roofing – with familiar shapes taking place near the Studio Tour entrance. In similar fashion, set pieces can be spotted at the base of Curious George parking, with Hogsmeade’s distinctive look slowly being built out at an external site.
At this rate, the Forbidden Journey ride building is bound to be enclosed soon in the coming months, with additional steel lining up the side of the structure.
Moving a little further into the park, Springfield’s two story food plaza also appears to be progressing along, albeit at a slow visible pace.
While not much has changed since our last update, one can already see the basic outline of Springfield plaza – with multiple storefronts backed by a large facade. For more information on what Springfield, be sure to read Universal’s official press release.
Maze construction for Halloween Horror Nights – on the other hand – has steadily progressed, with wooden structures peeking from Revenge of the Mummy’s extended queue. Construction has also developed in Jurassic Park’s queue and in soundstage 747, with construction crews preparing for the Halloween season.
As Inside Universal noted back in May, construction for WaterWorld’s seating expansion continues, adding 700 seats to the arena.
The expanded seating sections have now been opened to guests as construction crews begin filling in section one’s support joints with asphalt.
Moving to the Lower Lot, the former Transformers photo opportunity hasn’t received any visible work. Anyone know what’s going on?
Fast and Furious: Supercharged, on the other hand, appears to grow with a newly constructed steel structure added to the main show. Similarly, a cement exit to the main show building has also been constructed, following our initial predictions as to what a Fast and Furious build out could entail.
With a completion date of Summer 2015, construction crews have been chugging along constructing a large building that lines the pathway to Falls Lake. Indeed, looking inside, it appears as if the third room hosts a large “U” shaped structure that may support a continuous screen (unlike the two separate screens that King Kong 360 – 3D currently uses). Whatever the eventual setup becomes, it’s sure to be a considerable improvement from the Studio Tour’s existing 3D animation.
In an interesting development (along with the new soundtrack), the Universal StarWay continues to receive heavy work – with particular emphasis on the third bank of escalators heading down. Tape has lined up the moving handrails as black carpeting covers the gap between the bridge and the escalator bank.
With the Evolution Plan in full force, Universal’s planned parking expansions continues, with traffic being diverted inside the parking structures. Indeed, Curious George’s ticketing booths have now been relocated inside the structure – replacing what had been the first floor. It’s a bit of a mess, but such a parking expansion is surely needed to prepare for the Wizarding World in 2016.
That does it for this month’s update. I hope you managed to get through it, and please be sure to stay with Inside Universal for continuing coverage of Universal Studios Hollywood. Thanks for reading, and be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
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. You may reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.