January 7, 2015 – It’s the New Year with new things to look forward to and a whole new photo update to let you know what’s new inside Universal Studios Hollywood.Harry Potter’s Hogsmeade may still be over a year away, but some finishing touches have made a few buildings look like they’re ready for their close up. Springfield is only a few months, and one has to wonder whether or not everything on track for a Spring opening.
Let’s take a look at the park with our first photo update of the year.
» Parking Structures
» Fung Lum’s / 500-Room Hotel
» Stage 13 / Universal’s House of Horrors
» Park Entrance
» The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
» Louie’s Cart
» Studio Tour
» Shrek 4D Queue
» Universal Characters
Universal’s newest parking structure is going together like an English Trifle; layer by layer. While it might not be the sexiest thing on Universal’s horizon, the parking structure is one of the biggest construction projects currently underway in Los Angeles. Learn more about the entirety of Universal’s projects in this article.
But for now, let’s take a look at how the lots are progressing.
As you can see, construction has begun on the parking structure’s newest level.
As the road leading up to the park from Lankershim Blvd continues to receive work, it appears as if Universal is using the former site of Fung Lum’s as the staging area for K-rails and traffic signs. So unless Universal is planning a road way themed hotel, it doesn’t look like much progress has been made on a new structure.
Down on Lankershim Blvd, you can see the heavy machinery brought in to start on the pedestrian bridge project.
In the upper left hand corner, you can see the site of the future pedestrian bridge.
While it seems that the demolition of Universal’s House of Horrors has occurred rather quickly, it is yet to be seen whether or not the venue’s replacement will be erected just as fast. Below you can see that the demolition process isn’t quite finished yet.
Will we get an official announcement of what’s to come before we see a structure arise? Will Fast & Furious fans be greeted with a new entry way or more construction walls this Summer? We’ll let you make the call.
The last remnants of Victoria Station.
The Deacon and Mariner can now wave to Gru and his Minions.
That pile of rubble lets us know that the demolition process isn’t quite done yet.
Grinchmas was still drawing crowds the first weekend of the new year, so the entry way (and the rest of the park) was still decked out in its holiday finery.
I bet Steven Spielberg never had to work around poinsettia!
An style self-service ticketing booth has been erected in front of Saddle Ranch to hopefully ease ticket lines.
Finishing touches can now be spotted on a few structures that will eventually compose Hogsmeade. And with the new pavement in front of the Production Central store cleared away, we can now get a good idea of how the entrance to Hogsmeade will be laid out.
A new cone and cylindrical structure has appeared in front of the Forbidden Journey show building, but you aren’t going to need three guesses to figure out where it will soon be.
Hogsmeade is so close to Shrek’s queue that you might walk to a stanchion post gawking at it!
Still plenty of scaffolding though.
This is where you start to get a feel for what the Hogsmeade entry hub will eventually looked like as a finished product. Shrek 4D is straight ahead, Pink’s Hotdogs is to the right, Production Central and Animal Actors is to our back and the trap to the right is covering the entry arch to the Wizarding World.
Picutred: Hogsmeade’s arch coupled with the new pavement in front of Production Central.
Hogsmeade entry arch.
Stone work on building lining Studio Tour entrance.
Here are those geometric shape structures we mentioned above. I won’t make you guess, because the day after this picture was taken, both of these structures were stacked on top of the show building to create a tower.
While Springfield is coming along nicely, one building is still stuck in the past.
Sandwiched between construction walls, Louie’s reopened (in cart form) to help with the large holiday crowds. Universal has also constructed a make shift seating area across from the restaurant. Since we took this photo, Universal has closed Louie’s Cart alongside the pathway leading directly to Simpsons Plaza. In the interim period, guests will be channeled through the Special Effects queue
It might not look like much, but boy does it smell good.
Louie’s seating area. Red and green umbrellas – for Christmas or Italy?
Springfield is looking really good these days. In fact, some buildings look like all they need is signage to be complete.
Indeed, there might be some signs up that are familiar to fans of the little town.
This odd little green building is part of the transition from Hogsmeade to Springfield. Could it be an Angelica Button store? (deep Simpson’s reference… anyone?)
Springfield sky scrapers.
Moe’s – home of the flaming Moe, or Uncle Moe’s Family Feed Bag, or the Nag & Weasel. Or maybe just “M”.
The Aztec Theatre.
Springfield, Springfield: it’s a hell of a town.
I wonder if Springfield has a problem with out of town tourists trying to make it up to the sign?
“Some days we don’t let the line move at all. We call those weekdays.”
Big things are coming to the Studio Tour in 2015. The nighttime tours and Fast & Furious: Supercharged – which one are you more excited for?
Coming soon…just not soon enough.
The Studio Tour receives a new logo to reflect its golden anniversary.
Hogsmeade is so close to Shrek 4D that you expect to see the orge set off on a new quest to get that ‘bloody Potter kid’ out of his swamp.
While the new queue is like everything else in the park, unfinished, it doesn’t have the slapped together feel that you might expect….well, most of it at least.
The new switchback area sits directly behind the Shrek theater.
Obviously the new structure still needs to be skinned, but the frame has a very permanent feel to it.
That being said, not everything is permanent. This light is literally zip tied to the overhang.
The “show” part of the pre-show is a little odd now. While this tortured foursome warn guests to get out…
…Donkey is welcoming them in.
Guests were welcomed this weekend with a variety of atmospheric entertainment that went beyond the Who’s in Whoville.
Among the entertainment was Universal’s cheeky way of addressing the construction wall problems.
Lucy strikes a pose.
The All Access Band had an LA hipster vibe to them with their “ugly” sweaters and rock ‘n roll versions of Christmas songs.
This “construction worker” character was helping guests navigate the construction walls in Springfield. He also stopped guests for trucks that did not come, complimented everyone in plaid and loudly told us when to keep quiet because someone was on the phone. At least, I’m assuming he was a Universal character.
That’s all for today. Lots of things are changing in the park so be sure to check back here for all you photo update needs. Happy New Year!
Christopher Tillman is an editor for Inside Universal.
Christopher is a California native who grew up visiting all of the Golden State’s theme parks. While studying theatre in college Christopher bounced around working at a few different attractions in Orange Country and Los Angeles. Now the father of a two year old, he is experiencing theme parks in a whole new way and has become the old man saying things like; “I remember when KITT and the A-Team van used to be here.”
You may contact Christopher at firstname.lastname@example.org.