October 21, 2015 – Hi everyone – we’re back with yet another photo update from Universal Studios Hollywood, this time focusing on the ongoing developments occurring at CityWalk Hollywood and around entrance of the park, the House of Horrors replacement project, and the nearing completion of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We also take a brief look at some work that’s taking place on the Universal backlot and on the Lower Lot, alongside some infrastructure improvements in and around Universal City.
It’s a jam packaged update, so let’s begin.
» Parking Structures
» Lankershim Pedestrian Bridge
» Park Entrance
» Universal’s House of Horrors Replacement Project
» The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
» Studio Tour
» NBCUniversal Experience Replacement Project
Since our last update, plenty of progress has been made on the adjacent parking structure next to Curious George.
Alongside the progression of four vehicle ramps and a pedestrian bridge joining both lots together, escalators have also appeared inside the new parking structure. While a theme for the lot has not yet been determined, crews are beginning to apply the first layer of paint inside the new lot. All in all, it looks like the structure will most certainly be finished in time for the opening of Wizarding World West in 2016.
On the CityWalk front, we have a surprising number of projects that have popped up in the last month, ranging from pop-up exhibits, store openings and venue refurbishments.
ShoePalace and Smash Burger are still in the process of replacing their previous tenants, with Smash Burger nearing completion later this month. Wetzel’s Pretzels is temporarily closed as they refurbish the restaurant, and the CityWalk fountains – both on the Abercrombie and Camacho’s side – are closed off as crews prepare for a new water feature. Meanwhile, a larger chunk of the Universal Studio Store remains walled off as crews continue to merge the former Things From Another World building next door to form a larger store.
Also of note is a new pop-up exhibit for the new Universal film Crimson Peak, featuring a brief walkthrough showcasing a handful of memorabilia from the film. While the del Toro film has failed to meet box office expectations, guests can still take photos of the small exhibit and experience scenes from the film in a new Halloween Horror Nights maze taking place at night next door.
Heading down the hill, construction crews are continuing to work on the retaining wall bordering the Sheraton and Hilton hotels. In the interim, exiting cars are forced to make a sharp turn downward as crews continue to work on refurnishing the road.
Meanwhile, work on the Universal pedestrian bridge continues to move along, albeit at a rather slow pace. While the open-air structure is beginning to resemble a bridge, the entire project still appears to be stuck in its initial stage.
Looking at the entrance, Universal has completely redone the flooring, replacing the old tan flooring tiles with bricks reminiscent of CityWalk Hollywood.
Along with the flooring, trees have also been planted around the entrance plaza. Walls are still up around the plaza and inside the park as Universal slowly moves across the entrance replacing flooring and adding trees.
Also important to note is the refurbished wheelchair friendly ramp that slops down to the loading zone in front of the fountain. Oh, and for eagle-eyed observers, Universal also also replaced the “Rides and Shows” designation on top of the digital display boards with “Attractions”.
On the House of Horrors side, the entire project appears to be nearing completion.
While it’s slightly more difficult to get a good glimpse of what’s occurring behind the green tarps, we are beginning to see some traces of the Art Deco theme that has been permeating throughout park. If you look closely, you can begin to see how this new structure resembles that of Universal Plaza next door.
With the Wizarding World of Harry Potter nearing completion, much of the major exterior work on Hogwarts Castle has already been completed.
With scaffolding mostly down on the castle itself, crews are now focusing their attention on greenhouse queue and other parts of Hogsmeade. Sharp eyed observers will also note large crates sitting behind the Forbidden Journey show building holding props and artifacts used in the land.
Heading into the backlot, Universal has added a permanent sound barrier that separate the Whoville sets away from the surrounding neighborhoods.
The storage facility near the Bates Motel has also been completed, with the expansion space now fully enclosed with the appropriate retaining wall.
…and for the shark fans, JAWS is now open after a brief refurbishment with new paint and a few touchups.
Finally, it appears as if Universal is completely retrofitting the now-defunct NBCUniversal Experience building on the Lower Lot.
Walls have arisen around the NBCUniversal Experience, extending all the way to the ended foot court next to the Transformers extended queue.
That does it for this feature packed update! Please follow Inside Universal for all the latest news from Universal Studios Hollywood, and be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram for more information from the park. See you next time!
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 Los Angeles, California. You may reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.