It’s time for another photo update – this time focusing on the current roster of projects that Universal is finishing up as the opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter approaches on April 7. Universal is putting the finishing touches on a few CityWalk projects as well as Universal Hollywood Drive and just this past week debuted their new Universal Boulevard. Let’s take a tour of the property and see what’s happening on the lot.
Park Update Index
» Universal Hollywood Drive
» CityWalk Hollywood
» Park Entrance
» Hollywood & Dine
» Universal Boulevard
» Snack Bar
» Mel’s Diner
» Revenge of the Mummy: The Ride
» Studio Cafe
» Studio Backlot / Shrek
Let’s start off with Universal Hollywood Drive, which seems to be receiving its finishing touches. Beginning with the bottom of the hill, the Metro bridge looks to be in the final stages with most of the scaffolding having been taken down as April 7 approaches. This bridge will allow pedestrians to safely make their way to Universal and avoid using the streets, which will hopefully ease traffic flow on Lankershim.
As was noted in the previous update, the new LED board now promotes The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. While the new board is static with just The Wizarding World of Harry Potter advertisement, at some point it should become a rotating roster of slides (or even video) much like its predecessor. Now looking upward towards Universal Hollywood Drive, you can see the lanes going up and down the hill have been expanded by one lane on both sides. Palm trees have been added as a median to help beautify the hill as crews finalize the Lankershim entrance.
In a new development, street lights have been added mid way up the hill, which should ease traffic problems for those who are staying at either the Hilton or the Universal Sheraton.
Before we head into the park, let’s take a look at all that is happening inside CityWalk.
Shoe Palace is finally showing signs that its completion is coming soon. Several store fronts that closed quite some time ago remain empty, though, Dongpo Kitchen should be opening up sometime in 2016. The Dodger Clubhouse store is currently undergoing a remodel and the walls surrounding Ludo Bird have come down and the food service venue looks like its not too far away from serving their first customers at this location.
As we make our way to the front of the park, construction walls now surround the area in front of the Universal globe where a new security bag check area is being constructed. This will help declutter the area near the ticket kiosks and the globe. As the bag check is being constructed, the front entrance has received the final group of palm trees with the final result looking spectacular.
What was once Hollywood Grill is now in the process of becoming Hollywood & Dine. This remodeled location is scheduled to open up sometime in March. The surrounding patio has received a new fence which help separates the dining area from the midway, and crews have added what looks like new lighting and or shade coverings.
Across from Hollywood & Dine is the former entrance to the Gibson Amphitheater which has since been torn down, with the area cleared as an additional seating area. It is not known however, if this area will continue to have seating once the Hollywood & Dine location opens.
This last week Inside Universal broke the news that Universal Boulevard had opened its doors for the first time to the public.
Let’s take a moment now to show you what merchandise is available for purchase in the new Universal Studios Store. The Universal Studios Store is split into different sections, with one section still behind walls. The middle section is devoted to all things Wizarding World of Harry Potter and the third section is dedicated to the different cartoon and film franchises under the Universal theme park umbrella.
The Snack Bar at Universal Plaza Tower has received a somewhat new look as well. The snack counter service venue had new windows installed along with some new artwork on both sides of the Snack Bar. Will the food options remain the same or will it receive a revamped menu? Time will tell.
As we make our way to the Lower Lot, the construction in the extended queue seems to be wrapping up. Asphalt has been poured in and crews seem to be finishing the project up. The construction was a mystery but for those who are curious, John Murdy – Creative director of Halloween Horror Nights – stated in a tweet that a Horror Nights maze will return to this location.
The former location of the NBCUniversal Experience is receiving its final touches as it is being turned into another Grab N’ Go location. The construction on this location was quite extensive as the entrance was moved and windows have been added. The food options for this location seem to mimic that of Theater Palace Cafe. Much like Hollywood & Dine and Mel’s Diner, this location is also scheduled to open up sometime this month.
And to wrap up this photo update we take a look at two projects. The first being, that scaffolding has gone up on one side of the Shrek show building facing The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which may be the beginning signs of Universal addressing the large Shrek 4D show building. And lastly, construction continues on the backlot. What once housed storage facilities, looks now to be upgrading the studios infrastructure.
That does it for this month’s photo update.
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