It’s time for this month’s photo update.
In this month’s column, we’ll be taking a look at the largest construction projects currently occurring within Universal City – including Halloween Horror Nights construction, CityWalk Hollywood’s redevelopment project, the current state of Soundstage 28 and Universal’s new 5-year plan. Let’s begin our tour of the Universal lot.
Park Update Index
As CityWalk continues its transformation, we begin this update with a look at some of their newest tenants. Margaritaville – which is scheduled to open in the first half of 2017 – has not seen exterior progress, though crews have already begun work on the interior of the two story location. As we move along, Voodoo Doughnuts will be opening in the fall of 2016 (perhaps sometime near Halloween Horror Nights). Much like Margaritaville, construction on Voodoo’s new location has largely focused on the building’s interior. It will be interesting to see if the facade is reworked in any substantial way.
Moving over to the Universal Cinemas, construction walls have now appeared in front of the entrance to the movie theater. The guest services location inside the theater has replaced one of the box office kiosks while construction begins to ramp up. Finally, Dongpo Kitchen appears to be wrapping up its exterior work as the restaurant’s outdoor patio area has been fully installed. The restaurant is scheduled to open sometime in July.
While the newly built Universal Studios Store has only been open for a few months, Universal has already begun redoing the store’s flooring. Carpet is now being installed in different locations throughout the Studios Store.
Along with the new carpeting, Universal is also highlighting The Walking Dead merchandise as The Walking Dead Attraction begins daily operation. While most of these items are not new for regular attendees, there are a handful of new merchandise available for purchase.
Work is finally beginning on the former plot of Soundstage 28 for a new trackless attraction based on the Secret Life of Pets.
In other news, trailers around Transformers: The Ride – 3D have been spotted with project number 831. Project 831 is not related to the Secret Life of Pets attraction, so stay tuned to Inside Universal as news develops around this new project number.
Construction for Halloween Horror Nights is now in full swing.
As of this update, there are currently five maze locations that are currently being built. In the Lower Lot, maze construction has been spotted in the Jurassic Park and Revenge of the Mummy extended queue. John Murdy (Creative Director for Halloween Horror Nights) did note that The Exorcist maze will be located in the Revenge of the Mummy queue, while no mention has been made about the maze currently being constructed in the Jurassic Park. Meanwhile in the backlot, three mazes are currently being constructed. However, unlike last year’s event, Soundstage 747 will not available for use. Instead, a maze is currently being built directly in front of the soundstage.
With five visible locations now in full swing alongside the opening of the The Walking Dead Attraction, one has to wonder if there could be another maze location that has yet to be unveiled? Time will obviously tell.
On June 22, Universal Studios announced a new 5-year plan aimed at expanding the theme park through the relocation of several soundstage facilities further inside the studio lot.
As we initially announced a year in advance, Soundstages 22-25 will be demolished sometime in 2017. Along with Soundstage 22-25, Soundstage 29, 31, 33-37, 41-46 will also be removed for theme park development. Stages 29 and 31 along with the office building connected to it and the famous Backlot Cafe are expected to be demolished first.
Ten additional soundstages will be built where Park Lake currently stands, which currently houses the Parting of the Red Sea for the Studio Tour. The lake will be drained and ten stages will be built with the possibility of two additional soundstage facilities if Los Angeles wins the 2024 bid for the Olympics.
That does it for this update.
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