We’re back with this month’s photo update and there is a lot happening at Universal Studios Hollywood and CityWalk Hollywood. Construction is beginning on many fronts – from the former plot of Cartooniversal to two mazes popping up for Halloween Horror Nights.

So let’s jump right into the update.

Park Update Index

» CityWalk Hollywood
» New Gates by Saddle Ranch
» Cartooniversal
» Despicable Me 3
» Starway
» Fire Station 51
» Lower Lot
» Halloween Horror Nights
» Red Sea/Park Lake
» Old Mexico and Six Points Texas

CityWalk Hollywood

After the many new openings at CityWalk Hollywood, things seem to be slowing down a bit. The former Flame Broiler continues to sit dormant, but from the sound of things we could see movement in that location soon. The other high profile addition will be that of Mini Monster. Mini Monster will be replacing the previous tenant LUSH.

New Gates by Saddle Ranch

New gates have been constructed around storage containers in the parking lot between the security entrance and Saddle Ranch.

Cartooniversal/New Animation Studio Store

Back in November, Universal demolished Cartooniversal, with the purpose of building a much larger structure in its place. The new building will house an all-new Animation Studio Store along with the parks first family center.

As for now, a wall is currently being built in the back part of the plot next to the WaterWorld restrooms. The rest of the building should be going vertical sometime soon as most of the work that has been completed so far has been underground work.

Despicable Me 3

All-new meet and greets promoting Despicable Me 3 have begun to pop up throughout Upper Lot. On New York Street, a mural has appeared that’s reminiscent of a jail setup where you can have your photo taken with static Minions.

The other 3 photo locations are meet and greets. Out front of the entrance to Minion Mayhem, you can have your photo taken with Minions who are decked out in their vacation attire. Dru, Gru’s twin brother can be found out front of Miss Hatties School for Girls. Lastly, near the exit of the store Super Silly Stuff, you can take your photo with a Minion dressed up as an inmate.


The massive undertaking of adding a fourth escalator to each of the four sets of escalators. The roofing of each set is getting a makeover as well. With the left half of the roof no longer having an arch but now a slant. It’ll be interesting to see how quickly this project wraps up.

Fire Station 51 Expansion

As part of the new studio expansion, Fire Station 51 is receiving an addition of its own. The left side of the station closest to Jurassic Park River Adventure has been extended out giving the building a bit more room for the fire fighters that serve the property.

Lower Lot

The reason for the StarWay addition is for the Lower Lot expansion that will take place over the next few years. Soundstages 22-25 were demolished a few months ago and since then crews have been digging especially where stages 22 and 23 were located. As for now, no announcement has been made by Universal as to what will be coming, but it’ll be interesting to see if Universal announces the long rumored Secret Life of Pets attraction.

Not much movement has taken place on the former stage 28 location. Moving to the old Backlot Café location, trailers were placed there a few weeks back and now the Universal Studios Hollywood Entertainment Department logo adorn the doors to one of the trailers.

Soundstages 33-37, 41-44 and the rehearsal hall, which are located between Transformers The Ride and Revenge of the Mummy, are earmarked for demolition. At this moment in time, it is not known the timetable as to when they’ll be torn down.

Halloween Horror Nights

Two mazes have been under construction in the Lower Lot for Halloween Horror Nights. The furthest along is the recently announced maze The Shining, which will be housed in the Revenge of the Mummy extended queue. From the look of things the maze extends beyond the length of the tent.

The second maze that is currently being constructed is going up in the Jurassic Park River Adventure extended queue. Universal has yet to announce any other part of the line up for Horror Nights.

Red Sea/Park Lake – Studio Expansion

Crews continue to move dirt and the water on the left side of the Parting of the Red Sea attraction has been drained. This plot will house ten new soundstages with two to be added if Los Angeles won the 2024 Olympics. With the IOC looking to strike a deal soon with Paris to give them the 2024 and possibly working out a deal with Los Angeles to have the 2028 Olympics, one has to wonder if Universal will go ahead with their plan of building twelve or just sticking with the ten.

Old Mexico and Six Points Texas

Two of the most historic sets on the Universal backlot were on the receiving end of a much-needed refurbishment. Six Points Texas are the oldest sets on the Universal property. Hard core fans of Universal Studios Hollywood might recognize the wagon coach as a part of the old Wild Wild Wild West Stunt Show.


Universal Studios Hollywood will begin Annual Pass holder previews on June 5 of their new nighttime offering The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle. If you haven’t already, be sure to read our initial review of the new show and go to YouTube and watch the full show. The show officially debuts on June 23.

That’ll do it for this month’s photo update. Be sure to continue following Inside Universal for wall-to-wall coverage of Universal Studios Hollywood and CityWalk Hollywood.