Happy New Year, everyone! Hope you had a blast, especially if you went to Eve, Universal’s own party. This is mostly a continuation
of what we’ve seen, along with a surprise refurbishment.

Park Update Index

» Saddle Ranch Chop House
» CityWalk Hollywood
» Johnny Rockets
» Grinchmas
» New Animation Studio Store
» DreamWorks Theater
» Parisian Courtyard
» StarWay Refurbishment
» Lower Lot Expansion
» Mummy Treats
» Despicable Delights
» Studio Infrastructure
» A Little Bit of This and a Little Bit of That

Saddle Ranch Chop House

Well, as predicted Saddle Ranch has closed. This location has bucked its last bronco. No word on the replacement yet. Even the photo op horses have been removed. All that’s left is a plaque describing the saddle for one of the mechanical bulls.

CityWalk Hollywood

Further inside CityWalk, a lot of work is happening in a small stretch. Crepe Cafe has re-opened after a quick refurb. Sephora is plugging along, really tearing out what used to be of Upstart Crow and The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. The old Magnet Max location is boarded up so figuring out what’s next is a bit more difficult to guess at this point.

Johnny Rockets Sports Lounge

The big surprise this week was the surprise refurb of the Johnny Rockets location. Walls went up and the operating hours went down. After a quick confirmation, it was revealed that it’s a refurb. When it re-opens, we’ll be sure to cover what changed.


While Grinchmas officially wrapped up last month, there’s still a ton of decorations all over the park including the entrance gates, store awnings and even the giant tree. It seems odd to not have the Grinchmas dates align with Potter’s Christmastime dates, but there’s always next time.

New Animation Studio Store

The replacement for Cartooniversal is really coming up grand. Lots of little touches and references abound on this gorgeous building. It’s creating a bit of a tight path towards Waterworld, but there can’t be much work left to do on the outside. Universal has really transformed the Upper Lot into a consistent beautiful land over the last few years.

DreamWorks Theater

The Dreamworks Theater framework is starting to come together. Shrek is across the way, still chatting it up with Donkey and Puss in Boots, but his old 4-D theater is being totally redone with a new Kung Fu Panda film. And once again, it creates a tight spot as this area was also used as a queuing area for guests to enter Hogsmeade during the Christmastime Lights in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. There was a lot of double-backing and crowds trying to figure out how to get in to the land last month.

Parisian Courtyard

It took a while, but the Blumhouse maze has left the courtyard and it has mostly reopened to stroll around in. While there’s not much in this area, it’s a great little shortcut to cut across the upper lot and often very quiet. Plus during Christmas it would normally have some great decorations and coupled with the low crowds made for great photos. But it just missed that window. Hopefully it’ll be open quicker for the next Christmas period following 2018’s Halloween Horror Nights.

StarWay Construction

While there’s still more work to be done, it’s hard to tell the StarWay used to only be three escalators. It’s going to be a nice improvement on one of the biggest bottlenecks of the park as they continue to expand in the lower lot in the coming years.

Mummy Treats

In what seems to be a challenge with the Upper Lot’s Cinnabon location, Mummy Treats has gone under yet another refurb.

Despicable Delights

Despicable Delights is also going under the knife. The brickwork behind the sign has been cleaned up compared to our previous update.

Studio Infrastructure

Compared to the last update, the construction here really stands out. It’s going to be sealed up pretty quick. But this frees up important areas in the lower lot.

Happy New Year

And while it may seem hard to believe it’s finally over, the crowds are going to be lighter for a bit. Lunar New Year is coming up in not too long, but right now is a great time to get into a cool, less hectic park.


That’ll do it for this month’s update. Be sure to follow Inside Universal for continuing coverage of Universal Parks and