It's finally here!!! It's Potter Week!!
As you all know the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opens at Universal Studios Hollywood this Thursday (April 7) and the star studded premiere is tomorrow night (April 5). We will of course be there on the red carpet so be sure you are following us for all of that fun.
So while we're celebrating all things Wizarding World this week we thought it would be a good time to stop and take a look backwards a bit, to take a look at where the park was just a few short years ago and at the "Epic Transformation" they've made. Because it truly is EPIC.
From a park that just a few years ago was giving a full year away for the price of one day to where today is commanding multiple visits for tourists and has definitely swayed the attendance habits of local fans who now have a choice between incredible theme parks to attend each weekend.
It truly is an AMAZING time time to be a theme park fan in Southern California.
(keep in mind, we don't have all the older pictures we would have liked, but at the time we weren't thinking of taking them for posterity ... oh hindsight)
We'll start off at the front of the park since that's the first thing everybody sees when they enter. Remember when this was the new thing in the park?
Of course, the iconic entry to the park hasn't changed much over the years.
The rest of the entrance area has sure changed over the years though.
Sure looks different today
All new Starbucks!!
And they aren't even done yet, coming this Summer!!
The Wild West Theater
Universal Plaza decked out for Lunar New Year earlier this year.
Let's take a left turn from Universal Plaza where we now have the amazing Despicable Me Minion Mayhem and Super Silly Funland.
Despicable Me Minion Mayhem and Super Silly Funland
Did You Know: Despicable Me Minion Mayhem was one of the first projects we started covering as a website?
Continuing on through the upper lot of the park, who remembers when Marvel had a presence at the park? It really wasn't that long ago.
Once Marvel left it was just "Comic Heroes"
Or when this was actually a thing?
Even the Studio Tour entrance has undergone some pretty significant changes over the years:
The tour itself has had some changes, some forced and two totally different Fast and Furious attractions.
Have a tramtastic day ...
But all of the changes weren't exclusive to the upper lot, the lower lot has received it's share of love recently.
Then ... Special Effects Stages (now on the upper lot)
Transformers The Ride 3D
Even small changes to make the guest experience better.
But of course, none of that compares to the changes made to the upper lot in just the last few years. The thing that has finally made Universal Studios into a full fledged "Theme Park" and not just a "Studios" park.
Did you know: The Universal Amphitheater closed in September 2013? Not even 3 years ago.
Anybody know what is in this spot now? Certainly looks much different today.
No Epic Transformation could be done without a LOT of Epic Construction.
Now ... we'll start off with the amazing Springfield addition that was made last year.
And of course, none of that compares to what is opening in just a few days.
So now it's finally here ... just a few short days away. Wizarding World opens for the world to see.
And we all have heard the rumors, we know they aren't done yet. When the new additions will be announced is anybody's guess. Will they take the advantage of the world looking at the park this week to make another big announcement? We'll find out tomorrow night.
We hope you enjoyed this look back at the park over the past few years. We of course had a lot more pictures that we could have shared, but we figured this was more than enough. It's still amazing how much work has been done in just a few years and we can't wait to see what the future holds.
Reader and good friend of the site Nico just sent us a plethora of pictures as Halloween Horror Nights continues to be set up at the Hollywood park.
This next week is going to see a mad rush of preparation as the event begins next Friday and Employee Previews begin on Wednesday.
We'll be at the park tomorrow to shoot a full update, I'm imagining that there will even be more than what is seen in the pictures below.
Thanks for sharing the pictures Nico!!! If you ever have any pictures to share with us, just send us a message on Facebook, Twitter or email.
Mask A Raid
This wasn't our choice during the whole "Fans pick a Scare Zone" contest, but it looks great.
From Dusk Til' Dawn
The "Twister" ... fans will know that a word is missing from here. =)
American Werewolf in London
Alien vs Predator
CoasterMatt headed up to Universal Studios Hollywood today with his trusty camera phone and sent us the following pictures. These are a compilation of the pictures we've been sharing on our Facebook and Twitter page over the last few hours.
We'll have a full update early next week heading up to the Eyegore awards on Friday September 19th.
Before heading into the park, they are doing some work on the center divider.
The dancer cages (ie: the best parts of HHN) are being set up. They really should just have these all year. =)
The scare zone for The Purge Anarchy which will likely have a LOT of fire is being set up
Typical weather in early September, 100 degree temps keep the Universal Plaza open with lots of water
The Flintstones BBQ is now history ...
Springfield construction is entering it's next phase as walls are being added. Remember, the Springfield expansion is due to open in 2015.
Construction continues on what we hear is a new bridge to the tram.
Preparations for "Terror Tram"
Diagon Alley ... I mean, Fast and Furious Supercharged is getting big. Looks like there will be two show rooms that trams will go through.
The buildings are BIG!!
Wizarding World ... pretty soon there won't be much to see here.
You can start to see the lower walls of Hogwarts being built
Watch your nuts guys ...
I need this for my front yard
Apparently this is a very popular photo stop for daytime guests.
That will wrap it up for this update. I'll be back at the park on Saturday and we'll have a more extensive update early next week.