This past Wednesday night we were invited out to Universal Studios Hollywood for the latest addition to Wizarding World Hollywood. The AMAZING "Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle".
While the show doesn't debut until June 23 we hope you'll enjoy this sneak peek which includes video and a LOT of pictures.
Written by Gregg Condon
Before we get started with the update we wanted to give you a heads up that Universal Studios Hollywood on Facebook will host a Facebook Live event to stream the all-new “The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle” experience at “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” on Friday, June 23 at 8:45pm PST
Welcome to Hogwarts
We'll start off with a few of our favorite shots of the show
It's quite simply the best projection mapping we've ever seen.
Full video of the all new show.
Just a quick note: We attempted something new during the show which was mounting a GoPro on top of the DSLR so we could make sure we got great video and pictures during the event. While we are VERY pleased with how this came out visually, unfortunately the shutter on the DSLR made the audio a bit more muddled than we'd like. We'll be coming up with ways to remedy this in the future. But we hope you enjoy the video nonetheless. =)
Some more of our favorite shots of the show
The show is simply stunning
We took so many pictures we didn't know which ones to include, so we included about 90 of them in the slideshow below. We hope you enjoy!!
This show is truly amazing and unlike some other shows it won't take a lot of time out of your evening at the park, it's only about 5-6 minutes long. Which IMO is long enough for those of us who don't enjoy dedicating hours and standing in one spot for long periods of time to see a nighttime show.
Be sure you check it out soon. The show officially opens on June 23 but you may be able to catch a preview before then.
A few more random pics from our visit.
A new Despicable Me photo spot is up on the upper lot
Looks like they are doing some work near Universal Plaza
The back wall for the new storefront/restaurant is up
Because why not
Shrek 4D soon to be ...
You know =)
Don't look sad ... Banana!!
This morning we're taking a look at Universal Studios Hollywood where construction is starting to pick up again after a slow-down after Wizarding World Opened.
We'll update you on the goings on and have some fun speculation as to what's happening on the lower lot
Written by Gregg Condon
Some of these pics are from Saturday (March 4) and some are from Wednesday (March 8). We'll point out the differences so you can see how much has changed in just a few days.
Work is still continuing around the globe out in front of the park (although it could be done by now ;) )
This definitely isn't done yet.
We totally love the Streetmosphere at Universal Studios.
More concrete work going on
On Saturday Stages 22 - 24 were still standing
By Wednesday it looked like this. Rumors are Stage 25 will be gone today.
To support whatever it is they are building on the Lower Lot they are also adding another Starway.
New wraps on the wall on the upper lot.
So what does this all mean and what's this all for?
At this point it's pretty clear this is for NintendoLand (or whatever it is they end up calling it). You now have a pretty big space where the soundstages were, rumors are the restaurants where Panda Express is will be gone after the summer and you also have the space that was cleared when Stage 28 was removed.
Now the original rumor was that the Stage 28 space was going to be for a Secret Life of Pets ride, based on absolutely no evidence we are of the opinion that this is no longer going to happen.
First off, the ride was never "officially" announced. Remember when Universal unveiled their new logo last year, that was when everybody thought they were going to announce Secret Life of Pets.
Let's look at the timeline here:
So let's assume that a Secret Life of Pets ride was in the planning stages and was going to be announced in either April or June 2016. Think it's a pretty safe assumption. But then something happened in May 2016, Universal announced a partnership with Nintendo.
Obviously Universal Creative is constantly working on new attractions and they were going to have "back up's" if Nintendo didn't happen. But then it did, and why not have MORE space for Nintendo instead of a Secret Life of Pets ride?
Now this isn't to say SLOP is never going to happen, it very well could. But the original rumor is that it was going to open THIS year in the former spot of Stage 28. There is still NOTHING there. Let's say they started building the ride today in that spot, you're probably talking 12-18 months before opening. That's a full 1 1/2 to 2 years after the movie came out.
On the other hand you have Nintendo which is all of a sudden relevant again after the disastrous Wii U, you've got a new Zelda game, new Mario later this year and an amazing new console (which we'll have a review of next week, so stay tuned). Seems like a no-brainer to us, you use as much space for Nintendo as you can.
We could be TOTALLY off-base here, but we don't think we are.
UPDATE: The following pictures were taken on March 10, as you can see all of the stages are gone.
Alright, enough with the fun speculation, back to stuff that's totally happening, like some nice work to keep Super Silly Fun Land looking Super and Silly.
Last Saturday Voodoo Donuts was still walled up and closed
This is going to be an awesome combo!!
Wednesday Voodoo Donuts is all ready to go, rumors of a soft opening today and public opening tomorrow. But we'll update when we have more info.
Alright, that's going to wrap it up for this update, we hope you enjoyed some fun speculation about the future of the park, we sure enjoyed writing it up.
What do you think? Are we totally off-base here? Let us know in the comments below.
After a couple of delays in our availability we were finally able to head up to CityWalk to check out the all new Universal Cinema.
It's definitely a much needed makeover of the theater which brings the entire complex in-line with the "Epic Transformation" of the entire Universal Studios Hollywood property over the last 5 years.
We'll also take a look at the recently opened Margaritaville as well as a small park update.
Written by Gregg Condon
The all new Universal Cinema featuring IMAX
The entire lobby has been redone and it's supposed to invoke the Universal Logo that you see before every Universal movie. The lights here are the stars.
An all new Market Place for your movie goodies and it's all "grab and go" which is awesome.
Coke Freestyle FTW!!
Lots of cool spots for movie displays, the cool thing is they aren't all out in the middle of the floor, they actually built in spots for them so they look very cool and not out of place at all.
It's not all about Universal movies either
That's one big hand
Because the theater now has assigned seating you don't have to stand in line and are free to chill out before your movie begins.
Seriously, if you've never gone to a theater with assigned seating you are totally missing out. It's incredible.
Let's head into one of the theaters
This is definitely one of the smaller ones, but looks and sounds amazing. All of the seats have recliners and are incredibly comfortable.
You can even lift up the arm rest and make it a love seat.
Chilling out and watching a Toyota commercial. ;)
Considering the last movie my wife and I saw at this theater was Casper (when we were just dating) I'd say we're due for a return visit. And we'll do that soon.
Some info on the technology inside the theaters
All-New Next Generation Technology
All 18 auditoriums are equipped with Christie RGB laser projection. Delivering the best color reproduction of any display system in the world with incredibly bright on-screen images, Christie’s 4K resolution creates sharper, detailed visuals for the best in movie-going viewing.
The projectors, located within the largest auditoriums, were relocated into air conditioned “pods” hidden on each balcony to enhance and improve projection angles.
Projectors located within the all other theatres were also repositioned to improve projection angles. 11 of the 18 theatres are equipped with 3D technology.
The recent upgrade to the IMAX theatre features next-generation 4K laser projection and 12-channel sound systems designed to enhance the entire movie-going experience and provide audiences with sharper, brighter, clearer and more vivid digital images than ever.
All 18 auditoriums have been upgraded to Dolby ATMOS immersive surround sound utilizing Christie Vive Audio system and enhanced with Digital Signal Processing.
The new Cinema features more than 700 new speakers, with each auditorium equipped with approximately 40. Each screen also has three sub-woofer speakers located behind the screens to further enable 360-degree audio.
The Universal Cinema is the first laser-multiplex in the United States to utilize the Christie Vive Audio solution which further allows for precise audio fine-tuning of each auditorium.
All 18 theatres are outfitted with new, state-of-the art screens, perforated to enable 360 degree audio.
All 18 auditoriums were completely remodeled as sleek and elegant “black boxes” to create the ultimate immersive environment. Every theatre is tonal black on black – black walls, speakers, seats and flooring – to reduce any light interference and allows movie-goers to focus on the movie-watching experience.
Deluxe & Loveseat Recliner Seats
The complete renovation of the split level structure includes the installation of plush deluxe recliner seats with retractable leg rests to all theatres —the equivalent of those found in Hollywood screening rooms, making every seat, the best seat in the house. The theatre also features extra wide loveseat recliners, measuring 59”. The seats measure 32” in width with the inclusion of the armrests on either side each measuring 5”.
The Universal Cinema provides reserved seating, with real-time seating charts. Collectively, the Cinema comfortably seats up to 2,000 movie-goers at one time.
While you are chilling out waiting for your movie to begin you can have a drink. And you can take them into the theaters located on the top level which is very cool.
A bit more of the "Universal Logo" layout. Can definitely tell here.
Themed drinks are all the rage these days. This one is guaranteed to be better than the movie it's themed after. ;)
We also got a chance to go into one of the projection rooms, this is a "laser" projector.
We did also get to see the IMAX projector, but no pictures sadly. Let's just say that thing is as big as my Kia Soul.
The renovated theater isn't the only new thing open on CityWalk, Margaritaville is open as well.
Definitely more bright and lively than Jillians was.
Spend the day at the park, have dinner at Margaritaville with some live music and then go see a movie at Universal Cinema. Sounds like a fun day to us!!
Hey, we ordered the large!!! =)
After dropping the good camera off in the car we decided to head into the park for a bit, it was raining.
Some work going on around the globe.
There's really not many parks that handle rain better than Universal Studios Hollywood
Looks like some more work going on on New York Street on the upper lot.
Kind of odd, yesterday there were some wraps on these walls, next day back to bare. Weird.
It was stormy, but it would get worse later in the day.
Again, Universal handles rainy days amazing. And the hot chocolate was delicious!!!
Alright, that's going to wrap it up for this update. Thanks to Universal for inviting us out on a tour of the new theater. We'll definitely report back when we see a movie up there. We'll have to make it something loud and crazy to fully get the impact of the IMAX.