We're back this week at Universal Studios Hollywood as their "EPIC TRANSFORMATION" continues. And really, it is quite epic to think that in just a couple of months the walls around Wizarding World are going to be open and we are going to be inside.
Of course, prior to that, there is LOTS to be done, and it's some of that we're going to spend some time with on this update. It's a big one, you may want to grab a snack. =)
Written by Gregg Condon
We'll start off down on Lankershim as the pedestrian bridge from the Metro Red Line is coming together nicely.
Probably not the best idea to be taking pictures while driving next to CHP. Ooops. =)
The video board is getting some much needed upgrades. Can't wait to see it all done.
Heading up the hill. Because new lands and new parking structures are great, but if you have no way for people to get up the hill ...
Now that we're all parked let's head into the park, but wait, lots more epic transformations going on here too.
The entire right side of the entry plaza is being redone. But FYI, the gates on that side are still open, and people don't really notice. Score!!
Once inside the park, the work is still just beginning.
The new retail location is looking really great and should complement the entry of the park very well.
This is the main way into the park ... and they are still holding people prior to 9am. They may want to move that into the park a bit more as this was as far back as people were lined up.
Some great details on these buildings.
Even around the corner the buildings are looking great.
Hollywood Grill is also getting some work done. You may remember there's a pretty big seating area behind these walls, not sure if it's coming back or not. It's kind of in what is going to be a VERY high traffic area.
Moving down to the lower lot, Jurassic Park:: The Ride is getting a very extensive rehab. Lots of the track after the drop has already been replaced.
Don't piss off the supervisor. He's got some pretty sharp teeth.
The new dining location across from Transformers is under tarps still. No details have emerged yet.
Just a couple of quick tram notes. The building between the front lot stages and the backlot NY sets is gone. This is a pretty big plot of land, no way to know what's coming but it's plenty big enough for another soundstage.
Work is continuing in earnest on Little Europe. Apologies for the bluriness, the tram didn't want to stop for us. ;)
How awesome would it be if they used this area for HHN?
And that's gonna wrap it up for ... oh, wait, that's right, Wizarding World. ;)
Ticketing systems for Wizarding World are ready to go.
This is going to be Lunar New Year soon, and then it's going to be a queue. A very long, very magical queue.
It was quite overcast today, very Hogwarts'y
Walls have started to come down and we can now see into Hogsmeade.
And a new view of Hogwarts.
Oh yeah, we can still see this old view too. ;)
There were lights on and everything!!
Later in the day they were testing music and other things in Hogsmeade.
We did take a little video while at the park as well, so if you like your updates in video form, here ya go. Be sure to give our YouTube page a subscribe too!!! =)
And one last look at Hogwarts from CityWalk.
Alright, that's for real going to wrap it up for this update. It was really long, but there is so much going on at the park right now. Let's just hope they can get it all ready for Wizarding World. It's going to be insane, VERY insane, but still awesome.
Happy New Year and welcome to another great year of fun with us and what better way to start than with a new update from Universal Studios Hollywood.
We trust you all had a great Christmas and New Years with family and friends. We had to cut down some of our New Years week plans due to illness but we'll make it up to you somehow.
UPDATE: We've just made an update below regarding some changes made to the Fast and Furious portion of the Studio Tour.
Written by Gregg Condon
We'll of course start off with the entrance to Wizarding World Hollywood. The walls have been moved back and now you can actually touch Wizarding World.
The area is pretty much done except for some minor stuff that really won't be visible from the outside. The reason it's not opening until April doesn't really have a lot to do with Wizarding World but with all the other stuff that needs to be ready for the plethora of Potterheads that will be descending on this park. And training of course.
Umbridge is at it again ...
It's just so pretty. And now you can actually touch Wizarding World!!! =)
Moving on to the other side, not much has changed.
So really, there's nothing much going to be going on until Wizarding World opens. We'll of course still do a few updates as there is work going on, and of course we're hoping to have soft opens at some point. And of course, the media push for this is going to be HUGE and will easily be the biggest media event we've ever done.
This is going to be the biggest thing to ever happen to this park (and it's not even close) so there will probably be some growing pains, so be patient once "Technical Rehearsals" begin and of course on opening day.
Moving on past Wizarding World, the new dining/retail area at the front of the park is looking great. No word yet on what we'll be able to enjoy when it opens.
It'll be like their own little main street.
Around the corner, some great detail on these buildings.
As you can see they are getting ready to start putting signs, etc on the buildings.
The bag check area at the front of the park has been totally redesigned and they are now testing "random" people going through metal detectors. We'll know very soon if this is to become the norm and if they do permanent metal detectors for all guests.
The new entry area has also changed and is MUCH more open which will be nice. Entry on New Years Eve was very quick and efficient.
UPDATE: A small update from the Studio Tour we forgot to put in our article earlier regarding Fast and Furious:
First, in the pre-show scene with the dance party, the girl with the skimpy panties now has a CGI skirt to conceal things a bit. Since this is a family park/attraction this is a pretty good call and it's still confusing how that even saw the light of day in this attraction.
Secondly, they have darkened the "ride" portion a bit and it's more Sunset now than mid-day which does help to hide the edges of the screen a bit.
It will be interesting to see if further changes are coming to this portion of the tour.
Alright, that's going to wrap it up for this update.
Later this week we'll have a New Years Week update from Walt Disney World and finally our big Star Wars: The Force Awakens article since our self-imposed spoiler embargo has been lifted. We'll be giving our thoughts on the movie as well as talking about all of the rumors that are flying around.