3/30/2014 0 Comments
Universal Studios Hollywood held their first weekend of Annual Passholder previews this past weekend after a pretty successful "Technical Rehearsal" period over the last week or so. The Super Silly Funland area is still not ready however and the official opening date for the new ride has been moved from April 10th to April 12th.
We'll also have some updates on the fast moving Wizarding World of Harry Potter and the return of a classic segment of the Tram tour.
Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem
If you saw our pictures and review from last week (and if you didn't, why not ... you can see that update here) then you saw everything we were able to see during the AP Previews.
Having already seen the attraction I was able to enjoy the entire thing with my family.
I was a bit disappointed that during our ride we completely bypassed the first pre-show room due to a ride breakdown in the time we were in the outside queue.
While I get the need to have everybody go through the attraction and keep waits down, the pre-show is just as big a part of the ride experience as anything else.
Below are a few pictures from our update last week. But you all saw that update already right? =)
Wizarding World of Harry Potter
The biggest update this week is going to be from Wizarding World which continues to move at lightning speed.
First you build a box ... then you put a hole in the box.
What will likely be the future wizards village of Hogsmeade.
As seen from the end of the tram.
Jaws 17: The Return of the Revenge of Bruce
Jaws is back from it's refurb on the tram tour. Nothing really different from what we could tell. Not sure if there is any change in script as our tour guide had to be silent during the segment due to nearby filming.
Fast and Furious: Supercharged
Even though nothing has been announced yet, it looks like the new attraction for the tram tour is going to be called "Fast and Furious: Supercharged". Obviously at this point we have no idea what it is going to be or when it is going to be open. If we had to guess this is likely going to be ready for the 2015 season with Wizarding World coming in 2016.
Last, a quick look at Springfield construction. Not really much to report other than some steel coming out of the ground. But it looks like some buildings will likely start taking shape soon.
3/23/2014 2 Comments
This past Thursday the new for 2014 attraction, Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem opened for Technical Rehearsals. So of course we had to head over to the park to share with you some pictures and our review.
We'll also have some pictures from the VERY fast moving Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem
Below is our walk-through and review of Minion Mayhem.
The queue line entrance. Word must have spread quickly because when I got to the ride it was only a 10 minute wait and it stretched to 55 about 25-30 minutes later. The rides pre-show is probably about 15 minutes total and the ride another 5 or so minutes.
As soon as you enter the queue you are greeted with a life-size version of Gru's living room.
Lots of great jokes and pictures throughout the queue that will probably take a few rides to touch on all of them.
The extended queue. I don't really mind that it's not heavily themed, but some shade would be nice as they already had to use the queue over the weekend. It can get into the 100's at Universal Studios during the busy summer season.
The engine for Gru's car as seen from the queue.
Symbol O' Gru.
The gist of the ride is that you are in training to become a Minion. I mean, who doesn't want to be a Minion? Some recruiting posters are placed throughout the queue.
I seriously want one of these for my dining room. Can anybody hook that up? =)
Of course, in order to be a Minion you need to have your Minion Goggle's. These appear to be the same goggles that are used on Transformers: The Ride.
As you enter the first pre-show room more decorations that have been featured in the movies are on display.
Minions in Training are situated into 6 rows. There is PLENTY to look at in this room.
The Gru Family Tree
To quote another Universal Attraction character ... "layers"
After everybody is situated, Gru and the Girls begin to walk you through your Minion Training.
I really want this for my porch to scare people away. =)
Minion Family Picture
Every Dad needs to have his favorite chair
Once you leave the first pre-show room you are directed into another pre-show room. We were asked not to take pictures in this second room so I of course did not.
Below is the theater where the actual ride takes place.
Overall I give the attraction a SOLID B. The queue is great (minus the outside part) and the pre-show is hilarious. I do think the pre-show is actually slightly better than the ride (Shrek 4D suffers the same fate) but overall the entire attraction is very well done.
One thing I think the park missed out on was that the West Coast version is not an actual dark ride instead of another simulator attraction. I think a dark ride with the Minions would be AMAZING.
Of course, unlike the Orlando Version, the party doesn't end with just Minion Mayhem. As soon as you exit the ride you are greeted with a Minion Dance Party!!!
This is a fun room that I'm sure the entire family will enjoy.
Once you exit the dance party you are of course magically transported into the Minion Store. It does contain some nice murals of Super Silly FunLand.
An overview of the store
Minions pretty much dominate the store, which isn't a bad thing at all.
Easter Minions. I actually look forward to collecting these for all seasons!!!
Shirts ... huh?
Once you exit the ride you can have a bite at Gru's Lab Cafe
The inside is the standard layout of most of Universal's Quick Service Restaurants
I tried the Vector's Grilled Cheese with Pulled Pork and BBQ Sauce. And I must say, everything on the plate was absolutely delicious. The chips were fresh, the sauce was great and the sandwich itself was everything you'd want from a Grilled Cheese Sandwich. Melty and Juicy. I'm a huge fan of Cole Slaw and and not a fan of gross Cole Slaw. This one was tangy and went well with the food.
I do think the name could use a change though, I told the staff that it should be called a "Gru'd Cheese Sandwich", especially since it has the Gru symbol on it. Maybe I'll try one of those petition things. =)
There is also a dessert/beverage walk-up counter. I didn't try any of these but I'll be sure to when I return with my family this weekend for the Season Pass Preview.
A look at the rest of the building facade that we were unable to see during our previous updates.
The rest of the neighborhood, be sure to ring the doorbells on the houses when you visit!!!
The other part of the Despicable Me addition is Super Silly Fun Land. It wasn't quite ready for prime-time yet but we were able to see more than we have before.
Coming Soon!!! Hopefully by this weekend?
The new spinner ride in the area is called "Silly Swirly".
It really does look like the amusement park from the first Despicable Me movie.
One of the new games is going to be located between the ride exit and the quick service restaurant.
The back of the Super Silly Fun Land gate.
Keep in mind that during "Technical Rehearsals" Minion Mayhem could close at any time. Also keep in mind that during the next 2 weekends the ride will be open for Season Pass Previews so it may not be available to the general public during that time.
The ride officially opens on April 10th.
Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Just a brief update from Wizarding World.
This is what the area looked like on Friday March 21st, by Sunday March 23rd there was already quite a bit more added. They are really moving fast.
The show building for Forbidden Journey is really starting to take shape. Once they put Hogwarts on top of this you'll be able to see it from all around the area.
Super Extreme Close-Up
Around The Park
Not a whole lot going on elsewhere.
Tram Production Schedule for Friday March 21st.
Jaws is still closed. They are doing a LOT of work on the attraction.
Our face character of the week, one of the guards.
There is also still the construction going on near the old site of the Mummy's Curse Tunnel. Nothing has been announced by the park but all rumors point to this being a new Fast and Furious segment for the tram titled "Fast and Furious: Supercharged. We'll make sure to get some current construction pictures of the area when we are at the park this weekend.
That's going to wrap it up for this update. Have you ridden Minion Mayhem yet? Give us your review below!!!
3/9/2014 3 Comments
We have a pretty substantial update from Universal Studios Hollywood this week. The walls have come down around the outside of the new Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem revealing some amazing details. Super Silly Fun Land continues to grow as we start seeing just how big the area is going to be.
Wizarding World of Harry Potter has seen some magic steel rising out of the sky as they continue to work furiously on the new area. And as if that weren't enough, the all new games in front of The Simpsons Ride are now open (as of Saturday March 8th).
Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem
Walls have come down in front of the attraction that looks to be on-track to open on April 10th.
Even though the attraction will have two sides all guests will enter through Gru's house and exit just outside.
Looking down Gru's street you can see the amount of detail that just the facade has received.
All of the requisite height indicators, wait time clocks and signs have been placed.
As we look to the right of the entrance we can start to see some additional details for Super Silly Fun Land.
I really think this little area may steal the show.
From the Starway you can see a few more details.
Oddly the best vantage point is through the ceiling of one of the Starway escalators. Go figure.
There were some employee previews this past week but I'm told the preview did not include the ride, but did include some BA-NA-NA flavored treats that would make any Minion drool.
Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Theme Park fans have been talking so much about Harry Potter the past few years that it's hard not to say that Wizarding World has "finally" gone vertical.
In all fairness, the actual construction for the area has only been going on since early September. Including the demolition of the Universal/Gibson Amphitheater the pace of construction is actually pretty impressive.
Because the park has yet to release any detailed artwork it's hard to know what is going to go where, but it almost looks as if something is going to be inside whatever they are building here (Forbidden Journey?) and something else will therefore be sitting on top (Hogwarts?).
To give some perspective to those of you familiar with Universal/Gibson Amphitheater, there is a stairway to the far left of this picture. That was the stairway that headed near the backstage area of the former amphitheater.
Some wizards wear robes and carry wands, others wear hard hats and operate cranes.
At the end of the tour we see another view of just how massive just this first level of steel is.
More magic steel ready to be hoisted into place.
Super Extreme Close-up.
Walls have come down around the new games near The Simpsons Ride. The games officially opened on Saturday March 8th.
Dunk or Flunk
Sideshow You and Thar She Throws
Help Santa's Little Helper
Wild and Willie
We'll be sure to take some time to play some games and detail them more on our next trip.
Around The Park
Not really a whole lot of other things going on around the park.
Waterworld is down for refurbishment as it will have some changes to the show to bring it closer to the version currently being shown in Singapore. We'll be sure to take the waterproof camera and get a front row seat when the show reopens. =)
Tram Production Schedule for Friday March 7th.
Speaking of the tram, now that Jimmy Fallon is hosting The Tonight Show, a slight change has been made to the sign out front.
The Tram can transport you to exotic places ... like Las Vegas. This is outside the set for C.S.I..
Much of New York Street was closed due to filming of Parenthood. Visiting the park during the week increases your chances of seeing actual filming taking places, but also increases the likelihood that some sections of the backlot will be off-limits.
Nothing going on in the former Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift show.
I know it's cheesy, but the Flash Flood is still one of my favorite parts of the tram.
Ooops. Looks like somebody got too close to one of the buildings in the Fountain Courtyard. The Phantom of the Opera Fountain is also nowhere to be seen.
Jaws is still closed.
Still more work going on in the former location of the Mummy Tunnel.
And lastly, as promised, a tribute to one of the great face characters out at the park. This update it's Marilyn Monroe who was kind enough to pose for this picture just outside the tram.
That's going to wrap it up for this update. Despicable Me is scheduled to open on April 10th. If we get wind of any kind of soft opening in the weeks before it's opening we'll be sure to pass it along.
All 2014 Attractions 2015 Attractions 2016 Attractions 2017 Attractions 2018 Attractions 2019 Attractions 2020 Attractions 2021 Attractions Bourne Stuntacular Cabana Bay Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem Diagon Alley Dreamworks Theater Epic Universe Eyegore Awards Fast And Furious: Supercharged Grinchmas Halloween Horror Nights Harry Potter Harry Potter And The Escape From Gringotts Harry Potter And The Forbidden Journey Hogwarts Hulk Islands Of Adventure Jurassic Park Jurassic World Lunar New Year Mario Kart: Koopa's Challenge Minions Nintendo Nye Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon Reign Of Kong Secret Life Of Pets: Off The Leash Simpsons Springfield Studio Tour Super Nintendo World The Incredible Hulk Coaster The Voice The Walking Dead Transformers: The Ride Universal Cinema Universal Citywalk Universal Orlando Universal Running Universal Studios Florida Universal Studios Hollywood Universal Studios Japan Volcano Bay Wizarding World