One of the busiest construction area's in all of Southern California has to be at Universal Studios Hollywood. If it's not the busiest, it's certainly the fastest moving. Amazing what happens when a corporation can see the benefit of getting new attractions open quickly.
We'll start off our update with a look outside the park at the new parking structure and Fast and Furious.
As you can see above, the first level of the structure is now being worked on.
Looks like they are installing some kind of new sign. Doesn't really fit with the existing road, so it's likely the entrance or exit to the new structure will not the the same as it is now. Or the direction of traffic will be changing.
The facade for the entrance to Fast and Furious: Supercharged is going up. Guessing this will be something similar to what's on King Kong 360 3D.
I didn't do the tram, so this is all of the Fast and Furious you get for today. The rest would have just been pictures of a building anyway. =)
Heading inside the park, production schedule for last Friday. Nothing new here.
More HHN decorations have been covered up during the day. Soon there won't be anything out.
Moving over to Springfield and Hogsmeade, more walls and insulation are starting to go up.
Ben & Jerry's and Louie's are closed. More on that below.
Even on a not-so-busy Friday afternoon, lots of congestion in this area.
The path to the Studio Tour has been moved again.
Walls surround 2/3 of the Kwik-E-Mart, only the side closest to The Simpsons Ride is open
As you can see in the two pictures below, the path to the Studio Tour has curved around quite a bit for construction.
A look at Hogwarts and more of Hogsmeade going up.
The new path gives us some new angles of Hogsmeade, so there's that. =)
Moving above ground, lots of work looks like it's been done on the lower levels of Springfield.
On the top this would be KrustyLu Studios and the hospital, on the lower would be Androids Dungeon and Lard Land Donuts.
Wonder if any of the games they just re-did last year are going to move. Sure would create more room. Just not sure where they'd put them.
More work on the new trash compactor
This will be all Kwik-E-Mart when the new additions are done. No more Moe's, at least not here.
A look at the work being done near Louie's.
At 1:30 in the afternoon they were already putting up signs for HHN. Hope nobody got offended. =)
Alright, that's going to wrap it up for today's update.
Remember, HHN ends on Sunday. If you are planning on going, be sure to check out our Strategy Guide and our full reviews of the event from September 22 and September 30.
As of last night, the Auctioneer at #ThePurge (seen below), one of the more fun and spontaneous portions of the event is gone. This is now two years in a row that people with a thin skin and an agenda have managed to get things removed from the park.
This all began when a pair of 13 year-old girls who were at the event with no adult supervision felt they were singled out and called "Sluts and Whores" by the Auctioneer.
If you've seen the Purge movies you know that this is a part of the "show'. If you look at the video in this link you will see that they girls were in no way singled out, but referred to. They weren't called up on stage, they weren't ridiculed publicly.
As a parent, I have to admit that when I first heard the story I was very torn. I know I wouldn't be happy if somebody had called my daughter a slut in the way that it was first presented (that they were called up and singled out).
But as more details began to come out I became far less torn. A few thoughts on the matter.
Was Universal wrong here? Only in the sense that they let the Auctioneer become the scapegoat in this situation. The show has run for almost a month before this came to light. If it was about just getting an apology, why go to Gloria Allred, one of the most notorious media attorneys in Southern California?
In my opinion Universal does owe these girls an apology, for having parents that didn't do enough research to make sure the event was appropriate for their kids.
So what do you think Universal needs to do to insure this doesn't happen again? An age restriction? Toning down the event and making it more family oriented?
At the VERY least they need to make sure those under a certain age (16 or 17) aren't attending the event without adult supervision.
Now that Halloween Horror Nights has been open for a few weeks and we've done pretty much all the reporting we can do on it, it's time to turn our focus back to construction going on at the rest of the park.
And there's been a lot going on over the past few weeks both inside and outside of the park as they prepare for the crowds that are sure to descend on the park in 2016.
Wizarding World West
We'll start our look with Wizarding World, as that seems to be where most of the changes have been over the past few weeks.
As you'll see below, some thematic elements of Hogsmeade and/or Forbidden Journey have started to take shape backstage.
Snowy roofs and lots of rock work
A look at Forbidden Journey, lots of work going on inside.
Moving inside the park, the scaffolding shows that they are hard at work on the exterior portions of Hogsmeade.
No weekends off for this project, they are working 7 days a week.
From the tram, a look at Forbidden Journey
Some new structures are being built
Greenhouse portion of the queue?
Still a pretty big hole at Forbidden Journey
Nothing to see here ... move along. =)
A bit of an aerial view shows just how much work has been done recently.
There's still a LOT of work to be done, and only about 1 1/2 years left to do it. It will be interesting to see this project grow over the next few months.
Work is also flying along at Springfield which is set to open in 2015
Starting to see some things related to the facades that will go in front of these buildings for the individual Springfield locations.
Believe it or not, the walls have actually been moved out even more heading towards the Studio Tour. This is how cramped it is right now between the walls and the Kwik E Mart.
From up top you can see the two story approach they are going with. Still interested to see just how this is going to work.
The area is so cramped with construction right now, but seeing how close the buildings are to the construction walls, not so sure it's going to get any better once Springfield opens.
Fast and Furious: Supercharged
If that wasn't enough, Fast and Furious: Supercharged continues to speed along like a Big Block Hemi with NOx boost.
It's pretty much just a big building and really, there isn't much to see here.
Moving outside of the park, there is a LOT of work being done in anticipation of epic crowds for 2016. I think it's safe to say that 2016 will be the biggest year in the history of the park.
The new parking structure continues to be built.
Probably even more important than finding places for people to park is getting people in and out of the parking structures quickly. And the preparations for this are EPIC (apparently).
The road heading up to the park from Lankershim is now only 1 lane as they make improvements
Work is also continuing on the new boutique hotel
If you are taking the red line or other transportation and need to make your way up or down the hill by walking, this is what you are greeted with. Not fun.
Since they will be encouraging people to use public transportation with the building of the new pedestrian bridge, it'd be nice if they figured out a better way to get people up the hill.
Speaking of the new bridge, work isn't moving quite as quickly as it is inside the park. Still odd that a bridge is going to take as long as the rest of Wizarding World. That's public works for you.
Around The Park
Just a couple of notes about the tram, the rest of the park and CityWalk.
A look at the production schedule for Saturday. Not many changes on this.
Apparently the President was hanging out at the park. =)
They've started talking about Jurassic World on the tram as you pass by the cars from The Lost World.
Work is also continuing on the new trash compactor near the Studio Tour.
Moving out to City Walk, we've heard rumors that Bubba Gump may be on the way out after the first of the year. We've also heard rumors of what may be replacing it, but we don't want to jinx it. Let's just say we'd eat at the new place more than we'd ever eat at Bubba Gump.
Last but certainly not least, a look at a couple of the great walk-around characters at the park. They really do a great job of interacting with guests and we think they are awesome.
Ok, that's going to wrap it up for this update that was a LOT longer than we had originally anticipated. Sorry about that, but we hope you enjoyed it.