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.
Yesterday we were invited out for a preview of the great Lunar New Year celebration at Universal Studios Hollywood.
We got to spend some time in the Universal Plaza in the fabulous sunshine and see all of the great stuff that is out for this years festival.
For more information on the Lunar New Year at Universal Studios click here. The event runs through Feb 14.
Written by Gregg Condon
Time to celebrate the year of the Monkey
Love the Universal Plaza and that they can transform it so many different ways throughout the year. This just looks beautiful.
Banners up for all the different years of the Chinese Zodiac where you can look to see what animal represents you.
I'm the year of the Rabbit, but I'll let you guess what year. ;)
Because it's the year of the Monkey, Curious George is out to greet guests.
Obligatory selfie with George.
Hey, what's that lurking behind us?
Mandarin Megatron is also out again for 2016.
Lots of tasty food offerings are available and were out for us to check out.
We'll be back out at the park on Sunday for a little pre Super Bowl fun so we'll definitely try some of these.
Brief interlude as Gregg tries to get artsy with blossoms and Wizarding World.
Guests are also invited to write messages for the New Year and place them on the plum blossoms.
We saw messages in English, Spanish and of course Mandarin. It's a great tradition.
Be sure you check out the Lunar New Year at Universal Studios, it's definitely not to be missed.
We'll have our normal Universal Studios Update early next week so be sure to check back for that.