We are very excited to bring you the first of what we hope will be many updates for the upcoming Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood. The area doesn't open until 2016 so that gives us lots of time to follow all aspects of construction.
As if Harry Potter wasn't enough, the new for 2014 attraction "Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem" is inching closer to opening this spring. There is also a lot of work going on around The Simpsons Ride.
Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Before we get into what the area for Wizarding World of Harry Potter looks like now, let's take a look at what the area looked like just a few short months ago on September 13, 2013. Thanks so much to CoasterMatt for the following "Before" pictures.
And this is what that same area looks like today.
What is at the moment big piles of dirt will eventually be the highly themed world of Harry Potter.
Big machines that punch holes in the ground are on site as well as the crane that can be seen from well outside the park. Isn't there some kind of spell that can just make this be ready to open tomorrow?
As seen from outside the park.
Lots of stuff in the staging area.
From inside the park you can get an idea of just how big the crane is.
The size and scope of this project is, quite simply, the biggest project in the parks history. This is going to change the park, not only expanding the size of the upper lot but most likely changing the way the park is seen from a local and tourist standpoint. While other parks have had a lock on the local Southern California market for years, Universal Studios was always seen as a park for tourists with only an occasional visit for locals. This project will expand the local market for the park unlike anything else in the parks history.
Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem
The park is also hard at work on the new for 2014 attraction, Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem. Unlike it's Florida Counterpart this attraction brings with it an entire new "mini-land" that is rumored to include a spinning ride.
Given how popular the franchise is (especially the Minions), and considering the lack of major attractions in the local market, this is probably going to be the biggest attraction opening in Southern California in 2014.
It looks like the crane is mainly being used for the "Super Silly Fun Land" area.
The facade for Gru's house is only one of many things featured from the movies. And this is only what we can see so far.
I'm sure this guy was doing something pretty important. Actually, since these pictures were taken the sign for the ride has been installed (just to the left of where the crane is in the picture below).
From the lower lot you can see some of the work being done on "Super Silly Fun Land"
A lot of Despicable Me merchandise has already started to show up in the stores both inside the park and at CityWalk.
It's so FLUFFY!!!!
Once we get some firm opening dates for Minion Mayhem we will be sure to share them
Around The Park
As if Harry Potter and Despicable Me weren't enough, there is a lot of work going on around The Simpsons Ride for the long-rumored Springfield makeover. The queue for the ride is also getting some work done.
However, no official announcement has been made.
There are walls from the entrance of Shrek 4D all the way to the entrance of the Studio Tour. As a result, Doc Brown's chicken and a few other restaurants and stores have closed.
If you haven't been to the park for awhile, some big recent changes include the removal of the Wild West arena and the addition of the new Universal Plaza which really opens up the park.
A couple of tidbits from the Studio Tour. Always make sure to check the production board to see what's filming, you never know what you might see.
Beware of Norman Bates
The Avalanche Tunnel/Curse of the Mummy's Tomb is completely gone, opening up a huge plot of land. Not sure if this is going to be part of Harry Potter or something different.
An overhead view of just how much has been cleared.
Looks like Jaws finally got what was coming to him.
That's going to wrap it up for this update. Considering how fast Harry Potter and Minion Mayhem are progressing we are likely going to have pretty consistent updates from the park.
Make sure to take our poll below.
Funny...for someone who grew up just a few miles from this park, I know so little about it and can count my lifetime visits to it on one hand. I'm glad to see that they're expanding to this extent and that at some point, visiting Universal Studios will be as much fun as visiting Disneyland or Magic Mountain. Unfortunately, sacrifices have had to be made (RIP Gibson Amphitheatre), but that's show biz.
1/20/2014 11:16:48 pm
Yeah, it's sad that the Gibson had to go, but for the first time in a LONG time nothing inside the park had to be removed in order to make room for something new. There really isn't much room because the entire upper lot sits on a hill and the lower lot is surrounded by the studio. Plus you have all of the neighbor issues.
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