March 16, 2014 – Hi everyone, we’re back with yet another photo update from Universal Studios Hollywood, this time detailing the ongoing work occurring at Despicable Me, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and at Simpsons Plaza. It’s a whirlwind adventure filled with magic, confetti, loud music and more!
So are you pumped for this photo update spectacular? Of course you are. Let’s get started.
With WaterWorld undergoing its annual refurbishment, it appears as if Universal has reintroduced the Lights, Camera, Action block party in Universal Plaza to compensate for the lack of a big stunt show. It’s a great – if not a bit short – character addition that really livens up the entire park. Performances are usually listed on the park map, so keep an eye out if the street party is scheduled on the date of your visit.
Similarly, Megatron has also been brought to Plaza from the Lower Lot for additional photo opportunities. They’ve hung some military garb on the side as guests line up to have their photo taken. Unlike the setup on the Lower Lot, this Megatron appears to be self contained – with its audio system embedded within the actual suit.
Spring Break crowds have begun and WaterWorld is currently not on the roster. You can probably expect some heavy wait times while visiting the park until Universal can get the attraction count back up with Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem opening on April 10.
To help keep guests entertained with the lack of attractions, Universal has stepped up the streetmosphere activity throughout the park including more photo opportunities with your favorite characters.
Crowds are starting to pick up and lines are beginning to climb everywhere…including Finleys.
Meanwhile, crews continue to add the finishing touches to Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem. Construction walls pushed back all the way to Gru’s house, allowing guests to peer through his door. Some of the building’s facades and eateries have also been revealed, including a counter service dubbed Despicable Delights and a traditional pick-and-choose restaurant called Gru’s Lab Cafe. We’re hearing that Universal is planning to offer macaroni and cheese, sandwiches, banana flavored deserts and more – so expect some nice food options in an otherwise restaurantless area of the park.
Peering next door, Super Silly Fun Land continues to progress at a feverish pace, though whether or not they’ll finish by April 10 isn’t as clear. Universal has apparently been having some difficulties associated with the Silly Swirly spinner, though those issues may have already been resolved by the time of photo update. Regardless, it still appears as if a substantial amount of work needs to be done.
The layout of the facade seems identical to the Terminator 2:3D layout with a small snack concession area named “Despicable Delights” nearby the stroller parking area.
In similar fashion with other rides at Universal, Despicable Me will have a variable height restriction: 48″ will be the official height restriction, while a child being accompanied by an adult may ride with a height restriction of 40″ tall.
Gru’s vehicle parked in his garage.
Stroller parking and waiting area seems to be very lightly themed.
Despicable Delights will more than likely be a quick soda and snack venue that will also offer some unique treats.
Gru’s Lab Cafe. Most likely a “Grab and Go” dining option similar to most food venues inside the park. A few dining tables may be in and around the venue, but more than likely most will have to dine within Parisian Courtyard.
Super Swir… Swirly? Looks like Universal is really stepping up this themed land and playground area.
Looks like Gru has been stealing theme park shows lately and trying an old technique of his arch nemesis Vector. Clouds are appearing on the Terminator show building to help disguise the attraction’s unique building.
Will the old windmill stay red?
In more exciting news, the show building for Forbidden Journey has finally gone vertical.
Crews have already erected the building’s steel framing as foundational work continues to progress within the area. And remember, this is only the beginning!
As you can see, the building will be raised one level. However, the ground level of the ride itself will be the same as the ground level of the guests. If you are familiar with Orlando, guests will enter the building on the second level for loading the vehicle.
The lack of rain for the Southern California region in 2014 will without a doubt allow for this construction to run at full steam. Reports have said this project is ahead of schedule. But that does not negate the fact that delays can pop up anywhere. Universal has been very good with attractions in the past opening on schedule, but we have also never had anything this big in their history. Keep a close eye here throughout 2015…
Simpsons, on the other hand, has already completed phase one of its Krustyland/Springfield expansion with the opening of the Simpsons Ride carnival facade.
They’re exact duplicates of the games in Florida, and they span the entire entrance of the ride alongside the ledge overlooking the StarWay.
Looking over the Studio Tour, activity near the now-demolished Mummy’s Tomb continues, while Jaws receives its ongoing treatment.
Bruce has been uncovered! No, the reports that they were placing laser beams on his head are false.
The new Studio Tour attraction for 2015 is also chugging along…
…and finally, Shrek continues to be compromised by ongoing constriction.
The outdoor queue has been expanded under a white tent as guests enter through a hallway and into the torture chamber. Traces of the old queue have been removed, and everything seems to be designed on an ad-hoc basis. Regardless, the building and queue setup are beginning to look out of place as the rest of the park continues its year-long infrastructure overhaul. One has to wonder if Shrek is on its last legs…
That does it for us. Be sure to stay with Inside Universal for continuing coverage of these projects and more originating from Universal Studios Hollywood. Thanks for reading, and be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
Photos by Bruce Babcock.