May 31, 2014 – With the park gearing up for a busy summer season, we thought we’d take a look at what’s happening at Universal – this time detailing the ongoing progress of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (set to debut in 2016), Springfield (2015), Fast and Furious: Supercharged (2015) along with a quick update on the Special Effects Stage, WaterWorld and the site of the former Fung Lum restaurant.
It’s a feature packed update, so let’s get started.
» Parking Lots
» Fast and Furious: Supercharged on the Studio Tour
» The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
» Super Silly Fun Land
» Hollywood Grill
» WaterWorld/Special Effects Stage
» Fung Lum Restaurant
With Universal’s five-year transformation plan still underway, Universal has continued to develop the parking structure adjacent to Curious George.
Replacing what had been the E.T. flat lot, this new lot (dubbed P-3 on Universal’s official Evolution Plan) aims to supplement the multistory Jurassic Park, Curious George and Frankenstein parking structures already in place around CityWalk. In due time, Universal will also begin constructing a parking structure adjacent to the existing Curious George lot (P-13), alongside new structures in front of CityWalk (P-4) and a flat lot across from P-3 (P-9).
If you need a refresher, we encourage you to take a look at our delineation of the Evolution Plan. It’ll provide a visual idea of Universal’s plans for the future.
Another up-and-coming project is the construction of Fast and Furious: Supercharged on the Studio Tour.
Taking up the entire length of Falls Lake, Fast and Furious: Supercharged is expected to be an extension of King Kong 360 – 3D, with multiple rooms and practical effects for Studio Tour patrons.
For a more in-depth look, be sure to read our recent Fast and Furious article for a list of our predictions.
Of course, the biggest elephant in the room is probably the construction of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (set to debut in 2016). Composed of Hogsmeade Village and Forbidden Journey, structural elements for the Wizarding World have already popped up on the Upper Lot, giving us a basic outline of what the land could eventually entail.
For one, the outer perimeter of Hogsmeade Village has already been erected next to Shrek 4D, Production Central, and Simpsons Plaza. In similar fashion, impediments to the new land – such as Flintstones BBQ – are bound to be removed in the future date as the park’s old infrastructure continues to be removed in favor of new enhancements.
Also on the roster is the introduction of Springfield to California visitors. Based off Fast Food Boulevard at Universal Studios Florida, Springfield (set to debut in 2015) will likely feature a two-story food court alongside an elaborate facade unique to Universal Studios Hollywood. Surrounding restaurants will be rethemed and repurposed as Universal aims to create its second themed land (the first being Super Silly Fun Land).
Long time readers will know that the completion of Springfield will be the final step of a comprehensive plan aimed at refurnishing Simpsons Plaza, which began with the addition of Krusty’s Carnival Games earlier this year.
Moving on to smaller items, it appears as if Universal has added some of its finishing touches to Super Silly Fun Land. They’ve added a cutout of minions hanging on the Minion Mayhem building alongside a small prop inspired by the first Despicable Me film.
Hollywood Grill also returned from its recent refurbishment, adding a small Grab-and Go refrigerator in the same vein as Theater Café. They’ve also repositioned some of the Coke Freestyle machine to the right of the restaurant.
Moving to the front of the park, the seating expansion for WaterWorld is taking a bit longer than expected with construction crews hitting a few snags associated with underground work. Regardless, the seating expansion is expected to continue as planned, adding capacity to the popular show.
Meanwhile, construction in front of Special Effects Stage has subsided, removing support beams/planter for Universal’s Animal Actors. The entrance looks much cleaner as a result, with easier guest access in-and-out.
Finally, the site of the former Fung Lum restaurant has been completely leveled, making way for Universal’s planned 500 room hotel with a small adjacent parking lot.
That does it for us. Please 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.
Jonathan Green is the managing editor of Inside Universal.
Jonathan has been going to Universal for over 25 years, developing a deep passion for the theme park and its historic films. His real passion involves Universal Studios Hollywood’s storied past and how it eventually transformed from a movie studio into a theme park.
You may contact Jonathan at firstname.lastname@example.org