Photo Update: January 8, 2017 – CityWalk, WaterWorld, the Backlot, StarWay and More

We’re back with a fresh and clean 2017 photo update! It’s a very exciting time to be a Universal fan because this week’s update is all about taking a glimpse into the future. With all the construction going on around the park, it’s really fun to imagine where it’s all headed. Let’s take a look!

Park Update Index

» Christmas is over
» CityWalk Hollywood
» Studio Directory
» WaterWorld Refurbishment
» StarWay Construction
» Revenge of the Mummy: The Ride / Mummy Treats
» Universal’s 5-year Plan


Christmas is over

The holidays may be over, but we have a brand new year to look forward to. Grinchmas is slowly fading away as crews work through nights to remove string lighting, wreaths, and the almighty Grinchmas tree. Crews have only just begun removing removing the decorations giving guests one last chance to enjoy the park’s decor till next December.

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood


CityWalk Hollywood

Margaritaville is really coming along as crews continue to speed towards an early 2017 opening. The sign has been hung, and much of the restaurant’s signature neon light fixtures have been installed. In addition, we can see where sheathing has been put into place to help create the outline of what looks to be an island cabana.

Walls have gone up around Portland, Oregon import Voodoo Doughnuts as workers finally begin work on the exterior of the building. Opening in spring, we now know for certain that Stumptown Coffee (another Portland native) will also be sold at the location. The two waterfall decals on either side of the main entrance have also been removed, wiping out the final remnants of the original Quicksilver shop that once stood in the location.

Meanwhile, no exterior changes can be seen on the future location of Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt.

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood


Studio Directory

A brand new Digital Studio Directory has been installed at the front of the park across from Hollywood and Dine. The previous front of park directory is now behind construction walls and is slated to be removed along with the planter in order to widen the walkway. The new directories are a nice update but they do reflect the sun, making them a little tough to read at times. It’s assumed that at some point all the current directories will be converted to LED LCD display boards.

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood


WaterWorld Refurbishment

WaterWorld has been closed for a three month refurbishment, with the last set of shows occurring on January 2. One of the more substantial changes will be the queue area, which is set to undergo some massive modifications. Construction walls have been pushed up against Hollywood and Dine, making the WaterWorld restrooms and extra patio seating inaccessible to guests. Look forward to WaterWorld returning in just under three months!

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood


StarWay Construction

The StarWay expansion is clearly moving forward even in the face of the recent stormy weather. Terraforming is being done with the use of bulldozers to even out the hillside. Plaster is being removed around some of the existing StarWay legs. While that is happening, the side of the StarWay facing the backlot is being prepped for removal in order to make room for a fourth bank of of escalators. It’s an exciting prospect because it means that Universal expects the Lower Lot to have more guests which can only mean additional theme park expansion.

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood<

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Revenge of the Mummy / Mummy Treats

The small building that once held Mummy Treats, guest lockers, and the on-ride photo center is slowly being demolished in order to make room for the aforementioned StarWay expansion. While crews work to tear down the old building, the exit for the ride has been re-routed to the entrance, making the front archway a little congested. Behind Revenge of the Mummy, a huge extended queue has also been setup to accommodate guests.

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood


Universal’s 5-year Plan

Demolition of Building 3213 and Soundstage 31 has been completed and all that is left is the outline on the Soundstage 29. The site is now being used as a parking/storage area for construction crews.

The former storage location positioned behind the Red Sea is now being prepared for brand new soundstages which will give the theme park the opportunity to expand where the old soundstages once stood. The old road that the tram once took to drive through the waters has now been completely gated off leaving no chance for anyone to make a wrong turn. Within the next five years, the entire Red Sea is scheduled to be removed in order to make room for more additional studio production.

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo Update: January 7, 2017 - Universal Studios Hollywood


That’s it for this time! With so much happening around the property, it’s very exciting to look towards the future and see where the park is headed. Stick with us at Inside Universal to catch all the latest news and updates for Universal Studios Hollywood!

About Tyler Crouch
Tyler Crouch is an editor for Inside Universal. He currently resides in Los Angeles, California, and may be reached at tylercrouch@insideuniversal.net.

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