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Universal Studios Hollywood (USH) Discussion Thread

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Despicable Me has a single rider line that only opens on the busiest of days.


I would say that if you are arriving to the park in the afternoon and want to make SURE you do everything, FOL is the way to go. Kids will still be out of school. Judging by the park hours of 9am-10pm, they are expecting it to be a busy day.

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Universal Studios Hollywood has sent us a press release announcing their plans for their new "New Year's Eve Movie Night" celebration!


The countdown to 2015 begins with Universal CityWalk’s all-new “New Year’s Eve Movie Night” celebration at the CityWalk AMC Theatres, featuring five of Universal Pictures’ most iconic films, including “Jurassic Park,” “E.T. The Extra Terrestrial,” “Back to the Future” and a double feature of “Dracula” and “Frankenstein.”


The New Year’s Eve festivities will include a red carpet entry and live DJ dance party with appearances by such favorite Universal Studios Hollywood characters as the Minions, Doc Brown, Dracula, Frankenstein and the quintessential Hollywood icon, Marilyn Monroe, in honor of the theme park’s 50th anniversary.


Admission tickets are $25 per adult and $15 per child and include a movie ticket to the selected film, the DJ countdown dance party, complimentary soft drink, all you can eat popcorn and a New Year’s Eve goodie bag. The “New Year’s Eve Movie Night” event will take place on the 2nd level of the AMC Theatres.


In addition to “Movie Night,” revelers can celebrate in style at any one of Universal CityWalk’s many restaurants and nightclubs offering a variety of festive New Year’s Eve private parties, including Howl at the Moon, Infusion Lounge, Jillian’s Hi Life Lanes, Saddle Ranch Chop House and Wolfgang Puck Bistro.


During the construction phase of its epic transformation, Universal CityWalk is modifying its traditional New Year’s Eve celebration and will not include fireworks and outdoor concert performances.


More information about Universal CityWalk is available at www.CityWalkHollywood.com. Regular updates also can be found on CityWalk’s Twitter @CityWalkLA, Facebook page Universal CityWalk Hollywood and Instagram @CityWalkLA.

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Smart decision to not do the NYE celebration how they have done in the past---all the construction is insane! They are adding lanes to the Lankershim hill, build a pedestrian bridge from the metro, and re-doing the Cahuenga entrance to connect to the giant parking garage they are building. Definitely would not be fun to have thousands of guests coming up and down the hill for the theme park and NYE celebration.

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Some photos from the park today...


-Shrek re-opened, which led to some new views of potter since it's queue is right up against the area.

-House of Horrors is completely gone.

-Detail starting to show on Springfield!

-the escalators down to the lower lot got a new archway and it is no longer called the Starway.

-Production Central received a new facade and a new brickwork plaza...since it is right across from the future land entrance.



Uhm...it's potter stuff. I have no idea what it is.


Cletus Chicken Shack beginning to take shape


New archway for the escalators down to the lower lot


Moe's! Mmm...beer


Android Dungeon and Lard Lad Donuts


New plaza and facade for Production Central


Wizarding World archway. I guess that's exciting?


Shrek re-opened with a new entrance/alleyway


House of Horrors is gone.


Backside of Potter!


Closer view of potter you get from the Shrek Queue.

Edited by Jew
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LA Times article about the ramp re-alignment going on around the park. There is a good graphic showing where the changes are being made if you click the link:




A plan to permanently close a major offramp from the Hollywood Freeway to make way for an expansion of Universal Studios is fueling outrage from residents who say it will cut off their community.


The southbound Barham Boulevard exit ramp near Universal City will be shut down — probably in the coming year — as part of NBCUniversal's $1.6-billion project that includes the building of a Harry Potter-themed attraction.


"It's an abomination; a developer was able to confiscate an exit on a state-funded highway for their own personal use," said John Strozdas, a Hollywood Hills resident whose family uses the ramp to get home from the San Fernando Valley.



Neighbors say the closure of the 101 Freeway offramp is just asking too much. The closure will keep drivers on the freeway longer, they say, and lengthen the commutes of thousands who live and work nearby.


With the ramp closed, southbound drivers trying to get off the 101 will have to exit north of Barham at Lankershim Boulevard or drive two miles south to the next offramp at Highland Avenue, a major artery for the Hollywood Bowl that backs up during performances.


NBCUniversal executives insist the planned freeway changes will actually relieve congestion and benefit the neighborhood because guests will be routed in and out of the park and onto the freeway so they don't clog up roadways.


As part of the NBCUniversal Evolution plan — which was approved by both the city and county — a new southbound 101 Freeway onramp would be built on Universal Studios Boulevard, allowing departing park guests to get directly onto the freeway, bypassing the neighborhood.


The California Department of Transportation determined that the Barham offramp had to close. Otherwise cars accelerating from the new onramp and those decelerating to make the Barham exit would create a dangerous stretch of "weaving and merging," according to the project's environmental impact report.


Corinne Verdery, NBCUniversal's chief real estate development officer, said that the Barham offramp closure was an "unfortunate trade-off" and that the studio is funding a third-party study to review alternatives.


"From our company's standpoint, we'd like as many ramps as possible," she said. "We did not want to see the offramp closed."


The new Universal Studios Boulevard onramp is now under construction and expected to open by early 2016, Verdery said. The Barham offramp will close before the new ramp opens. The Barham Boulevard onramp to the southbound 101 Freeway will remain open.


The 25-year expansion plan for the property includes hotels and nearly 2 million square feet of office and production space, as well as a "Fast and Furious" movie-themed ride and "The Simpsons Springfield U.S.A.," a re-creation of the fictional town.


But the biggest draw is expected to be "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter," which will feature a replica of the Hogwarts Castle and other locations from the books and movies. The attraction, which is under construction, is expected to open in 2016.


NBCUniversal executives declined to say how many new visitors are expected. But the company has agreed to spend $100 million in transit and road improvements, including building a new southbound offramp near Campo de Cahuenga, widening Barham Boulevard and widening the Lankershim onramp.


But residents and merchants remain unconvinced that traffic will improve.


"They're just making it more convenient to get to Universal," said Sam Hov, an Allstate insurance agent who works in a strip mall where shop windows are plastered with red-letter signs protesting the closure of the nearby Barham offramp.


Hov said he didn't buy NBCUniversal's argument that removing their visitors from local streets would ease traffic because so many other people drive through the area during rush hour. He still sits in terrible early-morning traffic when commuting from North Hollywood even before the theme park is open, he said.


Next door, at the 161st Street Pizzeria, manager Natalia Gonzalez said she worries her delivery drivers are going to get stuck on the freeway, making them late with orders.


More than 1,500 people have signed an online petition protesting the offramp's closure.


"Isn't it bad enough that after Harry Potter opens, we will have thousands more cars daily to deal with?" one signer wrote.


Still, others who work in the area say something had to be done before the crush of new tourists arrives.


John Gallogly, executive director of Theatre West near the Barham ramps, said traffic on Cahuenga Boulevard during peak theme park hours is "virtually unnavigable."


"It's an impossible situation, and this could be a very good solution," Gallogly said. "It is inconvenient to have to go an extra several blocks to an exit, but by the same token, it would have taken at least that long on busier local roads."

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This is really a no win situation. If you have ever tried to get to the park on a busy day or HHN night, the freeway offramps are a MESS and backed up quite a bit. Cahuenga is always a mess during rush hour times as well partially due to USH guests needing to take Cahuenga to get to the 101 South.


However, having to go around USH to get to Barham is a tough pill to swallow for those who use it to get into Burbank and the community in the hills up there.

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  • 2 weeks later...
It is great to see The Wizarding World of Harry Potter progressing so quickly. Is there any word yet on if there will be any unique features for this version of the land versus Universal Orlando or Universal Japan?


I actually thought it was going slow. Isn't Japan's opening sooner?

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It is great to see The Wizarding World of Harry Potter progressing so quickly. Is there any word yet on if there will be any unique features for this version of the land versus Universal Orlando or Universal Japan?


I actually thought it was going slow. Isn't Japan's opening sooner?



Japans Wizarding World opened this past summer.

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^ Love the unobstructed ride box behind the castle. Does JK Rowling care about that or only what brands of soda make it into the land?


They should paint a big Coke logo on it.

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