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Universal Studios Hollywood (USH) Discussion Thread


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I also had a great time there yesterday. Even better for me personally, I wasn't able to get there until 2:30 due to my work schedule. But since they let people in at 3pm, it ended up being perfect!

 

I feel that overall, it was being operated with very few kinks. Stores, TMs, and Ride Ops generally had an excellent sense of what to do, and the TMs acted as if they had been working there for weeks. My biggest worry will be the single rider line... when they used the overflow queue outside (as they seemed to be for most of the time), even single riders had to go through it before entering the castle. Which did not make it SR a "walk on" for us. I sort of hope that won't be the general policy as they move forward, but if they do, anticipate that possibly even single ride could have a wait.

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I also had a great time there yesterday. Even better for me personally, I wasn't able to get there until 2:30 due to my work schedule. But since they let people in at 3pm, it ended up being perfect!

 

I feel that overall, it was being operated with very few kinks. Stores, TMs, and Ride Ops generally had an excellent sense of what to do, and the TMs acted as if they had been working there for weeks. My biggest worry will be the single rider line... when they used the overflow queue outside (as they seemed to be for most of the time), even single riders had to go through it before entering the castle. Which did not make it SR a "walk on" for us. I sort of hope that won't be the general policy as they move forward, but if they do, anticipate that possibly even single ride could have a wait.

 

That's SOP with the Forbidden Journey down in Orlando so I'd expect that to be the case in Hollywood too

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Being from Orlando and having Universal Orlando in my backyard, i just find it odd how very little interest I have in going to USH ever. It's a great park I'm sure, but the amount that is copied between the two coasts/resorts now is basically unparalleled in the industry, even amongst the global "Disneyland" parks. Good for business but meh to me.

 

I'd love to go to Universal Japan or Singapore, but I would seriously add another Disneyland day before I'd be interested in going to USH (even for free), other than HHN.

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The REASON you go to USH is the backlot tour. You can't get that experience at USO. The rides though? I concur.

 

This exactly! I often have to remind friends that this is why USH has so few attractions compared to UOR- USH is a working film studio and was not initially built to have a theme park attached to it, so as a result you're getting a tour of the studio (just as Warner Bros., Paramount, etc. offer tours of their lots- though Universal's is unique), plus a few theme park attractions. It's absolutely the crown jewel of USH, and a special experience that isn't offered at any other Universal properties! Though to be fair, USF did have a (short-lived) Studio Tour of their own when the park first opened.

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Being from Orlando and having Universal Orlando in my backyard, i just find it odd how very little interest I have in going to USH ever. It's a great park I'm sure, but the amount that is copied between the two coasts/resorts now is basically unparalleled in the industry, even amongst the global "Disneyland" parks. Good for business but meh to me.

 

I'd love to go to Universal Japan or Singapore, but I would seriously add another Disneyland day before I'd be interested in going to USH (even for free), other than HHN.

 

Good thing Southern California is one of the most populated regions in the country filled with a majority of people who have not yet been to Orlando (and many who never will)...

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My biggest worry will be the single rider line... when they used the overflow queue outside (as they seemed to be for most of the time), even single riders had to go through it before entering the castle. Which did not make it SR a "walk on" for us. I sort of hope that won't be the general policy as they move forward, but if they do, anticipate that possibly even single ride could have a wait.

 

As long as you're getting a shorter wait though does it matter? At USJ when I've used single rider for rides like Spiderman or Space Fantasy, they are sometimes 40 minutes long but I've never had an issue with it because I'm still saving time as opposed to the 2-3 hour standby.

 

Or if you mean the line doesn't split until the castle, doesn't Maverick at Cedar Point have a single rider line which you can only join when you literally hit the steps up to the station? Could be worse, Everland's is even more restricting in that if they are running reservation, you need a reservation ticket to ride the coaster, it's required even if you wanted to use the single rider lane when trains are going around with 5 or 6 empty seats a train.

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Or if you mean the line doesn't split until the castle, doesn't Maverick at Cedar Point have a single rider line which you can only join when you literally hit the steps up to the station?

The single rider line for Bizarro/Superman at SFNE has even that beat; it's not until you get to the top of the steps, pass through the turnstile, and are inside the station itself. I would LOVE something like this implemented.

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Being from Orlando and having Universal Orlando in my backyard, i just find it odd how very little interest I have in going to USH ever. It's a great park I'm sure, but the amount that is copied between the two coasts/resorts now is basically unparalleled in the industry, even amongst the global "Disneyland" parks. Good for business but meh to me.

 

I'd love to go to Universal Japan or Singapore, but I would seriously add another Disneyland day before I'd be interested in going to USH (even for free), other than HHN.

 

Good thing Southern California is one of the most populated regions in the country filled with a majority of people who have not yet been to Orlando (and many who never will)...

 

Yep. I haven't been to Universal Hollywood in years, but it was always a part of my family's SoCal vacations when I was growing up in central California. I also think that there's a different "feel" to the two parks that makes the Hollywood park worth visiting again.

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WestPOT looks great! Unfortunately, I now have to convert all of my money into Butterbeer.

 

I'm a little disappointed by the visual intrusions, but whatever. It's Universal. Everything else is great. Can't wait to give it a shot.

 

 

Accio WestPOT!

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To the best of my knowledge, none of the Forbidden Journey buildings are themed. I haven't been to Japan yet, but Orlando's building is a big white box visible from Jurassic Park.

 

I always thought they would try to eventually theme it like Disney did with Expedition Everest. When it first opened, the whole back of the mountain was very plain. They eventually painted it and added detail which helped it blend in with the scenery.

 

And if they are using the extended queue for FJ, everyone has to go that way before splitting into regular vs. single rider line.

 

Question: do they also offer the castle tour? In Orlando, that is a 3rd option, and you enter the pre show area to the far right and observe a different room of talking portraits. It then joins up in Dumbledore's office but remains a separate line almost all the way to the sorting hat. At that point, a cast member then directs you down the exit stairs.

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Being from Orlando and having Universal Orlando in my backyard, i just find it odd how very little interest I have in going to USH ever. It's a great park I'm sure, but the amount that is copied between the two coasts/resorts now is basically unparalleled in the industry, even amongst the global "Disneyland" parks. Good for business but meh to me.

 

I'd love to go to Universal Japan or Singapore, but I would seriously add another Disneyland day before I'd be interested in going to USH (even for free), other than HHN.

 

Being from California, even I don't really have much interest in visiting Universal Hollywood. I haven't been in over 10 years, and have been to Universal Orlando at least two times since my last USH visit. The only major attractions I've never been on (at either park) is Transformers and Despicable Me. Not including any Tram Tour changes since then.

 

At this point I think visiting USH would just decrease the value of any future visit to Universal Orlando as far as first time experience of attractions. I don't really live nearby to USH, so I would have to travel and take time off from work etc. so visiting USO just seems like a better value.

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Having done the castle tour in Florida and been through the gate a line in Hollywood, I think that is a safe assumption. They are identical.

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Being from Orlando and having Universal Orlando in my backyard, i just find it odd how very little interest I have in going to USH ever. It's a great park I'm sure, but the amount that is copied between the two coasts/resorts now is basically unparalleled in the industry, even amongst the global "Disneyland" parks. Good for business but meh to me.

 

I'd love to go to Universal Japan or Singapore, but I would seriously add another Disneyland day before I'd be interested in going to USH (even for free), other than HHN.

 

Someone else brought up the Studio Tour, and no joke, it is at minimum one of the 3-5 best attractions at any theme park in the world IMO. The SoCal locals have seen it a billion times and to them it isn't nearly as special, but if you've never done it before, it is mindblowing in length, scope, etc. You don't even have to like everything that happens, because there's almost assuredly going to be something else impressive/incredible just a short distance away followed by something else and something else and something else.

 

If you went on a quiet day a couple years ago though, you could be in, ride everything, do the Studio Tour, and be out in roughly 2 hours. No matter how you slice it, it is a small place and it doesn't have many rides.

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I remember when the studio tour was over three hours long back when I was kid.

 

There's the super special one that is something like 3 hours long - I've never gone on it, but probably should one day - but even without that what exists as the studio tour now is kinda monumental in scope. It's basically got three components that were or will be essentially their own standalone attractions at USO (Jaws, Kong, and F&F) PLUS all the rest.

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Universal Studios Hollywood recently invited Theme Park Review to tour the soon-to-open Wizarding World of Harry Potter, guided by Alan Gilmore. Alan is the Art Director for each of the previously-built Potter lands as well as a few of the Potter films. It is clear with this project, (the fourth individual Potter land), that the Creative and build teams have found their groove. They have taken the most successful parts of the past projects and created another stunning setting.

 

Alan described the unique challenges of each of the builds and that this project was no different. Sightlines and land size are the biggest challenges for this property. One aspect that worked in favor of the project are the surrounding Hollywood hills. From certain vantage points within the land, the surrounding hills help reinforce the secluded and far-away feel of Hogwarts.

 

The building details feature an amalgamation of different architectural designs which are representative of many uniquely identifiable time periods dating back to the dark ages. He explained that just like in the real world, tourists can see many different time periods represented in architecture all over the globe. The same is true in the world of Harry Potter, where buildings and shops are handed down for generations and improvements would be made through the centuries.

 

The Creative team sought to engage all five senses for the Guests who explore the land. Guests have grown accustom to the rich detail, unique food options, and background music. However, the biggest success for this project, and how they truly immerse Guests and conjure emotional connections from the books and films come from the targeted and specific use of music and sound. In the streets and in the stores of the land you hear the soundtracks of the various Harry Potter films. The real fun is experienced in the many unique “moments” you find inside the shops. For example, you may find The Monstrous Book of Monsters safely caged in a particular store. The music from the scene in which this book is featured can be heard, and immediately takes you back to that moment in the films. A great success!

 

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will officially open to the public on April 7. Theme Park Review will be present for the celebrity-filled Media Day a few days prior to the official opening. We would like to thank Alan Gilmore for giving us an in-depth tour of the new land, and to Gail from the USH Publicity team for inviting us to tour the land!

Enjoy the photos from the tour!

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Welcome to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter! West Coast Edition! Art Director Alan Gilmore is our trusty tour guide.

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Where wolf? THERE WOLF!

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It takes a wizard moving in for LA to get snow.

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At the front of the land sits the Hogsmead station. The interior will be used as a green screen photo location.

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Just past the entrance of the land is the first of many locations where the popular Butterbeer concoction can be purchased.

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Alan points out one of the various places guests can interact with the land. When guests purchase specialty wands, they are given a map of places where they can cast spells.

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There is a little something for everyone!

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Alas, earwax!

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The ever popular Ollivander's wand shop. Another location which so perfectly uses the film score.

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The one place where a non-tidy display works!

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Alan shows off the interactive wands and maps.

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J.K. Rowling went so far as to help the Creative team dive deeper into the lore of the world with a calendar explaining the wand components and how each month influences the wand.

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The Monstrous Book of Monsters cannot be contained!

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The Three Broomsticks is an iconic tavern from the books and films. Classic British-ish inspired food items can be found here.

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Ample interior seating, and realistic high ceilings.

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The Hog's Head serves unique Potter beers.

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Libations for everyone!

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One of two attractions found in the land, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.

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Here we see what the Hollywood hills offer the land in theming reinforcement. It is stunning in person!

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To which house do you belong?

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Thank you again, Alan! Congratulations to you and your team on another successful land!

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Mischief managed.

Edited by wrs28330
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