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Universal Studios Hollywood (USH) Discussion Thread


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Looks like it was an amazing event!

 

Just curious, are the pathways any wider that the Florida versions?

I've been reading from many reports the they are actually smaller -_-

 

But they've added more to the alley behind the stores which I thought was pretty cool. They had to try to fit this thing in the upper lot so I pretty much expected this.

 

Aside from the obviously missing Dragon Challenge, it's nearly identical. From what I can remember from Florida vs. CA, there is actually more space behind Ollivanders, a larger restroom, and more outdoor seating at Three Broomsticks in addition to the extra little alleyway CA has because there is no Dragon Challenge.

All in favor of a Dragon Challenge at USH, say "Aye".

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DD will never happen at HW due to space constraints within the park. That ride takes up so much land and if you've been to Florida you know it attracts a fraction of the crowd it used too. These days it just doesn't have the appeal like it did when it was the main attraction in Merlins Woods.. As for dueling again aye.. But who knows until the next major refurb/rebuild comes hither..

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That opening show with fireworks, projection mapping and live orchestra is seriously impressive. I'm not a Potter fan, but still it must have been an amazing experience to be there!

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Instead of posting a separate TR, I'll post my thoughts here, as I attended the opening day ceremonies as well, as a normal paying customer. (And my pics would do no justice)

 

I will preface this by saying that I have only seen parts of the first two movies, so I am really not a HP fan by any stretch of the imagination. Nor have I been to see the Florida version. I tend to avoid most spoilers, so as to not raise or lower any expectations I may have.

 

Bought my tix online so I could get in on the posted early opening of 7am. Got there about 6:15 and walked straight in the park. After a pretty cool (and short) opening ceremony about 6:30, the area and land were officially open to the public. I must say that I was quite impressed with the detail of theming that went into the whole area. Extremely high quality, with great sight lines and a great background of a cloudy gray sky, just made a grand statement. (Though I do admit that seeing CitiWalk looming behind the back end of Hogsmead was a slight letdown.)

 

Passed on checking out all the shops until later, and got in line for Forbidden Journey. The queue was quite impressive, but not as immersive as I had envisioned it, but impressive nonetheless. I did find myself staring at a couple of stained glass windows to see if they would transform into something else (ala Dueling Dragons when IOA opened.) but it never happened. The line did move at a quite steady pace, and we were on in just under 30mins.

 

The loading was quick and efficient. I will admit that it was a really fun ride. Not being a Potter fan, the story was hard to follow, as it is told and experienced, in a very fast manner. The motion and movements between scenes were fairly smooth, and kept you in the center of the action most of the time. Unfortunately, *I* feel that a couple of the scenes could have been drawn out a little more, as they felt like they were rushed, trying to cram in as much as possible. A couple of views of the roof panels and overhead walkways were a bit of a distraction. I did ride again a few hours later and felt pretty much the same.

 

USH also implemented a very effective crowd control flow plan that seemed to work quite well. Essentially, you pick up a "fastpass" type ticket with a time stamped on it. You may not enter the land until that time comes up, but you can stay in the area as long as you wish. I think that really helped, otherwise the area may have just turned into one giant mosh pit.

 

I think it will be quite interesting to see how the crowds will be this weekend.

 

Overall, I think it's quite an incredible addition to USH, and is definitely a crowd pleaser. The theming of the ride, and whole area in general is absolutely top notch!! I also have NO DOUBT that this addition will be a HUGE cash cow for them!! I would imagine that the revenue generated by this area, will lead to a much more in the future.

 

I also enjoyed the rest of the park while there. Had a great day, and was on the road home by 3:15.

 

Shoutout to Joey for the hospitality! Thank you!

 

JJ

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Hi everyone!

 

Would it be likely for the Front of the Line pass to sell out for the last Sunday of June? It's beneficial for me to wait.

 

Schools are out by then and that's close to 4th of July weekend. I wouldn't risk waiting too long if you have the money now.

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Hi everyone!

 

Would it be likely for the Front of the Line pass to sell out for the last Sunday of June? It's beneficial for me to wait.

 

Schools are out by then and that's close to 4th of July weekend. I wouldn't risk waiting too long if you have the money now.

I'd not considered that. I am probably just going to buy them now instead of taking a chance they do sell out. Thanks for the reply!
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I just stumbled upon this documentary about hydraulics, and while I haven't watched it entirely, I did have my eyes wide open from 38:52 where it starts to show some amazing hydraulic mechanisms at Universal Studios Hollywood.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74VEL22U_0o

 

I love Spiderman and well-done screen rides, but man, you will never be able to beat practical effects!

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I also recently went. I hadn't been to Florida's so I wasn't 100% what to expect. The immersive experience was perfect. Everything from the themed food and restaurants, Olivanders, the interactive wand spots, and of course Forbiden Journey.

 

 

I'd like to say this finally makes USH feel like a complete park, and it should. Unfortunately, most of their attractions are all 3D screened based now. It feels like 3D screen/simulator overload.

 

I think USH could benefit from the addition of a few Disney styled D ticket level dark rides to round out the experience. They could do a lot with Simpsons. The area is so great, but the ride kind of pales in comparison and doesn't truly represent the legacy of the franchise, imo.

 

 

Overall it was good to be back. This is my first time back for a non-HHN event since before Kong burnt down.

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  • 1 month later...

What could it be?

 

 

Inside Universal @insideuniversal

Universal Studios Hollywood will share some exciting news on June 21 on their official YouTube channel at 7:30 AM. Stay tuned!

 

 

 

Copy of the press release from Here

 

Universal City, California, June 14, 2016 – Stop the presses. On Tuesday, June 21 at 10:30 a.m. ET / 7:30 a.m. PT, Universal Studios Hollywood will share exciting news as The Entertainment Capital of L.A. invites everyone to tune in for the latest happenings at the world-class theme park and adjacent Universal CityWalk.

 

WHEN: Tuesday, June 21, 2016

 

TIME: 10:30 a.m. ET / 7:30 a.m. PT

 

WHERE: HERE

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LOL, it appears so. If that is all it was, I wonder why they made any announcement that there was an announcement at all. And didn't just put it out there, haha. Oh well, we'll have to wait till maybe the next one for details on more attractions coming to USH.

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LOL, it appears so. If that is all it was, I wonder why they made any announcement that there was an announcement at all. And didn't just put it out there, haha. Oh well, we'll have to wait till maybe the next one for details on more attractions coming to USH.

 

It kind of pissed me off to be honest. Why announce BiG news a week in advance. Only for it to be. A new logo.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Could be a million different things. Could be they were going to announce a major new attraction, but got cold feet. maybe this was going to be a massive 5 year plan, but decided it needed more work. Or, maybe... someone thought they needed to tease an announcement to only release a new logo and its just that simple (and silly). We'll never know.

 

Unless they do this again in a few weeks, with a real thing to announce. Then we can guess what happened, lol.

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Variety has a write up on some happenings at the park and their next 5 year plan.

 

"Universal to Build New Soundstage Complex, Expand Theme Park in 5-Year Plan (EXCLUSIVE)

 

newprodstudiosv2.jpg.b506815de6c5c84484f04061fad7830f.jpg

 

Universal Plans New Soundstage Complex, Theme

JUNE 22, 2016 | 09:45AM PT

Universal Studios is embarking on a new five-year plan that will reorient many of its production soundstage facilities to the east near its backlot, as it makes way for additional space to expand its theme park.

 

 

In the works is a new complex of ten soundstages, to be built in 2017 and 2018, as a cluster of smaller stages on the front and west portion of the lot are removed to make way for new theme park attractions.

 

Also in the works is a new childcare facility, an expanded fire station and sheriff’s substation, and a trail head park and bike path along the Los Angeles River.

 

 

In the first phase of its expansion plans, Universal and its parent Comcast invested $1 billion in the lot and theme park, including the recently opened “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter,” as well as extensive upgrades to its infrastructure, such as a bridge over Lankershim Boulevard to accommodate visitors coming with the Metro, a new parking structure and new and widened ramps along the Hollywood Freeway. Two new soundstages are under construction and are scheduled to be completed later this year.

 

A new theme park attraction, located near “Transformers: The Ride” in the lower part of the theme park, is expected to be announced soon.

 

nbcu-graphic-62116-d.jpg.04da84ae697eebdca347bff05c502af8.jpg

 

The next phase represents a commitment to shooting projects and series in Los Angeles. But it is also a recognition of how much on-the-lot production has shifted to a mix of scripted TV, live audience shows, sitcoms and new media projects, as feature films migrate to other states and countries offering generous incentives.

 

“All in all we have had tremendous support from Comcast and have done a lot of to make this a better lot,” Ron Meyer, vice chairman of NBCUniversal, said in an interview. “In every way we are going to have better and more advanced production facilities. They will be shifted around and put in different places, but we have 400 acres so we have a lot of luxury to do that.”

 

The soundstage complex — to be built at the backlot’s Park Lake — will be constructed in two phases in 2017 and 2018, ranging from 16,000 square feet to 18,000 square feet, with attached or adjacent offices, dressing rooms, rehearsal halls and parking. The stages are designed to be flexible enough to accommodate a variety of types of productions, and will be in closer proximity on the lot to the backlot sets and support facilities like props and transportation.

 

Two additional stages will be built at the complex if Los Angeles is awarded the Summer Olympics in 2024. If so, the lot would be the site of the international broadcast center, according to the bid proposal from LA 2024.

 

Meyer said that while the television stages are full “all the time,” when it comes to major feature films, studios are still finding that California still has trouble competing when it comes to tax incentives.

 

“If you go to places like Atlanta or Montreal or even New York, sadly they treat us much better than they treat us in California, and because of the significant cost savings, especially in the motion picture area, so much of the production of every studio is outside of where it should be,” he said. “We would all like to keep it in Los Angeles. On rare occasions we do shoot in L.A. But I will tell you that maybe 80% of the films that are shot, and maybe more, are shot outside of L.A.”

 

He added, “They have improved it. It is better than it was, but it is not as good to be really competitive.”

 

California has more than tripled the size of its production credit, to $330 million per year. But states like Georgia offer a larger credit and allocate unlimited sums.

 

The nature of production on the lot also has changed as Comcast has centralized its Los Angeles operations since it merged with NBCUniversal in 2011. E! Entertainment and Bravo have moved to the lot, and the network and local affiliate news operations were moved to the Brokaw News Center. Comcast purchased the 35-story 10 Universal City Plaza in 2013, and under construction is a walkway connecting the office structure with the rest of the lot.

 

Michael Moore, president and general manager of NBCUniversal Studio Operations Group, called the changes a “pivot” to new production needs.

 

“Most of the studios were designed many, many years ago, and much of it was not in a master plan and it was designed for a different type of production in a different era,” he said. Universal has stages “that were designed to accommodate production from 50, 60, 70 years ago.”

 

He said that the changes will “allow us to align the various uses of the property in the right areas.”

 

He said that the construction was being planned to not disrupt current productions.

 

Universal plans to remove 13 stages from the front lot, on the northwest side of Universal, to make way for future theme park expansion. The studio ultimately will have four fewer stages but, because the new facilities will be larger in size, a gain of about 11,000 square feet for production, a studio spokeswoman said.

 

Stage 28, built in 1924, already has been demolished, but the studio has preserved what was inside: The 91-year-old set of the silent film “Phantom of the Opera.” The studio would like to place it in a prestigious facility like the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, currently under construction.

 

“We took great pains in making sure that none of the iconic aspects of that have disappeared, so it can be recreated at any time,” Meyer said. “We made sure that is all safe. It is frankly in better shape than if we left it up there. You couldn’t have preserved it the way we have now.”

 

There’s good reason to make way for theme park expansion — attendance growth.

 

According to consulting firm Aecom, 7.1 million people visited Universal Studios Hollywood in 2015, an increase of about 4%. That is expected to jump this year, given the interest in the Harry Potter attraction, which officially opened in April.

 

Larry Kurzweil, president and chief operating officer of Universal Studios Hollywood, said that they have “taken almost every corner of the park and transformed it into an entirely new place.”

 

He said that attendance in the ten weeks since “Wizarding World” opened has “exceeded all expectations,” with a spike not just in attendance but retail and food sales.

 

“We have never had so many wands in any of our parks,” he quipped. “Our wand sales are through the roof.”

 

Other plans include moving the childcare center from a building on a hillside near Barham Boulevard to one near the Los Angeles River. It will be able to accommodate almost double the number of children.

 

Also in the works is the construction of a public trail head park and bike and pedestrian path along the Los Angeles River. When it obtained approval of its master plan in 2013, Universal agreed to build the path as a way of connecting a larger network of biking trails.

Edited by COASTER FREAK 11
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A new theme park attraction, located near “Transformers: The Ride” in the lower part of the theme park, is expected to be announced soon.

 

I'm guessing this will be the Secret Life of Pets project that has been rumored. Seems bold to begin developing an attraction based on a movie before the movie has been released but maybe they think the film will do well enough to justify an attraction. Say what you will about Universal and Comcast but they do seem to be aggressively expanding their park business.

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