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Universal Studios Hollywood construction update

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Published: September 14, 2013 at 3:31 PM

You might have noticed that there is a lot of construction going on around Universal Studios Hollywood these days. Harry Potter is coming and the entire resort seemingly has been boarded up or tarped off in preparation for the boy wizard.

Construction wall

This is most evident on the eastern side of the park where everything south from the studio tour up against the Shrek 4D queue has been boarded off. The Curious George play area is being demolished, and the Studio Souvenirs shop is also walled off.

Another construction wall

The loss of the large play area is the only thing that will be missed in the process -- and certainly that will all be forgotten when Harry Potter World opens in two (or three) years time. So now, much like Disney California Adventure during its construction process, guests will have to get used to the temporary wooden walls.

Still more construction walls

Lest you think nothing is coming in the meantime, construction seems to be progressing on the new Despicable Me attraction. The ride is a clone of the one found in Orlando, though the facade will be a bit different. Having been on the Florida ride I can say that, other than well-founded capacity concerns, this ride should be a hit amongst guests.

Gru's house, behind the scrim

More of Despicable Me

The former Terminator theater, transforming to Despicable Me

The Gibson Amphitheater is now closed for good, as evidenced by this wall.

Former Gibson entrance

The newest addition/improvement to the park is not a ride or attraction at all. Rather, it’s a large centerpiece called Universal Plaza that now gives a focal point to Universal’s main drag. It looks terrific in person, particularly on the back side where there is a large fountain with tables and chairs.

Universal Plaza tower

Universal Plaza

Pictures do not quite do it justice, nor do they capture how much it improves the feel of the central area of the park. Before the plaza was built the areas blended together and the paths seemed to meander from one side of the park to the other. Now there is a focal point and a distinct crossing point from the main street to the rest of the park.

I have been told it looks terrific at night, but since the park closed at six I will not have a chance to see for myself until Halloween Horror Nights kicks off next week.

Speaking of which, there are plenty of decorations and props up for the Halloween event already.

Halloween Horror Nights warning sign

HHN props

Chucky's van?

I’m always surprised by how many props are left out in the park during regular operating hours. It makes sense from a logistical sense, of course, but it’s a bit shocking to see the gruesome props out in broad daylight.

If you'd like to get another view of the changes in the park over the past year, compare the Universal Studios Hollywood official park map from one year ago to the current version:

2012 USH park map
Summer 2012

2013 USH park map
September 2013

Readers' Opinions

From Manny Barron on September 15, 2013 at 1:22 PM
Great construction update. It was especially neat to see how the park has changed on the map handout.

Finally good to see some physical progress on the Harry Potter land!

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