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Universal Studios Hollywood Construction Update: Springfield and Hogsmeade Take Shape

February 5, 2015, 4:15 PM · Welcome to Universal Studios Hollywood, where... wait a minute... what happened to the left side of the street?!?

Entry plaza

Yep, the House of Horrors' soundstage 13 is gone, leaving a clear view to Gru's Lab behind it.

Former site of Soundstage 13

That's just the first of three major construction zones on Universal's Upper Lot. But while site grading's just getting started up front, work's progressing nicely on the Wizarding World of Harry Potter just up the street.

Hogsmeade at the Shrek queue

We can't wait to walk under that arch and into Hogsmeade!

Hogsmeade entry arch

Hogwarts Castle is beginning to look like, well, a castle, with the astronomy tower now taking shape.

Hogwarts Castle entrance

This should give you an idea of how close Hogsmeade will be to the third major construction area in the park — The Simpsons' Springfield.

Hogsmeade and Springfield

The Springfield skyline, which is being built to cover the back of Hogsmeade, is nearing completion for a planned opening in late spring or early summer thus year. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will open in 2016.

Springfield skyline

While all this construction is blocking a huge section of the Upper Lot, all of the park's traffic beyond the Universal Plaza is being routed through what up until recently was the Special Effects Stage queue.

Traffic pinch point

That's a tight fit when the park's crowded. But be patient. Better things are on their way.

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Replies (6)

February 6, 2015 at 12:24 AM · Frankly, this is pretty irrelevant, to anyone who can hop on a plane to Florida.
February 6, 2015 at 9:14 AM · I hope they change the scale of the Hogsmeade section for USH. I don't know WHAT they were thinking when they built TWWOHP at USF - it is ridiculously narrow which makes it seem more crowded than it is ... and THAT'S bad enough.
February 6, 2015 at 9:47 AM · But that was the whole point. It was designed purposely narrow to give the authentic feel of the books and films! Having been there, although crowded, I don't think the atmosphere would feel right if they great ride pathways.
February 6, 2015 at 11:02 AM · The best Wizarding World, BY FAR, is at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka. It's so good, it's worth the flight.
February 6, 2015 at 11:39 AM · Walking through the park yesterday felt more comfortable than I've felt in USH in a looooong time, possibly ever. With so much construction happening, you'd think one would feel the opposite. But I think that there's some "addition by subtraction" going on here.

Even with the park's new elements behind construction walls, the Upper Lot finally is beginning to feel like a designed space, as opposed to the rather haphazard mix it had been before. Yes, everything is going to be crammed right next to its neighbors. But you can begin to sense some delightful spaces taking shape here. That's something USH hasn't had in the past.

And I don't think this is irrelevant. Very few people in Southern California visit Florida. They haven't been to Universal Orlando (or Universal Studios Japan!). I know dozens of friends here who can't wait to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter for the first time, and to do it at Universal Studios Hollywood.

February 8, 2015 at 6:21 PM · People in California have a lot of theme parks to choose from nearby, but does that mean they shouldn't go to Florida at least once? I live in Montreal, and I visit both Orlando and California. By that logic, I should never go to California because Florida is closer to where I live?

What they're building in Cali right now has already been done in Florida -- and already topped when they opened Diagon Alley. What's the point of all this breathless anticipation for Potter at USH?

You say your friends "can't wait"? Well, they don't have to wait. It's already a few hours away by plane.

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