On the plus side, maybe they'll replace the Kong section of the backlot tour with something new.
So although the park may be open - I wouldn't recommend heading in this direction!
Also, speaking for myself here, I think that it made a great deal of sense to keep the park closed, to limit guest exposure to the smoke in the immediate area. This was not a brushfire, but a structure fire burning facilities with a considerable amount of plastic and other man-made chemicals. That brews a nasty smoke.
I wish USH a nice recovery with some new attraction in its place.
The Studio Tour leaves from a landing located just below the upper lot, and the trams drive down a service road into the backlot.
The layout puts the main section of the theme park a significant distance away from the backlot. So, from an operational perspective, the bulk of theme park won't be affected at all by the fires (once the was out, the smoke dissipated and the firefighters away from the scene).
Yes, the Studio Tour will need to be rerouted around the burn area, and it will be missing Kong. But the Studio Tour reroutes on a daily basis, based on whatever filming is happening on the backlot. So Universal's used to doing that, if not for this specific reason.
If they rebuild another attraction in place of Kong on the Studio Tour, or re-create Kong, I hope it turns out to be a sort of 'blessing in disguise' with something great.
It's good to know that no one was seriously injured and that nothing irreplaceable was lost.
"The fire was contained to one section of the backlot. Unfortunately New York Street and the King Kong attraction were lost, but the iconic courthouse on Courthouse Square and half of the buildings facing the square were saved. Also affected was a video vault containing thousands of video and digital copies of films and TV shows. Although many of these items were lost, we believe that most, if not all, are replaceable. It is important to note as well that none of the 30 soundstages on the lot were damaged."
All in all, a bad loss, but not one that appears to be crippling to the park or the community. Thank goodness for that.
That said, I found it perversely amusing how local TV reporters had to disclaim the aerial shots of the backlot. (Saying things such as, "Um, that burnt airplane and wreckage around it are not part of the fire damage. They're supposed to be there.") I want to imagine some rookie reporter breathlessly reporting back to his producer that the fire seems to have destroyed "the back half of all the buildings on an entire block! Nothing's left but the fronts!"
The kids want to ride the Simpsons Ride, so I'll likely be taking a look first-hand within the next few days. I'll post any interesting photos on the front page.