UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD
Hollywood, CA (Abbreviation: USH)
NBC Universal / Comcast
---- THE LATEST BUZZ ----
(1/16/22) Super Nintendo World Progress Update (MORE...)
(12/18/21) New COVID Rules In Effect To Visit Universal Studios Hollywood (MORE...)
(12/7/21) Universal Studios Hollywood To Host New Years Eve Party
(11/4/21) Universal Studios Hollywood To Finish 8 New Soundstages By Summer 2022 (MORE...)
(10/23/21) Universal Studios Hollywood opens New Firehouse Subs in CityWalk
Read the Official Review of Halloween Horror Nights 2017 - CLICK HERE
Read the Official Review of Halloween Horror Nights 2016 - CLICK HERE
Read the Official Review of Halloween Horror Nights 2015 - CLICK HERE
Despicable Me Minion Mayhem - THE GRAND OPENING
General Park News - (12/18/21) Big changes are happening to how guests visit certain California theme parks once again, driven by new government orders from Los Angeles County for COVID safety protocol now in effect for “Mega Events”, which includes visits to theme parks.
(10/20/21) Grinchmas and Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter will officially return to Universal Studios Hollywood, running from Friday, November 26 through Sunday, January 2, 2022. The Wizarding World will be extra special for the holiday season, with a special holiday performance by the Frog Choir, the return of Hot Butterbeer, and special holiday menu items at the Three Broomsticks. After dark, you can watch The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle, a light projection show that will appear before your eyes on the castle surface itself.
At Universal Studios Hollywood the new current rules require all guests age 5 and up to show proof of having full FDA or WHO approved COVID-19 vaccination status, with at least 14 days having past since the final dose), otherwise you have to have a negative COVID test taken within 24 hours if a rapid test), or within 48-hours if it was the PCR test, prior to being permitted entry into the theme park.
Keep in mind that under the current rules, a COVID-19 ‘self-test’ or ‘home test” is not considered an acceptable form of testing and you will not be allied entry. It is also worth noting that regardless of how you gain entry, face coverings are now required at all times, both indoors and outdoors, while visiting the theme park. In Universal CityWalk however, face masks are only required to be worn indoors only.
(12/7/21) Universal Studios Hollywood has confirmed plans to host a New Year’s EVE event once again on Dec. 31st, from 9pm to 2am. Follow the link to read all the details about what they’ve got planned.
As for that other fellow, The Grinch will return once again, along with a 65 foot tall Grinchmas Tree set up in Universal Plaza. “A dazzling tree lighting ceremony accompanied by a snowfall flurry will take place every evening, bringing good tidings and season’s greetings as guests celebrate with The Grinch, his faithful dog Max and the Who-ville Whos, who will be performing on select nights. A selection of themed Who-tacular sweet treats, including hot cocoa will be available for purchase.”
2022 - Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen - Delayed from 2021 - (12/5/19) It looks like my speculation was right on the money, because Universal Studios Hollywood has confirmed that a west coast version of The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen will open in CityWalk Hollywood in 2021, taking over the current location of the departing Hard Rock Cafe. Like the original location in Orlando, Toothsome is home to a full service restaurant as well as a walk-up dessert area where you can order a mouthwatering array of jaw-dropping shakes and sweet concoctions.
(10/31/19) Tucked away in this article about all the new restaurants that have been introduced to CityWalk at Universal Studios Hollywood, there is also a mention that another new concept will be coming in 2020 in addition to the NBC Sports Grill & Brew. Hmmm… maybe those rumors about a west-coaster version of Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen were true after all. Stay tuned peeps… you may be in for an extra special treat!
(6/21/18) I've heard this has been a longtime coming... but according to Screamscape sources Citywalk at Universal Studios Hollywood will be getting their very own version of The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen. I don't have a timeline for this, but I'm told that a copy of the Orlando sensation is expected to replace the old Saddle Ranch Chop House that closed down back in January. The location is great though, large and outside the more narrow canyon-like interior of Citywalk, a giant Toothsome location would be the first things guests will see as they exit the theme park.
If you haven't been to Universal Orlando, or follow the news there, Toothsome opened up a couple of years ago as a combination sit-down restaurant that also features a sweets shop as well as a very indulgent ice cream shop that makes some of the most crazy looking shakes you have ever seen.
2023 - Super Nintendo World - (1/16/22) It’s been awhile since we’ve had a good look at the progress on Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Hollywood. You can see a collection of more recent photos posted to WDWNT this week where the building structures are starting to take shape, along with a lot of scaffolding and big green fake landscape panels. Keep in mind that the Hollywood version of Super Nintendo World will really only feature the Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge attraction and a very minimal version of the themed landscape with a gift shop and the Toadstool Cafe restaurant. This will not be a copy of the complete land that premiered in Japan as there simply is not enough room in the Hollywood park for that. A similar limited installation is also expected to go into the Singapore park in the near future, while the full land will be installed in Orlando as part of Universal’s third full theme park project, Universal’s Epic Universe.
Using an overhead satellite image of the construction site, I’ve labeled the main features of the attraction layout for you. As in Japan, guests will enter into the Super Nintendo World land via a green “warp pipe” tunnel located just to the left of the Transformers attraction entrance. Unlike in Japan however, the land will be located almost entirely on the ground level. Guests will cross to the opposite side of the land and approach the large structure of Bowser’s Castle which serves as the entrance to the Mario Kart attraction. Immediately to the right of the castle will be the entrance to the Toadstool Cafe restaurant which appears to take up much of the ground level, but guests in the queue for Mario Kart will make their way up to the second level of the structure and move outside to an open second level deck queue that sits on the roof of the Toadstool Cafe. They will queue back and forth up here, making their way towards the entrance of the main attraction building to experience the ride, and exit once again on the lower level through a large gift shop structure that will hide the main attraction building from view while within the land.
The rest of the land appears to be an open plaza with themed decor to enjoy, but I’m not sure if they will have enough space to install enough interactive features to make it worth selling the Nintendo themed interactive wristbands that they use in Japan. Keep in mind that while things are under construction, they are always subject to change, but my description is based on how things were planned to be at one point in time.
(8/8/21) Nintendo fans who can’t wait to get their hands on Super Nintendo World merchandise may be in luck. According to a tweet from Nintendo, Universal Studios Hollywood is now selling select Super Nintendo World merchandise for a limited time at the Universal Studio Store inside the theme park.
(6/3/21) Rob send in some great new photos of the Super Nintendo World construction site. Lots of themed elements are being placed across the top of the structures, but meanwhile the work crews haven’t fully installed all the walls on the building yet to seal it off from view. This likely wont last much longer, so get a peek at the structure’s framework while you still can.
(3/15/21) Inside Universal has tweeted out some new photos of the Super Nintendo World construction site at Universal Studios Hollywood.
(2/4/21) Outdoor dining is once again being offered at many restaurants at CityWalk just outside the gates of Universal Studios Hollywood. You can see a photo update of what’s going on a Citywalk as well as a look at some Super Nintendo World construction progress in an update posted to Inside Universal this week.
(1/19/21) A quick set of pictures from the Super Nintendo World construction site at Universal Studios Hollywood were posted on Twitter by Inside Universal this weekend as some colorful sections of the landscape facade were put into place. One important thing to keep in mind is that Super Nintendo World in California is going to be very different than what we’ve been seeing preview pictures of in Japan.
Despite the name being the same, the reality is that what they are building in Hollywood is really just the MarioKart: Bowser’s Challenge dark ride, and not an entire land. There will of course be a gift shop and probably some food options connected to it but the majority of what you are seeing built will be to contain the MarioKart attraction.
(11/3/20) Screamscape asked our West coast guy Rob to take a peek at Universal Studios Hollywood the other day so we can see what’s taking place with Super Nintendo World. As you can see in the new pictures, still lots of steel going up all over as various structures and shapes are being formed for the more compact version of the Nintendo land.
(9/18/20) Special thanks to our local guy on the spot who had the chance to spend the night at the Universal Hilton and sent in some great shots of Universal Studios Hollywood. This includes some fantastic shots of the new Super Nintendo World under construction along with a few other park projects like Jurassic World still undergoing modifications that should see the I-Rex now in place when the park reopen, or the new Hogsmeade Golf Course out behind the village.
Ok, I made that last one up… but the views of the theme park and studio mixed with other nearby landmarks sometimes produces some fascinating results when viewed from the right angle.
(8/30/20) While we’ve see the massive construction site for Hollywood’s version of Super Nintendo World going up next to the Transformers ride for about the past 18 months or so, some Nintendo themed facade wall pieces were spotted being put together in the Falls Lake area of the backlot. Below that check out a video clip of the main construction site, which still has a long ways to go.
According to what I’ve been hearing, we shouldn’t expect to see Super Nintendo World ready to open in Hollywood until early 2023 at this point. I believe they may have been shooting for 2022, but COVID related construction delays will make it difficult to meet that date.
(4/18/20) Screamscape has some quick news about the Super Nintendo World project under construction at Universal Studios Hollywood in the lower lot. Screamscape sources tell us that the Hollywood version of the land will not be the same as the one nearing completion in Japan. You can expect the Hollywood version to be a more compact experience, offering a smaller version of the themed land and interactive experiences coming to Japan. The land will also only feature one attraction, the massive MarioKart themed ride, and will not include a copy of the slow-moving Yoshi themed onmi-mover style ride going into Universal Studios Japan. Look for a themed restaurant experience and gift shops to round out the remainder of the new land.
(5/30/19) A reader sent in some fantastic photos of what we assume is the new Nintendo area under construction, as viewed from the parking structure in the backlot.
(4/4/19) An interesting new development took place on the suspected site of the future Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Hollywood. While the site has been cleared for some time and workers have been busy preparing the site for the past several months, the first bit of vertical construction has now been put in place in the form of a large staircase and steel structure that looks likely to hold an elevator shaft. Additional steel for the staircase is also scattered around the site, which you can see in the video below.
(3/3/19) A new look around Universal Studios Hollywood, including peeks at the two construction project sites, was posted to ParkJourney a few days ago. You can see that a lot of ground work and a crane are now onsite at what we think may become the future Super Nintendo World site, including some below surface excavation work taking place. With a vertical crane on site, it means big changes will start taking place here very soon to install a new large structure of some kind.
Meanwhile on the upper lot we get a look at ongoing installation of the skeletal metal framework of what is rumored to be a Secret Life of Pets dark ride experience.
(1/22/19) While we don’t know for sure that the new construction site next to Transformers is for Super Nintendo World or not, it looks like this project will be kicking into high gear very soon as a tower crane has now been assembled on site which seems to indicate that the new structure going in here will be quite large.
(11/30/16) Universal has announced an update regarding their deal to build Nintendo themed attractions in the future. According to the press release "the fun of Nintendo" will be brought to life via "expansive, highly themed environments" at Universal Studios Japan, Universal Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood theme parks.
"Imagine the fun of stepping into a larger-than-life Nintendo adventure. Gigantic Piranha Plants spring to life. Question blocks, power-ups and more surround you. And Mario and all his friends are there to pull you into a brand-new world.
You will enter an entire realm filled with iconic Nintendo excitement, gameplay, heroes and villains. And it is coming to three Universal theme parks around the globe.
The creative visionaries behind Nintendo’s legendary worlds and characters are working together with the creative teams behind Universal’s blockbuster theme park attractions. Their goal: to bring the characters, action and adventure of Nintendo video games to life within Universal theme parks. And to do so in new and innovative ways that capture what makes them so special. All of the adventure, fun and whimsy you experience through a screen will now be all around you – in breathtakingly authentic ways."
The new Nintendo lands will feature "multiple attractions" as well as themed shops and restaurants. Planning is already well under way and while they are not yet ready to announce any dates, they did mention that each will "open separately over the next several years." An updated announcement video featuring Mark Woodbury (Universal Creative) and Shigeru Miyamoto (Nintendo) can be seen below.
As for the attractions... while things are still being planned, the early rumors indicate as many as three different attractions may be in development, one of the themes is said to be locked in for a Mario Kart themed attraction. It is worth mentioning that they only listed Universal Orlando as the site, an not one specific theme park. They also say that the first more detailed announcement to come from a specific park will happen "soon".
UPDATE: Possibly Delayed to allow Japan to open the first one.
(2/26/16) A Nintendo themed area is expected to open in the lower lot by 2019. Due to size limitations, expect this area to be compact, but it should feature at least one major attraction that can feature a number of the famous Nintendo characters all at the same time, which is likely to be themed to the Mario Kart game. Placement may be tricky, but last I heard is that it would likely go where a few a couple of small soundstages are behind the Transformers building.
???? - Universal Monsters Walk-Through - Rumor - Status Unknown or Possibly Canceled as much of Universal’s plans for the former Dark Universe concept have been scrapped or are in development limbo.
(2/20/20) Universal Studios Hollywood has confirmed the rumors that The Walking Dead attraction will close for good on March 4th after just opening in July 2016.
(2/13/20) Screamscape sources tell us that the plan for The Walking Dead walk-through attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood will be to remodel it into an all new Universal Monster themed walk-through attraction, but this time with a focus on the Dark Universe brand. Of course the only Dark Universe film to be released so far was the reboot of The Mummy featuring Tom Cruise back in 2017. The second Dark Universe film, Universal’s reboot of “The Invisible Man” is slated to hit theaters on Feb. 28th, 2020 and other films are still in development including a Bride of Frankenstein, a Frankenstein reboot, Invisible Woman and something called Dark Army that is expected to relaunch many of the original classic monsters.
If the timing is right, maybe Universal will release a little more info about their Dark Universe attraction plans if the new Invisible Man film gets a good box office response.
???? - Backlot Changes - Announced - (11/4/21) The LA Times confirms that Universal Studios Hollywood is preparing to add eight new soundstage buildings to the far side of the backlot, off of the Barham Blvd. entrance. The plan is to have them in place and operational by Summer 2022 and the grading of the hillside on the site is now complete.
(7/6/21) Looks like you’ll begin to see new construction taking place on the east side of the Universal Studios Hollywood backlot area, around the Barham Gate. Universal Studios Hollywood sent out a note to their neighboring communities as a warning that they may begin to notice construction noise from the area, as well as grading work on the hillside closest to the Barham Gate over the next several months to prepare the site for future production growth.
This all falls into the long-term master plan for the Studio released back in 2016, when they announced that a collection of 13 older soundstages closer to the theme park side of the property would be removed to allow for future theme park growth, and the eastern end of the studio would see the construction of up to 10 new bigger soundstage and production buildings over the years to come. This will eventually cause the removal of the “Park Lake” on the backlot, and so far we’ve already seen the old Parting of the Red Seas end of the lake already removed for new construction. At the time in 2016 they also mentioned that just how much new production space would be built on the Barham Gate side would also depend on if the city of Los Angeles’ bid was selected to host a future Olympic Games, as some of the production space was intended to be used for various international coverage of the games. With the 2028 games now locked in to take place in Los Angeles, it looks like they are moving ahead with the expansion project. This will likely be followed by the slow demolition of certain older soundstages as the new replacements are finished. Some were already removed to allow for the current construction of the new Super Nintendo World area, while the others predicted to be removed later would be the assortment behind the Revenge of the Mummy building and next to Transformers.
(11/18/20) If you notice some land clearing going on at Universal Studios Hollywood just off Universal Hollywood Dr. across from the Sheraton Universal, this is not for a new attraction. According to concept art and a description posted here, this is part of a new ‘dynamic campus’ experience they’ve planned for awhile. The site is to contain a new Employee Commons building with dining options as well as theater and screening rooms and an event space. There will also be a new Creative Office building, new green spaces and indoor and outdoor gathering spaces for “meetings and dining”. Our local guy Rob actually managed to get a picture of the clearing taking place a couple of weeks ago, but we didn’t know what it was at the time.
(4/1/17) Screamscape obtained a few new photos from Universal Studios Hollywood this week, showing off the now cleared site where four of the soundstages (22 - 25) were demolished to apparently make way for future theme park expansion projects, such as the proposed Secret Life of Pets dark ride or Super Nintendo Land.
Meanwhile on the far North-Eastern edge of the park you can see as crews are busy removing what was left of the old swamp / red-sea crossing section of the backlot that was located East of the Clock Tower Square and North of the Earthquake attraction building. It looks like the bigger pond area (Park Lake) closest to Earthquake may be kept for the time being, but a dark construction barrier wall has been placed around it as well.
According to the 5-year plan the park submitted last year the goal was to remove a total of 13 soundstages close to the park (5 so far, 22-25 and 28) to allow it to grow while replacing them with up to 10 new soundstages to be built on the Eastern edge of the park, including the site where Park Lake is now. The new soundstages are said to be bigger than the ones they remove (some possibly with two floors) that will allow for an overall increase in production space.
(3/13/17) Down on the Universal Studios backlot, the crews continued the soundstage demolition and have also taken down Soundstage 25, competing the removal of the set of four that would easily allow for a future theme park expansion. Super Mario Land anyone?
(3/10/17) According to a post on Twitter from Inside Universal, Soundstages 22 - 24 have been demolished. For now SS25 is still standing it seems, but with 24 gone, 25 may not stay much longer than they need to keep it. This follows the demolition of Soundstage 28 (directly to the left of the Transformers attraction building) that took place last year, and 22-23 were located next door to the former site of 28, with 24 and 25 directly south from there going towards the Jurassic Park attraction area.
The land released by the demolition of these soundstages is ideal to allow for the future expansion of the theme park on the lower lot, if it gets handed over to the park for future development, which is what we had previously heard was going to be happening as new Soundstages are built in the far eastern corner of the backlot instead, near the old Crossing of the Red Sea area.
(6/26/16) In an exclusive to Variety, Universal Studios Hollywood confirmed a new five year plan that will see a collection of 13 soundstages close to the theme park removed to allow for future theme park expansion, while building new replacement soundstages elsewhere on the eastern side of the backlot where they will replace Park Lake, home to the very old parting of the Red Seas attraction on the backlot tour. Two of the new soundstages are already under construction it seems, and the other 10 will follow over the next couple of years, though some are pending the selection of Los Angeles for the 2024 or 2028 Summer Olympics which would be used as an international broadcast center during the games. While fewer soundstages will be built than removed, they will be larger, so there will be an overall increase in the square-footage of production space available on the background.
2025 - Hilton Universal City Expansion - (10/6/20) While not owned by Universal Studios at all, it is worth mentioning that the nearby Hilton Universal City hotel now has a timeline to begin construction on a new expansion tower in 2023 that will add an additional 395 rooms and a parking structure to the property by the time they finish in 2025.