UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD
Hollywood, CA (Abbreviation: USH)
NBC Universal / Comcast
---- THE LATEST BUZZ ----
(4/29/21) Universal Studios Hollywood To Allow Fully Vaccinated Out-of-State Visitors (MORE...)
(4/11/21) Universal Studios Hollywood Now Opens Upgraded Jurassic World Ride To Guests
(4/10/21) Universal Studios Hollywood Opens New Secret Life of Pets Ride (VIDEO)
(3/30/21) Universal Studios Hollywood Announces Reopening Date plus Secret Life of Pets & Jurassic World Ride Updates (MORE...)
(3/28/21) Universal Studios Hollywood Adds Two More Dates To Taste of Universal Event (MORE...)
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 - (4/30/21) Universal Studios Hollywood has updated their visitor policy to allow out of state visitors to come to the park, but only if they are fully vaccinated for COVID-19. “Proof of COVID-19 vaccination and photo ID will be required for park entry by out of state visitors.” You can read the rest of the official rules at Universal’s website.
While Disneyland is still sticking with only California Residents at this time, Universal, SeaWorld San Diego and Legoland California are all willing to accept out of state vaccinated guests.
(4/11/21) First Universal opened their new Secret Life of Pets dark ride to guests attending the Taste of Universal event, and now guests were given the chance to experience the new and improved version of Jurassic World: The Ride. As we’ve been reporting for some time, the finale scene is new and improved and features a really impressive full body animatronic figure of the Indominus Rex, but there are actually a few more improvements added to the ride along the way, including an early appearance by the I-Rex at the bottom of big lift hill and more.
When Jurassic World first opened in 2019, it features a small I-Rex head in the finale scene that would roar at the T-Rex, but this has now been replaced by a gigantic fully animated version of the Indominus Rex that menances the rider in the boat. I’m pretty sure that the old I-Rex head from 2019 has actually been repositioned into the new scene you can find today located just before you hit the bottom of the big indoor lift hill.
You can see a video of the new 2021 version of Jurassic World: The Ride below.
(3/30/21) Universal Studios Hollywood has confirmed that the theme park will open to guests once again starting on April 16, 2021. Tickets to visit the park will go on sale on the website starting April 8th.
Even better, the park has confirmed that the brand new “The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash” dark ride will be ready for guests as soon as the park opens, along with the return of Jurassic World - The Ride which will finally be ready to show off the new “epic battle” scene between the T-Rex and Indominus Rex.
Just a reminder, but like all California theme parks, only California Residents will be allowed to visit at this time.
(3/28/21) Universal Studios Hollywood has added two more dates to their Taste of Universal special event. It is worth noting that the event’s last day is still April 11th as it was before, but the two new dates come from adding Thursday April 1 and April 8 to the schedule, at a lower cost than the regular Friday through Sunday scheduled dates.
Universal still has not get a date to reopen the theme park under normal operations just yet, but with Taste of Universal still holding to their plans to end it after April 11th, I would think that the park opening won't be too far behind that, especially with Disneyland planning to open their own parks on April 30th.
(3/21/21) Universal Studios Hollywood is currently one of the only theme parks in California that has not yet announced a date to reopen to guests. Currently the park has reopened on select dates for the “Taste of Universal” food event which only had dates planned out through April 11.
With the Disney parks set to reopen on April 30th, I wouldn't be surprised if Universal was working on finalizing their own plans to reopen around the same time, if possible. Stay tuned for a future announcement from the park.
(3/15/21) MiceChat has posted a fairly comprehensive review of how Universal Studios Hollywood’s new “Taste of Universal” food festival went, along with some tips about how to avoid some of the longer lines.
On a related note, Theme Park Insider took the opportunity to post a quick look at the new Pets Place section of the park around the soon to open The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash! ride.
(3/6/21) Universal Studios Hollywood has announced the park host a limited time food/merchandise special event called Taste of Universal. The special first ticket event will take place on Friday, March 12 and feature some physically distant character photo ops, incredible culinary offerings and access to select areas of the theme park… though no rides or show will be in operation. The event seems restricted to the main level of the theme park including access to Springfield USA and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, with the lower lot to remain closed. Click here for all the details and how to buy a ticket.
(2/28/21) According to a reader, the soon to open “The Habit” restaurant at Universal CityWalk in Hollywood is taking over the former Smashburger location, which itself took over from the old Tommy’s location.
They also tell us that they spotted a “Firehouse Subs” location listed on the directory in CityWalk in the place of the closed Subway location. Little work has been done over the past few months here, but honestly it wouldn’t take much to convert a Subway into a Firehouse Subs.
No new visible progress has been seen for the conversion of Hard Rock into Toothsome Chocolate Emporium, so I can only assume work here may be paused until COVID restrictions lighten up and the theme park itself is ready to reopen. There will be other locations in CityWalk that will need to be filled at that time as well, as I’m told that the former Karl Strauss Brewing Company has been removed from the directories and the inside of the location has been mostly cleaned out. Since the new NBC Sports Grill & Brew will essentially replace Karl Strauss, there is no telling what kind of new restaurant could take over the Karl Strauss location.
Universal has been filling up a lot of restaurant locations in CityWalk Hollywood with concepts from the Orlando CityWalk like NBC Sports Grill & Brew, Toothsome, VIVO Italian Kitchen and Antojitos. The big two eateries they haven’t brought to Hollywood yet would be a new COWFISH or BIGFIRE location, both of which I’ve tried and they are quite good.
(2/27/21) According to a press release a new “The Habit Burger Grill” restaurant will open on March 1st in CityWalk at Universal Studios Hollywood. Known for “award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame, signature sandwiches, fresh-cut salads and more“, the new location will feature an exterior patio for dining or takeout orders, and you can order online through The Habit Mobile App or at their website.
Anyone more intimately familiar with CityWalk Hollywood know if this is replacing another previously existing restaurant location?
(2/10/21) Since Universal Studios Hollywood has been closed for almost a year now, Saturday Night Live thought everyone could enjoy a little comedic taste of the park’s famous studio tour, with some inappropriate humor. You’ve been warned… but you can check it out by clicking here.
(12/1/20) I’m told that new restrictions in Los Angeles County have now shut down all outdoor dining in the county, which means the only way restaurants can operate is through take-out / to-go orders. As Universal Studios Hollywood’s CityWalk is in the county, this has also affected operations there as well. The new rule is said to be in effect for at least 3 weeks until they re-evaulate things due to the rising number of new COVID-19 infections in the county.
According to the official website takeout dining services are still available at: Ben & Jerry’s, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co, Buca di Beppo, Pizza Hut/KFC, Poke Bar, Sparky’s Mini Doughnuts and Chocolates, Taco Bell, Voodoo Doughnut and the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter Sweets & Treats counter.
(11/22/20) As we reported the other day, Universal Studios Hollywood has now confirmed that Butterbeer and other treats from the Wizarding World will now be offered at CityWalk for a limited time every Friday through Sunday, from noon to 8pm. For all you Potter fans in California who have been locked away from visiting Hogsmeade for months, you can now finally get the sweet taste of Butterbeer once again on your lips.
(4/22/20) According to Inside Universal, a long standing element of the Backlot Tour at Universal Studios Hollywood has been demolished. They report that the former location of the standing outdoor set pieces used during the filming of How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) is now just an empty paved area, leaving just the pre-existing Bates Motel set standing next to the former Grinch set.
(2/12/20) The I-Rex Is Coming!
I repeat... The I-REX Is Coming!
Yes, at long last the long delayed installation of the Indominus Rex animatronic along with the complete finale experience for Jurassic World: The Ride is ready to be installed! Universal Studios Hollywood has already confirmed that starting on February 18, 2020 the Jurassic World ride will be closed for an extended refurbishment, with no posted date to reopen. Screamscape sources have confirmed that the heavily aniticipated new Indominus Rex figure will be installed during this scheduled downtime, allowing for the ride’s finale scene to be reprogrammed as intended to feature a battle / standoff between the I-Rex and T-Rex just before your raft takes the plunge!
2021 - The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash! - (4/10/21) While Universal Studios Hollywood technically doesn’t open to the public until April 16th, the park did host a Technical Preview of their new Secret Life Of Pets: Off the Leash! dark ride as a surprise addition for guests attending their Taste of Universal food event on Thursday. You can check out the video of the whole experience below, including the queue and the entire ride.
Based on the footage, this is an awesome example of a classic dark ride that is full of real environment theming and a ton of animatronic characters throughout, and does not rely on projection screens at all. Now there are a couple of screens, but they are for effects purposes and blended in with real three dimensional sets and animatronic characters. All said and done, this is an awesome family friendly addition to Universal Studios Hollywood that the kids are going to love!
Check it out below, and if you want to skip the queue and jump ahead to the ride POV portion, then skip ahead to about the 7:00 minute timemark.
(3/7/20) Pictures showing off the inside of the new “The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash!” dark ride have surfaced after select media were given a sneak preview of the attraction. You can see a good number of them posted to Insider.com who confirms that the overall ride length is 5 minutes. Photos show off a number of the animatronic attractions and fully realized sets (not screens) including a look at the carboard box themed ride vehicles that appear to be using universal’s first omni-mover style ride system to take rides through the streets of New York City and Cat Alley.
According to the article Universal Studios Hollywood will also have a live-action Snowball figure (the rabbit character voiced by Kevin Hart in the films) that will interact with the crowd in the street in front of the attraction from a second story window.
(2/24/20) Universal Studios Hollywood has confirmed that the new “The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash!” attraction will open to all guests on March 27, 2020 and feature 64 animatronics in the ride inspired by the characters from the Illumination’s movie series.
(2/13/20) It has been noted that there is scheduled ride time for the new “Secret Life of Pets: off the Leash!” attraction slated to take place during the after-hours hard-ticket Peacock Live! event taking place at the park on the weekend of March 28 - 29, 2020. So either those attending “Peacock Live!” will get the first sneak-preview rides on the new attraction before everyone else, or the ride may be ready to soft-open to guests at about the same time, or shortly before.
(1/24/20) Universal Studios Hollywood has now confirmed their their new “Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash!” dark ride will open this Spring. The attraction will feature special effects along with both live and animated characters from the films, which will all be voiced by the same Hollywood talents that were used in the movies, such as Patton Oswalt, Kevin Hart, Jenny Slate and more.
Guests will experience “Adoption Day” during the ride as you take on the identity of a new stray puppy in search of your “forever home”. The ride vehicle itself will look like a giant cardboard box, but will also use some facial recognition and gesture tracking technology to allow for some interaction along the way. Look for the new ride to open on the park’s former “Baker Street”, which will now be renamed as Pets Place, across from Despicable Me Minion Mayhem.
(4/14/19) Universal Studios Hollywood has announced their latest dark ride, “The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash!” will open at the park in 2020. It’s adoption day as the guests assume the role of “stray puppies” in the quest to find a forever home and go on a wild adventure where you’ll meet up with Max, Snowball, Gidget, Chloe and Duke along the way.
“The innovative adventure will blend live, dimensional and animated characters with hyper-realistic media as guests zip along a track aboard ride vehicles through bustling New York City streets toward the pet adoption event and the ultimate happy ending: forever homes. Along the way, guests will face an array of challenges and meet up with fellow animal pals eager to help guide them toward their destination.”
2021 - Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen - (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 - (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 - (11/18/20) 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 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.