UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD
Hollywood, CA (Abbreviation: USH)
NBC Universal / Comcast
---- THE LATEST NEWS ----
(2/2/2024) Universal Studios Hollywood To Open New Nintendo Themed Restaurant
(2/2/2024) Universal Studios Hollywood Offering Themed Lunar New Year Menu This Month
(1/29/2024) Hollywood Drift Construction Update
(1/24/2024) Universal Studios Hollywood's Backlot Tour To Celebrate 60th Anniversary
(1/17/2024) New Hollywood Drift Artwork Found
Ride Rehabs - These dates are not guaranteed to be 100% accurate as refurbishments are subject to change.
WaterWorld - NOW CLOSED through Feb. 10, 2024
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 - (2/4/2024) As Universal Studios Hollywood approaches the one-year anniversary of their new Super Nintendo World land, the park will be adding a brand new Nintendo themed restaurant on the upper level of the park (in New York Street) called the Power Up Cafe. It is no secret that the huge demand for the existing Toadstool Cafe inside of Super Nintendo World has exceeded the available capacity, so it’s good to see another restaurant offering being added as an alternative.
(2/2/2024) Universal Studios Hollywood will celebrate the Lunar New Year with a special themed menu takeover at the Hollywood & Dine this month. The park sent over a few photos showcasing some of the special dishes being offered.
(1/24/2024) The Backlot Studio Tour at Universal Studios Hollywood will turn 60 this year and after transporting over 200 million guests, the park will soon begin an “exciting program planned for spring and summer in support of the Studio Tour’s 60th anniversary.” One tidbit was leaked in the press release where the park confirms that the Earthquake segment of the Tour will “debut anew with updated and contemporary technology and aesthetics.”
(1/12/2024) Just a heads up, but Universal Studios Hollywood has now closed the park’s WaterWorld stunt show for refurbishment. According to the website, the show will remain closed through to Feb. 10, 2024.
(12/1/2023) Universal Studios Hollywood will be hosting the “EVE” event on New Year’s Eve on December 31st, 2023. EVE will be “featuring multiple dance locations, a captivating fireworks display and access to select rides and attractions, on Sunday, December 31 with extended hours until 2:00 a.m.
Included in the price of theme park admission, EVE is the ultimate way to usher in the new year. Beginning with a full day of theme park fun, guests can enjoy award-winning rides and attractions, before transitioning to a park-wide celebration and special midnight countdown to 2024.
Universal Studios Hollywood’s unforgettable night begins at 9:00 p.m. as the theme park transforms into a thrilling celebration, including designated dance party zones with DJs spinning an eclectic medley of music from pop, rock and hip-hop to EDM and Latin music. Unique photo opportunities located around the theme park will also provide a sparkling backdrop to capture and share memorable moments from the night.
Guests will countdown and toast to the new year as a dazzling fireworks display punctuates the nighttime sky. Plus, a winter snowfall and confetti will add to the celebratory feel in the air within designated areas.
An array of food and beverages, champagne, beer, wine and cocktails will be available for purchase. Guests must be 21+ and have a valid photo ID to purchase alcoholic beverages.”
Visit the official site for all the details..
Late 2024 to Mid 2025 - Fast & Furious Hollywood Drift - (1/29/2024) A new construction video showing off the progress on the Fast & Furious Hollywood Drift coaster at Universal Studios Hollywood can be seen below, align with other updates taking place in the park and CityWalk areas.
(1/17/2024) It isn’t much, but the local news pointed out that there are some new long distance rendering of how the Universal skyline will look once the new Fast & Furious Hollywood Drift coaster is installed. These are posted to a Universal Community website, and are meant to appease the local neighbors around the park with realistic views of how things will look with the ride in place.
As you might expect, there isn’t much to see, as Universal is taking care to keep the coaster as out of sight as possible, running along the hillside terrain in order to keep it from view. One interesting thing can be seen however, as it looks like there will be some kind of inversion that wraps around the Starway escalators near the top, where the track will be enclosed inside some kind of structure that should contain the noise of the ride.
(12/29/2023) A tower crane has now been set up at the Fast & Furious Hollywood Drift construction site, which means that construction on this new attraction should be kicking into high gear very soon. Check out the video of this massive crane below.
(11/25/2023) A couple of looks like the site for the new Fast & Furious Hollywood Drift coaster can be seen below from Coaster Empire. While an official opening date for the new attraction has not been set, it is believed that it will be ready to open in the first half of 2025, though there is always a chance if things move quickly it could be ready by the very end of 2024.
(11/14/2023) In a separate story I mentioned a new preview video from Intamin showing off a number of unique new themed trick elements and coaster car types they are offering for themed and dark roller coaster attractions.
At one point in the animation they show off a motorized spinning 12-seater car called the “MDC 12 Seater” which is shown running through a series of themed environments and trick elements, but I have to point out that around the the 2:35 point in the video where the car is shown running on an outdoor track while spinning the riders around and then cuts to the same car appearing to be launched into an Immelman style inversion, while the car spins the riders 360º around. At this point I’m fairly confident that this is an example of an element we will see actually built for the Fast & Furious: Hollywood Drift coaster Intamin is making for Universal Studios Hollywood right now.
(10/29/2023) While Screamscape has already reported that the new Fast & Furious Hollywood Drift coaster will feature more than one launch and vehicles that can spin, we’re now starting to hear just a little more about the ride vehicles themselves. As this is a Fast & Furious themed ride, the theming of the coaster trains themselves as F&F style cars is said to be of the utmost importance to the project. As such, look for these car themed trains to look unlike anything you’ve ever seen before on a roller coaster.
(10/18/2023) It’s kind of funny how all the news stories this week about the upcoming Fast & Furious Hollywood Drift coaster are suddenly all excited about the fact that the cars will be able to rotate. Sorry, I’ve got to say something here about that, because Screamscape posted that the cars will rotate way back on 5/17/2022 (scroll down) when we first broke the story revealing the coaster and the early concept artwork.
As we posted back then… “The Gringotts comparison is apt, because just like we saw built for Gringotts, these cars will utilize a controlled spinning system.” At the time, back when the early layout included that crazy C-shaped spike track, the cars could clearly be seen rotating on the spike in the concept art.
Ok… just saying.
(10/13/2023) Some images of the Hollywood Drift construction taking place at Universal Studios Hollywood can be seen below, where the entire hillside from the Starway over to the parking structure is being completely reworked to accommodate the new roller coaster.
(9/22/2023) A batch of new construction photos from Universal Studios Hollywood show off the state of construction for the Fast & Furious Hollywood Drift coaster project. Much of the hillside between the parking structure and the Simpsons ride building has now been cleared out to make way for where the various footers for the coaster will need to be poured.
(9/1/2023) New construction pictures showing off the clearing for the new Fast & Furious Hollywood Drift coaster at Universal Studios Hollywood can be seen below, posted by Coaster Empire.
(8/14/2023) According to photos posted to Twitter, clearing of the hillside at Universal Studios Hollywood to make way for the new Fast & Furious Hollywood Drift roller coaster project has begun.
(7/14/2023) While I’ve been talking about the Fast & Furious coaster project for months now, it is important to know that Universal has not confirmed the existence of this project... until now. With a single tweet, the park has now confirmed that the project is now officially under construction!
(7/5/2023) ParksFans has posted some drawings of what appears to be the Fast & Furious Hollywood Drift coaster project in the works for Universal Studios Hollywood. As we indicated on Screamscape when we posted the early concept art, the layout was said to have changed, including the removal of that giant “C” shaped spike track on the one end in favor or something more traditional.
They’ve even posted a rough animation of what the ride experience might be like, with the trains taking advantage of the hillside terrain in this area of the park. This is all early speculation of course, but it does look like they are trying to create a terrain style ride that can offer something along the thrill levels of the VelociCoaster in Florida.
(5/25/2023) A new video update from Universal Studios Hollywood has some footage showing off the start of demolition prep work as crews prepare to make way for the rumored Fast & Furious Hollywood Drift coaster project. There is already a bulldozer tearing up the Animal Actors show venue as well. Later on they spot some early work taking place to prepare for Halloween Horror Nights as well, so check it out.
(5/17/2023) According to an update at Inside Universal, construction walls have now been set up around the Animal Actors Soundstage as well as some around parts of the Castle Theater. These areas were previously rumored to be on the way out to make way for the proposed Fast & Furious Hollywood Drift roller coaster project. It is expected that both show venues will be demolished over the summer, as both have simply been sitting dormant since the start of 2023.
(3/29/23) An interesting reel post to IG on Tuesday shows off an interesting scene taking place at Universal Studios Hollywood, next to the top of the StarWay. A large speaker was placed on top of a nearby structure that was playing a recorded audio track of roller coaster noise and screaming riders in exactly the area where the park is planning to build the Hollywood Drift roller coaster.
If you know anything about the history of the park and studio itself, you’ll know that Universal Studios Hollywood has had a long history of dealing with noise complaints from the nearby neighbors who’s homes on the hillside overlook the studio backlot. There have been complaints about the park’s various stunt shows over the years like Waterworld, complaints about noise from loud sequences and explosions taking place on the studio backlot during filming, and in general a lot of complaints about various noises generated by the theme park and its guests.
It’s a major reason that the majority of theme park attractions at Universal Studios Hollywood have been built indoors and why the park has never tried to build a traditional large scale outdoor roller coaster before. They’ve talked about it in the past many times, with some wild ideas for indoor/outdoor concepts for coasters themed to Terminator 2 or Twister, but in the end the park has never been ready to pull the trigger on those concepts. So it is interesting that they are attempting to simulate the noise of a coaster now, which more than likely was being tested at various locations outside the park to generate real-world data on just how large or small the noise impact would be.
(10/9/22) Just before Summer Screamscape revealed the details about a launched roller coaster in development for Universal’s Hollywood park called Fast & Furious Hollywood Drift. At the time this was the big concept the park was looking at as their next big attraction to come after the opening of Super Nintendo World.
The word going around is that some early building permits have been filed for this project, which would seem to indicate that it has gone from concept to being greenlit. While I’ve been told that the overall concept has changed just a little bit, the same basic idea of having a launched roller coaster with with sports-car themed vehicles able to spin to create a “drift” sensation is still very much alive and well. Like most coasters we’ve seen Universal build as of late in North America, Intamin is said to be providing the hardware once again.
So since this project seems to be moving forward, I thought it was about time to share with everyone some early concept artwork for the Hollywood Drift attraction that was shared with me. Remember, this is early concept artwork, so the final product shown once Universal is ready to announce it will be a little bit different, but this will give you the basic look and feel of the concept, as well as the location just to the left of the top-side of the Starway.
(5/17/22) There has been some early talk about building a new Fast & Furious ride at Universal Studios Hollywood. Screamscape dug a bit deeper into these rumors and apparently it is true that something Fast & Furious themed is indeed planned. The interesting thing is that the new ride planned will be a roller coaster unlike anything we’ve really seen before. And no, this won’t be the drifting dark ride/coaster system developed from Dynamic Attractions.
Now before I get too far into the details on this thing, know that this is simply an attraction concept. No construction has started, so the concept can be changed, the concept can be canceled entirely and replaced with something entirely different. I make no promises that this will be built… but dang if it doesn’t look interesting.
That said, this particular concept is being called Fast & Furious Hollywood Drift, and on the land side of things we are looking at the removal of both the Animal Actors show and the Special Effects Show on the upper deck to make way for this new coaster concept from Intamin. I believe the overall track layout to still be somewhat fluid at this point, but the idea would be to use a dual-sided loading station, not unlike Gringotts at Universal Orlando, with the roller coaster trains made to look like a set of four Fast & Furious style cars.
The Gringotts comparison is apt, because just like we saw built for Gringotts, these cars will utilize a controlled spinning system. From what I understand the trains will pull out of the station and onto a multi-launch track area where they will spin to launch up into a rather bizarre looking half-loop shaped spike track. The best I can describe it is that the trains will enter the element as if going up into a loop but by the time they reach the vertical moment, the track will have rotated 90º sidewards for the remainder of the element which will look more like a giant letter “C”. During this rise, stall and eventually fall back down the individual cars will spin and rotate to be facing the opposite direction by the time they enter the launch track and are boosted out at a higher speed to soar up and over the pathway leading to the Starway to the lower level, and then drop down into an unknown roller coaster section that I’m assuming will go around to the hillside behind the Simpsons ride building before turning around and heading back for a return run towards the station again.
Again, this is just a concept, but one that should prove to be nearly as fun to watch from the ground as it would be to ride if Universal were to go ahead with it. I’ve no idea what this means for the longevity of the current Fast & Furious - Supercharged attraction on the Backlot Tour. They could keep it as is for those not into roller coasters who still enjoy the “Fast” films, or perhaps they could turn it into something new further down the line as well.
2026/2027?? - Donkey Kong Country / Super Nintendo World Expansion - (10/7/2023) So with the Fast & Furious Hollywood Drift coaster now well under construction, you may be wondering what’s next for Universal Studios Hollywood. Well… there have been those rumors about replacing The Simpsons attraction with something new, but I think that may be a bit further out, especially as that would likely involved a similar timed replacement in Orlando, and the Orlando resort is a little busy at the moment building their new Epic Universe theme park.
Still… it does sound like Hollywood’s future may be to take inspiration from other Universal parks for their next attraction. So what does Orlando have that Hollywood might want? Volcano Bay maybe? Yeah… but that just is not going to happen. While this is a tale for another time, would you believe that a California version of Volcano Bay was once under consideration in the most unusual way? Apparently a true story, but again… another day.
What is instead rumored to be the next big project for Universal Hollywood is to expand Super Nintendo World to add on the same Donkey Kong themed area and themed family coaster that is currently under construction in Orlando and Japan right now. If you have not seen this yet, imagine a roller coaster themed like a ride in a mine cart, but the tracks you see under the car are actually false, and the real track runs off to the side on a unique looking set of vertically stacked rails. The concept allows for the ride to create the illusion that your mine carts is tilting to the side and running on one rail, or even leaping over entire broken gaps in the track. Follow this link to read more about it over on our Epic Universe page where I broke down the ride’s technology and layout last August.
From what I’m told, since Universal Studios Hollywood is already working to build state-of-the-art new soundstages on East end of the backlot, eventually most (if not eventually all) of the old soundstages on the West side of the property will be removed for other projects, including theme park expansion, as far away as possible from the residents along the hills East of the park. I’ve been told to keep an eye on this area in 2024 for the first signs of any future demolition to the existing Standstages, including the one where they have shot “The Voice” located next to the Jurassic World attraction.
All said and done, look for a lot of activity to begin at Universal over the next few years as they ramp up the park experience ahead of the planned 2028 Summer Olympic Games being held in Los Angeles in July. In fact, I’d look for most of SoCal’s big attractions to be making plans to up their game ahead of this major event.
???? - The Borne Stuntacular - (11/13/2022) There has been some quiet speculation that the Hollywood park had been looking into the possibility of adding their own version of The Bourne Stuntacular show that first opened in Universal Orlando in 2020. The indoor stunt show mixes live stunt actors with amazing high resolution video wall backdrop and an extensive list of in theater effects. It is quite an amazing production that would fit right in at the Hollywood park if they opt to build their own version. The main difference is that the Orlando version was built as a replacement for that park’s former Terminator 2:3-D attraction, while a custom theater would have to be construction from scratch if they opted to go that route.
???? - 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.