UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD
Hollywood, CA (Abbreviation: USH)
NBC Universal / Comcast
---- THE LATEST NEWS ----
(3/17/2023) Dark Arts Show Returning to Universal Studios Hollywood (MORE...)
(3/7/2023) Is Universal Studios Hollywood Preparing To Retire Springfield Next? (MORE...)
(2/19/2023) Fitting Into Mario Kart At Universal Studios Hollywood (MORE...)
(2/5/2023) Is There A “Size” Problem With the Mario Kart Ride? (MORE...)
(1/27/2023) Waterworld Stunt Performer Pulled Unconscious From The Water (MORE...)
Ride Rehabs - These dates are not guaranteed to be 100% accurate as refurbishments are subject to change.
Nothing is known to be planned at this time…
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 - (3/17/2023) Universal Studios Hollywood has confirmed that the Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle projection show will be returning to the park March 25 - April 9, May 27-29, and June 17 - August 13th. It’s an awesome show featuring great music from the films, special effects, Death Eaters, Dementors and more!
(3/7/2023) With Super Nintendo World now open, is Universal Studios Hollywood getting ready for their next big construction project? It has been pointed out that the park’s website and map no longer reference the Springfield / Simpsons area of the park as a land. The individual attractions and restaurants are all still there, but any reference to the group as a whole is gone. It’s worth mentioning that the map has already removed the buildings and venues we knew were leaving to make way for the Fast & Furious Hollywood Drift roller coaster project, but are the Simpsons also the next thing to go?
Chances are they wont be leaving just yet, but the rumor-mill has been saying for some time now that Universal was likely expected to get the licensing contract expire without renewal at the next opportunity. So with that in mind, the incoming Hollywood Drift attraction may be preparing to install some new theming / placemaking for whatever overall theme will take over this area in the years to come. So grab a Krustyburger and enjoy a spin on the Simpson’s ride whenever you can… while you still can.
(1/27/2023) Something went wrong at the Waterworld show at Universal Studios Hollywood the other day, as a performer was pulled unconscious from the water in the middle of a show. According to a report, the stunt performer was the one who gets lit on fire and falls from a high tower near the finale of the show. What went wrong isn’t know, but the performer was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.
No further word has been reported regarding the performer’s status, so we are hoping for a speedy recovery.
(11/13/22) Universal Studios Hollywood has announced that their Special Effects Show and the Animal Actors show will both be closing down for good following the performances on January 8, 2023. The “Production Central Store” that sits between the two show theaters will also be closing down. Based on previous rumors Screamscape has been posting, this fits right along with the location of the proposed Fast & Furious Hollywood Drift roller coaster concept, which was reported to be moving forward as the park’s next big attraction following the opening of Super Nintendo World in early 2023.
On a side note, there is a rumor going around claiming that the closure of both shows could also reflect a potential future opening of a second attraction at the Hollywood park. While we still don’t know how much room the new coaster will take, 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 and is quite an amazing production that would fit right in at the Hollywood park. Just something else to keep an ear open for.
(7/25/22) An article posted to CinemaBlend speculates that Universal may be willing to give up on their rights to use the Simpsons characters in the theme parks at the end of the current contract. IP contracts typically will be drawn up for an initial 10-year term with terms pre-set for two more 10-year extensions. The Simpsons attraction opened in 2008, so if the typical term-timelines were used, Universal would be approaching the end of the 20th year sometime between late 2027 and 2028.
At that point they would have to renew for another decade or opt to let the contract expire and release the Simpsons from the parks. It is worth mentioning that prior to this Universal Creative would be neck-deep in finishing up their new Epic Universe theme park slated to open in 2025, but this would give them enough time to come up with a new replacement idea for Simpsons at the Universal parks in Hollywood and Orlando if need be.
While the Simpsons rides still draw a crowd, I don’t think it ever drew in quite the crowd levels that the attraction building did when it was first opened as Back to the Future: The Ride. However, even if the ride itself is just a mild draw, Universal has invested heavily in offering Simpsons themed restaurant experiences and merchandise shops that probably do generate a healthy profit for the parks currently. So the final decision will likely come down to how much profit Universal is actually making compared to the money they would spend to extend the IP license for another 10 year term.
Halloween Horror Nights 2023 - (11/2/22) Halloween Horror Nights may be over, but the crew isn’t messing around for 2023, because they’ve already announced the first new haunt for next year. If you caught it on social media, Halloween Horror Nights is proud to announce that an all new haunted house themed to “Chucky” will be featured next year in both the Orlando and Hollywood events.
Early 2023 - Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen - (1/11/2023) Universal Studios Hollywood has confirmed that the new Toothsome Chocolate Emporium in CityWalk will open on January 27, 2023.
(10/14/22) Universal Studios Hollywood has announced they are now seeking to hire team members to work at the new Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen restaurant, said to be on track to open in early 2023. This will be the third such themed restaurant for Universal Studios, with the first one opening at Universal Orlando followed by the second at the new Universal Studios Beijing resort. “Featuring an extensive menu of eclectic brunch, lunch and dinner items, sumptuous milkshakes and desserts and delectable confectionary treats, The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen brings an entirely new take on culinary inspirations that will appeal to the entire family.”
They aren’t kidding either, the massive and crazy custom shakes are simply to die for and have quickly become a “must-have” stop for many a family visit to Universal Orlando….my own family included.
(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.
Early 2023 - Super Nintendo World - (2/19/2023) A brief article mention some tips on how larger riders may fit into the new Mario Kart ride at Universal Studios Hollywood. First of all, find and use the test-seat located outside of the ride entrance, but as larger riders at Universal’s parks in Orlando are already aware, oftentimes the back row of the various ride vehicles offer a little more room than the rest or the rows, and larger riders are typically directed to the back rows there frequently on rides like Revenge of the Mummy and Escape from Gringotts, Mario Kart is no exception to this rule, so head to the back which has a little more leg room and will allow for you to position yourself so the lap-bar can come down low-enough.
They do warn that tall yet skinny riders may have problems fitting their legs in, so this isn’t a simple issue of waist size. In the article in question, they mention a man with a 52-inch waist was able to fit into Mario Kart without issue in the back row, focusing on just getting the lapbar down across his thighs.
While I haven’t tried the Mario Kart restraints myself yet, as a bigger rider myself, I know the struggles of fitting into various ride restraints well from years of riding, and being forced to take that “walk of shame” myself from time to time over the years. So yes, the struggle is real, and everyone is built differently, so you know your body and how best to fit. I’ve found a video-clip showing off location of the test seat in Hollywood, which shows off what you are up against in detail. In short, it’s just a simple lap-bar that doesn’t look too different from those used on Revenge of the Mummy, though the seat itself appears a little narrow. Borrowing a tip from others, use your body weight to push down on the lap-bar as you drop into the seat, as the momentum can help lower the bar. For those with belly issues causing issues with the lap bar, don’t be afraid to “muffin-top” it as you sit and bring it down, if you know what I mean, to get that lap-bar into a more favorable position.
(2/5/2023) Is mainstream media trying to fat-shame us all over Universal Studios’ new Mario Kart ride? For the past several days, my news feed has been full of virtually non-stop mentions from mainstream media reports (example 1, 2, 3) claiming that the general public is now mad as hell that the Mario Kart ride in the new Super Nintendo World is not accommodating to larger riders, even though the attraction has only been in soft-opening previews for a few days now.
According to all the reports, perhaps Universal has brought this on themselves, as apparently there is a warning posted somewhere that guest’s whose waistline is 40 inches or more may not fit inside the restraints. Universal has further clarified that the 40-inch warning is not an absolute limit, but more of a recommendation that larger guests should use a test-seat before getting in line for the ride to make sure they will fit.
Of course, all these headlines have worked-up the internet into a tizzy of vented frustrations and angry comments. The odd thing is that so far, I really haven’t seen an actual guest report sent in to Screamscape from the previews from actual guests who were turned away. With any ride that uses a restraint system, there are always going to be individuals with unique body proportions that are unable to fit for one reason or another into anything, but as far as Mario Kart goes… if you’ve ridden and found it to be an extremely tight fit, or if you tried to ride and were turned away, I’d love to hear more about the experience from actual guests.
I’m starting to wonder if this is just the latest trending hot-topic for mainstream media however, as castmember previews of the new Tron ride at Disney’s Magic Kingdom park in Florida have also just started this week, and I’m already starting to see a few reports float in about how the Tron Lightcycle/Run restraints are also too restrictive begin to flow out.
(1/22/2023) As we saw in Japan, guests will be able to purchase a “Power-Up Band” to play with the interactive elements within the new Super Nintendo World land. The wearable wristbands will sync up with the official Universal Studios Hollywood mobile app and will be available in six different themes: Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Yoshi, Toad and Princess Daisy. By using the Power-Up Band throughout the day you can collect hidden digital coins and check your process against others via the mobile app or on Checkpoint Screens to be located within Super Nintendo World. You can also use the Power-Up Band when riding the Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge attraction by tapping it against your steering wheel, which will help you keep track of your best scores.
While Super Nintendo Land has not officially opened, I’ve been told that the Power-Up Bands are being sold at various kiosks located in the land and at the 1-Up Factory store at a cost of $40. On the off chance you’ve already visited the first Super Nintendo World located in Universal Studios Japan, I’m also hearing that if you have a Power-Up Band from Japan, it should also work in Hollywood, you just need to scan the QR code on the back into the Hollywood park app.
(1/16/2023) Mario Kart: Bowser’s Revenge appears to have soft opened for some guests at Universal Studios Hollywood and you can catch a video showing off a POV run on the ride as viewed without the AR goggles and then a second run with the AR goggles in front of the camera. Keep in mind that the alignment of the goggles in front of the camera lens isn’t all that great and the virtual objects do not appear in the correct locations that they would if you were wearing the headgear yourself. Follow this link to watch the video on YouTube.
(1/15/2023) A fun new video showing off the entire walk in experience, from the Warp Pipe at the entrance of Super Nintendo World right through the entire queue for the new Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge attraction opening next month at Universal Studios Hollywood can be seen below. One cool thing you will notice as you enter the main plaza on the other side of the Warp Pipe is that the high walls built all around the new land really do block out the view of the outside world, so you become totally immersed in the Nintendo video game world all around you.
The queue for the attraction itself starts off differently than what you may have seen in videos of the Japanese version, as the queue has both indoor and outdoor sections on the first and second floors of the land and a lot of switchbacks. Once you enter the castle itself, things will begin to look more like the Japanese version and you move into areas full of more three-dimensional scenery and sets pieces. Overall the look of everything isspot-on to the Nintendo brand, bringing all the video gamer characters and items to life in the real world.
Eventually you’ll be led into a couple of pre-show rooms for instructions about how the Kart controls work, how to put on your AR headgear, how to sync up your wristband (if you have one) as well as the safety instructions before you are led to the loading area. Be prepared for stairs… as riders will travel up to the second level in the queue and then after all the pre-shows are over, you’ll head down a large staircase that leads into the loading station at the end while trying to put on your headgear.
(1/8/2023) Universal Studios Hollywood passholders hit a roadblock of frustration on Thursday while attempting to sign up for those Super Nintendo World preview passes. In short, Universal says they suffered from a “temporary network outage” that prevented passholders from signing up for preview reservations, though the site simply could have just been unprepared to be slammed so hard with requests all at once.
The updated information Universal posted on Friday says that they will relaunch the reservation system early this week, so check the site for the latest date/time information on how to be one of the first to ride the new Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge attraction!
In a fascinating bit of related news… would you believe that an expansion of Hollywood’s Super Nintendo World could happen that could allow access to the world of Donkey Kong? Screamscape readers already know that a Donkey Kong land and coaster are under construction as an expansion to the land in Japan for 2024 and as a day-1 launch at Universal’s Epic Universe park in 2025. According to an article posted by The Wrap, after getting a construction preview of the Hollywood site, they mention hearing rumors that a location to carve-out another Donkey Kong themed area (with the roller coaster) at the Hollywood park could be in development already. Based on the popularity the park has already seen ahead of the opening, if they can make room for it, it certainly would be a great idea.
The problem is that with Super Nintendo World located down on the studio backlot area, the site is extremely land-locked, so to make room something else may have to leave. Attraction wise, Super Nintendo World is surrounded by Transformers, Revenge of the Mummy and Jurassic World on the park sides, and on the backside, Soundstages 7 through 11. We know Universal is moving forward with plans to build newer soundstages on the east end of the property by the backlot entrance off Barham Blvd as part of an ongoing process to replace the aging soundstages closest to the park. This slow advancement of the theme park into former studio space has been going on for years, with Transformers and the first phase of Super Nintendo World already taking up land formerly occupied by soundstages.
(12/20/2022) Crews were spotted testing the various animatronic displays installed throughout Super Nintendo World in Hollywood this week. It’s fun to see the land start to come to life, and as you’ll see, there will be a lot going on all around you. Check it out in the video below.
(12/18/2022) As we mentioned yesterday, Super Nintendo World will open to the public at Universal Studios Hollywood on Feb. 17th, 2023. However, for the park’s annual passholders, they will get the opportunity to enjoy a number of Passholder preview dates set to take place on Jan. 29-31, Feb. 3-4 and Feb. 8-11th.
You can’t just show up to the park however, advanced registration is required as attendance will be limited on each date, so check your email or with the park for details because the online registration for these dates is said to open sometime on Jan. 5th. A FAQ sheet about the Super Nintendo World preview event dates can be seen here.
2024/2025 - Fast & Furious Hollywood Drift - In Development - (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 90ļ 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.
???? - 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.