On a bright and beautiful Saturday in August, Universal Studios Hollywood opened up to hungry crowds. The crowds were ready to consume all it had to offer. Although the pass that I currently had was blocked out, I was still able to receive entrance to the park because of a special offer to see the NEW Liaka Exibit in the park. The line was over an hour all day! Unfortunately, I did not have a chance to see it, but was able to experience all else the wonderful park had to offer.
The first thing to really stand out about the entrance to Universal Studios Hollywood is their new security check system. Since the horrible events that have been happening around the world, ALL theme parks have really stepped up their game with regards to the security of their guests. Visually, the security check is an eye sore and it takes up a rather large portion of the entrance of the park. The security members working the stop were extremely nice and cordial with all the visitor and even joking around. But also took their job seriously and thoroughly searched bags and backpacks. Although necessary, there will be traffic issues on popular days or on special events such as Halloween Horror Nights.
As you make your way past security, its business as usual. The sounds and sights of Hollywood flood your senses as you walk up the red carpet to the iconic Universal Studios Hollywood arching entrance welcomes you in. Once entering the park, the smiles and laughter of the families and friends visiting the park echoed louder than normal. The new entrance/main street to Universal has recently been reconstructed and is more beautiful than ever!
The crowds on a Saturday were rather manageable but occasionally bothersome on this bright weekend! As you can see these wait times are not horrible, but they did fluctuate through the day. As you made your way past the first Attractions wait time board, you could see so many costumed characters walking and talking with the excited guests. From Lucy and Scooby too Frankenstein’s Monster and Woody Wood Pecker. They were all out to entertain the guests of the park.
The first stop of the day was Hogsmeade (as mandated by my Wife) to enjoy a nice cold cup of Butter Beer! While walking around the highly themed land, you can easily enjoy any of the offerings, not matter how big or small! The crowds seemed to gravitate towards the popular themed land and it was apparent immediately. Butter beer lines were long, shops were crowded and even the interactive windows had attendants near them to help out the muggle trying their hand at magic. The longest wait in the area was for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, which sat at 75 minutes. But eventually went up doing the duration of the day. Olivander’s Wand Shop also boasted a wait of 25 minutes. People happily waited for these experiences because they are truly one of a kind.
HALLOWEEN HORROR NIGHTS 2016 Construction
As the Halloween season quickly finds itself upon us, the construction for Halloween Horror Nights 2016 in Hollywood continues to hum along at a quick pace. If you find yourself taking the World Famous Backlot Tour, then you will see some of the construction happening for the Terror Tram. This year the Terror Tram will be a completely original concept (as opposed to being based on a film or television show) and is helmed by Eli Roth!
Also on the backlot are the Freddy vs. Jason maze, Krampus and American Horror Story. Unfortunelately, this day, the tram was re-routed and we were unable to obtain photos of the other construction happening on the backlot. But, if you are familiar with the layout Universal Studios has been using for HHN on the backlot, then nothing is really new here. Another day, another IP really.
It looks like the metal shipping containers are being prepped to guide visitors through a gauntlet of monsters as they arrive on the backlot.
Other than the HHN construction, the Tram Tour was just as fun as it always has been. Cheesy jokes and wonderful Hollywood magic to mesmerize guests. Here are some photos from the journey!
One of the major sore spots of the Studio Tour is the long forgotten Fast and Furious Tokyo Drift experience. Stage 55 has long been neglected since the construction and opening of Fast and Furious Supercharged! It really seems as though Universal doesn’t care to change it or demolish it. When in reality the once “entertaining” attraction has been left to rot into the past.
Speaking of Fast and Furious Supercharged, you would be a stink pickled if you forgot your 3D glasses! Yes, King Kong 360 3D is significantly better than Fast and Furious, it still does not take away how entertaining this experience is. Especially if you are a fan of the franchise and wants to ride along side your favorite characters
Some new and exciting construction has also started to take place on the backlot. Closer to the soundstage, a brand new, state of the art sound stage is being constructed. If they reach their goal for the construction, the first thing to use the facility will be the LIVE adaptation of the musical, Hairspray!
One of the must visit attraction of Universal Studios Hollywood, is the Waterworld Stunt Show! After being here for many many years, it has never ceased to amaze me and entertain the masses. If you sit in the front 4 rows, BE WARNED! It is not a “you may get wet” zone. Nor is it “you may get soaked” zone. It is a “if you are sitting here or within 5 feet of this seat, you will be soaked” zone. These people working the show do not mess around when wetting visitors of all kinds. It is truly entertaining seeing someone get sprayed in the face with a steady stream of water when they were least expecting it. Other than the improved water fun, the show is filled with non stop action and stunts. All which include a life size plane crash landing as well as a fire dive from the top of the set! It is all extremely entertain and comes highly recommended.
This concludes the trip report for Universal Studios Hollywood!