Universal Studios Hollywood (6/23/2017) – HHN Build, Lower Lot Construction, Starway Expansion and More!


We’re back with our the first Universal Studios Hollywood construction update in what feels like over a year. Since the Wizarding World has had its chance to settle in, construction projects on both the lower and upper lots are now beginning to pick up momentum for the park’s 2nd five year expansion. In addition to the park’s expansion, the HHN 2017 build is well underway with visible work on two mazes. Let’s venture in!


Animation Studio Store / Hello Kitty Shop / Family Center

Just past the main entrance in the former location of the Cartooniversal gift shop and a light seating area sits the home of the new Animation Studio Store. This addition is expected to compliment the DreamWork’s Theater and Kung Fu Panda attraction that is opening next year. Along with the Studio Store this new facility will house the Hello Kitty shop and the park’s brand new family center. As of right now work on the site is slow, and most of the work being done is on the ground. Perhaps they’re waiting until Shrek closes in August before major work begins?

They’ve also recently added WaterWorld show times to the 1930’s Spanish tile construction walls. The only section of the structure to go vertical is this back wall. It should give a great idea of the sheer size of this new facility. It will be very impressive.

Starway Expansion

Since many of the park’s upcoming attractions (including Nintendo) in the next 5 year plan are expected to be on the Lower Lot, the park has been expanding the Starway escalators adding a 4th row to each of the 4 banks. This should also help crowds during Halloween Horror Nights. The project looks like it’ll be completed late this summer, just in time for HHN.

The first bank closest to Springfield appears to be nearing completion, revealing the new look of the now asymmetrical shade structure.

Halloween Horror Nights 2017

The build for HHN 2017 is well underway, one of the mazes has been confirmed to be The Shining, the other still unannounced. The Shining will take place in the Mummy location, this is where The Exorcist was located last year.

A look at the facade reveals a structure eerily similar to the entrance of the iconic hedge maze from the movie.

The maze also extends well beyond the confines of the tent. It would appear that the same hedge maze featured as the facade will also be within the house and serve as the final act of the experience.

Another maze is also under construction within the extended queue of Jurassic Park, this maze has not been announced and the facade structure remains a mystery.

A closer look from within the JP queue.

New Sound stages

As a result of the on-going removal of the studio’s current sound stages in an effort to expand the park. New sound stages are being constructed just north of the Metro sets near (and soon on top of) the Red Sea. This lake was used for the original Creature from the Black Lagoon and Psycho films as well as countless others.

Park Expansion / New Ride

Where sound stages 22, 23, 24, 25 once stood is now a large field of dirt that construction crews continue to dig in to (and have been since late Feb).

It’s a rather large area (over 3 acres). It’d be hard to believe that only a single attraction will fill up this entire space.

The former location of Stages 22 and 23.

Minion Tattoo Parlor

Located just across from Universal Plaza is a new photo op promoting Despicable Me 3 (it seems odd to me that they didn’t locate this near the attraction or Super Silly Fun Land). As I was shooting these photos the last showing of NightTime Lights had ended and this area was immediately hounded by dozens of guests wanting to take a final photo within the park.

That does it for this look at all the interesting things happening within Universal Studios Hollywood for now. Be sure to check back for more Hollywood goodness and stay tuned for the latest at Universal Studios Hollywood.

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