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Universal Studios Hollywood pushes ahead with construction of West Coast version of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Springfield, U.S.A.

Universal Studios Hollywood pushes ahead with construction of West Coast version of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Springfield, U.S.A.

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I know that stateside Harry Potter fans have been focusing on the upcoming opening of Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida ...


Copyright Universal Orlando. All rights reserved

... while folks overseas have been counting down the days 'til The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opens at Universal Studios Japan.

But it's also important to remember that Universal Studios Hollywood will soon be getting its own Wizarding World. And as I toured the Upper Lot yesterday ...


Photo by Jim Hill

... as I got down by the Shrek 4D show, it was clear that the construction crews who are working on the West Coast version of the Wizarding World have made some huge progress on this project since I last visited USH.


Photo by Jim Hill

I mean, if you look at the bare pieces of structural steel that are already in place ...


Photo by Jim Hill

... and then compare those shots to the finished version of Hogsmeade Village at Universal's Island of Adventure ...


Copyright Universal Orlando. All rights reserved

... you can already see that Universal Creative and Warner Bros. are going all out to give West Coast Harry Potter fans a Wizarding World that's worth visiting. I mean, check out the size of Hogwarts Castle.


Photo by Jim Hill

Meanwhile, work also continues on a West Coast version of Springfield, U.S.A. ...


Photo by Jim Hill

... which also appears to be seriously stepping up Universal Creative's game.


Photo by Jim Hill

Mind you, the West Coast versions of Springfield, U.S.A. and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter are being built right on top of one another ...


Photo by Jim Hill

... But you can bet that when all of those highly detailed facades are finally in place ..


Copyright Universal Orlando. All rights reserved

... all of this currently bare steel will -- in the end -- look spectacular.


Photo by Jim Hill

In the meantime, the public has clearly already embraced a lot of the other changes that Universal Studios Hollywood has made to the Upper Lot. Seeing the hundreds of people who were grabbing a late lunch / early supper in this theme park's new outdoor dining area ...


Photo by Jim Hill

... or the handful of kids who were using the Upper Lot's new water play area as a way to beat the heat on a hot Spring day ...


Photo by Jim Hill

... reinforced the idea that Universal Creative has already made a lot of smart choices when it comes to refreshing / refurbishing USH's Upper Lot area. I mean, just to see the crowds back along Minion Way ...


Photo by Jim Hill

... the people who were lining up to get their pictures taken with Margo & Agnes ...


Photo by Jim Hill

...  or, for that matter, the minions & the mutant minions ...


Photo by Jim Hill

... made me wonder what the crowd levels at Universal Studios Hollywood's Upper Lot will be like once The Wizarding World & Springfield, U.S.A. come online in 2016 & 2015 respectively.


Photo by Jim Hill

EDITOR'S NOTE: My apologies for JHM being light on content this week. But I am in the middle of the most amazing roadtrip. It started yesterday morning in Glendale with the press junket for Disney "Planes: Fire & Rescue" (which I'm not allowed to talk about yet, but was surprisingly good. This continuation of Disney's "Planes" film series could be a real game-changer for Disneytoon Studios when it opens in theaters on July 18th. It will make people think differently about this division of the Mouse Factory). Then I spent part of my afternoon exploring Universal Studios Hollywood's Upper Lot before I then went out to dinner with my daughter Alice, her Mom Michelle, and Michelle's husband Noe at Bob's Big Boy in Burbank.

Once I've finished up in California, my trip includes a stop in Las Vegas for this year's Licensing Expo to see what Disney has in the wings for 2015, 2016 & beyond. And once that's done, I'll be winging my way down to Florida for the media preview of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley.

But before I do all that, I first have to make a stop in Dayton, OH. Where I'll be doing some presentations about WDW's New Fantasyland and Walt Disney Animation Studios' "Frozen" at DAYTON Disneyana. Which is this great two day-long event that's being held at the Wyndham Garden Hotel - Dayton South this Saturday & Sunday.  

Hosted by the Dayton "Plane Crazy" Chapter of the Disneyana Fan Club, DAYTON Disneyana draws Disneyana fans from around the country who come to Ohio and trade pins & Vinylmation as well as hear from guest speakers like animation legend Mark Henn. So if you're in the area this coming weekend, be sure and swing by 31 Prestige Plaza Drive in Miamisburg, Ohio. Where from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, good times are sure to be had.

I'll be back with more stuff from the road as soon as I get to Las Vegas. But in the meantime, here's hoping that I get to see some of you folks over the next two days at DAYTON Disneyana.

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  • love all of the new construction but i only have one major worry! doesnt this all look too close together? when i went to the hollywood park a couple of weeks ago, i felt very overwhelmed with everything. i do understand the issue with space that USH has but im just nervous that guests will be suffocating with too many different themes in one area. it just seems like the wizarding world of harry potter, springfield and the studio tour are all squished in one corner and their facades will be noticed from the opposing lands. also, i feel as if the hollywood version of hogwarts castle is going to be less magical compared to the orlando version. this is because of the large show building connected to the back of the castle structures which holds the forbidden journey ride and qeue. in orlando, the land is placed at the edge of the park and the building is hidden behind the park and is camoflauged with trees. the hollywood version however is placed directly in the middle of the park, meaning it will be visible that the castle is "fake". just for once in my life, at USH, i want to feel like im boarding a ride in an actual tower or jungle not just inside a decorated soundstage like mummy, despicable me, transformers, and shrek. what do you think?

  • i agree with Brandon. in the orlando version, you dont even see the large show building behind the castle because of all the trees and man-made scenery that blocks it. also there is no access behind hogwarts in orlando so you really couldnt see anything even if you tried. but in hollywood, the studio tour is right behind hogwarts, making the show building 100% visible to the audience. i dont know how they will cover this up.. if they even wanted to that is. because there is no way that universal could ever afford to build an actual legit hogwarts castle that fits around the entire building. they would go the orlando way and only build a small part of the castle in front of the show building and cover the rest of the concrete walls up to illusion the audience into making them think they are actually entering hogwarts.

  • I am so excited about this! I did not know they were extending the Springville area! I work at the Comcast/NBC Universal building so we get to see the amazing process daily! Can't wait for this project to be completed! By that time I will definitely get my year pass, again!

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