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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 ...
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... 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
I mean, if you look at the bare pieces of structural steel
that are already in place ...
... and then compare those shots to the finished version of Hogsmeade
Village at Universal's Island
of Adventure ...
... 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
Meanwhile, work also continues on a West Coast version of Springfield,
... which also appears to be seriously stepping up
Universal Creative's game.
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
... But you can bet that when all of those highly detailed facades are finally
in place ..
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... all of this currently bare steel will -- in the end -- look spectacular.
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 ...
... 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 ...
... 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
... the people who were lining up to get their pictures taken with Margo &
... 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.
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
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!