Don't just sit there thinking "Universal Studios Hollywood?" I've been there and done that. Everything that’s going on at Universal Studios Hollywood these days is enough to get any theme park lover excited. If it's been more than two years since you went there last, it's time to go again.
This summary will catch you up on new additions and closings - and give you a preview of what to expect.
What's Ahead for Universal Studios
Universal is developing a new Super Nintendo World in Tokyo, which is due to open in 2020.
After that, expect to hear an announcement about Nintendo attractions in California.
What’s New at Universal Studios in 2018
In the summer of 2018, the newly built DreamWorks Theatre opens. Its first show will be a technologically-advanced attraction based on DreamWorks' Kung Fu Panda. Called "Kung Fu Panda: The Emperor’s Quest,” it's designed to engulf guests in an experience that goes far beyond those tired 3-D glasses. New technologies promise a 180-degree, fully immersive adventure. The theatre's ultra-plush, fully articulated seats are not only comfy enough that they won't distract you from the action, but they also pivot and swivel in tandem with the action.
In the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, two new wand spells bring the total to 15. You can conjure flames with the Incendio fire-making spell or use the Alohomora spell to unlock a series of intricate locks that may reveal the fiery breath of a creature hidden behind a secret door.
And even if you don't have a wand to wave, you’re guaranteed to get a compliment when you walk past Madam Malkin's Talking Mirror in the corridor between Dervish and Banges™ and Gladrags Wizardwear.
“The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle” returns for a limited time beginning Saturday, June 24.
The awe-inspiring light show showcases the four houses of Hogwarts and ends with beams of lights that fan into the night sky.
The film Jurassic World 2 premieres in June. The current ride will close on September 3, 2018, to be transformed into the next-generation “Jurassic World Ride,” a reimagined telling of the ground-breaking adventure. Features will include the introduction of never-before-seen dinosaurs.
It's not a ride, but Hello Kitty-themed merchandise will be coming to Universal and Hello Kitty herself will show up to greet guests.
Universal is also partnering with Netflix to bring Stranger Things to life during Halloween Horror Nights.
What Was New in 2017
The new attractions introduced in 2016 finished out an improvement plan that made 75 percent of the park new within the past five years. In 2017, they took a break from theme park expansion while they build some new sound stages for the studio
The big new thing in 2017 was the spectacular night show "The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle," which was shown during the holiday season and made a brief return in late March, 2018. If this show is on when you go, don't leave without seeing it.
In 2017, Universal also hosted its first-ever New Years Eve night in the park.
What Was new in 2016
2016 was a huge year, with the opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in April.
Universal also built a new parking structure to hold all the extra visitors - and a new freeway ramp to help them get there. And they introduced a new fleet of studio tour trams with ultra-comfy cushioned seats.
Ending the year like a super-charged overperformer, they added a walk-through attraction called The Walking Dead based on The Walking Dead television show.
Also important is that these new additions made it nearly impossible to do everything at Universal Studios Hollywood in a single day. If you're going, expect to spend two full days there. And think about paying extra for Universal Express passes or you'll be spending all your time waiting.
New Rides at Universal Studios Hollywood in the Past Few Years
2015: The new “Springfield” may make you feel like you were hurled through the television set and into the Simpsons' cartoon town.
On the backlot, the new Fast & Furious stop is a 3-D wrap around experience that make visitors feel like they’re being pulled through the streets at more than 100 miles per hour. And there's a new Nighttime Studio Tour. House of Horrors closed permanently.
2014: Despicable Me Minion Mayhem - Gru and his adorable minions moved into the former Terminator 2 space, and Super Silly Funland opened next door. House of Horrors closed permanently after Halloween to make room for a new dining area.
2013: A new Entry Plaza
2012: Transformers™: The Ride-3D - This ride is in the lower lot, where the old Backdraft and Special Effects stages were. Special Effects moved up to the Upper Lot.
2010: King Kong 360 3-D - Replacing the King Kong Encounter which was destroyed in a fire.
What Happened to...
If it's been a while, you may be wondering what happened to some of the more popular rides of yesteryear:
- Back to the Future: Redone as The Simpsons Ride. You can find the BTTF DeLorean in the NBC Universal Experience (lower lot)
- Terminator 2: Replaced by Despicable Me
- Adventures of Curious George and the Gibson Amphitheater: closed to make room for Wizarding World of Harry Potter
- House of Horrors: closed and replaced by The Walking Dead attraction.