The winds of change have been blowing... perhaps gusting at Universal Studios Hollywood in the past few years, and they're only going to get stronger. The destination is midway through a very aggressive five year expansion plan that will "radically alter the familiar footprint and landscape" of the park.
The expansion began with Transformers in 2012, and more recently the Universal Plaza in 2013. The "visually aesthetic 37,000 square foot art deco styled piazza" is a great gathering spot, and is serving as a central hub for the theme park. Under previews right now and officially opening this weekend, Despicable Me Minion Mayhem and the associated Super Silly Fun Land is 2014's large debut.
Above, and just announced, will be an addition to the famous Studio Tour - Fast & Furious Supercharged, opening in 2015.
Fast & Furious - Supercharged "will be a pulse-pounding, adrenaline-fueled finale to the world-famous Studio Tour. This technologically advanced thrill ride, will catapult guests into the high-stakes underground world of fast cars where they’ll join the cast in a harrowing escapade."
Housed in a new 50 thousand square foot building, the attraction is set as a new installment in the famous film series. It will be a "dynamic hydraulic-motion based ride" and "will tell an original Fast & Furious story, incorporating hyper-realistic special effects and state-of-the-art 3D-HD imagery projected onto the world’s longest and most expansive 360-degree screen spanning nearly 400 feet in length to encircle Studio Tour guests in the Fast & Furious universe."
2015 will also see the opening of a greatly expanded Simpsons area, including an accurately depicted city of Springfield. Included will be plenty of food and retail locations, including Krusty Burger, Luigi’s Pizza, Phineas Q. Butterfat’s 5600 Flavors Ice Cream Parlor, Moe’s Tavern and Duff’s Brewery. The area sounds like an even larger version of the one that recently opened at Universal Studios Florida - and that has quickly become a great success.
While no surprise that it is being built, an official opening year of 2016 has been given to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood. Still no specific details have been provided aside from the inclusion of Hogwarts castle, which is actually starting to rise into the air as I type.
Along with new attractions are also additional infrastructure improvements like two new parking garages and new lighting on the backlot that will allow for evening Studio Tours.
It's wonderful to see the Universal parks in such heavy expansion modes, especially considering how dramatic the changes at the Hollywood park will be.