Sunday, July 28, 2013

Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal Studios Hollywood is a movie studio and theme park in the unincorporated Universal City community of Los Angeles County, California, United States. It is one of the oldest and most famous Hollywood movie studios still in use. Its official marketing headline is "The Entertainment Capital of LA", though during the summer it is often advertised as "The Coolest Place in LA." It was initially created to offer tours of the real Universal Studios soundstages and sets. It is the first of many full-fledged Universal Studios Theme Parks located across the world. Woody Woodpecker is the mascot for Universal Studios Hollywood. The entrance to the theme park may be accessed by the Metro Red line subway line at Universal City Station and other Metro bus routes.

Outside the theme park, Universal City includes hotels Universal Hilton & Towers, the Sheraton Hotels and Resorts, the multi-screen Globe Theatre, often used for banquets and receptions, and Universal CityWalk, which offers a collection of shops and restaurants, as well as the

Gibson Amphitheatre, a concert venue.


1 History

1.1 The first studio tour

1.2 The arrival of Universal Studios Hollywood (the theme park)

1.3 Backlot fires

1.4 Attraction history

1.5 Former attractions

2 Park layout

2.1 Upper lot

2.2 List of Rides

2.3 Lower lot

2.4 List of Rides

3 Park characters

4 Public Transportation

5 References

6 External links


The first studio tour[edit]

From the beginning, Universal had offered tours of its studio. After Carl Laemmle opened Universal City on March 14, 1915, he would later invite the general public to see all the action for an admission fee of just $0.05, which also included a lunch box containing chicken inside. There was also a chance to buy fresh produce, since then-rural Universal City was still in part a working farm. This original tour was discontinued in around 1930, due to the advent of sound films coming to Universal.[1]

The arrival of Universal Studios Hollywood (the theme park)[edit]

Shortly after Music Corporation of America took over Universal Pictures in 1962, accountants suggested a new tour in the studio commissary would increase profits. On July 15, 1964, the modern tour was established to include a series of dressing room walk-throughs, peeks at actual production, and later, staged events.[1] This grew over the years into a full-blown theme park. The narrated tram tour (formerly "GlamorTrams"[2]) still runs through the studio's active backlot, but the staged events, stunt demonstrations and high-tech rides overshadow the motion-picture production that once lured fans to Universal Studios Hollywood.[1][3]

Backlot fires[edit]

Universal Studios Hollywood's backlot has been damaged by fire 9 times throughout its history.[4] The first was in 1932 when embers from a nearby brush fire were blown towards the backlot causing 4 movie sets to be destroyed and over $100,000 damage.[5] Seventeen years later in 1949 another brush fire caused the complete destruction of one building and damage to two others.[6] In 1957, the New York street film studio set was destroyed by an arson fire causing half a million dollars damage.[7] Ten years later, in 1967, twice as much damage was done when the Little Europe area and part of Spartacus Square was destroyed. It also destroyed the European, Denver and Laramie street sets.[8] In 1987, the remaining portion of Spartacus Square was destroyed along with street sets and other buildings. As with the 1957 fire, this was suspected to be the result of an arsonist.[9] Just three years later another deliberate fire was started in the backlot. The New York Street set, the Ben Hur set and the majority of Courthouse Square was destroyed.[10] In 1997, the seventh fire occurred at the backlot.[4] A portion of the Courthouse Square was again destroyed leaving the Courthouse itself to live another day.[11]

The most damage was done on June 1, 2008 when a three alarm fire broke out on the backlot of Universal Studios. The fire started when a worker using an acetylene torch for welding accidentally let it set fire to the surroundings.[12][13] The Los Angeles County Fire Department had reported that Brownstone Street, New York Street, New England Street, the King Kong attraction, some structures that make up Courthouse Square, and the Video Vault had burned down (not to be confused with the actual Film Vault, The Video Vault contains the duplicates of the films). Aerial news footage showed the miraculous survival of the Courthouse building survived the fire (for a third time) with only the west side of it being slightly charred. Over 516 firefighters[13] from various local fire departments, as well as two helicopters dropping water, had responded to the fire. Fourteen firefighters and three Los Angeles County sheriffs' deputies sustained minor injuries. The fire was finally put out after 12 hours, since firefighters encountered low water pressure.

Destroyed were 40,000 to 50,000 archived digital video and film copies chronicling Universal's movie and TV classic shows, dating back to the 1920s, including the films Knocked Up and Atonement, the NBC series Lawand Totally Nickelodeon replaced The Flintstones Show. Just one year after it opened, The Land Before Time show was replaced with Coke Soak. In 1999, T2 3-D: Battle Across Time and a Chicken Run Walkthrough opened on the upper lot. Additionally, Beetlejuice's Rock and Roll Graveyard Revue was closed.

In 2000, the Rugrats Magic Adventure replaced Totally Nickelodeon. In 2001, the Nickelodeon Blast Zone opened. Also in 2001, Animal Planet Live replaced the Animal Actors School Stage. In 2002, the Special Effects Stages replaced The World of CineMagic, Spider-Man Rocks opened where Beetlejuice's Rock and Roll Graveyard Revue once stood and The Mummy Returns: Chamber of Doom replaced Chicken Run Walkthrough. The Wild Wild Wild West Stunt Show was also closed and has yet to receive a replacement. In 2003, Shrek 4-D replaced Rugrats Magic Adventure on the Upper Lot. Additionally, E.T Adventure was closed to make way for Revenge of The Mummy The Ride which opened in the following year. In 2004, Van Helsing: Fortress Dracula replaced The Mummy Returns: Chamber of Doom. The following year, Fear Factor Live replaced Spider-Man Rocks. In 2007, Universal's House of Horrors opened, replacing Van Helsing: Fortress Dracula. Both Lucy: A Tribute and Back to the Future: The Ride were closed, prior to being replaced in 2008 by The Simpsons Ride and The Universal Story Museum respectively. Also in 2008, the Nickelodeon Blast Zone was rebranded to The Adventures of Curious George. In 2009, Creature from the Black Lagoon: The Musical replaced Fear Factor Live in the Upper Lot.

In 2010, the Special Effects Stages and Backdraft attractions were closed to make way for Transformers: The Ride which was announced in 2008 (Special Effects Stages was moved to the former Creature From The Black Lagoon building and reopened as Special Effects Stage).[19] King Kong 360 3-D also opened. On May 24, 2012, Transformers: The Ride opened on the Lower Lot.[19] On December 31, 2012, Universal Studios Hollywood closed T2 3-D: Battle Across Time for Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem, the attraction at Universal Studios Florida, set to come in summer or fall 2014. [20]

Universal Studios Hollywood have plans to open The Wizarding World of Harry Potter which will feature the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride sometime in 2015-2016.[21]

Former attractions[edit]

See also: List of former Universal Studios Hollywood attractions

Like all theme parks, attractions are sometimes closed due to age - or sometimes just due to sheer lack of space - and replaced with more contemporary attractions. Universal has seen this action used a great deal of times, with many attraction closures. The following is a timeline of the notable events in Universal Studios Hollywood's history.

Park layout[edit]

Universal Studios Hollywood is split into two areas on different levels, connected by a series of escalators called the Starway. These areas are known as the Upper lot and Lower lot. As of January 2013, Universal Studios Hollywood contains 5 shows, 5 rides, and 2 play areas for children. Each lot features a collection of rides, shows and attractions as well as food, beverage and merchandise shops.[22][23][24]

Upper lot[edit]

The lower lot is home to 3 current rides: The Mummy's Revenge in door roller coaster, Transformers 3D Ride (dark ride) & Jurassic Park (water ride).

Entrance to Jurassic Park, the only water ride at Universal Studios Hollywood.

The Mummy's revenge is an indoor roller coaster. The 1 minute and 30 second ride coaster operates at 45 miles per hour. The warning sign says the ride includes backward motion.

Entrance to Transformers 3D the ride which opened in May 2012. Transformers 3D the ride is a dark ride. There is a single rider line to fill up single seats.

The Upper lot is home to a variety of family based shows. It is also home to many dining and merchandise shops as well as the park's entrance. For older guests the park offers Universal's House of Horrors, a year-round haunted house. For children and families there is a play area called: The Adventures of Curious George which is a water soak playground. This lot is also home to all of the park's 5 shows including The Blues Brothers Revue, the Universal's Animal Actors Show, the Special Effects Stage, Waterworld: A Live Sea War Spectacular and Shrek 4-D, a 3-D film which features additional immerse features.[22] There are 2 rides located on the upper lot which include: the Studio Tour and the The Simpsons Ride are offered. The Studio Tour is a 45 minute ride which uses tram vehicles to take the visitors to the theme park's back-lot. The tour is the signature ride at the theme park and the wait time varies by day and seasons. The wait time ranges from 5-80 minutes, depending on the amount of visitors. The tour includes:King Kong: 360 3-D, the world's largest 3-D experience. The tram closes earlier than other shows and rides at the park. The trams depart the station and pass directly under the "Starway". After passing the starway, the tram arrives at the lower lot and passes through the stages where film productions take place. When filming occurs, the ride operator will notify visitors. The tram then takes the guests to Courthouse Square section and then other buildings in the backlot. Afterwards, the tram enters a tunnel leading to the attraction: King Kong 360 3D. Then the trams stop at The Fast and the Furious: Extreme Close-Up show after that it travels through sets from Jurassic park and encounter Dilophosauruses. Following that, the tram travels to the Flash Flood attraction (it is to be noted guests on the left side of the tram usually get wet). The tram continues to Earthquake: The Big One attraction, Bates motel from Psycho, and finally the Curse of The Mummy's Tomb. In this attraction, the tram slowly moves to the left and right, which slightly disorients some guests. The Simpsons Ride is a family simulator ride located next to the entrance to the Studio Tour ride. The ride contains 24 vehicles, where each vehicles seats 8 guests. The ride lasts for 4 minutes. None of the rides at the Upper lot have single rider lines.

There are several themed retail outlets located near their respective rides in the Upper lot. For the Simpsons merchandise is offered at the Kwik-E-Mart.[24] Also, Nickelodeon merchandise is sold at the Nickelodeon Shop, near The Adventures of Curious George (also former site of Nickelodeon Blast Zone).

In homage to Back to the Future: The Ride, which once occupied the area where The Simpsons Ride now stands, Doc Brown's Chicken shop has remained open.[23]

List of Rides[edit]

Ride Year Opened Description Height Requirements

Studio Tour July 15, 1964 The signature ride of the park. A 40-45 minute ride on a tram to the theme park's back-lot. Includes King Kong 360 attraction, JAWS, Earthquake, and Curse of the Mummy.Some effects may be too intense for young children. No minimum height requirement. Small children are highly recommended to be guided by a guardian. Small children are typically assign seats in the middle aisle of the tram for safety reasons.

The Simpsons Ride May 19, 2008 A family friendly simulator ride adventure through Springfield. All guests must be at least 40 inches or taller to ride.

Lower lot[edit]

The Lower lot is the smaller of the two lots. There are 3 thrill rides at this section of the park. All 3 of the rides have certain height and ride restrictions. It is home to Jurassic Park: The Ride, The NBC Universal Experience, Revenge of the Mummy[22] (where E.T. Adventure once stood) and most recently the home to Transformers: The Ride.[19][25] Jurassic Park: The ride is a water adventure ride. Revenge of the Mummy is a high speed in-door roller coaster. It is considered by some guests as the "scariest/most intense ride" of the park. The last and newest ride at the lower lot is Transformers 3D: The Ride. Transformers 3D: The ride uses high tech technology to simulate 3D technology. It is somewhat similar to the Simpsons Ride, but with actual vehicle movement and includes more intense movements than the Simpsons Ride. This is currently the most packed ride at the theme park and the ride with the longest wait time. All 3 rides on the lower lot have a single rider line. A single rider can use the single rider as many times he/she may desire to use.

Similar to other Universal theme parks around the world, where duplicates of Jurassic Park: The Ride exist, the area surrounding the ride features a Jurassic Park merchandise shop named Jurassic Outfitters[24] and a dining facility named Jurassic Caf .[23] Similarly a Revenge of the Mummy gift shop, called Tomb Treasures, greets guests as they exit that ride.[24]

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