The Upper Lot consists of a variety of family-based attractions. These are a selection of the current attractions, shops and eating places on the Upper Lot at Universal Studios Hollywood. There are not as many fully themed lands as there are small environments linked together with a common Art Deco theme that reflects the glamour of Old Hollywood. In a small area north of Universal Boulevard called Production Plaza, there are two of the park’s longest-running shows called Universal’s Animal Actors and Special Effects Show.
The theming of the Upper Lot includes a Mission Revival entrance pathway, known as Universal Boulevard, that features the large Universal Plaza that opened in 2013. Universal Boulevard is home to Waterworld: A Live Sea War Spectacular, and the DreamWorks Theatre, the latter which currently serves as the main location for Kung Fu Panda Adventure.
The Upper Lot is also home to the Streets of the World, which opened in 1989 and currently contains six streets within. One of the first streets – 1950s America – is next door to Universal Plaza, and is a dining area home to Palace Deli & Market and Mel’s Diner, the latter being a replica of the Mel’s Drive-In that was featured prominently in the Universal classic American Graffiti. The next two streets are French Street (a French-themed avenue with quick service dining), and the cozy cobblestone-paved Parisian Courtyard.
Minion Way is themed after the Universal Pictures and Illumination’s Despicable Me franchise, and features Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, a motion simulator ride that takes you into the world of minions. Next door is a play area that contains a large outdoor dry and wet play area for children named Super Silly Fun Land, in addition to an aerial carousel named Silly Swirly Fun Ride. Minion Café and Despicable Delights are the two themed eateries in the street.
The newest street to be included in Streets of the World is Pets Place, a colorful version of Manhattan that is based on The Secret Life of Pets franchise and is home to the dark ride The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash!. The final street is Baker Street, which was originally set in old England as seen by the fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes. However, between 2018 and 2021, a great majority of the area has been rethemed as the Manhattan-inspired Pets Place, while the remaining facades of Baker Street.
Springfield, U.S.A. is themed to The Simpsons. This area contains The Simpsons Ride, a motion simulator ride, along with multiple eateries themed to the show, a gift shop themed after Kwik-E-Mart, and several character meet and greets.
Universal Studios Lot
Universal Studios Lot is a television and film studio complex located at 100 Universal City Plaza in Universal City, California. It is the site of Universal Pictures and is owned by Comcast through its wholly owned subsidiary NBCUniversal. The lot officially opened the gates of Universal City on March 15, 1915. Today the Universal Studios Lot is made up of 400 acres, which includes more than 30 sound stages and 165 separate structures.
On March 15, 1915, Carl Laemmle opened Universal City Studios on a 230-acre ranch in the San Fernando Valley and called it “Universal City”. The site later became known as Universal Studios Lot and Universal City was considered the first self-contained community dedicated to making films.
In 1950, Universal Studios Lot increased its overall size to 400 acres after Universal acquired additional land at the southern border of the studio. Music Corporation of America (MCA Inc.) bought the Universal Studios Lot in 1958. Universal then leased back its property from MCA until MCA and Universal merged in 1962.
Over the next decades, numerous television shows and movies were filmed in Universal Studios Lot, notably at the Courthouse Square and Colonial Street sets.. This includes Psycho (Paramount Pictures), Back to the Future (Universal Pictures), The Perfect Storm (Warner Bros.), War of the Worlds (Paramount Pictures/DreamWorks), Desperate Housewives (ABC), and The Good Place (NBC). Today, Universal Studios Lot is one of the largest full-service production facilities. It has continued to modernize and grow with plans to expand by adding additional soundstages and building facilities. Since 2016, the NBC show American Ninja Warrior has filmed their Los Angeles city qualifiers and finals courses on the lot.
The Studio Tour is a public attraction both as a VIP and at the adjacent Universal Studios Hollywood theme park that offers visitors a behind-the-scenes look at the historic studio lot. The tour first opened in 1915 when Carl Laemmle invited visitors to see the studio in action. The Universal Tour was halted in the late 1920s and revived in 1964. Since then it has evolved through countless iterations, including new tour hosts, movie sets, and experiences.
Right past the Studio Tour Plaza, the Studio Tour attraction is a 45 to 60 minute ride which uses tram vehicles to take the visitors from the Theme Park’s Upper Lot to the back-lot where actual filming of many shows and movies take place.
The tour is the signature ride at the theme park and the wait time varies by day and seasons. The tour begins with a video introduction by Jimmy Fallon and a trip down the hill into the Front Lot. After drifting through the sound stages of the Front Lot and transitioning into the Metropolitan Sets of the back lot, the tram then takes the guests to Courthouse Square section and then other buildings in the back lot. Afterwards, the tram enters a tunnel leading to the attraction: King Kong: 360 3-D. Then the tram travels through sets from Jurassic Park and encounter Dilophosauruses.
Following that, the tram travels to the Flash Flood attraction. The tram continues through Old Mexico, Six Points Texas, a miniature model of the SS Venture from King Kong, and Little Europe before experiencing Earthquake: The Big One attraction, movie sets themed as Amity Island from Jaws, Whoville from How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Bates motel from Psycho, and the crashed plane set from War of the Worlds, before leading to the final attraction on the tour, Fast & Furious: Supercharged based on the Fast & Furious film franchise.
Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem
Despicable Me Minion Mayhem is a computer-animated simulator ride attraction located at Universal Studios Hollywood. The attraction is based on Universal Pictures and Illumination’s animated film Despicable Me (2010) and its franchise, employing the use of 3D high-definition digital animation. A new ride for 2014, taking the place of Terminator 2:3D at Universal Studios Hollywood. The ride building has been extensively remodelled to incorporate two large auditoria and an extensive pre- and post-show area.
Experience Despicable Me Minion Mayhem and join Gru, his daughters and the mischievous Minions on a heartwarming and hilarious 3-D ride. Start your adventure in Gru’s home, where you’re recruited for his latest scheme – one where you’ll become an actual Minion. After making it through “Minion training” things don’t go as planned! Within moments, you’re launched into an unforgettable trip through his super-villain laboratory.
Universal Orlando Resort announced that the attraction is being designed by their Universal Creative company in association with Illumination Entertainment and Despicable Me film producer Chris Meledandri. The ride is a motion simulator and features multiple characters from the film, including Gru, Margo, Edith, Agnes, and the Minions.
When people are waiting in line for the ride, they get to learn about the recruitments of a Minion, the profiles of Gru, Dr. Nefario, Margo, Edith, Agnes and the Minions, filled with scenes from the first film and the Minion Mini Movies. The guests are also given a Minion-quiz, to let them test themselves to see if they are fully prepared to be a Minion.
First, the guests enter the room. Then the pre-show starts with Gru, Margo, Edith, and Agnes, who welcome the guests to their house through a remote camera, and explain to them that they will be trained as minions. Gru tells guests what to expect during their time as Minions. Afterwards, Gru orders the guests to proceed to his lab just as the camera battery runs out.
In second pre-show room, just before the ride, Gru, along with some Minions, enter the room and explains the public are there for a reason: henching for the world’s #1 supervillain. They have an important job to do: transforming the audience into Minions and training them for Gru’s bidding. After that, the doors to the ride are opened, the public is let through.
With a loud bang, the ride vehicle springs to life, shooting forward before rising up a huge tunnel. Lights turn on to reveal a bunch of Minions cheering the guests on and waving to them as they rise. At the top, the vehicle arrives at a conveyor belt and is pushed forward towards a large set of doors. Margo welcomes the guests to the Minion Training Grounds. The vehicle dives down a ramp alongside other Minions and launches over a ramp and straight into a corkscrew.
Once both the Gru residence and the guests land safely on the Minions, Gru opens Agnes’ present, revealing a doll replica of himself. The Minion Gun breaks and goes off on the riders, causing the effects to be reversed, transforming the guests into humans again. The vehicle is pushed backwards and slowly lowers down through the same hole they came up through. Rainbow-colored mist is sprayed which covers the vehicle as it reaches the bottom and the ride ends. Once the vehicle’s doors open, guests exit the lab.
The Simpsons Ride
The Simpsons Ride is a motion simulator ride located in the Springfield areas of Universal Studios Hollywood. Based on the animated television series The Simpsons, the ride was announced in 2007 as a replacement for Back to the Future: The Ride at both parks.At the time of its opening, the ride featured state-of-the-art projection and hydraulic technology.In 2013, the ride became the centerpiece of a themed Simpsons area at both parks, based on the fictional town of Springfield depicted in the animated series.
The attraction is more than four minutes long and features two pre-show line queues that guests experience before boarding the ride. Its theme focuses on Krustyland, a theme park built by and named after Krusty the Clown, in which his former sidekick, evil genius Sideshow Bob, attempts to get revenge on Krusty and the Simpson family. Many characters from the animated series make an appearance, all voiced by their original actors.
Line up alongside Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie, then enter through Krustyland’s carnival midway, where you’ll come face to face with Apu, Patty, Selma, Groundskeeper Willie, and other favorite Simpsons characters manning the classic carny booths including the Milk Bottle Toss Game, the Snack Stand and Lost and Found.
Once you board your ride vehicle, get ready to do what was once thought physically impossible: scream and laugh at the same time. It’s one hilarious surprise after another as you’re swept away with the Simpsons on a wild ride through Krustyland… flying, bumping, floating and crashing your way through Krusty’s thrilltacular attractions.
Guests walk through a 32-foot (9.8 m) head of Krusty the Clown as they enter the ride’s line queue, which leads them into a pavilion under various circus tents themed to carnival stalls. A variety of posters are on display advertising attractions at Krustyland, while television monitors stationed around the queue play video clips from the Krusty the Clown television show along with animated footage from Krustyland.
After entering the Krusty-themed ride vehicle, Homer orders everyone to sit down. The ride simulator combines physical movement of the vehicle with on-screen motion. The experience continues with riders emerging onto a track with the Simpsons’ vehicle in front of them. The riders then ram into the Simpsons’ vehicle, which can be seen taking a plunge.
Kung Fu Panda: The Emperor’s Quest
DreamWorks Theatre is a motion simulator attraction that opened on June 15, 2018 at Universal Studios Hollywood located in the Universal City, California community of Los Angeles. The new attraction is themed around characters featured in films from DreamWorks Animation and features the use of projection mapping. It replaced the Shrek 4-D attraction, which closed on August 13, 2017.
The first attraction to show in the venue is Kung Fu Panda: The Emperor’s Quest, which is based on the Kung Fu Panda franchise. It takes place on the morning of The Emperor’s Great Feast of Heroes, where dragon warrior Po the Panda along with Master Shifu and Mr. Ping embark on a quest to deliver the Liquid of Limitless Power to the Emperor. It includes “raging rapids, river wolf pirates, awesome magic and, obviously, Kung Fu.” The film was developed in collaboration with DreamWorks, and it features the original voice cast from Kung Fu Panda.
The multi-sensory adventure inspired by the global blockbuster franchise Kung Fu Panda, and created in partnership with Universal Creative and DreamWorks’ Artists. This new technologically advanced attraction will take guests on a legendary journey that fuses captivating storytelling with state-of-the art projection mapping and LED lighting effects for a highly engaging and immersive, unstoppable-awesome experience.
The attraction preshow features a variety of DreamWorks characters, including Shrek, Donkey, Gingy, and the Magic Mirror from Shrek, as well as Poppy from Trolls and Marty and the Penguins from Madagascar. The theater uses projection mapping on the interior walls of the theater, using a total of seven Christie 4K Boxer Cinema Projectors, surround sound audio, and physical effects such as water, wind, and articulating seats that pivot and tilt.
Waterworld: A Live Sea War Spectacular
Waterworld: A Live Sea War Spectacular, also known as Waterworld or Waterworld Stunt Show, is an attraction based on the 1995 film Waterworld found at Universal Studios Hollywood. Adapted by Ben Hurst, the attraction’s story occurs after the events of the movie, beginning with Helen’s return from “Dryland” to get her friends from the “Atoll”. The show includes the characters Helen, the Deacon, and the Mariner, as well as several “Atollers” and “Smokers”.
The show is 16 minutes long and includes stunts on water, land, and overhead, supported by many pyrotechnic, flame, water, and other special effects, including the explosive crash landing of the seaplane. The stunt show’s unique soundtrack was crafted from snips from the movie score. The seating is in three sections of arena seating. The first five row of seats are the “Soak Zones”, which are the target of splashes from the Jet Skis and various wet special effects.
Special Effects Stage
Special Effects Stage is an attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood. The attraction serves as a new version of the park’s former Special Effects Stages show, which was located in the Lower Lot area and was relocated to the Upper Lot’s Castle Theater to make way for Transformers: The Ride. The attraction takes guests through demonstrations of how movie special effects are created, including Motion capture, Chroma key, and Stop motion techniques.
The show takes guests through demonstrations of the design of Universal Pictures’ films special effects, which are added during a film’s post-production. It includes interactive elements, and is similar to the original former Special Effects Stages version of the attraction. The live attraction has two hosts: an older, practical effects guru and a younger, digital effects artist. It lifts pieces from Universal’s Horror Make-Up Show at Universal Studios Florida. On the stage there are multiple set pieces including the puppet used in the musical of The Creature from the Black Lagoon, Imhotep from the 1999 filmThe Mummy, and a baby triceratops from Jurassic Park.
Universal Studios Hollywood
Universal Studios Hollywood is a film studio and theme park in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles County, California. It is one of the oldest and most famous Hollywood film studios still in use. It was initially created to offer tours of the real Universal Studios sets and is the first of many full-fledged Universal Studios Theme Parks located across the world.
The magic of movie-making comes to life at the park, which combines the quintessential Hollywood movie experience with frogtastic theme park attractions and shows. Exciting attractions include The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, DreamWorks Theatre Featuring Kung Fu Panda and Despicable Me Minion Mayhem.
Universal Studios Hollywood is divided roughly in half between upper and lower lots. Outside the theme park, a new, all-digital facility near the Universal Pictures backlot was built in an effort to merge all of NBCUniversal’s West Coast operations into one area. In 2017, the park hosted 9.056 million guests, ranking it 15th in the world and 9th among North American parks.