Universal Studios Hollywood Officially Announces Toothsome Emporium

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Universal Studios Hollywood announced today that the Toothsome Emporium is set to take over the space occupied by Hard Rock Cafe and open in 2021. Hard Rock Cafe will be closing January 8th to begin the transition.

The restaurant will feature all of the goodies in the Orlando version and be two stories. It will also feature a gift shop, dessert bar, and all day brunch. Universal Citywalk over the past few years has undergone a massive overhaul including the opening of Margaritaville, Antijitos, Voodoo Doughnuts and more. New dining and retail options should be announced in the coming months as there are several more vacant spaces throughout the entertainment center.

What do you think of the Toothsome Emporium coming to Citywalk? I personally love chocolate so I am very excited for this new addition, but let me know in the comments below what you think about this recent change to Citywalk!

Hard Rock Cafe at Universal Citywalk Hollywood Set to Close January 8th

Universal Citywalk continues to go through major changes as the large and iconic Hard Rock Cafe is set to close at the beginning of January. It is rumored to be replaced by a Toothsome Emporium that is currently at Orlando’s Citywalk.

Photo courtesy of Inside Universal

Above is a picture of the Toothsome Emporium in Orlando and as you can see it is a two story full service restaurant with a large dessert section as well. There is also a gift shop attached. Have you been to the Emporium in Orlando? Are you excited for it to come to Hollywood? Let me know in the comments below!

Grinchmas To Begin on Thanksgiving at Universal Studios Hollywood

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Whoville Tree lit up at USH

It’s that time of the year again where the two holidays of Halloween and Christmas collide. Christmas decorations are already being set up at both Disney and Universal and now we are starting to get more information on Grinchmas with some pretty awesome news.

This awesome news is that this year Grinchmas will start on Thanksgiving Day and will run DAILY (instead of the previous just on weekends) through December 29th. Also starting at this time will be the Christmas at the Wizarding Wold of Harry Potter celebration with Christmas themed shows and entertainment including the ever popular projection show on Hogwarts Castle.

The holiday themed food and Hot Butterbeer will also be making a return and eveyr night at Universal Plaza there will be a Whoville themed lighting celebration to light the 55 foot Grinchmas Tree. As I have stated in previous articles about the holidays Christmas is my favorite time of the year at the SoCal parks and I am so excited to celebrate again this year!

What about all of you? Are you excited for Grinchmas this year? Let me know in the comments below and give this page a follow for constant holiday updates and footage!

Guests To Enter Universal Beijing Using Facial Recognition Tech

An awesome news story came out today via the website France 24 saying that guests who enter Universal Beijing will be able to use facial recognition technology instead of showing a ticket. The story also notes that the park is partnering with popular Chinese tech company Alibaba so that guests can use Alipay to purchase meals and merchandise.

I think this is fantastic news and is yet another sign of the theme park industry advancing every year implementing new technology into their parks and enhancing the guest experience in large and small ways. Universal is probably also thinking that this is a way to take a jab at Shanghai Disneyland and all of the fancy high tech rides they have over at that park.

Usually Disney and Universal use their international parks to test out new ride tech and new tech to enhance the guest experience. If successful these new ideas usually make there way to the domestic parks (ie: Tron Power Run) I would like to see facial recognition make its way to Universal and Disney parks in the United States and hopefully both companies start to implement this advanced tech into the parks in the coming years and completely take away the need for paper tickets.

What do you think of this new technology? Would you like to see Apple or a tech company partner with Disney or Universal and implement Apple Pay and facial recognition into the parks? Let me know in the comments below!

NBC Sports Grill and Brew Coming to CityWalk at Universal Hollywood in 2020!

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NBC Grill and Brew in Orlando courtesy of Attractions Magazine

Antijitos is now open at Universal CityWalk in Hollywood and now they have announced their next major addition that will be coming to the entertainment complex.

NBC Sports Grill and Brew (which is already at CityWalk Orlando) will be making its West Coast debut next year as Universal Hollywood aggressively continues to enhance and completely revamp CityWalk. The pub will feature three giant TV screens out front as well as over 100 HD TV’s inside the restaurant. The menu will consist of general pub and bar food and alcohol and will add to the energy and excitement of CityWalk. This should look very impressive and fit in at night when the rest of the complex lights up. Its location is great as well as it will be in the center of everything in the main plaza right next to Antijitos, Tony Romas, and Johnny Rockets.

I am very excited for new changes to CityWalk and personally cannot wait for this to open up sometime in the next few months. What do you guys think about this new addition? Do you like the new changes that are coming or have been made recently to CityWalk? Comment your thoughts down below!

Universal Studios Hollywood to Test New VR Experience in CityWalk

Hello and welcome back to Theme Park Wizard if you are living in Southern California then please stay safe from the strong winds and as of this writing five fires throughout our region.

Universal Studios Hollywood will be trying to compete with Downtown Disney and get its own new VR experience in Citywalk starting October 14th and going through November 7th. This is a partnership between Universal Pictures, Ford Motor Company, and Holoride.

During this experience guests are loaded on to the back of Ford 2020 Explorer cars and will take a 5-7 min drive by a professional driver. The interesting twist of this drive is that it will be through the dark world of Frankenstein. Riders will be using Oculus Headsets to experience this attraction. The best part is that this limited time attraction is free and all you have to do is sign up for a free reservation on their website.

So what do you guys think of this new experience coming to Citywalk? Will you be signing up and giving it a try during this month trial period? Let me know in the comments below!

Universal Studios Hollywood Construction Update!

Welcome back to Theme Park Wizard where today we will take a look at some of the construction going on at Universal Studios Hollywood. I have been super busy the last few weeks and unfortunately was not able to the parks so I credit Dylan from Theme Park Obsession for these fantastic photos of the construction in the parks. I also invite you to watch his latest video! So let’s get started with the Secret Life of Pets project.

Secret Life of Pets from Theme Park Obsession

The Pets project is still under wraps, but as you can see here the facade work has been really making progress and the tarps look to be coming off sooner rather than later which is a great thing. This ride is supposed to open in Spring 2020 and believe it or not that is just a few short months away. Baker Street is still closed so to get to Minion Mayhem you must go around and use French Street.

Next up let’s take a look at the Nintendo project being built down in the lower lot.

Nintendo Land by Theme Park Obsession

Here is an overhead look at the Super Nintendo Project and you can see that the show building for Mario Kart is having its roof being installed. The second building to the left has gone more vertical and has had more steel beams installed along the site. The space is extremely tight so some people are wondering if the buildings housing the Studio Store and Panda Express will be demolished and rebuilt to allow for more breathing room and match the new themes of the Lower Lot.

What do you think of all the changes going on at the park? Are you excited for the Pets and Mario? Comment your thoughts down below and make sure to hit the follow button for constant theme park updates!