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Let the Dinosaurs Roar and the Minions Run at Universal Studios Hollywood
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Universal Studios Hollywood will be opening Jurassic World this year, replacing Jurassic Park – The Ride, which closed last September. That ride was based on the original 1993 Steven Spielberg film, and debuted in 1996. It was cutting-edge for its time, with its massive dinosaur robotics developed by aerospace engineers and paleontologists. But although still beloved by fans, it was showing its age, and the the new ride will be innovative. 

Designed to combine the new dinosaurs in the Jurassic World film with current technology and effects, the summer-opening ride will feature new themed environments and animatronic dinosaurs, as well as an original storyline. Guests will be welcomed with a new entry, new landscaping, and even a redesign of its classic pillars. The lush new attraction has been reimagined with the help of Industrial Light & Magic, Universal Creative, and filmmakers Steven Spielberg, Colin Trevorrow, and Frank Marshall. 

To start, the queue line will get a lot more interesting with videos that offer facts and fun info about the dinosaurs in the ride; once boarded, guests will find new rafts that are navigated toward dinosaurs such as the Stegosaurus and Parasaurolophus followed by chaos-wreaking predatory Velociraptors and Dilophosaurus on a mission to turn riders into their prey.

The penultimate moment will occur when the ride’s mammoth Tyrannosaurus Rex battles one of the attraction’s new dinosaurs, and the rafts sail down the 84-foot waterfall to escape. The basic layout of the ride will remain the same as that of its predecessor: that accelerated drop will be the same one that Steven Spielberg himself opted out of rather than take the watery plunge.

Along with the thrills, there will be a new adjunct attraction, a Raptor Encounter featuring Blue the Velociraptor from the Jurassic World franchise and her beta Raptors getting one on one with guests. And for kids of all ages: an interactive Dino Play area with educational elements that include excavations and investigations of the large dinosaur fossils. 

When the ride debuts, it won’t be alone in spreading the Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom film brand. Feld Entertainment Inc. and Universal Brand Development are currently working together on a new live touring show with cutting edge projection mapping and dinosaur animatronics roaring into arenas over multiple years. It’s scheduled to launch after the ride, in fall of 2019, starting in the U.S. but traveling globally. Audience members will find themselves transported to Isla Nublar, with dinosaurs the big stars literally and figuratively, along with the opportunity for audience interaction with the creatures. They’ll be both performer operated and animatronic. Feld Entertainment is breaking down arena barriers that separate the audience from the performers, allowing up-close access to the thrilling spectacle that includes iconic locations and fan favorite dinosaurs in a combination between a stunt show and a 3-D experience. Feld Entertainment is one of the world’s largest producers of touring family spectacle shows. The live show should prove to be a strong adjunct to the advent of the new Jurassic World ride. New gaming options and even a Jurassic World story on Amazon’s Alexa are also being rolled out.

Universal Studios Hollywood has other new endeavors launching besides its behemoth, state-of-the-art dinosaur experience. Less large by far is the first Running Universal event: the 5k Minion Run. The run takes place May 11th and 12th with the first date already sold out. This inaugural event will feature Illumination’s Minions cheering runners throughout the course. Runners will move through the front gate and upper theme park lot, into the Universal backlot and through classic film sets. 

The course is 3.1-miles and allows runners a look at behind the scenes views and experiences, as well as character meet and greets and other entertainment along the course, and photo ops with Minion characters.

The finish line is at 5 Tower on Universal CityWalk, and will include a party with live music, commemorative swag, and food. Runners will also be able to stay at the theme park for the rest of the day using specially-priced park tickets made available for purchase as part of registration. Any on-site participant can purchase the package. The standard race package includes general parking and is $75; a VIP package with a post-race breakfast is $135; and a stay-all-day theme park package that includes admission to the park is $169. The admission can be used on either date. For eager runners too far away to participate in person, they can run virtually for $49. These runners can still secure swag such as a Minion-themed finishing medal, a backpack, running bib, and a finisher’s certificate. The race is for just about all ages – the racers information specifies being over the age of 5 years; and runners must maintain a pace of 17 minutes per mile. 

Other Universal Studios news: after all that running, or even without participating in a race, Universal Studios Hollywood guests wanting a dessert treat can discover new Churro flavors. The spring time launch of these new items brings the theme park new flavors including Strawberry Shortcake Churro, Double Dark Chocolate Churro, Toasted Coconut Churro and a Fruity Pebbles Churro. 

And in other spring news, Universal Studios Hollywood is offering their popular California Neighbor Pass for $149 when purchased online. Local park guests can enjoy the park for 175 days throughout the year, although weekend availability is limited to 25 different dates. 
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