Universal Studios Hollywood lays out 20-year plan for future theme park attractions

Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

A long-term plan for Universal Studios Hollywood envisions adding seven new theme park attractions over the next two decades while removing or relocating several studio backlot tour favorites, including the “Jaws” lake, the “War of the Worlds” disaster scene and the famed “Psycho” house and Bates Motel.

The $3 billion NBC Universal Evolution Plan” href=””>NBC Universal Evolution Plan lays out a proposed blueprint for the 391-acre Universal City property in the San Fernando Valley, including new movie studio production facilities, CityWalk retail space and a residential neighborhood.

Additionally, the plan calls for 146,000 square feet of new attractions at the movie and television theme park. Inside the park, the 20-year plan also calls for three current attractions to be replaced: the “Terminator 2: 3D” special effects show, the “WaterWorld” stunt show and former “Fear Factor Live” theater.

Both the “T2” and “WaterWorld” shows, based on 1990s movies, have long been candidates for replacement. The former “Fear Factor” stage, which currently houses the relocated “Special Effects Stage,” has played host to a number of theatrical duds over the years, including “Spider-Man Rocks” and “Creature from the Black Lagoon: The Musical.”

The theme park plan also calls for the eventual removal of the Flintstones carnival midway games. No replacements for any of the theme park attractions have been announced. The “King Kong 360 3-D” drive-through movie, which made its debut this summer, and the Transformers special effects dark ride, scheduled to open in 2012, are not part of the growth plan.

Under the envisioned plan, the Studio Tour could see even bigger changes over the next 20 years. The footprint of the proposed 124-acre residential neighborhood would force the demolition or relocation of the Whoville village, the “Curse of the Mummy” revolving tunnel, the “War of the Worlds” plane crash set and the Falls Lake blue screen pond. Wisteria Lane from “Desperate Housewives” and the iconic “Psycho” house would be relocated to other areas of the backlot.

Under the plan, four new backlot attractions could be added to the Studio Tour, including proposed buildings near the seaside “Jaws” village of Amity and the “Fast & the Furious” special effects car show. The other two proposed backlot attractions are envisioned for areas not currently on the tour.

Next door to the theme park in the CityWalk retail center, Universal imagines a 3,000-seat theater that could host a permanent entertainment troupe such as Blue Man Group, which currently performs at the Universal CityWalk in Orlando, Fla.

Los Angeles city planners recently released a 39,000-page draft environmental impact report identifying possible effects of the proposed development, including increased traffic, on the surrounding area.