The Universe Expands!
Universal's New CityWalk
Review by Ross Anthony

This month (April 2000) marks the grand opening of Universal Studios Hollywood's dramatic expansion to their landmark CityWalk, boasting 70% more shops/stops/and restaurants. In fact, the promenade seems to have doubled in size with an added loop (around Hard Rock Café) and a second tier that caps one side of the entire strip.

Some Entertaining Additions:

  1. An IMAX-3D theater housing an 80X60 foot screen. If you haven't seen 3D-IMAX yet - go! It's big and wonderful. (Note: some presentations are in 2D).
  2. "Emaginator Virtual Thrill Ride" is a digital adventure that aspires to be like the "Back to the Future" ride. It's fun being jostled around in hydraulic seats, but the dramatic-realism is hampered by the digital video game look of the production. On the other hand, seats are organized efficiently so, you'll never be blocked by the tall guy in front.
  3. "Jullian's Hi Life Lanes" sports a playground full of video games and a second story black-light bowling alley with way-cool, glow-in-the-dark balls and pins. It's very sheik, but the music is kind of loud.
  4. "NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway" lets you slip into one of 10 or so 3/4-size stock car replicas for a little spin. Before the race there's a seven minute prep/video and afterwards you'll receive a print out of your race stats. It's fun to win, but it's also fun to crash - I had a blast wiping out the rest of vehicles or just ramming the walls head on.
  5. Dueling pianos sound appealing? The "Howl at the Moon" pub pits two baby grands end to end against each other. Combined with a drummer and guitarist the talented pianists jokingly jukebox songs from the ages, while waiters and waitress dance atop the bar. It's a good time.

The new CityWalk is easily a fine night out, providing eats, shops, music, entertainment and pubs. To christen the opening, Vans (also a tenant) provided 1/2 pipe skaters and Peter Fonda lead a group of Harley's for a spin around the loop.

  • Universal's New CityWalk. Copyright © 2000.
  • Starring 72 Tenants.
  • Produced by Universal

Copyright © 2000. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit:

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Last Modified: Monday, 23-Apr-2007 15:09:30 PDT