Kurzweil leaves USH, Karen Irvin now President/COO

USHR//​Universal City, CA, October 19, 2016–Universal Studios Hollywood promotes Karen Irwin to President & COO of The Entertainment Capital of L.A., overseeing all business operations for the theme park and adjacent Universal CityWalk, it was announced today by Thomas Williams, Chairman & CEO, Universal Parks & Resorts (UPR). 

Ms. Irwin, who recently served as Executive Vice President, Global Merchandise and Partnership Development for the UPR division, succeeds Larry Kurzweil, a 20-year veteran of the company, who is departing to join a private equity firm specializing in the food industry as an operating partner, and will also concurrently serve as the President & CEO of The Lemonade Restaurant Group, headquartered in Los Angeles.

In making the announcement Mr. Williams said, “Karen is creative, strategic, focused and a true leader and been at the forefront of our incredible growth in Merchandise over the past 10 years. She has a wealth of operational and senior management experience in all facets of our business and was instrumental in all of the development of our incredible Harry Potter offerings. Karen is uniquely qualified for this important role and we look forward to welcoming her to this new chapter in her career.”

Mr. Williams continued, “Larry has been a vital member of the Universal family and he will be missed. Since 1999, he has presided over the theme park’s many award-wining attractions and signature Studio Tour, including the park’s recent revitalization that transformed over 75 percent of the destination, culminating with the highly-anticipated arrival of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  His passion, strategic insight and creative vision were invaluable to our business and we wish him much success in his new venture.”

Karen began her career with Universal Orlando in 1990 as part of the opening team for Universal Studios Florida.  She has served in several leadership and department-head capacities including:  Director of Operations and Director of Support Services for Food and Beverage, Vice President of Merchandise Operations and Vice President of Revenue Operations.  She moved to UPR as Vice President of Partnership Development in 2004, before taking on her current role in 2006.

During her tenure at Universal Parks & Resorts, Karen has served on the Executive Committee for the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission, Boards of Directors for the Rosen School of Hospitality at The University of Central Florida and Valencia Community College.  She has also been President of Universal Orlando Volunteer Board and Chair of the Universal Workplace Giving Campaign.

Karen is a graduate of the University of Florida, with a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Communications, and completed an Executive Development Program at the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania.  She has 30 years of management and leadership experience in the hospitality industry.

Karen and her husband Dann will be relocating to Los Angeles, CA, from their current residence in Orlando, Florida.


Universal Studios Hollywood introduces CA “Neighbor Pass”

​USHR//Universal City, California, October 3, 2016 – MEGATRON and OPTIMUS PRIME Transformers. Bart, Homer, Marge and Maggie Simpson.  Tyrannosaurus Rex and Velociraptor dinosaurs.  Gru and the Minions.  Walkers.  Wizards and wands…just a few of the most fun neighbors around sharing one awesome residence:  Universal Studios Hollywood.

Universal Studios Hollywood, on the heels of its billion dollar-epic transformation, rolls out the welcome wagon with its all-new California Neighbor Pass, inviting neighbors from across the Golden State to visit The Entertainment Capital of L.A. and experience a completely reimagined theme park. 

Representing Universal Studios Hollywood’s single largest investment ever made, this sweeping makeover has had an astounding effect on the destination.  With over 75 percent of the area completely transformed, residents from Southern to Northern California are invited to visit and experience as if for the very first time with the new California Neighbor Pass.

Chock full of benefits, the new pass enables guests to choose any day for their first visit and return to enjoy Universal Studios Hollywood for more than 200 select days and weekends for only $119.  Discounts on general admission tickets for friends and family to the theme park and popular “Halloween Horror Nights” and at participating CityWalk locations as well as special events and sweepstakes opportunities are also included in the California Neighbor Pass program.

HHN tickets at Universal Hollywood sell out for first two weekends

USHR// Universal City, CA, September 26, 2016 – Universal Studios Hollywood touts a greatest hit lineup for “Halloween Horror Nights” 2016, headlining with gruesome mazes based on “The Exorcist,” “American Horror Story,” “The Walking Dead,” “Friday the 13th,” “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” “Halloween,” “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and “The Purge” that translated to two consecutive sold out weekends.

            “We’re grateful to the many guests who came to ‘Halloween Horror Nights’ and contributed to the event’s incredible success,” said John Murdy, Creative Director at Universal Studios Hollywood and Executive Producer of “Halloween Horror Nights.”  “Because so much of ‘Halloween Horror Nights’ is designed with fans in mind, we actively listen to them as the amazing behind-the-scenes team and dedicated actors work tirelessly to deliver a great guest experience.”

            With “Halloween Horror Nights’” increasing popularity, Universal Studios Hollywood has added early entry to the event, inviting guests to arrive at 5 p.m. and experience select mazes starting at 5:15 p.m.

            Halloween Horror Nights” 2016 has garnered wide accolades from fans reinforcing its must-do status. Following is just a few of their rave reviews:

  • “If you live in SoCal, don’t miss #UniversalHHN. IT’S THE BEST THING EVER.”
  • “The Exorcist was truly the best, alongside Freddy vs Jason. You guys out did yourselves this year, best year by far. I never screamed so much in one maze!”
  • “Literally shaking after leaving The Exorcist maze. Just… wow!!!”
  • “Best Halloween event I’ve ever been to!”


            “Halloween Horror Nights” will continue on the following dates:September 29, 30, October 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 13, 14, 15, 16, 20, 21, 22, 23, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 and November 4 and 5, 2016. Discounted tickets to “Halloween Horror Nights” are available on Thursday and Sunday nights, and advance ticket purchase is recommended as the event does sell out.

            Tickets are available for purchase atwww.HalloweenHorrorNights.com/Hollywood.