UniversalParksBlog News for April 5, 2021
After a year of unanswered questions, we finally know when Universal Studios Hollywood reopens…and it’s sooner than you think!
We’ll discuss this and much more in the latest UniversalParksBlog News update.
The Triumphant Return of Universal Studios Hollywood
Let’s start with the good news. Universal Studios Hollywood will open on April 16th. YES!!!
We're officially reopening on April 16!
— Universal Studios Hollywood (@UniStudios) March 30, 2021
While Disneyland’s reopening grabbed most of the headlines, Universal’s park will open first.
Universal officials have proven aggressive with their decision-making during the pandemic, with this reopening as the latest example.
However, this choice seems safe and smart as well. California’s government recently relaxed policies involving theme parks.
With those changes in place, Universal Studios Hollywood can return at 15 percent capacity.
Thanks to the mass distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, the infection rate in most counties has dropped considerably.
In fact, Orange County recently qualified for the Substantial or Red Tier. That status introduced the possibility of a theme park reopening.
The gods are smiling on Universal Studios Hollywood, though. At the start of April, Orange County entered an even better tier, Moderate/Orange.
In this range, Universal Studios Hollywood can increase capacity up to 25 percent.
I realize it doesn’t sound significant, but it’s actually 40 percent more potential park guests.
That matters since, as we’ll discuss, Universal Orlando Resort faced capacity issues throughout the first quarter of 2021.
This change aids Universal Studios Hollywood and its guests in a second way.
Restaurants may operate at 50 percent capacity, double the acceptable amount in the Substantial Tier.
If you’re interested in visiting Universal Studios Hollywood, you should know two things. The first is that tickets go on sale on April 8th.
The second one involves demand. You’ll face sellouts on many upcoming dates as society moves toward herd immunity.
To wit, everyone over the age of 16 in California may get the vaccine starting on April 15th.
At that pace, many residents will finish both their vaccinations and be safe by the start of June. The parks will get wild!
New Attractions at Universal Studios Hollywood
Universal executives sprung a few surprises on fans. Universal Studios Hollywood won’t merely reopen on April 16th.
On that date, two new/updated attractions will join a new restaurant, providing guests with plenty of reasons to visit.
The updated attraction is Jurassic Park: The Ride. Universal engineers have constructed a full-sized Indominus Rex to display at the attraction.
As you reach the apex of the final splash, you’ll notice the 22-foot-tall dinosaur audio-animatronic. It’s 55 feet wide, too!
This monstrous sighting will change the tone of the end of the ride. We don’t know yet whether anything else plays into the experience.
Either way: GIANT ROBOT DINOSAUR!!!
The entirely new attraction is The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash, which should have debuted a year ago around this time.
Park visitors have captured pictures and videos of the exterior for the ride building.
If you’ve watched The Secret Life of Pets, you will feel awe as you appreciate how authentic it is.
Somehow, Universal has turned an animated brick building into a real one!
Universal has also promised that Max, Duke, Gidget, and Snowball will appear on the ride, which covers various parts of New York City.
You can watch some of the ride footage here:
The other new experience is already available if you’re in the area.
The Minion Café opened as part of the A Taste of Universal ticketed event currently ongoing.
In fact, this event will operate until mere days before Universal Studios Hollywood reopens. The final date is April 11th.
At the restaurant, everything’s coming up banana in the yellow-colored facility.
Oddly, the only banana item on the menu is banana pudding, though. Here’s what the restaurant looks like:
The Grand Opening of Super Nintendo World
The last time we spoke, I wrote the following about Super Nintendo World:
“As such, Universal Studios Japan could declare a new grand opening date for Super Nintendo World anytime now.”
The joke was on me, as that article went live on March 8th.
Later that day, Universal Studios Japan announced that the themed land would debut on March 18th.
I’ve since written the first of what I expect to be several guides and descriptions about Super Nintendo World.
You can find virtually everything you need to know there. However, I want to talk about the Universal Studios Hollywood aspect for a moment.
Recent construction photos indicate that the project is well underway, probably further than I would have expected during the pandemic.
Obviously, some projects have suffered delays due to the safety and financial concerns in play at all theme parks right now.
Universal Studios Japan broke ground on Super Nintendo World in 2017 in anticipation of a 2020 debut, which the pandemic delayed by a year.
Well, construction actually began in Hollywood in August. Yes, that was after Coronavirus had shut down the park.
So, the first American version of Super Nintendo World could possibly be ahead of schedule. I’m not ruling out a 2023 debut.
Please keep reading UniversalParksBlog to learn about construction updates as they happen.
Here are a few other tidbits you should know about Universal’s theme park empire.
Those of you who prefer Prime Parking at Universal Orlando Resort are in for some frustration.
Universal has raised the price $10 from $40 to $50. Thankfully, regular parking remains at $26 and is free after 6 p.m.
The parks have also changed their loading policies on several rides.
Throughout the pandemic, seating has skipped every other row. Universal officials did this to reduce the risk of infection at the parks.
Now that many people have received the vaccination, Universal has started loading every row on several attractions.
Recent examples include E.T. Adventure, Transformers: The Ride 3D, The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride, and The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man.
Speaking of the vaccine, I mentioned California residents earlier. Well, Florida residents age 40 and over can schedule a shot as of today.
While we’re on the subject, California has updated its theme park reopening policies.
You should know that the law demands outdoor queuing. I have no idea how easy that’ll be to achieve.
While the CDC recently indicated it may lower the distance on social distancing, the six-feet rule remains in place. Expect long outdoor lines for now.
The parks will require face coverings for cast members and park guests alike. However, some exceptions are possible.
You can read the California Department of Health’s list of exemptions here. It’s unexpectedly sizable, but few apply to theme parks.
Finally, you should know that Universal Orlando Resort reached capacity at both of its theme parks on many occasions in March.
You should experience this behavior to be the norm until guidelines allow for an increase in capacity.
When you visit the parks, please plan to arrive early. Otherwise, you risk getting shut out.
Feature Image Rights: Fine Art America