Universal Studios Hollywood will officially reopen on Friday, April 16 with a brand new The Secret Life of Pets ride. Next month will be the first time guests are able to enjoy the park’s rides in over a year, but it’s not a free-for-all. There are plenty of safety regulations in place as health officials continue to warn of COVID-19 risks.
While some exhibits will remain closed due to Public Health requirements, many of Universal Studios Hollywood’s attractions will be up and running. This includes the brand new The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash ride, as well as a new themed Pets Place area. According to a release, the new ride “combines 64 technologically-advanced animated figures with hyper-realistic media and projection mapping designed to take guests on a journey to meet some of their favorite Illumination characters from the movies, including Max, Snowball, Gidget, Chloe and Duke, along with a host of other animal friends, who have all been transformed and transported into the live-action world.”
Guests can also check out Jurassic World—The Ride, which includes a brand new dino, the Indominus rex, who will fight a T-Rex in the ride’s finale. Other reopened attractions include The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Transformers™: The Ride-3D, Revenge of the Mummy: The Ride, Despicable Me’s Super Silly Fun Land, and the Simpsons-themed Springfield, U.S.A. The Studio Tour, which takes guests through the backlot and includes the Fast & Furious—Supercharged and King Kong 360 3D rides, will also be back.
Tickets go on sale on April 8. Annual and Season Pass Members will find they can visit a day early, on April 15, and have access to complimentary Bonus Days on select dates through Sunday, May 16. Right now, only California residents may purchase tickets to the park.
Meanwhile, Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park will reopen on April 30, while Six Flags Magic Mountain will reopen on April 1. Knott’s Berry Farm is currently open for the Taste of Boysenberry Festival, but plans to reopen the park in May.
But, wait! Returning to the theme park won’t be quite how you remember it.
California theme parks are currently allowed to reopen on April 1, with modifications. One key difference you’ll notice is greatly reduced capacity. For counties in the Red Tier, parks may open at 15% capacity, with groups exceeding no more than 10 people. In the Orange Tier, capacity increases to 25%, then to 35% in the Yellow Tier. If a county is in or slides back to the Purple Tier, theme parks must close.
COVID-19 safety protocols includes mandatory masks, temperature checks, and social distancing. Rides can resume, but guests can only line up for them if the line is outdoors, and indoor rides can only be 15 minutes long.
And while it may seem like things are slowly getting back to normal, following COVID-19 guidelines remain crucial. Health officials are warning of a fourth spike of COVID-19 infection across the nation. The U.S. has reported an average of 65,000 new cases over the last week, which is about 10,000 more per week than two weeks ago. According to The Hill, the latest spike is largely due to new variants of the coronavirus that are more transmissible, but also changing behaviors as restrictions loosen.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky recently described the feeling she has as one of “impending doom.”
“I’m speaking today not necessarily as your CDC director, and not only as your CDC director, but as a wife, as a mother, as a daughter, to ask you to just please hold on a little while longer,” Walensky said. “I so badly want to be done, I know you all so badly want to be done, we’re just almost there, but not quite yet. And so, I’m asking you to just hold on a little longer, to get vaccinated when you can, so that all of those people that we all love will still be here when this pandemic ends.”