Universal Studios Hollywood has very recently announced that they would be reopening the park to Guests on April 16, after being closed for over one year. The park did open its gates in mid-March for the hard-ticketed event, Taste of Universal, but rides were still closed, therefore, it was not operating as a theme park.
On March 30, USH shared the following on their Instagram page:
We’re officially reopening on April 16! Park tickets will be available online only, beginning April 8. At this time, theme park visits are limited to California residents. To celebrate Pass Members, we’re hosting an AP Preview on April 15 and offering additional Bonus Days that can be reserved online starting April 5. To learn more, visit link in bio.
While the park is able to open rides once again to Guests and operate as a theme park, there are certain rules and regulations that the park, and its Guests, must follow. These guidelines could have a major effect on how Guests will experience some of their favorite rides so be sure to know before you go!
One of the guidelines that will have the biggest effect on Universal attractions is the requirement that indoor rides can be no longer than 15 minutes. Universal Studios Hollywood relies heavily on some of its attraction queues to help enhance the Guest ride experience and so this could affect the storyline of some rides.
One of those rides is Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. Riders enter Hogwarts Castle and make their way through Headmaster Dumbledore’s Office, through various classrooms, and into the Gryffindor Common Room before boarding a flying bench that will take them across the grounds of Hogwarts (just a warning, be careful of dragons).
While most of the queue experience happens within Hogwarts, there are outdoor areas next to the castle, as well as the greenhouses, where Guests will wait before entering the castle. Universal may decide to keep Guests in the greenhouse and next to the Castle and let groups into Hogwarts one at a time, so they can head straight through the queue and board their ride vehicle. It is likely that, per the theme park Guidelines, Universal Studios won’t want Guests to wait inside for very long and they will want the attraction queue to keep moving.
Another queue where Guests begin their ride experience the moment they enter the queue line is Transformers: The Ride-3D. Guests enter the queue and find themselves in a N.E.S.T. (Non-biological Extraterrestrial Species Treaty) facility. Riders learn that Decepticons have taken over and the Transformers, and the world, needs their help.
There is an outdoor overflow queue that was created when the ride first opened. Odds are, Guests will wait in line there, before being allowed to walk through quickly, and socially distanced through the queue before getting into the ride vehicle.
Found in the Hogsmeade section of the park and located near Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is Ollivander’s Wand Shop. While this isn’t a ride, it always has a line and Guests would be ushered into a room to experience the magic of a wizard finding their wand (or the other way around).
Universal has not currently announced which rides will and will not be open. They have also not announced how they will manage attraction queues, but what is known is that there will be a mask and social distancing requirement, and capacity will be highly limited on attractions (and indoor attractions in particular), per state guidelines.
While most rides will be operational, some rides, attractions and shows will reopen at a later date as the theme park complies with government restrictions. Universal Studios Hollywood continues to work in partnership with health and government officials to implement new health and safety procedures that include physical distancing, required face coverings, and significant limits on in-park capacity.
The theme park will also be open to California residents only, in accordance with the state’s current COVID-19 guidelines, so be sure to keep that in mind when planning your future trip.
When Universal releases its official list of attractions and restaurants that will be available when the park reopens, Inside the Magic will be sure to update you.
What is a must-do attraction for you at Universal Studios Hollywood? Let us know!