Universal’s (Confusing) Vaccine Requirements and What You Need to Know

in Universal Studios Hollywood

universal vaccine mandate

Credit: Universal / @thecalibae via Twitter

As we previously reported, Universal Studios Hollywood is now requiring that all Guests be vaccinated or have a negative COVID-19 test in order to visit the theme park, per a mandate on mega-events in Los Angeles County.

The pandemic has affected the California theme parks Disneyland and Universal Studios during their reopenings, with regulations such as social distancing rules, plexiglass separators, and mask rules coming into place.

As of Thursday, October 7, Universal Studios Hollywood is requiring all Guests age 12 and up to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination (or, alternatively, proof of a negative COVID-19 test result).

Universal Hollywood
Credit: Universal

Furthermore, at Universal Studios Hollywood, regardless of vaccination status or test results, Guests are still required to wear face-coverings at all times, both indoors and outdoors, when visiting the theme park. At Universal CityWalk, face coverings are required to be worn within all indoor locations.

What has been confusing Guests recently, however, has been alternative signage posted at the gates of the California theme park, stating that proof of vaccination or a negative test result is NOT required for that day’s entry.

Travel blogger The Cali Bae/Five Fires reposted an image from theme park reporter Paul’s Theme Park Adventures on Instagram. The image shows a sign from the Universal Studios Hollywood theme park earlier this week:

Today universal studios Hollywood is not requiring for theme park access. Thank you to @paulsthemeparkadventures for the photo and update 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

vaccine sign universal
Credit: TheCaliBae via Instagram

A Universal Studios Hollywood Spokesperson commented on the signage in an email to Inside the Magic, explaining:

“Today we will not be checking for vaccination verification as today is not considered a mega event day as defined by L.A. County Health Dept.” 

The requirement of COVID-19 vaccines or a negative COVID-19 test result comes after a recent mandate by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. Universal posted the following update, which is still live on the theme park’s official website:

Per LA County’s Public Health order, beginning on October 7, all persons ages 12 and older must be prepared to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test taken within 72 hours of visit, prior to entry to the theme park. Persons ages 18+ must also show any photo ID. Full COVID-19 vaccination means that two weeks have passed since receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series (e.g., Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) or since receipt of a single-dose vaccine (e.g., Johnson and Johnson [J&J]/Janssen). Verification will take place when required based on theme park attendance. Children under the age of 12 are not required to show proof of vaccination or a negative test result. Regardless of vaccination status, face coverings are required to be worn at all times, both indoors and outdoors, when visiting the theme park. At Universal CityWalk, face coverings are required to be worn indoors.

The key thing to take away from this is the statement “verification will take place when required based on theme park attendance”.

Universal Hollywood Minion
Credit: ITM Krysten S.

According to the mandate, Los Angeles County will require workers and attendees at outdoor mega-events — those with over 10,000 attendees — to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 test. Per the State of California, theme parks are categorized as large outdoor events, as tens of thousands of Guests visit theme parks every day.

So on days when Universal Studios Hollywood has over 10,000 Guests, they will require proof of vaccination or negative tests. On days they don’t reach this threshold, they won’t set these requirements. Attendance is, of course, not made public, and so you will only truly know if you will need to show proof of vaccine/a negative test result when you show up to the theme park on any given day.

So, the message is still the same, even though the signage will change day-to-day. Bring proof of vaccination or get tested, because you may be asked to show this to a Team Member upon entry.

Christmas at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Credit: Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal Studios Orlando does not have the same requirement for Guests. There is currently no mandate on the state or county level that requires theme parks like Universal Orlando Resort or Walt Disney World Resort to require vaccines or a negative COVID-19 test on arrival. Disneyland Resort is located in Orange County, not Los Angeles County, so this mandate is not in place at Disneyland either.

Even though vaccines and negative tests are not required, Universal Orlando still strongly suggests practicing social distancing, good hygiene practices such as washing hands and not touching your face, and wearing a mask in all indoor areas/attractions.

Universal Hollywood
Credit: Inside the Magic

In short, here’s the Know Before You Go for Universal Studios Hollywood:

  • ALWAYS be ready with your proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of your visit
  • Bring proof of I.D. for each member of your party over 18-years-old
  • Wear your face covering at all times

How have these vaccine requirements affected your visit to theme parks recently? Let us know in the comments.

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