What It’s Like to Visit a Theme Park With a Vaccine Mandate

in Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal Hollywood

Credit: Universal

On October 7, Universal Studios Hollywood began requiring all Guests 12 and over to show either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test taken 72 hours or less before their visit.

Universal Hollywood is not requiring children under 12 — who are not yet able to be vaccinated — to show a negative COVID test at this time. Anyone unwilling or unable to show proof of vaccination or a negative test will not be allowed into the theme park.

Vaccine Requirement Sign Universal Hollywood
Credit: ITM Krysten S.

This new vaccine requirement has many people asking themselves how visiting a theme park with a vaccine requirement (or a negative test requirement) will impact their trip.

The short answer? It’s really won’t.

Okay, so if you are not vaccinated (or if you do not want to show a proof of a negative COVID-19 test result), yes, it will impact your trip because you won’t be allowed to go. But other than that, a theme park requiring proof of vaccination doesn’t really impact any other part of the visit. I recently visited Universal Studios Hollywood and, if anything, being at a Park where I knew all adults were either vaccinated or negative for COVID really made things feel safer.

universal hollywood
Credit: Inside the Magic

When I got to the theme park, there were no lines at security — which was a little surprising since I went on a holiday weekend. Universal requires Guests to put their bags through an x-ray machine and then go through a metal detector. After that, there were security Team Members standing by barricades and they are the people who you showed your vaccination card or negative COVID test to. You are also required to show your ID so they can make sure that the names match. After that, you are free to walk down the red carpet, scan your ticket, and enjoy your day at the Park.

Universal Hollywood Security Line
Credit: ITM Krysten S.

The biggest thing that really changed the experience visiting Universal Studios wasn’t the vaccination requirement, but rather the mask mandate. Universal Studios Hollywood currently requires Guests to wear masks at all times both indoors and outdoors — regardless of vaccination status — unless actively eating and drinking in designated areas. This policy went into effect just days before the vaccination mandate began.

universal studios hollywood pass member preview
Credit: ITM

I’ll admit, it was odd having to wear a mask at all times as I have become used to being able to take off my mask when I am outdoors at a place like Disneyland Resort — which I visit frequently. However, I noticed that during my visit, Universal Team Members were not really enforcing the mask policy for Guests who were walking around the Park.

All day, I saw Guests walking around drinking and wearing their masks under their noses or hanging off of their ears. I only saw Team Members really enforce the mask policy when Guests were going into a store or an indoor ride queue. On the other hand, I did see parents making sure that their young children — who appeared too young to be vaccinated — had their masks on while on rides and in crowds.

Universal Hollywood Minion
Credit: ITM Krysten S.

Would I visit Universal Studios Hollywood again while the vaccination mandate is in place? Absolutely. Would I visit Disneyland Resort if they decided to put a vaccination requirement in place? Also yes, but that seems unlikely at this point. Universal only mandated vaccines/negative tests because it was required by Los Angeles County, where Universal Studios Hollywood is located. Disneyland is in Orange County, which is not indicating that they will institute a vaccine/negative test mandate for theme parks (AKA “mega-events”) at this point.

Overall, the vaccine mandate had absolutely no negative impact on my experience and actually had me feeling a little safer.

Have you visited a theme park with a vaccine requirement? How did it impact your visit? Let us know in the comments!

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