A 9 a.m., executives told visitors the park would open around noon despite the fire, but once noon rolled around, the opening was pushed back to 2:30 p.m., then finally the crowd was told that the park wouldn't open at all.
Visitors said they understand the safety first concept but wished the park would have made the decision sooner.
"When we parked the car, when we got it, for a second I told her, 'Oh it's probably a movie or something,' then finally when we saw all the firefighters and everything like that, I said, 'Something else is wrong,'" said park visitor Edmond Varlkyan.
Hidden Trails Elementary School was one of several schools holding its end-of-the-year celebrations at the theme park.
"This is an annual trip for the sixth graders from our school, and this is a great time. And even though they had the mishap yesterday and the fire, we're still excited about being here," said teacher David Bolton.
The park's management stressed that less than 1 percent of the 391 acres burned on Sunday, and most of their attractions are open to the public.
The park and CityWalk lost money because of the fire. On a typical weekend day about 25,000 people visit Universal Studios.