What to expect when Universal Studios Hollywood reopens Friday

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. (KABC) -- Excitement was in the air at Universal Studios Hollywood Thursday as the theme park welcomed back annual and season pass holders. The attraction officially reopens to the public Friday, April 16.

"I'm so happy to be back at Universal Studios Hollywood. The weather is incredible, just a vibe of this being a theme park - it's come to life again," said Armando Espinoza of Lakewood.

The park will reopen at 25% capacity, with COVID-19 protocols in place.

Park officials said most rides will be operational, but some attractions will remain shuttered to comply with health restrictions. Face coverings will be required for all visitors, physical-distancing measures will be in place and everyone entering the park will have their temperature checked.

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"It feels incredible to even like be in this atmosphere and be a kid again," said Jennifer Lopez of Pasadena. "Since we've already been through so much over this past year, and really grateful for us to be here right now."

It has been more than a year since visitors have been able to experience their favorite rides.

New attractions include "The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash" and gift shop.

"Universals our home away from home, so we're very excited to be here and just so happy to ride 'The Secret Life of Pets.' So yeah, we're really excited," said Nicole Elliott of Oakhurst.

The Minion Café is also brand new to the park this year and serving up treats inspired by the movie.

"We got something called the Felonis Float. This has blue raspberry with banana yogurt and then banana candy on top over here at Minions Café," said Espinoza.

Eating and drinking is only allowed in designated dining areas with no more than six guests per table.

"The food, oh, it's great. And Mel's has the best food, best burgers -- tater tots are the best," said Hawthorne resident Jose Corzo.

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Visitors are given hand sanitizer when boarding rides and rides are disinfected after each use.

Even with buzz surrounding the new attractions, many Universal fans are just as excited to return to their old favorites.

"We just love Harry Potter. Our kids love it, so we are just so happy," said Elliott.

Tickets can be bought online but opening weekend is already sold out.

Meanwhile, two weeks before Disneyland Resort's scheduled reopening, the Disney Parks website offering tickets and reservations on Thursday was flooded with demand on the first day of sales. Sales opened up at 8 a.m. Hours later, the approximate wait time was listed as "more than an hour."



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