Universal Studios Hollywood is scheduled to reopen April 16, more than a year after the COVID-19 pandemic forced it to shut, and on opening day it will debut a ride based on the animated movie “The Secret Life of Pets.”
California guidelines released this month allow theme parks to reopen as early as April 1, but officials at several parks have said they needed additional time to staff up and make other preparations. Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park in Anaheim are scheduled to open April 30. Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park plans to open sometime in May. Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, though, is opening this Thursday — the earliest the state allows.
Universal Studios Hollywood will open a day earlier for annual and season pass holders, on April 15. Tickets will go on sale online starting April 8.
With Los Angeles and Orange counties entering the less-restrictive orange tier — the third step of California’s reopening process — Universal Studios and the other theme parks in those counties could accept visitors at up to 25% capacity when they reopen. All visitors must be California residents.
On Friday, the state released detailed reopening guidelines for amusement parks. Among the requirements: Parkgoers and employees must wear masks except when eating or drinking; indoor rides must last no longer than 15 minutes; and all queues must be outdoors, with visitors from different households standing at least six feet apart.
Universal Studios Hollywood’s newest ride, The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash, will debut when the park reopens. Featuring hyperrealistic animated characters, the attraction is based on the 2016 movie about the adventures of pets in New York. The new ride replaces the Globe Theatre, a venue that could accommodate as many as 720 people and had been used for corporate and media events.
The attraction was scheduled to debut in March 2020 but that was postponed once Universal Studios Hollywood and other theme parks in the state shut in mid-March due to the pandemic.
During the shutdown, Universal Studios Hollywood upgraded its Jurassic World — The Ride attraction by adding a 22-foot-tall Indominus dinosaur that can blink her eyes, flex her arms and claws and clench her jaw. The creature — a fictional hybrid dinosaur that combines the traits of various species — was featured in the 2015 “Jurassic World” movie.
The Indominus will appear at the end of the ride, as the floating vehicle filled with parkgoers is about to drop in a final splash.
Meanwhile, work at the park continues on the next set of attractions, Super Nintendo World, a new area featuring characters and scenes from the company responsible for popular video games such as “Super Mario Bros.,” “Donkey Kong” and the “Pokemon” and “Legend of Zelda” series. An opening date for the land has yet to be announced.
A similar land opened this month at Universal Studios Japan.
For the record:
3:40 PM, Mar. 30, 2021: An earlier version of this story said a Nintendo-themed area is being built at Universal Studios Japan. The area opened this month.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.