Theme parks are starting to open up in Southern California and I’m here for it! Most recently, Universal Studios Hollywood opened and we were there opening weekend! We had a great time and felt very safe! I felt like everyone was social distancing and the crowds were manageable enough to do so. I hope to visit again soon but, in the meantime, I wanted to share my tips and tricks for a successful visit to Universal Studios Hollywood during these times.
This is long but I think they are all important!
- You must have a valid ticket AND a valid reservation to enter. If you are buying a new pass or day ticket, the day you pick is the day you are going so plan accordingly. If you are buying a pass, you must go the first day in order to make a reservation for any other day (and you can only make one reservation a day). Note: bonus days for pass members are now through May 16th. After that date, blackout days will apply and FlexPay payments will start if you are doing that.
- Limited reservations and capacity is not as empty as you would think. Right now, the park can operate at 25% capacity. That is still PLENTY of people. Today, I saw wait times of 70 minutes (Jurassic World) and 60 minutes (Studio Tour). It is not so many people that you feel unsafe and there was plenty of space on the walkways.
- The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash. First off, a fun ride and I highly recommend it! There are a couple tips that I think is good to remember.
- There’s a virtual queue. This is a great way to control the line. You have an hour time period to go to get on the ride, similar to Disney’s FastPass, however, you get in the regular line. There is NO standby line when the virtual queue is on. We waited about 20 minutes in the line when we did the virtual queue. Now, I’m going to say something crazy. The tendency is run straight to it once you get in the park and actually that’s what we did and pretty much walked through the line. However, once we did the virtual queue, I felt like that was just a tad longer and so I recommend, heading towards Jurassic World the Ride first thing and doing the virtual queue for the Secret Life of Pets. I heard that the wait for the ride yesterday was FOUR HOURS LONG! I think doing the virtual queue and doing a different ride first is the way to go.
- The Secret Life of Pets has a size limit. This was the biggest bummer of the whole day and I won’t lie, it brought me to tears on Friday night. If you are too heavy, you cannot fit in the car. They have a test car outside to try before getting in line. This is a pretty slow moving omnimover ride and while I’ve heard and I’m sure there’s reasoning for this, I can’t help but question if this is really necessary. I’m working on my fitness but have a way to go and I barely fit in the ride. Just something to keep in mind and something I hope there’s a change of mind for.
- There are designated places to eat and there’s plenty of them. There are very clear signs of where you can eat and you’ll be able to find a table no problem.
- Speaking of signs, there is a TON of social distancing signage everywhere. Some stores have designated entrances and exits and some have arrows of how to walk in and out. This really made us feel very safe.
- Wear your mask! You must wear a mask and wear it correctly (OVER your nose!). Team members are watching and will tell you to wear your mask or to fix your mask to wear it correctly. The only time you can take it off is when you are actively eating or drinking in an designated dining area (see below).
- Not everything is open. We were bummed to miss Despicable Me Minion Mayhem and the Kung Fu Panda Adventure but felt like there was still plenty we could do. Note: some of our favorite playgrounds and play areas are closed for right now.
- Hand Sanitizer is required before getting on rides. You can use your own but the team members have a spray that they can spray on your hands right before getting on the rides. There are also plenty of hand sanitizer around the park.
- Be kind to the team members! We had issues with our tickets and they acted quickly and got it resolved. We had nothing but magical experiences with the team members going above and beyond for us the whole time. Everyone seemed genuinely excited and happy to be there and it really showed.
- There are character meet and greets! We saw a minion, Hello Kitty and Scooby Doo! They are socially distant but still a fun, interactive meet and greet with them. Well worth it!
I hope these tips and tricks help you have a fun and safe trip to Universal Studios! What theme park are you looking forward to visiting the most, tell me in the comments!