We’re Back! Our Day at the Grand Opening of Universal Studios Hollywood

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Universal Studio Hollywood has officially opened! Guests were welcomed back today with new attractions like “The Secret Life of Pets:  Off the Leash!” and “Jurassic World—The Ride!” We are on hand today to bring you all of the fun and excitement!

We have been to the park 3 times in the last month. Twice for Taste of Universal and yesterday for the Annual Passhiolder preview. Most rides are operational, but some rides and attractions will reopen at a later date as the theme park complies with government restrictions. Universal rolled out the red carpet for guests, welcoming them back in a BIG way!

Universal has implemented new health and safety procedures that include controlled capacity to enforce physical distancing and required face coverings.  In accordance with government guidelines, only California residents may visit the theme park at this time and party size is limited to three households.

As we walked through the park we ran into a few friends. They kept asking us about Bananas… Curious little guys…

You’ll notice above that you can still meet and greet characters throughout the park but it is now from a 6 foot or more distance. There are ground markers showing you where to stand so you don’t accidentally crowd other guests taking photos. As you can see below, photos and selfies are still an option! The characters pose and interact with you. It really is a lot of fun!

So, don’t have a cow man… Fun photos and selfies with the characters are still possible!

Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash

Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash had originally planned to open just before the world shut down in March/April of 2020. We really weren’t sure how this ride would fair but, in our opinion, it really is off the leash! We have been on this ride over and over again. While it did break down a couple of times in the beginning(lots of bugs to work out in a ride that has been sitting empty for a year) it was still a fun ride.

The attraction uses Universal’s Virtual Line virtual queuing system. So – in normal operation – there would be no physical queue in front of the attraction entrance at 3637 Pets Place on Universal’s Upper Lot. To ride, reserve your ride time in Universal’s official app, or scan your park admission ticket at the subway station next door to get a time. Then just show your QR code to the doorperson and you will be welcomed into this upscale Manhattan apartment building.

The preshow queue is a walk through some of the apartments that will be familiar to fans of the Illumination animation franchise. I will admit, in the beginning, I was skeptical of a ride based on this movie. Would it be a flop? Would it translate to an attraction? How would you feature the pets in a way that keeps guests of all ages engaged? However, we were blown away at this fun ride that can honestly hold it’s own regardless of the movie it was based on.

This impressive new ride combines 64 technologically-advanced animated figures with hyper-realistic media and projection mapping designed to take guests on a journey to meet some of their favorite Illumination characters from the movies, including Max, Snowball, Gidget, Chloe and Duke, along with a host of other animal friends, who have all been transformed and transported into the live-action world. From blinking eyes to eyebrow movements, from head tilts to head nods, from moving mouths to smiles, from ear curls to lip curls, from full torso twists to physically walking, the depth of mobility and function programmed within each of these loveable characters creates an experience unlike any other theme park ride.

Take a look at the ride as we take you through: (spoilers ahead)

Jurassic World-The Ride

We were so excited to get to ride this! Yesterday we went on 3 times and today we’ve already been on twice. When Universal reopened, the park premiered a revised Jurassic World – The Ride, featuring an incredible display of massive animatronics. If you had been on the ride previously, you know Indominus rex used to lurk in the bushes. NOT ANYMORE! She walks and rushes toward your boat.

Breaking new ground with highly complex innovations, this fully-articulated lifelike Indominus injects intense new thrills, excitement and intrigue to the already dynamic ride.  Spanning nearly 55 feet horizontally from head to tail and over 22 feet vertically, the Indominus’ imposing presence will be amplified by the fluidity of her motions and synchronized movements that deliver an unprecedented level of authenticity.  From the subtle blinking of her eyes, the flexing of her arms and claws and clenching of her jaw as she bears her razor-sharp teeth, the colossal Indominus rex will lunge from her hillside setting, stalking guests just before they descend the giant waterfall drop to escape her grasp.

Don’t believe me? Check out the full ride video below: (beware, riders in the front get soaked!)

Time to eat! We were so happy to be back at Isla Nu-Bar to grab some dino-mite food! We got another Tiki Tai: Pineapple rum, Whaler’s dark rum, Flor de Cana white rum, passionfruit puree, lime juice, orgeat; served in a Tiki God Cup for $20. I also grabbed a crispy chicken sandwich with slaw.

NEW- Minions Cafe

Minions Cafe is a new spot to grab some grub in the park. This new dining experience is arriving soon with an eclectic selection of sandwiches and more. You can find it located adjacent to the popular “Despicable Me Minion Mayhem” ride.

Wizarding World and More!

The new experiences are awesome but we still love the classics like “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™” which features a bustling Hogsmeade village and the critically-acclaimed rides, “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey™” and “Flight of the Hippogriff™”, “Transformers™:  The Ride-3D,” “Revenge of the Mummy:  The Ride,” Despicable Me’s “Super Silly Fun Land,” and “Springfield, U.S.A.,” home of America’s favorite animated family, “The Simpsons.” The theme park’s signature attraction and world-renowned Studio Tour, which takes guests behind-the-scenes of an authentic production movie and television studio and where they can experience such thrill rides as “Fast & Furious—Supercharged” and “King Kong 360 3D,” will also open.

Tickets to Universal Studios Hollywood are on sale for California residents only and can be purchased through a travel agent or directly through Universal.  The theme park is continuing to celebrate Annual and Season Pass Members with a series of complimentary Bonus Days on select days through Sunday, May 16; these Bonus Days can be reserved here by Annual and Season Pass Members.  Annual and Season Pass Members will be able to resume regular use of their passes starting on Monday, May 17.

The safety and well-being of guests and team members is a top priority for Universal Studios Hollywood, and the following guidelines outline the theme park’s new health and safety protocols, also highlighted in this video and detailed on the Universal Studios Hollywood website.

  • Temperature checks for all Guests upon arrival. If temperatures exceed 100.4° Fahrenheit / 38° Celsius or greater, Guests will not be permitted to enter.
  • Face coverings required for all Guests throughout their visit. Face coverings also will be available for purchase.
  • Controlled capacity within the theme park, and limited occupancy at all CityWalk venues to help enforce physical distancing.Some areas and programs may remain temporarily closed.
  • Rigorous cleaning and disinfecting at all food locations, restrooms, and all other high touch points.
  • Physical distancing practices at all locations throughout the park and at rides and attractions.
  • Eating and drinking permitted only in designated dining areas.
  • Contactless payment options wherever possible.




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All photos courtesy our California correspondent @dorkydisneydad