Mirroring a similar program at Disneyland, Universal Studios Hollywood will open its doors today to allow patrons to partake in dining, shopping and physically-distanced character interactions at the home of The Simpsons, Harry Potter and the Despicable Me Minions.
The park, most of which which remains closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, will begin “Taste of Universal,” offering visitors weekend access to select themed areas to for shopping and eating. Capacity will be limited, guest temperatures will be checked and mask-wearing and social-distancing rules will be enforced.
Visitors will be able to visit eateries in Springfield, the home of The Simpsons, with such fare as Krusty Burger, Suds McDuff’s Hot Dog House, the Lard Lad Donut Cart and the Kwik-E-Mart. The streets of Hogsmeade village will be open in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction, with shopping options and dining choices including Three Broomsticks Fish & Chips, Sticky Toffee Pudding and Butterbeer.
The park will also debut the Minion Cafe in the world based on the Despicable Me films.
Fare from the park’s other restaurants, including Cocina Mexicana, Hollywood & Dine and City Snack Shop, will be available.
In addition, visitors will get the first chance to shop at The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash store.
Taste of Universal will be open from noon to 7 p.m., starting today, and Fridays-Sundays thereafter. Tickets will cost $44 for Friday and $49 for Saturday/Sunday — and $25 for kids on all days. Each ticket includes five menu items for adults and three for kids. Additional food can be purchased.
The event puts the Hollywood-based park’s mini-reopening ahead of a similar event debuting at Disneyland on March 18. The Anaheim park, however, is likely to come on strong with its fuller reopening in late April. By that time, Orange County officials expect the region will be in the much more permissible — and color appropriate — Orange tier of California’s reopening plan. That means Disneyland and neighboring Knott’s Berry Farm will be able to reopen rides at 25% for in-state residents. The outlook for L.A.-based parks like Universal is less certain.
While Governor Gavin Newsom recently announced that all California theme parks may reopen on April 1, the state’s reopening plan limits how far they may proceed. While Los Angeles may move out of the most restrictive Purple tier and into the Red tier as soon as Monday, county officials are less sure how soon the region will progress to Orange. In the Yellow tier, L.A. County parks such as Universal and Six Flags Magic Mountain will be allowed to operate at 15% capacity.
City News Service contributed to this report.