It felt so good to hop down the red carpet, scream our way down the drop on Jurassic World — The Ride and drink Butterbeer. In 2021, we were so hoppy to put on our wizard robes, flex our wand hands and return to our magical place! Now in 2022, we are hoppy to remove our face coverings and see each other's smiles both indoors (for some of us) and outdoors (for all of us). Since the Universal Studios Hollywood reopening, the park has moved to almost normal operations. All rides and most entertainment and dining have returned, but there are a few minor differences we'll go over.
Our trips to Universal felt like we had never left. Obviously, some things are different for now, but it feels great to be back. Masks are not required, but all guests (2 and up), regardless of vaccination status, are strongly recommended to wear face coverings at all indoor rides, queues and shows. Mask policies change all the time. We update our mask post first when new hits so that is you best source for mask policies for all SoCal and Orlando theme parks.
The vaccination rules changed again. As of March 4, 2022, you no longer need to proved proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to visit.
We have said goodbye to the reservation system. Guests may purchase dated tickets online in advance or at the ticket booth. However, tickets could sell out, so we recommend purchasing online (plus you can save money if you buy discount Universal Studios Hollywood tickets through us! Universal Express and VIP tickets are back, baby!).
For important safety information at Universal Studios Hollywood, please visit UniversalStudiosHollywood.com/safetyinfo."
As we leave most pandemic guidelines behind, we look ahead to what's coming. Super Nintendo World opens in the Lower Lot in 2023. Before that, guests will be able to purchase apparel and collectibles (coming soon).
Universal Studios Hollywood Events, Rides, Shows and Restaurants
It's awesome that Universal Studios Hollywood reopened, but the all-new Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash ride that opened with the park is the icing on the cake. And the new ending for Jurassic World — The Ride! is the sprinkles. Can you tell we are celebrating the return of SoCal theme parks? Let's jump into the action!
All of the rides are open now, but some shows will open at a later date.
What rides and shows are open during the Universal Studios Hollywood reopening period?
Yay! Single Rider lines are back (but may vary in availability)! So are pre-shows. There is no more distancing on rides. The following rides and shows are operational (subject to change due to refurbishment):
- Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash (the Virtual Line only operates in the afternoon on crowded days — it was not in use on our July visit — so you might want to visit early or late in the day)
- Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
- Jurassic World — The Ride (with a new ending and other surprises)
- Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
- Flight of the Hippogriff
- Transformers: The Ride – 3D
- Revenge of the Mummy — The Ride
- Silly Swirly Fun Ride
- The Simpsons Ride
- DreamWorks Theatre Featuring Kung Fu Panda
- The World Famous Studio Tour, featuring Fast & Furious Supercharged and King King 360 3D (tours are only in English at this time)
- Games are open at Super Silly Fun Land and in Springfield U.S.A.
- Universal's Animal Actors
- Water World
- Wet and dry play areas
- Triwizard Spirit Rally (throughout the day and alternating with Frog Choir during the holiday season)
- The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle show is back for the holiday season
Check out Tad's video of Jurassic World — The Ride on our YouTube channel.
The following rides and shows are temporarily unavailable (subject to change):
- Special Effects Show
What restaurants are open or closed?
Most restaurant locations are open, but you may see more limited menus at this time. Of course, there is the new Minions Cafe to check out. We hopped by for some cute snacks. You can find available restaurants on the Universal Studios Hollywood app.
We noticed that the following restaurants are temporarily closed (subject to change on what feels like a daily basis):
- Despicable Delights
How to Get Tickets
There are no more limits on party size or number of households. Reservations are no longer required. Discount Undercover Tourist Universal Studios Hollywood tickets are on sale now! (You can save up to $34 when you purchase from your favorite froggy friends! Save more if you are a California resident! You can also get discount Universal Express or VIP tickets through your favorite froggy friends.
Even though the ticket booth is open, you'll want to purchase tickets online in advance to save money and time. Plus, at times, the park reaches capacity and tickets are unavailable for purchase at the ticket booths. Check with Universal FAQs before you visit for the latest information.
Annual Pass Holders and Reservations
Passholders can visit without making reservations. You will receive a new printed pass upon entry to the park at the time of your first visit, which will include your pass expiration date. Passholders may visit on any day the pass is valid (i.e. not blacked out).
Hours and New Parking Rates at Universal
You can check the park hours calendar online for the latest information. Universal Studios has expanded park hours. The park opens at 9 or 10 a.m. daily and closes at various times. The park opens the gates about 30 minutes early so you can enter and get to your must-do attractions first. Parking rates have changed. Parking generally opens an hour before park opening.
Daily parking fees (The fees recently increased, and these are the prices we saw in person — they varied from the prices provided online.):
- General parking - $30 from open to 5 p.m. and $10 after 5 p.m.
- Preferred parking - $45 from open to 5 p.m. and $20 after 5 p.m.
- Front Gate parking - $65 from open to 5 p.m.
- $5 parking with purchase of General Parking and a movie ticket at Universal Cinema at CityWalk Hollywood. To receive your $5 parking, present your general parking receipt at the Universal Cinema ticket window. This offer cannot be combined with any other promotional offers, discounts or prior purchases and is subject to change without notice.
Valet parking is available at this time. The following parking rates apply:
- $25 for the first two hours
- $45 after two hours
Valet parking with validation from CityWalk full-service restaurants:
- $10 for up to 2.5 hours
- $15 for 2.5 to 3.5 hours
- $45 after 3.5 hours
Electric vehicle charging stations (rate is $0.35/kWh). Prices subject to change without notice:
- Frankenstein Garage: 4 ports (Level 2 and Level 7)
- Jurassic Parking Garage: 8 ports (Level 1 and B1M)
- ET Garage: 16 ports (Level B1)
- Woody Woodpecker Lot: 1 port (near Front Gate parking)
- Curious George Garage: 2 ports (Level 1)
Universal Studios Hollywood Reopening Health and Safety Procedures
When visiting, guests should review and comply with all travel requirements including state travel advisories and local travel advisories.
New health measures in place during the Universal Studios Hollywood reopening include (these are subject to change):
All guests, regardless of vaccination status, are strongly recommended to wear face coverings at all indoor rides and shows, including indoor queues.
- Guests should avoid contact with people who are sick.
- Use hand sanitizer when offered.
- Employees regularly clean and disinfect tables, chairs, ride vehicles, escalator railings and all high-touch areas.
- Cashless payments are available at all areas (although cash is accepted, as well).
- Virtual Lines may be in use for some attractions.
- You can rent wheelchairs, strollers and ECVs for your visit. Per usual cleaning protocol, each wheelchair, stroller and ECV will be cleaned and disinfected between each guest use.
- No more temperature checks.
- No more proof of vaccine or negative COVID-19 tests.
What to Expect When Visiting Universal Studios Hollywood
Virtual Line Pass (as needed)
During the Universal Studios Hollywood reopening, you can expect changes to the line system. The newest ride — The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash — initially offered a Virtual Line at times through the Universal Studios Hollywood app, or you could collect a physical ticket from a subway ticket machine — in theme with the surrounding city buildings. On days when the wait is short, the Virtual Line is not activated. Even if the Virtual Line returns, you may still wait an hour to ride. You can still use Universal Express to skip the line. But then you'll skip part of the toadally adorable and immersive queue.
Most of the time, you'll encounter a standby queue. When you join a Virtual Line, you input your party size, so you only need one spot in line. We were able to join the Virtual Line in the app and at the machine at the same time. They are not linked to your ticket. We liked having a physical ticket because when the ride broke down just as we were going to get in line, we could just bring it back later to get in.
A New Ride and Store
It was exciting to ride a new ride when Universal Studios Hollywood reopened. The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash ride opened with the park. Lily was extra excited as this ride works for smaller tadpoles with its height requirement of 34 inches! It's a slow and gentle ride, perfect for tadpoles. But the ride vehicle was a tight fight for Leap's long legs and frog belly. You are supposed to be a puppy in a box, but Leap's a big dog, I mean frog. Try the test seat out front to see if you fit. The new gift shop is toadally cute! You can "adopt" a plush pet.
Hop along with our Secret Life Of Pets: Off the Leash! ride video on our YouTube Channel.
A New Pet to Meet
Hop by to meet Captain Snowball. Look up to a balcony across from The Secret Life of Pets ride. You can chat with Captain Snowball. We talked about our pets and all our favorite carrot dishes. Lily had so much fun talking with him!
Jurassic World — The Ride debuted a new ending too! That was toadally fun. You'll want to ride this one first thing in the morning, as the wait climbed to 90 minutes and stayed there all day on our visit. The Lower Lot generally opens at posted park opening time.
A New Restaurant
There's also a new restaurant in Super Silly Fun Land. The new and colorful Minion Cafe serves El Macho Nachos, various grilled cheese sandwiches, Gru's rotisserie chicken, Dispica-Bowl ramen, salad and adorable desserts. Satisfy your sweet tooth with a unicorn cupcake, a felonious float (raspberry slush with banana frozen yogurt topped with whipped cream and banana candy), chocolate banana pudding with hazelnut spread, a Minion cookie and more!
Use the photo-op outside of the restaurant to take fun food photos!
Shows and Play Areas
Some shows, such as the Special Effects Show, remain closed and will reopen at a later time.
Your favorite characters will still visit with you and entertain you. Honestly, it did not affect our visit to stay a safe distance from the characters. We were still pretty close and had many fun interactions with them, from Hello Kitty to Frankenstein. You can still chat, wave and take a socially distant picture, but you will not be getting that high five or hug for some time.
Look for the Transformers and Raptor Encounter in the Lower Lot and the Hogwarts conductor in front of the Hogwarts Express. Blow kisses to Hello Kitty and have fun watching the mischievous Minions at play. We spotted the Simpsons and Scooby Doo with Shaggy too.
VIP Private Theme Park Experience
The most exclusive way to go behind the scenes is with a private VIP Theme Park Experience. The normal VIP experience has returned. Call (818) 622-8477 to book your tour 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Reservations for the VIP Private Theme Park Experience are limited and subject to availability and will vary by date. All VIP Experience tour content is subject to availability based on production schedules and other factors. Save $18 per person on the VIP Experience.
Wand Pairing at Ollivanders Has Reopened
One of our favorite things to do in the Wizarding World is to hop into Ollivanders, Makers of Fine Wands Since 382 BC for a wand pairing. This attraction was closed initially, but it's back! The wandmaker chooses a young witch or wizard from the small audience to demonstrate a wand pairing.
If you will be purchasing a wand, you might want to hop over to Tad's posts on wands. You'll find Choosing a Wand at the Wizarding World in Hollywood and Toadally Cool Wizarding World of Harry Potter Spells at Universal Studios Hollywood most hopful.
Tips for Visiting During the Phased Universal Studios Hollywood Reopening
Here are few tips and some advice for visiting during Universal's reopening period:
- Arrive early — you'll want to maximize your time in the park! (The park often opens 30 minutes early with access in the Wizarding World.)
- Purchase your theme park ticket in advance (and you can save some extra green when you purchase from Undercover Tourist!)
- Opt to upgrade to Universal Express early in the day. The price varies per day (on a Thursday in July, the price to upgrade was $130 for Express and $170 for Unlimited Express).
- Single Rider lines have returned, so that's a free way to skip the lines.
- Hit the Lower Lot early (at opening is recommended).
- Save the Wizarding World for the last two hours of the day for short waits.
- Note the time of the last Studio Tour and be in line before that time.
- Set wait time alerts for rides in the app to receive notice if the wait time drops.
- Plan your meals.
- Double check the mask policy and bring a back-up mask.
- You can try out the test vehicle for Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash out front. But even if it's not a good fit, the queue is just as enjoyable as the ride, so hop through!
- Chat with Captain Snowball across from The Secret Life of Pets.
- Bring swimsuits and water shoes for the kids to cool off in Super Silly Fun Land.
What to Expect at Universal CityWalk
Most Universal CityWalk restaurants and shops are open, which we detail in our CityWalk Hollywood guide. CityWalk Hollywood complies with health and state/local government guidelines. Check the mask policy for CityWalk as it could differ from the theme park. We keep the most updated list of open restaurants and stores in our CityWalk post.
Are you excited to make some magic during the Universal Studios Hollywood reopening? If you need tickets for your next visit, you can get a hoppin' deal on discount Universal Studios Hollywood Resort tickets.
In connection with your purchase of Universal Hollywood products and your visit to Universal Hollywood including Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal CityWalk Hollywood, please be advised that you must follow Universal Hollywood’s policies, CDC guidelines and the recommendations of health officials. Please note that any public location where people are present provides an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 and Universal Hollywood cannot guarantee that you will not be exposed during your visit. By visiting Universal Hollywood, you acknowledge and agree that you assume these inherent risks associated with attendance. When you enter Universal Hollywood, you understand that you are subject to the Universal Hollywood terms of service (including arbitration, class action waiver, assumption of risk, and infectious disease release of liability).
Related: Hopful Tips for Wearing Masks at the Theme Parks