Theme park fans in California were thrilled last week when the state released new guidelines that meant that that parks in the state could, if certain conditions were met, open as early as April 1. Disneyland Resort has already announced that it won't be able to open quite that fast, and is targeting a date later in the month. And now it appears that Universal Studios Hollywood is following suit, as it just extended its Taste of Universal food and beverage event into the middle of April, meaning that it won't be going into theme park mode quite yet.
Both Disney California Adventure and Universal Studios Hollywood announced separate ticketed food and beverage events starting at their respective theme parks prior to the announcement from the state of California. While neither event announced an official end date, it wouldn't have been surprising to see both resorts alter course and cut their events a little short in order to go into full theme park mode. However, Universal Studios Hollywood just announced that it has actually added dates to its event, meaning that the park won't be reopening as a theme park until some point after April 11 aka the last available date for the event.
While the Taste of Universal event will now run until at least April 11, don't expect the theme park to reopen April 12. Like Disneyland, it will take that park time to get staff trained and everything else ready for reopening. Expect the park to be closed down again for at least a couple of weeks between the end of Taste of Universal and the reopening of theme parks. Of course, that's assuming that the park is planning to reopen in the short term at all.
As I suggested recently regarding Disneyland, and all the same points are true for Universal Studios Hollywood as well, there may not be much reason for the parks to plan to reopen in April. They'll be limited to 15% of maximum capacity, which is a number that's going to be tough to make a profit off of. And the fact that Universal has added dates to their event has implied that it's already popular with guests. The park will be able to welcome more bodies as a food and drink event than as a theme park. It's possible this event could actually be more profitable than operating as a theme park until capacity limits are expanded further.
California theme parks have been struggling to reopen for a year, but the current reopening guidelines might simply be too strict to make it worth it. But it's still great to see that the option is open. And as more people get vaccinated at infection rates drop, the ability to welcome more guests, and be a real theme park again will certainly happen.