It was in March of 2020 that theme parks in the United States shut down from coast to coast and while many have been able to reopen in the months since, California theme parks have remained almost entirely shut down. That's technically still the case as, while California now has given theme parks a path to reopening, we're still several weeks away from any of the major locations actually doing so. However, theme parks, like life, find a way, and this past weekend Universal Studios Hollywood finally allowed guests inside the park for the first time in a year, and nobody was happier than the USH Twitter account.
This weekend we saw the first of what will be several weekend of the Taste of Universal special event, a food and beverage festival that took place inside the theme park. All the rides and shows were still closed down, but for those that purchased tickets to the event, they could enter the theme park, walk around, and enjoy a selection of food and drinks. When the event started on Friday even the theme park's Twitter account was having difficulty believing it was happening.
The event is set to take place every weekend until at least mid-April. That means that Universal Studios Hollywood won't be reopening April 1, which it will likely be able to do, as it's expected that coronavirus levels in Los Angeles County are expected to be low enough to allow the park to open at 15% capacity. The extra dates were added after the state's new guidelines were issued, which seems to indicate that, while it's been a year, the park is in no hurry to reopen. This is possibly because the Taste of Universal event is proving popular, and the park can admit more guests with attractions closed.
Disneyland Resort will be following suit in just a few days with its own Touch of Disney event taking place at Disney California Adventure. That one is also scheduled to run through early April at least. Disney has stated that Disneyland Resort is eyeing a late-April reopening date, but no specific date has been given yet. Universal Studios Hollywood has remained tight lipped on its plans. Knott's Berry Farm, the other major Southern CA theme park, has said it likely won't open until May. It's also running a food festival.
By the time these parks actually open they may even be able to welcome more than the 15% minimum threshold, which is very likely part of the plan. It's going to be tough for theme parks to remain profitable at only 15% of capacity. By waiting, and all indications are that, with vaccines on the rise, coronavirus rates will continue to decline, the parks will be able to reopen with more capacity, allowing them to actually remain in the black.
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CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis. Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.