Universal Studios Hollywood takes its first step in re-opening with the introduction of “Taste of Universal,” a lively outdoor dining and shopping experience taking place within select themed lands on weekends—Friday to Sunday from noon to 7:00 p.m.—beginning on Friday, March 12.

Universal Studios Hollywood is working closely with local health and government officials to implement new health and safety procedures that include controlled capacity to enforce physical distancing and required face coverings.

This eagerly-awaited experience will invite guests to once again feel the thrill of strolling along the park’s signature red carpet as they pass through its iconic gates to enjoy some of the theme park’s best culinary offerings and premium shopping options along with physically distanced photo opportunities with some of their favorite characters.

Admission tickets to “Taste of Universal” include access to select themed areas of the park along with a wide selection of nearly 70 choice culinary options, of which 30 are new to the event. Adults can choose five options and kids can choose three with additional food offerings available for purchase. Tickets start at $44 plus tax for adults and $25 plus tax for kids ages 3-9 years. Discounted admission tickets will be available for Universal Annual and Season Pass members. Visit www.UniversalStudiosHollywood.com for more information and to purchase tickets.

While rides, shows and attractions will not be operational during this experience, guests will be able to take in the incredible environments that surround them as they enjoy the scrumptious food, including vegan and vegetarian options, served within these areas. This includes:

  • “Springfield, U.S.A.” — Home of The Simpsons featuring Krusty Burger, Suds McDuff’s Hot Dog House, the Lard Lad Donut Cart and Kwik-E-Mart.
  • “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™” — Stroll through Hogsmeade village and enjoy shops such as Honeydukes™, Ollivanders™, Owl Post™, Zonko’s™ Joke Shop, Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment, Dervish and Banges™, Gladrags Wizardwear and Filch’s Emporium™ of Confiscated Goods, and feast on food favorites, including Three Broomsticks™ Fish & Chips, Sticky Toffee Pudding and Butterbeer.
  • The debut of Minion Cafe, a delicious new dining experience, located adjacent to the popular “Despicable Me Minion Mayhem” ride, offering such tasty fare as Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Meatballs, Chicken & Bacon Mac and Cheese, and Nutella Banana pudding.

The Hollywood & Dine section will feature:

  • Authentic Mexican fare at Cocina Mexicana with such favorites as Queso Street Tacos, Loaded Nachos all topped with choice of Tinga or Carnita & Birria, Tortilla Cut Chips with Guacamole, Chili Relleno and Elote Corn on the cobb with Lime Crema.
  • Hollywood & Dine, the establishment located just inside the theme park’s main entry, serving a selection of comfort foods including, Hot Chicken Sandwich, Clam Chowder in a Sourdough Bowl, Personal Pizza with choice of pepperoni or cheese, Brisket Sliders with Caramelized Onions, Korean Hot Dog, and mini funnel cake.
  • City Snack Shop offering grab and go treats such as the quintessential NYC Giant Pretzel, Spicy Pomegranate Glazed Turkey Leg, and the debut of the Crepewich, which features sweet (Banana and Nutella, or Strawberry Chocolate) and savory (club or Spinach and Berry vegetarian) temptations. Yum!

A highlight of the experience will invite guests to preview the very exciting “The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash” attraction shop, The Pets Store, where guests can purchase favorite The Secret Life of Pets themed goodies.  Minion Way and Pets Place perpendicular streets located adjacent to Illumination’s “Despicable Me Minion Mayhem” and all-new “The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash” rides will take guests on a stroll through the film’s scenic New York City streets as they explore the themed environment.

The Animation Store, home to Hello Kitty® and her friends from Sanrio®, including My Melody, Keroppi™ and Chococat™, as well as Minions merchandise from Illumination’s, blockbuster Despicable Me film franchise, and DreamWorks Animation franchises including Trolls and Kung Fu Panda, will be among the park’s exciting shopping options.

Physically distanced photo opportunities with select favorite characters will offer guests the chance to reconnect with Universal Studios Hollywood and share their experiences with friends and family via social media.

In addition to this exciting “Taste of Universal” event, guests can extend their day with more shopping and dining at the adjacent Universal CityWalk.
Universal Studios Hollywood’s new health and safety protocols are outlined below, 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.
  • Eating and drinking permitted only in designated outdoor dining areas.
  • Contactless payment options wherever possible.

More information about Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal CityWalk is available at www.UniversalStudiosHollywood.com. Regular updates can be found on Universal Studios Hollywood’s Twitter @UniStudios, Facebook-Universal Studios Hollywood and Instagram @UniStudios.

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Jerry Paxton

A long-time fan and reveler of all things Geek, I am also the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of GamingShogun.com