CREDIT: AARONP/BAUER-GRIFFIN/GC IMAGES
With covid restrictions gradually lifting, theme parks are offering seniors one last farewell to make up for the loss of in-person school events and social life. For $75, Universal Studios is allowing high school seniors exclusive access to the park on Jun 3 and 9 from 6-10 pm, provided they arrive at 3 pm or anytime after.
Although open, Universal Studios requires attendees to wear a mask and avoid eating and drinking in line. This mandate did not interfere with visitors’ ability to go on rides, however. In fact, senior Sofia Charvel loved the optimism and feelings of normalcy at the park, especially after such an odd year.
“It felt really weird to see so many people in one location,” Charvel said. “I had forgotten how long it had been since I was in an amusement park. But overall, it was really fun going on all the rides and getting to go with my friends.”
Multiple rides were open such as the world-renowned Harry Potter World, Jurassic Park, the Simpsons land and Despicable Me. Because seniors have special access to the park after hours, the wait time for usually long rides significantly decreased.
“My favorite ride was the Jurassic Park ride because they added a bunch of new stuff to it,” Charvel said. “I also really like rollercoasters with big drops.”
In addition to after-hour access, seniors were given meal cards where they could choose from any park restaurant to get food and drink orders for free. DJs throughout the park also played some contemporary music after hours for seniors to live their grad night to the fullest.
“I’m happy they provided food for us,” Charvel said. “There were lots of options and the food was really good. I also really liked the DJ – it was nice that they were taking the seniors’ music requests.”
“Universal Grad 2021” themed photo ops and merch were also available throughout the park. Not only that, but senior Yasmeen Mitwalli recalls enjoying the view of rolling Hollywood hills and capturing photos of the Hollywood sign on the way to Universal Studios.
“My favorite part of driving up to Universal Studios was talking to my friends the whole ride and also seeing amazing places in Los Angeles,” Mitwalli said.
Only two dates are currently available for seniors to reserve a special Grad Bash ticket (Jun 3 and Jun 9). Senior Isabella Woulfe, bound for UCLA, appreciated her time at the park and all it had to offer.
“I enjoyed the Universal trip because I got to spend time with my friends and I would recommend this trip to any senior looking for an opportunity to make some fun memories during their last few weeks of school,” Woulfe said.