By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – The popular Universal Studios Hollywood theme park welcomed back visitors for the first time Thursday since it shuttered in March of 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Guests visit Universal Studios Hollywood on April 15, 2021. (CBSLA)

The popular theme park reopened Thursday with a special preview day to annual and season pass holders. On Friday, it will fully reopen to the public. However, tickets were already sold out through Sunday.

“It’s really nice, especially since the kids have not been able to go to school regularly, they miss that social interaction,” Nicole Elliott of Oakhurst told CBSLA Thursday. “So we’re just excited to be here and see other people that are just as excited as we are.”

With Los Angeles County in the orange tier of the state’s reopening blueprint, capacity at the park is limited to 25%.

Only California residents are allowed to purchase tickets and visitors are required make reservations in advance.

RELATED: Lakers To Welcome Back Fans At Staples Center Thursday

“It’s really nice having something to do again. With having to stay home for so long, it’s been really draining, mentally, physically, everything,” said Bethanie Gonzalez, who drove to Universal from Riverside. “Now that things are finally opening, especially Universal, it’s really nice to have something to look forward to.”

People are encouraged to use the Universal app to get in virtual lines for some of the more popular attractions, like the brand new ride, “The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash.”

Universal said that some of its rides and shows will remain closed, however, due to coronavirus health protocols.

Tickets range in price from $99 on weekdays to $124 on weekends. All guests must wear masks and undergo temperature checks.

In mid-March, Universal Studios partially reopened its park, but in a very limited format. With the “Taste of Universal” experience, all the park’s eateries and shops reopened on weekends, but the rides, shows and attractions remained shuttered.

Universal CityWalk reopened its stores last June.

Disneyland, meanwhile, has announced that it will reopen on April 30. Tickets go on sale Thursday.