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What's New at California Theme Parks

California’s classic theme parks are back—with safety protocols in place, and lots of fun new things to do

It’s one of the most encouraging signs that life is starting to return to normal: California theme parks have reopened. In this episode of the California Now Podcast, host Soterios Johnson chats with insiders from three Golden State parks about what to expect this summer.

He first visits with Jon Corfino of Universal Studios Hollywood, who talks about the pleasure of being back. “There’s real joy in seeing people’s reactions,” he says. “The energy is just something I have never seen before.” He offers details about the park’s two big debuts: the high-tech ride The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash, and the thrillingly fierce Indominus rex at Jurassic World—The Ride.

Next, Johnson chats with two folks about Disneyland Resort: Ambassador Rafa Barron and Plan Disney specialist Kiki Yee, who each have their own tips for exploring the Anaheim park. Recommended highlights include Snow White’s Enchanted Wish and the new Avengers Campus, which opens June 4. Finally, Johnson is joined by Dominic Ashford, head of resort experience at LEGOLAND California, where the summer is kicking off with the introduction of a massive new land—The LEGO Movie World.

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Jon Corfino, senior director and executive producer at Universal Studios Hollywood

Rafa Barron, ambassador at Disneyland Resort

Kiki Yee, panelist at PlanDisney

Dominic Ashford, head of resort experience at LEGOLAND California


Universal Studios Hollywood’s Jon Corfino describes what’s new at the Los Angeles theme park, including an immersive experience that turns you into an animated pet.

Universal Studios Hollywood

Discover Los Angeles

The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash

Jurassic World™— The Ride

Universal Studios Hollywood Mobile App

Safety Guidelines at Universal Studios Hollywood

Park Tips: Universal Studios Hollywood

Two Disneyland Resort experts—Ambassador Rafa Barron and PlanDisney Panelist Kiki Yee—compare notes on new attractions as well as the classics at the Anaheim icon.

Disneyland Resort

Visit Anaheim

Disneyland Park

Disney California Adventure Park

Downtown Disney District

Returning to Disneyland Resort


Disneyland Reservations

Disneyland Tickets

Hotels at Disneyland Resort

Disney Mobile App

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

Main Street, U.S.A.

Snow White’s Enchanted Wish

King Arthur Carrousel

Haunted Mansion

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

Avengers Campus

Web Slingers: A Spiderman Adventure

LEGOLAND California’s Dominic Ashford shares details about the biggest addition yet to the Carlsbad theme park resort.

LEGOLAND California

Visit Carlsbad

San Diego Tourism Authority

LEGOLAND’s Safe to Play Guide

LEGOLAND California Resort App

LEGO Movie World

Hotels at LEGOLAND

About the Host

Soterios Johnson, formerly the local host of National Public Radio’s Morning Edition on radio station WNYC, moved from New York City to Davis in 2016. By combining his journalistic instincts with his personal curiosity, Johnson uses the California Now Podcast platform to develop a deeper understanding of his adopted home.

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