Your furry friends from the hit movie from Illumination films, The Secret Life of Pets, are Off The Leash and starring in a new ride at Universal Studios Hollywood, and we’ve bringing you a detailed look inside the attraction direct from the upcoming Unofficial Guide to Disneyland 2022.
Although Universal Orlando received the lion’s share of attention over the summer for the opening of the spectacular Jurassic World VelociCoaster, the resort’s West Coast cousin also debuted a new ride this year that shouldn’t be overlooked. The Secret Life of Pets: Off The Leash is the first new slow-moving indoor dark ride at Universal Studios Hollywood in decades, and it is the latest attraction on our “not-to-be-missed” list for the park.
The Secret Life of Pets: Off The Leash Review
Anchoring a block of Manhattan-inspired facades leading to the Despicable Me area, Secret Life of Pets: Off The Leash provides Universal Studios Hollywood with welcome placemaking, along with a much-needed attraction that the entire family can enjoy together.
This animatronic-filled dark ride, featuring Max the Jack Russel (Patton Oswald), Snowball the bunny rabbit (Kevin Hart), and all their furry friends from the animated Illumination films, casts guests as stray puppies on the streets of New York City, searching for their forever homes.
An innovative switchback-free queue takes visitors on a tour through the pets’ detailed brownstone apartments—filled with multiple aww-inspiring critters—before embarking on a gentle journey to their own “adoptions.”
The 5-minute ride crawls through sight-gag-stuffed sets, enhanced with explosive projection-mapping effects and populated by dozens of huggable, hairy, animated figures.
It puts a big silly smile on our faces from start to finish, and it merits repeat rides.
Hang on for the grand finale, where you’ll get a thorough grooming just in time to meet your new forever family.
Although not quite on the same scope and scale as the Haunted Mansion or Pirates of the Caribbean, SLOP has almost as much charm and imaginative detail as those all-time Disney classics, and it’s easily the best family-friendly dark ride Universal has built since the E.T. Adventure.
Final Score: 4 1/2 Stars
Enjoy a virtual trip through The Secret Life of Pets: Off The Leash, including the entire queue and ride, by watching our POV video:
The Secret Life of Pets: Off The Leash Touring Tips
We recommend that you make Secret Life of Pets your first stop when the park opens. At that time of day, the ride usually offers a standard standby line, and your wait should be brief.
Alternatively, if the wait exceeds an hour, Secret Life of Pets may use a Virtual Line system to control access to its queue, but (unlike Disney) it doesn’t demand you smash your smartphone screen at exactly 7 a.m.
You can get a spot in the Virtual Line after entering the park by using Universal’s app or by visiting the kiosks to the left of the ride’s entrance.
Additional time slots are released periodically throughout the day. Once your return window arrives, you should wait about 30–45 minutes before boarding.
Universal Express guests can enter the queue at any time without a Virtual Line reservation and skip about half the wait.
Secret Life of Pets has a minimum height requirement of 34 inches, and guests with heart, back, neck, or similar physical conditions are cautioned against riding.
Our only knock against this exceptional attraction is that the unnecessarily restrictive seat restraints, and too-short moving walkways at boarding and unloading, make the ride needlessly unfriendly for infants, larger folks, and the disabled. Be sure to test the sample seat outside the entrance, and let an employee know if you have mobility issues.
As you exit the attraction, an assortment of plush pals are available to “adopt” in The Pet Store.
What do you think of The Secret Life of Pets: Off The Leash, and do you think Universal Studios Florida should pick it as the replacement for Shrek 4-D, which is closing in January 2022? Let us know in the comments!
For all there is to see and do at Universal Studios Hollywood, check out The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland by Seth Kubersky with Bob Sehlinger, Len Testa, and Guy Selga Jr.