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What's Coming To KidZone At Universal Studios Florida?

With the surprising news from Universal Orlando Resort, that the majority of the Woody Woodpecker’s KidZone area at Universal Studios Florida will close permanently in January, everyone's thoughts now turn to what Universal Orlando plan to do with the kids area of the park...


So just what is planned for KidZone?


The honest answer is nobody knows for sure except Universal, so for now let's dive in and see what was planned, what was dropped and what the latest rumours are for KidZone!


What's Coming To KidZone At Universal Studios Florida?

It's been common knowledge for many years that Universal has been planning on redeveloping KidZone, but the plans have been chopped and changed so many times, and to be honest we thought the company had decided to concentrate on Epic Universe for now, so when Universal finally dropped the news that Fievel’s Playland, Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster, Curious George Goes to Town, DreamWorks Destination, and Shrek & Donkey’s Meet & Greet will all close forever on January 15, 2023, it was actually a surprise!


The closure in January leaves a pretty large chunk of Universal Studios Florida to be redeveloped, so will the area be bulldozed and an entirely new land constructed, or will we see a cheaper re-theme of the existing attractions?


 Woody Woodpecker’s KidZone CLOSING PERMANENTLY January 15 At Universal Studios Florida

In the official announcement, Universal Orlando says that these experiences are being replaced with “exciting new family entertainment that will immerse guests in the adventures of beloved animated characters.”


We wonder which characters will feature, if it will be existing characters in the park, or new characters that Universal already own the right too, or could it be new characters that we don't even know about, or will it be lots of different characters?


The New Theme Coming To Woody Woodpecker’s KidZone area at Universal Studios Florida

This extensive overhaul of KidZone at Universal Studios Florida certainly needs done, and to be fair there has been plans in the works for many years to modernise this dated section of the park, but every time plans got close to happening they were shelved.


Since opening in the 90's as part of World Expo, the kids area of Universal Studios Florida has remained mostly unchanged.


The only major change in recent years has been the closure of A Day in the Park With Barney which officially closed in February 2021, and was replaced with the quite obviously temporary DreamWorks Destination.


A Day in the Park With Barney Universal Studios Florida KidZone

So here we are, after many years of endless rumors and false starts, Universal Orlando have finally pulled the trigger on a redevelopment, so let's dive into KidZone and and check out the rumours, from the already ruled out, to the nearly was, and to what is most likely to happen!


There have been rumors in recent years for various IP's that could replace KidZone, some of which came close to being green lit, but in the end none ever received the green light.


Plans were leaked for Pokemon taking over the area, and this idea actually came really close to happening, then there was the time Hello Kitty was being looked at as a tenant for KidZone, and the list goes on, including Minnions and Shrek, oh and lets not forget the various other new concepts based on either Illumination or DreamWorks animated films that have been threw around as possibilities.


Ice Age was even considered, but considering Disney now own the franchise, we can only imagine that Universal are happy with their decision to shelf that idea!


The plan that actually did come closest to happening was for the new Super Nintendo World at Universal Orlando.


Permits were actually filed with the city of Orlando in 2017 that showed the first phase of the new Super Nintendo World at Universal Orlando taking over the entire Woody Woodpecker’s KidZone area.


Super Nintendo World in Universal Studios Florida would have featured a Mario Kart ride, a Donkey Kong ride, as well as Nintendo attractions, restaurants, and shops.


Known internally as Project 487, construction was set to begin early 2018, with a projected opening of 2021, so what happened?


Well, Epic Universe is what happened! As the plan for Universal’s new theme park down the road began to take shape, known back then as Fantastic Worlds, the idea was to move much of this land to the new park instead of Universal Studios Florida.


Next Universal turned there attention to Pokemon, and plans were put in place to use the same footprint as Super Nintendo World and create a Pokemon land. This plan went pretty far with a master plan, ride manufacturers and more all put in place.


Then, yet again, plans changed. Universal got cold feet and canned the idea!


Universal Studios Florida KidZone Pokemon Rumor

Then things went quiet, until Universal moved the DreamWorks characters into the former Barney theater last year as temporary fix, was this a sign for things to come? Are we about to see a DreamWorks land filled with DreamWorks characters including Trolls, as they are very popular with the kids.


Yes, there have been rumors of new plans coming together early this year for a DreamWorks land, but no permits were ever submitted at the time.


DreamWorks Trolls Universal Studios Florida

Another rumor for the area was a clone of The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash ride from Universal Hollywood to be built here, so yes Illumination properties including Pets could be a possibility.


Universal Orlando Secret Life Of Pets KidZone Rumor

So after all these rumors what is the most likely plans for the area?


Well, according to Screamscape, the plans are not to demolish KidZone for an entirely new land (unfortunately), but to re-use the closed attractions and give each one a make over as part of... Universal's DreamWorks Animation Land which is scheduled to open in 2024.


Universal's DreamWorks Animation Land Universal Studios Florida Orlando

Sources report that Fievel's Playland will be rethemed to Shrek, Woody's Woodpecker coaster could see a Trolls overhaul with a Trolls themed kids show planned for the theater building with Kung Fu Panda taking over the Curious George play areas.


Although not officially confirmed, this is believed to be the current place, could it change? Well with Universals track record for the are, possibly, but with the announcement already made that the are is closing, it does indeed look like Universal's DreamWorks Animation Land could well be happening.


While it would have been nice to have an entirely new land, Universal has much on its plate right now building an entirely new theme park here in Orlando, so these remodelling plans make sense, and something new is better than nothing!


Obviously nothing official has been announced, and until Universal confirm it everything here has to be considered a rumor... for now!


Kung Fu Panda Universal Studios Florida KidZone





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