Universal Orlando Resort has made some big new investments in its theme parks in recent years, primarily in the form of a pair of top tier roller coasters, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, and the Jurassic World Velocicoaster. Both of those attractions are at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, but now attention is turning to Universal Studios Florida as that park is now getting prepped for a significant update, that will unfortunately mean the closure of several attractions.
In a statement posted to Twitter Universal Orlando Resort announced that Fievel’s Playground, Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster, Curious George Goes to Town, DreamWorks Destination, and the frequently hilarious Shrek and Donkey Meet and Greet will all be closing, with the final day of operation set to be January 15, 2023.
While no official announcement was made regarding what is going in their place, the statement does say that what’s coming will be exciting new “family entertainment” and that it will immerse guests in the world of beloved animated characters. As such, it seems likely that what’s in store for fans will be something similar to what exists there now, but likely using more contemporary IP, as most of what is leaving uses characters that are not incredibly popular today.
Anybody who has young kids is certainly going to hope that what replaces these attractions is similar to what is leaving. Nearly everything here are attractions meant for younger guests, and if they get replaced by thrill rides or anything that smaller riders can't do, it will simply reduce the amount of stuff that’s available for little kids.
We've seen that happen with other parks in the past. Disney California Adventure replaced A Bug's Land with Avengers Campus, and in doing so, removed several attractions designed for all ages. While one of the rides was moved elsewhere in the park, there's just a lot less to do there if you're a little kid now.
For the most part, it’s unlikely that too many people will be massively upset with what’s going away, at least until we hear more about what is going to replace it. The statement does confirm that fan-favorite The E.T. Adventure, which borders the area being redesigned, is safe. If that ride was going away there would be an outcry.
The one attraction that guests might be sad to see go is the Shrek and Donkey Meet & Greet, as Donkey was almost always good for a laugh, and would playfully throw shade at other guests, or Disney World, or whatever crossed his mind.
It’s somewhat surprising to learn that Universal Studios Florida is so close to starting a major update to part of the park, considering that there’s an entire third gate, Epic Universe, under construction as we speak. One might have expected any major changes to the current parks to wait until the new one was open, but apparently nobody wants to wait.
CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.
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