Universal Orlando Demolishes Beloved Attractions, Prepares For Major Overhaul

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Universal Orlando Resort globe

Credit: Universal Orlando

Universal Orlando Resort isn’t slowing down its construction one bit.

three young Guests visiting Hogsmeade at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal's Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando Resort
Credit: Universal

Universal Orlando– home to Universal Studios Florida Universal’s Islands of Adventure, and Universal’s Volcano Bay Water Park– gives Guests the opportunity to enjoy all kinds of iconic and thrilling attractions, like Revenge of the Mummy, E.T. Adventure, MEN IN BLACK: Alien Attack, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, Jurassic World VelociCoaster, Jurassic Park River Adventure, and Skull Island: Reign of Kong. Of course, it’s all pulled together by the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which is located at both theme parks.

However, several beloved attractions have been, sadly, demolished at Universal Studios Florida.

Here’s a look at the latest construction happenings, including demolition, at Universal Orlando Resort.

Universal Orlando minions
Credit: Universal Studios Orlando

Universal Orlando Demolishes Beloved Attractions

The Woody Woodpecker KidZone officially shut down permanently in January. The reason for this was to make way for “exciting new family entertainment.” The official statement from Universal Orlando Resort can be read below:

“Universal Orlando Resort will soon begin work on bringing exciting new family entertainment to Universal Studios Florida that will immerse guests in the adventures of beloved animated characters. Stay tuned – more details about the new experiences coming to Universal Studios Florida will be revealed in the months ahead.”

New photos from Twitter account @bioreconstruct show the demolition work that has already taken place at Universal Studios Florida.

Aerial look at the demolition of KidZone in Universal Studios Florida

As you can see in the photo, Fievel’s Playland and Curious George Goes To Town have already been removed. There is a bunch of demolition work happening currently, and this can be seen in the photo.

For now, Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster remains intact. There are rumors that the coaster will remain as a part of the land, and will instead be updated and rethemed.

What was the Woody Woodpecker KidZone?

The Woody Woodpecker KidZone housed many attractions, including two play areas. Curious George Goes To Town and Fievel’s Playland have been located at Universal Studios Florida for decades. In addition, DreamWorks Destination— which was a dance show and character meet and greet– as well as Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster and the Shrek and Donkey meet and greet were located in the area.

Woody Woodpecker Nuthouse Coaster
Credit: Universal Orlando

Is E.T. Adventure still open?

E.T. Adventure, Animal Actors on Location!, and SpongeBob StorePants all remain open during the construction project. Universal Orlando has no intent to close any of these attractions at this time.

What will replace the Woody Woodpecker KidZone at Universal Orlando?

Of course, the biggest question from Universal Orlando fans is what will replace the Woody Woodpecker KidZone. The area was officially named in 1999, meaning that it has been around for more than two decades.

Though the area is largely a place where families went to beat the heat and spend some time playing, rather than waiting in line for an attraction, it is certainly a play area that even adult fans could enjoy.

Why DreamWorks is the most likely candidate

DreamWorks isn’t just the “most likely candidate,” DreamWorks is essentially the only candidate. As soon as the land closed, Universal Orlando put up construction walls blocking off the area. Shortly after that, DreamWorks characters began appearing on the walls.

Universal isn’t typically quick to announce a new attraction. As a matter of fact, Universal Orlando has a reputation to wait until just months before an attraction is set to open to officially announce anything. However, certain “teases” are always given on both social media and in the theme parks. From these things, we can surmise that a DreamWorks Land is coming.

Universal Studios Florida at Universal Orlando Resort
Credit: Universal Orlando

What would a DreamWorks Land look like at Universal Orlando?

While there were some rumors for a bit that a new dark ride could be coming to the area, that doesn’t look to be the case, at least for now.

There have been no demolition permits filed for the theatre that houses DreamWorks Destination. This makes us believe that the attraction– at least its theater– will remain intact. DreamWorks Destination was a theater that housed a “dance party,” which starred many different DreamWorks characters, including Poppy from Trolls, Alex from Madagascar, Tigress from Kung Fu Panda, King Julien from Madagascar, Puss in Boots from Shrek, Branch from Trolls, and many others.

It’s unclear if this will remain DreamWorks Destination, or if it will reopen with a new name.

Permits and patents uncovered by Report Alicia Stella also indicate that a Kung Fu Panda experience will likely be coming to the back of the area. She recently reported on a new patent that Universal just filed that included an animated meet and greet and in the picture, you can see Kung Fu Panda drawn in the art.

This would be similar to Turtle Talk With Crush at EPCOT in Walt Disney World Resort.

In addition to the Kung Fu Panda meet and greet, the strongest rumor is that Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster will be rethemed to a Trolls Coaster. It’s unclear if the Shrek and Donkey meet and greet will return at this time, but it would certainly make sense for that to be the case.

Of course, one of the biggest questions will be what kind of play area might be coming. Shrek’s Swamp and Trolls Land have both been rumored, but as of now, nothing has been confirmed.

When could the new DreamWorks Land open?

Keep in mind that Universal Orlando Resort is just in the early stages of construction. That being said, permits suggest that work will be done by the spring of 2024. This would make a lot of sense in terms of Universal Orlando’s goal to open a new attraction each year.

Villain-Con Minion Blast (2023) and Epic Universe (2025)– which we’ll get to shortly– already have opening timeframes, so having this open in 2024, most likely in the summer, would make sense.

DreamWorks animated logo
Credit: DreamWorks

What’s next for Universal Studios Florida?

Speaking of Villain-Con Minion Blast, this is exactly what’s next for Universal Studios Florida.

What are the new Universal Studios Florida rides in 2023?

Villain-Con Minion Blast will open in Summer 2023 at Universal Studios Florida within the new Minion Land on Illumination Ave. This new area will also feature the fan-favorite Despicable Me Minion Mayhem attraction, a new Minion Café and other surprises inspired by popular characters from Illumination’s blockbuster franchises.

poster for the new minons villain-con attraction at universal orlando resort
Credit: Universal Orlando Resort

Villain-Con Minion Blast combines innovative screen technology, state-of-the-art gaming interactivity and elaborate physical sets to create a one-of-a-kind, game-based adventure where guests encounter immersive environments, nefarious villains and tons of mischievous Minions from Illumination’s films in a whole new way.

The world-class attraction transports guests to Villain-Con – the biggest criminal convention on the planet – to take part in an epic competition to see if they have what it takes to become the newest member of The Vicious 6, a notorious group of supervillains from the hit film, Minions: The Rise of Gru (2022). Guests who are up for the challenge will grab an interactive blaster and step onto a motion-based pathway to put their skills to the test. They’ll wind and glide through various scenes where they earn points by blasting a variety of items and causing as much mayhem and destruction as possible. It’s a unique, mischief-filled experience that’s so much fun, it’s a crime.

More details about Illumination’s Villain-Con Minion Blast and Minion Land will be revealed in the months ahead. For more information about Universal Orlando Resort, visit www.universalorlando.com.

Universal's Epic Universe
Credit: Universal Orlando

Don’t forget about Epic Universe at Universal Orlando

While the attractions coming to Universal Studios Florida are certainly exciting, the biggest construction project happening at Universal Orlando is none other than the all-new theme park Epic Universe.

When will Epic Universe open?

Universal confirmed that Epic Universe will open in 2025. The new theme park was originally scheduled to open earlier, but COVID delayed construction. Things are back in full swing now and we are starting to see several attractions being constructed from the ground up, including roller coasters and dark rides.

Will SUPER NINTENDO WORLD be located in Epic Universe?

The only land that has officially been confirmed for Epic Universe is SUPER NINTENDO WORLD. SUPER NINTENDO WORLD just opened at Universal Studios Hollywood, but fans on the east coast will have to wait a little longer to enjoy the land. While the exact rides haven’t been confirmed by Universal, the expectation is that this will be an exact copy of SUPER NINTENDO WORLD in Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Studios Japan. This means we’ll have Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge, Yoshi’s Adventure, and Donkey Kong: Mine Cart Madness.

Guests riding Mario Kart: Bowser's Challenge at Universal Studios Hollywood
Credit: Universal Studios Hollywood

What other attractions will be located in the Universal Park?

Though nothing has been officially announced, as we just stated, we do know from permits and construction progress what the theme park is likely to look like when it’s finished.

The rumors surrounding Epic Universe is that it will also have a Classic Monster Land, a How to Train Your Dragon Land, and an addition to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. There will also be a Central Hub that will be “space-themed” with several attractions.

In addition to the new attractions, Universal Orlando is also constructing a hotel at the back of the theme park and two new hotels right across from the theme park. There are rumors that a new Universal CityWalk area could be built around the theme park, but that’s not expected to be a part of the original phase.

What do you think of Universal Orlando’s major construction projects? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments below!

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