Multiple Lands Facing Permanent Closure at Universal Orlando

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Guests ride One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish (left) and Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls water ride at Universal Islands of Adventure

Credit: Universal

The next few years are huge for Universal Orlando Resort.

Fresh off the opening of Minions Land at Universal Studios Florida, the theme park destination is already pushing ahead with multiple new projects right now.

Universal Orlando Resort globe with Universal's Islands of Adventure in the background. Photo by Aditya Vyas on Unsplash
Credit: Aditya Vyas via Unsplash

Related: Universal Set to Close Iconic ‘Harry Potter’ Experience

Epic Universe

The biggest is, of course, the resort’s upcoming third gate, Epic Universe. Scheduled to open in the summer of 2025, this massive new theme park will be located a few miles south of Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure, and contain lands inspired by How to Train Your Dragon (2010) and Universal Classic Monsters.

Epic Universe will also feature Florida’s very own version of SUPER NINTENDO WORLD – complete with a new Donkey Kong area – as well as a third Wizarding World of Harry Potter area, this time allegedly inspired by Paris as seen in the seemingly-cancelled Fantastic Beasts franchise.

A family walks towards Hogwarts Castle in The Wizarding World at Universal
Credit: Universal

Reports suggest that Epic Universe will follow a celestial theme and even feature a dueling roller coaster inspired by space, not IP (a rarity in 2023 theme park lore).

Other Upcoming Projects

As if a third theme park isn’t enough, Universal Destinations & Experiences has several other exciting additions in the works for Orlando.

Shrek's swamp
Credit: DreamWorks

In July, Universal announced plans to replace Universal Studios Florida’s KidsZone land with a DreamWorks land. Described as a “continuation of Universal’s commitment to rich storytelling that places guests of all ages in the most incredible and immersive environments,” this will include “themed, interactive play spaces and attractions that bring such popular DreamWorks franchises as Shrek, Trolls and Kung Fu Panda to life in the most imaginatively fun ways.”

To make way for the new land, Fievel’s Playland, Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster, Curious George Goes to Town, DreamWorks Destination, and Shrek and Donkey’s Meet & Greet were all permanently closed.

Guests ride Woody Woodpecker's Nuthouse Coaster
Credit: Universal

Related: Universal Studios Finally Brings Back ‘Shrek’ Attraction

While the Fievel’s Playland play area was demolished, Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster is in the process of being refurbished – most likely as a Trolls-themed ride. Concept art suggests guests will also be able to step into Shrek’s swamp once the new area is complete.

Changes at Islands of Adventure

Compared to its neighboring park, it’s been a while since Islands of Adventure had any major new developments – which says a lot about the rate at which Universal Orlando Resort is currently investing, considering that the park has received two new coasters (Jurassic World VelociCoaster and Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure) in the past five years.

Riders on Hagrid's Adventure
Credit: Universal

However, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing in the works. Rumors have swirled for years about potential projects coming to Islands of Adventure – and what will need to close to make these projects a reality. In a recent Reddit thread, Universal parkgoers debated which lands are most at risk of closure over the next few years. These are the areas potentially on the chopping block.

Toon Lagoon

Home to Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls, Me Ship, the Olive, and Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges, Toon Lagoon is inspired by various comic book strips and characters.

Dudley Do Right's Ripsaw Falls water ride at Universal Islands of Adventure
Credit: Universal

The land opened with the rest of the park in 1999, but has arguably become outdated in recent years. While older guests are aware of cartoon characters like Popeye, the character isn’t exactly relevant to the youth of today. “The water rides are still popular, but the land is so dated as to be unrecognizable,” wrote user Tealcandtrip. “I grew up with newspaper cartoons and Hanna Barbera and can’t name most of the characters.”

Ripsaw Falls has notably faced multiple issues over the years, with Universal team workers claiming they’d heard rumblings of a permanent closure back in 2022.

The Lost Continent

Themed to ancient myths and legends, The Lost Continent is home to, well, nothing. Once upon a time, the land held the walkthrough attraction Poseidon’s Fury, stunt show The Eighth Voyage of Sindbad, and the Flying Unicorn and Dueling Dragons roller coasters in its Merlinwood area.

The water vortex tunnel in Poseidon's Fury
Credit: Universal

The latter two attractions were absorbed by the Wizarding World of Harry Potter upon its opening. Flying Unicorn is now known as Flight of the Hippogriff. While Dueling Dragons was rethemed as Dragon Challenge, it was later closed in 2017 to make space for Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure.

Today, the land still boasts its restaurant, Mythos (which was once voted Best Theme Park Restaurant, an honor Universal will never let you forget). It also has an interactive fountain known as The Mystic Fountain. And that’s about it.

Kids watch Mystic Fountain in The Lost Continent
Credit: Universal

With the closure of Poseidon’s Fury in May 2023, it seems pretty clear that The Lost Continent is not long for this world. “Between [Sindbad’s] theater and Poseidon’s Fury closing, they have a huge footprint for a new attraction or land,” wrote user Tealcandtrip. “There are also patents for a boat to flying ride out there.”

ProfessionalSir8637 agreed, writing, “Logically speaking, Lost Continent is next. The only thing in it is a fountain right now lmao.”

Two commonly rumored replacements for the area include Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda and Pokémon. Talks of a Zelda attraction in particular have been floating around the internet since 2020. Considering the location of The Lost Continent, there is also the potential for it to be overtaken by another Wizarding World expansion.

Seuss Landing

Like The Lost Continent and Toon Lagoon, Seuss Landing was an opening day land for Islands of Adventure. The area is based on the works of Dr. Seuss and is primarily aimed at younger guests.

Guests ride One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
Credit: Universal

It initially debuted with four rides (The Cat in the Hat, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, and Caro-Seuss-el), with a fourth, The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride, added in 2006. While it’s popular with guests all-year-round, it really comes to life over the festive season, when it hosts the Grinchmas Wholiday Spectacular.

In 2021, critics sparked debate over the inclusion of Seuss Landing at Universal Orlando Resort. This followed an announcement from Dr. Seuss Enterprises that six of the author’s books would be pulled from shelves due to racist and insensitive imagery.

At the time, Universal gave a statement confirming that they had also removed the books from the land’s stores and were “evaluating [their] in-park experience,” but that “guests can plan on continuing to be able to enjoy their favorite experiences at Seuss Landing.”

The Cat in the Hat ride entrance
Credit: Universal

Nothing’s ever really permanent in the theme park world. Some guests have theorized that this is another potential contender for closure soon. However, some think this is less likely considering how popular it is with children. “This part of the park is never empty and can have some long wait times,” said Conservative-Point.

Others did stress how much attention the area currently needs if it does remain open. “Cat in the Hat is in a bad state, but with the ride manufacturer going out of business, options are limited,” said GetReadyToRumbleBar. “The [Seuss] Landing entry way sign by Port of Entry has been [partially] broken for years. The [Seuss] Landing expansion pad [is also] still unused.”

What areas would you like to see replaced at Islands of Adventure? Let us know in the comments!

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