While all eyes have been on the development of Universal's Epic Universe in Orlando, Universal announced plans this week for a new US theme park that many were shocked to learn wouldn't be in Florida or California. Situated on 97 acres in Frisco, Texas (about 30 miles north of Dallas) this new park is currently in development and will be unlike any other theme park Universal has opened in the US or anywhere else around the world.
A theme park just for kids
Universal has said that this new park, which doesn't have a name just yet, will be vastly different from its current lineup of theme parks, and will be full of family-friendly attractions, interactive and playful shows, character meet and greets, and other attractions that are specifically designed to appeal to families with small children.
The best comparison park right now might just be the Merlin-owned LEGOLAND family of theme parks, which also target families with small children, offering attractions with low height restrictions, and plenty of play areas where toddlers and pre-schoolers can run around.
In the concept art provided, there is a boat ride visible, as well as some performance spaces, playgrounds, and water features. which would all make sense considering the demographic Universal is looking to attract with this new park. And while there are none pictured, it seems a safe bet that characters from Dreamworks and Illumination properties will be a part of this new theme park, as Universal leverages its IPs to ensure that kids are engaged with characters from franchises like Trolls, Despicable Me, Shrek, Kung-Fu Panda, The Bad Guys and more.
A press release promises "immersive themed lands" at the park and also teased that there is additional space planned for future expansions. Of course, since there's no opening target just yet, those future expansions are probably a decade or more away, but its certainly interesting to note that Universal is already making room for more attractions at this park, before the first shovel has even hit the ground.
There will be a hotel attached to the theme park
Though this theme park won't have much in common with existing Universal properties, it will have a similar layout to other Universal resorts, including an on-site hotel for families to stay at. According to the concept art, this hotel looks like it will surround the entrance of the park, which could give on-site guests easier access (and potentially early entry) to the park when it opens.
Much like the rest of this project, the on-site hotel is shrouded in mystery, but it seems safe to guess that this property will be on the smaller side, and offer themed rooms that kids will appreciate, again like the LEGOLAND family of hotels, which feature kid-friendly rooms with a number of theming options.