Universal Parks & Resorts have announced that a brand new theme park is being built in Frisco, Texas—but it will be unlike any of their existing parks. This new destination will feature kid-friendly rides set within immersive lands, as well as a 300-room hotel.
Thanks to some newly released details we already have some specifics on what it will feature, and more importantly, what it won’t. Let’s check in on this unique project in today’s news update. See the video version of this story below for additional visuals.
Universal Parks & Resorts recently announced that they have purchased a 97-acre section of land in Frisco, Texas where they plan to build a new family-friendly theme park.
Frisco, Texas, a suburb of Dallas, has been called the fastest growing city in the United States, growing more than 500 percent over the past two decades.
A piece of official concept art was released along with the announcement, seen above. Universal says the new park concept will feature lush green landscape, “putting the park back into theme park.”
They say it will contain immersive themed lands that will celebrate Universal’s iconic brand of entertainment, humor, and innovation while bringing its beloved characters and stories to life in ways that are specifically designed to appeal to families with young children.
This new park is said to be about a quarter the size of a traditional Universal Park. Despite being built on a 97-acre parcel of land, the park itself will be about 30 acres. The remaining land will be dedicated to things like parking and future expansion space.
Just a few days ago, the mayor of Frisco released a Frequently Asked Questions list on Facebook. These are answers to some of the more popular questions that his office has had to answer from residents since the park was announced earlier this month.
This long list of facts about the project recaps much of the official information from the announcement, but it also includes new details, answering many of the initial questions that theme park fans across the country have been asking.
First off, Mayor Jeff Cheney says that the target audience for this new theme park will be children, ages 3 to 9 years old. He says that “adults, older siblings are welcome – but the ‘target’ audience is ages 3 – 9 and rides will be designed for younger children.” The post reiterates later that this new venture will not ‘target’ teens or adults.
Keeping the target audience in mind, the anticipated operating hours for the new park as 10AM to 6PM on weekdays and 10AM to 7PM on weekends.
Zoning restrictions will not allow the park to open earlier than 8AM or close later than 9PM on most days, although they will be allowed up to 20 special events annually where they can close at 10PM, but not any later. Even so, this document says that the new park will have “no fireworks.”
The post also confirms what many have thought, that this park will have “no ‘dark’ rides” which in theme park terms usually means indoor ride where guests sit in guided vehicles. There will also be “No ‘tall’ roller coasters,” but the city has said that there is a 40 to 50 feet maximum limit on any ‘family coasters’. Buildings will not be too tall as well, with the hotel described as 4 to 5 stories tall.
The park is expected to have attendance of 7,500 visitors on weekdays and 20,000 visitors on Saturdays. If open all year that could give it 3.4 million guests a year.
Despite the anticipated attendance, the mayor says if the land, which was designated for mixed-use, was built out as apartments, office, as retail as originally zoned, it would have generated 4 to 5 times more traffic than the proposed theme park. Plus, he says the theme park’s anticipated opening hour of 10AM will not compete with commuter rush hour traffic.
A timeline for construction will be outlined by Universal in the future. The project is in “beginning stages” of city review process. We may learn more as soon as next week, as Universal is planning community meetings where residents can learn more and ask questions, with the next meeting scheduled for either January 30th or 31st according to this post.
The official concept art released by Universal does not match art submitted earlier for zoning. The earlier art, seen below, shows the proposed locations of parking lots, hotel structures, the theme park, and future expansions, but the park area itself may have only been placeholder graphics until the park was actually designed.
As the mayor has confirmed that plans have not yet been submitted, even the newer concept art for the park is subject to change at this time. Looking at the art, fans have speculated that this park may be based entirely off of DreamWorks characters and properties, although the mayor points out that no characters are known at this time.
If the immersive areas in the concept art are accurate, it appears that the park may contain properties like Trolls, Shrek, Camp Cretaceous, and Madagascar. The art also shows a boat ride that appears to load within the center, and then winds through all areas of the park.
A name for the park has not been announced, but the mayor did refer to the project as “Universal Kids, Frisco” during the official announcement on January 11th.
One of the most interesting parts of the initial announcement of this upcoming park, is that Universal said it will be the first of multiple such projects. Rather than building full-size theme parks around the country, like the ones found in Universal Orlando, parks like this will instead be targeting a younger demographic and feature a smaller footprint. These parks could attempt to capture a similar segment as smaller regional parks like Sesame Place or LEGOLAND Parks.
We will be keeping an eye on this project, including any more official details, permit information, and even rumored concepts for what the park may actually contain after plans have been submitted.
We are also watching the recently announced year-round haunted house attraction coming to Las Vegas. Universal says that these permanent horror-centric experiences will bring their vast library of classic horror films and today’s most terrifying tales to life as part of the upcoming 20-acre expansion to Area15.
Universal trademarked the term “Universal Horror Unleashed” just this week. The trademark application describes it as “entertainment in the nature of haunted attractions,” so it may be related to the Las Vegas project.
That’s all for now, but be sure to follow along with us as we track both of these new projects from Universal Parks & Resorts, as well future expansions that may be possible around the country. See the video version of this story for additional visuals.
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