What We Know About Universal's Upcoming Theme Park Aimed At Families With Young Kids

While the recently opened Super Nintendo World in Universal Studios Hollywood and the upcoming Minion Land in Universal Orlando have theme park fans excited, families with young kids might not be completely sold. Parents of young tots might be concerned about their kids not reaching minimum height requirements for rides, attractions that might not be appropriate for young children, or characters that their youngsters might not be too enamored with. Universal's answer to these concerns: a brand-new theme park aimed specifically at young children ages 3 to 9 years old.

Because of its focus on a new audience, the new Universal park will be different in scale and theme than the two behemoths in the East Coast and West Coast. That is, the new park will have a distinct appearance and experience. For one, the park will be smaller, just one-quarter the size of Universal Orlando, and it will be a one- to two-day experience, reports NBC DFW. This will make it more intimate and engaging for younger children, and more manageable for their parents. Despite its size, it's not going to be a Six Flag or other Universal park copycat, with Frisco Mayor Jeff Cheney saying that the theme park will be more of a regional destination where families can create lasting memories.

Specifically developed for young children

Everything in the park will be appropriate for little kids. What this means, according to Page Thompson, President of New Ventures for Universal Parks & Resorts, is that rides don't have height requirements and there will be beloved characters popular with children, interactive experiences, and immersive lands with lush landscaping. "We have a portfolio of terrific attractions that appeal to young families around the world. We had an idea to bring all of those together and create a destination that is specifically designed to appeal to families with young children," she shared (via NBC DFW).

Details are sparse, but officials say the park will have the traditional rides and shows. According to Frisco Mayor Jeff Cheney's FAQs, there will be no roller coaster taller than 40-50 feet nor will there be any dark rides or indoor rides. There will also be meet-and-greets with Universal characters popular with children, though no specific character has been confirmed yet. Notably, there will be no fireworks. In addition, the park will be open during the family-friendly hours of 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends. There will be no late hours in this park, with closing set strictly at 10 p.m. or earlier. Neither will there be any tall buildings. The on-site 300-room themed hotel will only be four to five stories high.

Kid-focused theme park design

The new Universal park, along with the hotel, will occupy only 30 acres of the 97-acre plot of land recently acquired by the company, lists the Frisco mayor's FAQs. The rest of the area is dedicated to parking lots and future expansion. As to what those future expansions could be is anyone's guess right now.

When it comes to appearance, the new Universal park will have a distinct look. In the official concept art of the upcoming park, the entrance has a cloud theme and opens into a lagoon. Surrounding the lagoon are a number of themed areas which Ryan A. Harmon, President and Chief Creative Officer at Zeitgeist Design & Production, writing for Dallas News, thinks belongs to "Kung Fu Panda," "How to Train Your Dragon," "Shrek" or "Puss in Boots," and "Madagascar." There's also a river for what appears to be a boat ride that winds its way throughout the park. These and other speculations will sooner or later be answered once Universal submits the official plans to the city.

A cultural milestone

The upcoming Universal park will be located in Frisco in North Texas, with Panther Creek Parkway to its south and the Dallas North Tollway to its west. The company said Frisco was chosen because of its fast growth and its ability to attract both businesses and professionals to this part of the country. Page Thompson said of the choice of location, "We think North Texas is the perfect place to launch this unique park for families given its growing popularity within this part of the country."

In addition, Alexandra Skores, Dallas Morning News reporter, points out that this move to Texas is also culturally significant. "It's always been rumored, for a very long time now, that Universal or Disney or one of these large theme parks would take a look at Texas," she said (via KUT Austin). "So I think it's pretty historic in the sense of its magnitude, to have something like this presence in Texas. We've only got in our DFW area the Six Flags Over Texas. And so now the competition is real there. We're going to have to see how Six Flags pairs itself up with all of the traffic that's going to come to Universal and PGA."

Other details

Frisco Mayor Jeff Cheney has nicknamed the upcoming theme park as "Universal Kids, Frisco," reports WFAA, but the actual name of the property has yet to be revealed. The project is still in the early stages of the review process and it will take years to complete. So, there are many details that are unknown right now, including the park's projected opening date. But, Orlando ParkStop finds Universal's statement that the Frisco park will be the first of multiple similar projects interesting because this could mean smaller parks with a more specific target audience.

The upcoming Universal park is part of Frisco's Fields development project worth $10 billion. The project covers 2,500 acres and includes the headquarters of the Professional Golfers' Association of America, reports KUT Austin.