It looks like the streets at Universal Studios Florida will no longer be paved with cheese. The theme park will permanently close a number of attractions in January, it announced this week via Twitter, including Fievel’s Playland, the 30-year-old playground based on An American Tale. All the shuttered attractions can be found in Woody Woodpecker’s Kidzone, and include most of the park’s current offerings for young children. The final day of operation for all of them will be January 15, 2023, so you have a couple of months left if you or your family need to experience them one last time.
Beyond Fievel’s Playland, here’s what the park is saying goodbye to. Curious George Goes to Town, another play area with a water theme, opened in 1998, making it one of the oldest attractions still active in the park. The family coaster Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster followed in 1999—which means it’s the oldest roller coaster and second-oldest ride in Universal Studios Florida. DreamWorks Destination is a relative babe, opening just last year, in 2021; it’s a meet-and-greet spot featuring characters from a variety of DreamWorks movies, including Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda, Trolls, and more. Meet Shrek and Donkey, the long running Shrek character encounter that moved to the Kidzone earlier this summer, will also be ending its run.
If you’re familiar with the layout of Universal Studios Florida, and know where the Kidzone is located, you might now be worried about the fate of two nearby experiences that have been running since the year the park opened back in 1990. Universal has clarified that Animal Actors on Location, a live stage show with animal tricks, won’t be closing along with Kidzone. Thankfully, the beloved E.T. Adventure ride has also been spared from yet another round of Universal redevelopment. The opening day attraction has been in service since June 1990, and is the only ride to still exist from the park’s first several years. Other versions of E.T. Adventure at Universal’s Hollywood and Japan theme parks closed in the ‘00s, so the original has long seemed threatened; fortunately the charming, old-school dark ride will continue to whisk guests into the sky and to E.T.’s home planet for the foreseeable future. Also unaffected by the closure of Kidzone will be the Kidzone’s pizza restaurant and the SpongeBob StorePants store.
Universal hasn’t said what will be replacing the closed Kidzone attractions. Given the current makeup of the park, it makes sense that it would be another kid-focused area, perhaps with characters a little more relevant to today’s pop culture scene than Fievel and Woody Woodpecker. With Mario and Super Nintendo World coming to the new Epic Universe park in 2025, we can probably count out any Nintendo attractions, although Universal has shown with Harry Potter that it has no problem putting properties from the same company or theme in separate parks. Perhaps the Secret Life of Pets ride from Universal Hollywood will be coming east? Whatever its replacement might be, the loss of Kidzone will leave a huge gap in Universal Studios Florida’s lineup for its littlest guests. Hopefully those kids dig Jimmy Fallon, because there won’t be a whole lot else for ‘em in this park for a while.