Woody Woodpecker’s KidZone is now a part of Universal Orlando history, and we’re paying tribute to the recently shuttered section of Universal Studios Florida with a final look around the land.
When Universal Studios Florida first opened in 1990, there were plenty of things for older children to do, but few attractions focused on small kids, aside from the E.T. Adventure dark ride and Animal Actors stage show. Beginning with Fievel’s Playland in 1992, Universal began adding kid-friendly elements along the pathway between those two attractions that led towards the resort’s original Hard Rock Cafe, where a replica of Psycho’s Bates Motel and house were originally found.
Throughout the 1990s, the area expanded with the addition of A Day in the Park with Barney the Dinosaur and Curious George, until the entire area was christened Woody Woodpecker’s KidZone in 1999 to commemorate the opening of the Nuthouse Coaster.
Since then, the area has experienced a few changes, most notably the replacement of Barney the Purple Dinosaur’s show with the DreamWorks Destination character dance party, and the relocation of Shrek & Donkey’s interactive meet and greet. But rumors of the land’s demolition have been circulating for many years, and construction walls were even erected around the site half a decade ago before plans to build Super Nintendo World on that spot were abruptly shifted to Epic Universe.
Much of KidZone was closed due to COVID-19, and as the area gradually reopened, some playground elements—particularly around Fievel’s Playland—had remained off-limits. Following an announcement late last year, Woody Woodpecker’s KidZone finally closed for good at the end of the day on Sunday, January 15, bringing an era in Universal Orlando history to an end. Take one last walk around KidZone with us through this video, recorded a few days before the final closing:
Details of what exactly will replace KidZone—and when—will be released over the upcoming months, but we expect to see new meet and greets, playgrounds, and perhaps even a dark ride based on DreamWorks animated characters like those from the Kung Fu Pands, Shrek, and Trolls movies. Happily, Animal Actors and the E.T. Adventure will remain open and operational, as will the Spongebob Squarepants store, throughout KidZone’s reimagining.
Until the replacement for KidZone debuts, families with children 36″ tall are left with only two rides they can take them on—Kang & Kodos’ Twirl n Hurl and the E.T. Adventure—and zero playgrounds to explore. (Fortunately, Universal still offers a superior child-swap service for parents at rides that aren’t kid-friendly.) For that reason, we strongly recommend parents with younger children spend time at Islands of Adventure, which offers multiple excellent themed playgrounds and more than half a dozen rides.
What will you miss most about Woody Woodpecker’s KidZone, and what do you hope to see replace it? Let us know in the comments below!
For all there is to see and do at Universal Orlando, check out The Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando. If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to our YouTube channel and sign up for our newsletter here. Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube.