The Unofficial Guide to DreamWorks Land at Universal Orlando

DreamWorks Land at Universal Orlando

Universal Orlando officially opens its newest kid-friendly area on June 14th, and we have your first in-depth Unofficial Guide to the adventures awaiting inside DreamWorks Land at Universal Studios Florida.

sculptures of Poppy and Branch from Trolls outside the Imagination Celebration theater at DreamWorks Land in Universal Studios Florida
Learn how to meet the Trolls and other animated friends in the new DreamWorks Land at Universal Orlando. (Photos/videos by Seth Kubersky)

DreamWorks Land is located inside Universal Studios Florida, between the Hollywood and Springfield areas. Originally named after the classic Walter Lantz cartoon character, Woody Woodpecker’s KidZone joined Jimmy Neutron and Biff Tannen in Universal’s retirement home, and his colorful cul-de-sac was rebuilt and rebranded to feature the DreamWorks Animation franchises Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, and Trolls, among others.

DreamWorks Land Overview

DreamWorks Land holds most of the park’s child-themed attractions, including a pint-size roller coaster, and indoor stage show, and several elaborate playgrounds.

Near the land’s entrance, you’ll find a backdrop for meet and greets with Gabby from Gabby’s Dollhouse, and additional characters roam the area.

Lack of shade is a major shortcoming of the entire land, so be aware that the playgrounds can become scorching during the heat of the day.

Just outside the DreamWorks area, you’ll still find longtime family favorites SpongeBob StorePants, the Animal Actors stage, and E.T. Adventure, which were reclassified as part of Hollywood.

Start by watching our full walking tour of DreamWorks Land, then continue reading for our detailed guide to all the attractions.

DreamWorks Imagination Celebration

This original stage musical features talented live singers and dancers, life-size puppets, and wrap-around video screens—along with favorite friends from the Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, and Trolls films—together in an energetic all-ages production that’s enjoyable even if you aren’t accompanied by young children.

Staged in the round with immersive special effects, the show surrounds audiences in iconic scenes from the franchises, as a young woman tries to reignite her downhearted friend’s imagination with tales of their childhood heroes.

The high-decibel soundtrack includes bangers by Justin Timberlake and Rachel Platten, plus a touching rendition of “True Colors,” and concludes with a dance party that gets the crowd on its feet.

A more-than-worthy successor to Barney the Dinosaur (who was the original occupant of the theater), this is the best kids’ entertainment in Universal’s repertoire, and it’s much more enjoyable for adults than the similar Disney Junior show at Hollywood Studios.

Check the app for showtimes. There are only a handful of performances each day, so arrive a few minutes early. The queuing area is covered with screens displaying a short video preshow, and the theater itself is blissfully air-conditioned.

Guests sit on hard, backless benches during the show; there aren’t any bad seats, but the rear rows provide a wider view of the stage and screens.

Watch highlights from a preview performance of the DreamWorks Imagination Celebration below:

Po’s Kung Fu Training Camp featuring Po Live!

In the rear corner of DreamWorks Land, you’ll find a Kung Fu Panda-inspired interactive playground that exemplifies the Universal obsession with wet stuff.

Although not quite as unrelentingly drenching as the former Curious George playground—whose structure was redecorated with wooden pagoda-style details—the right half still holds innumerable spigots, pipes, and spray guns, along with a giant roof-mounted bucket that periodically dumps hundreds of gallons of water.

Kids who want to stay dry can try ringing the gong in the center courtyard and playing on the hanging noodles and spinning dishes on the left side of the camp, just past the “Pond of Perpetual Wetness” splash pad.

Tip: If you’re letting your kids loose on the wet playgrounds here, be sure to do it early enough in the day to dry off, or bring along a change of clothes.

Panda Village’s central building, where the foam-ball playground once was, now hosts Po Live!, an interactive show starring computer-animated characters similar to Turtle Talk with Crush at EPCOT. Full-body motion capture and real-time rendering transform an off-stage Jack Black sound-alike into Po, who appears life-size on a large video display disguised as a sliding paper screen.

Guests stand and follow Po’s instructions in a brief lesson on focusing their inner chi and are soon called upon to wave their arms in order to defeat a foe from the Spirit Realm. The actors do a great job channeling the character, and the CGI is impressively detailed, if a bit choppy. However, there’s no seating or air-conditioning, so don’t hang around if there isn’t a show starting soon.

Watch a full preview performance of Po Live! below:

Shrek’s Swamp

Universal’s long-in-the-tooth KidZone playground themed to Fievel was flattened and replaced with more-modern playscapes based on Shrek. Where imaginative oversize cowboy props and a waterslide once towered, you’ll now find Shrek’s Swamp for Little Ogres, a two-story set of wooden bridges and net climbs adorned with faux moss.

The entrance is overseen by Pinocchio, whose nose extends when you press a button, and the signature outhouse slide makes a farting noise during descent.

Tip: The playground is designed for small kids, and adults attempting to make it down the slide may find themselves uncomfortably stuck.

Across from the playground entrance is King Harold’s Swamp Symphony, where you can make frogs croak tunes (including a classic beer jingle) by stepping on lily pads…

…and Mama Luna’s Feline Fiesta, whose on-screen kitties cavort when control buttons are pressed.

You’ll also find a stand selling signature Shrekzels (Shrek-shaped pretzels) and stuffed waffles. The dry pretzels come with an unappealing green cheese dip, and the waffles are small but savory.

This section’s best attraction is a permanent meet and greet with Shrek and Donkey, whose hilarious banter with guests makes the unshaded wait outside the ogre’s swampy house (which you can’t go inside) worthwhile.

Trolls Trollercoaster

Originally themed to Woody Woodpecker, this short, relatively low roller coaster was retained and renamed after DreamWorks’s Trolls, receiving colorful new “Caterbus” caterpillar-themed ride vehicles, plus spider webs for them to gently swoop through.

Virtually identical to Magic Kingdom’s Barnstormer, it is small enough for kids to enjoy but sturdy enough for adults, though its moderate speed might unnerve some smaller children (the minimum height to ride is 36 inches). The entire ride lasts about a minute, and at least 20 of those 60 seconds are spent cranking the train up the first (and only) lift hill. There are several tight turns, but the ride doesn’t go upside down or even come close.

If your young child has never before experienced a roller coaster, this would be an appropriate first attempt. For those too little to ride, the toddler-size Poppy’s Playground is across from the coaster’s entrance.

Take a ride in the back row of the Trolls Trollercoaster with our POV video:

What part of DreamWorks Land are you most excited to experience? 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 Threads, X, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube.

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