After years of unfulfilled rumors, Woody Woodpecker’s KidZone at Universal Studios Florida is officially getting replaced.
Universal Orlando announced Tuesday that a sizable portion of the land will close after Jan. 15, 2023. Among the closures will be Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster, the Fievel and Curious George play areas, and two character greeting locations, DreamWorks Destination and another housing Shrek and Donkey.
Update from Universal Orlando Resort: pic.twitter.com/ecVeEHfvbd
— Universal Orlando Resort (@UniversalORL) November 2, 2022
The E.T. Adventure dark ride — the last ride left from Universal Studio Florida’s 1990 opening — will stay open, as will the “Animal Actors On Location” stage show, SpongeBob StorePants and the KidZone Pizza Company.
Universal also teased what’s to come, saying the park “will soon begin work on bringing exciting new family entertainment to Universal Studios Florida that will immerse guests in the adventures of beloved animated characters.”
The KidZone area first opened in 1999, following Universal’s success with catering to younger kids with the 1995 debut of “A Day in the Park with Barney.” In more recent years, however, the land has been the subject of frequent fan speculation about its imminent replacement.
“The whole KidZone area is probably the least utilized area of park in terms of guest attendance per square foot,” Seth Kubersky, author of “The Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando,” told Theme Park Tribune in February 2021. “Something’s going to happen there, sooner or later.”
The land has been on the chopping block before, as shown by a 2017 leak of plans showing it would be the site of Florida’s version of Super Nintendo World. Other projects reportedly considered for the area included retheming it to “Ice Age” or the Pokemon franchise, according to a December 2020 video by esteemed blogger Alicia Stella of Theme Park Stop.
Whatever the replacement will be, fans may be waiting a while to hear about it. Universal is known for withholding details on coming attractions waiting until construction is well underway before even confirming their existence. Jurassic World VelociCoaster, for example, wasn’t officially announced until the coaster track had been completed.
Before KidZone’s successor opens, Universal Studios Florida’s next attraction is likely to be the replacement for Shrek 4-D, which closed in January. True to form, Universal has not revealed that replacement, though its widely expected to be a “Minions”-themed walkthrough attraction.