Universal’s Parks & Resorts division is expanding into smaller, regional themed attractions in the U.S. outside of its Orlando and Hollywood theme parks.
The first of the two new themed entertainment offerings announced Wednesday is a family-focused theme park and resort planned for Frisco, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. Universal purchased a 97-acre parcel through a shell company late last year, according to The Dallas Morning News, which will house several Universal attractions geared towards families along with an adjacent hotel.
“The proposed park will be designed to be more intimate and engaging for younger audiences and will be sized for a regional audience,” Universal stated in a press release. “It will be full of family-friendly attractions, interactive and playful shows, character meet and greets, unique merchandise and fun food and beverage venues. Although smaller in size, it will still carry the same quality as Universal’s other larger resort destinations.”
Universal and Frisco officials did not give any timeline on when the new park and resort would open.
A more adult-oriented Universal destination is heading to Las Vegas. Bloomberg reported that the company will build a 110,00-square-foot horror-themed attraction in the Area15 complex, which houses virtual reality experiences and Meow Wolf’s Omega Mart art installation, along with themed restaurants and bars.
Universal did not share an opening date for the Vegas attraction or any details about the experience, but did suggest that it would take after its Halloween Horror Nights events. “Horror is not just for Halloween anymore at Universal,” Universal Parks & Resorts chairman Mark Woodbury told Bloomberg.
Should the two attractions come to fruition, it would mark the largest attempt in decades for a destination theme park operator to compete in the regional market. Universal’s archrival Disney tried such an expansion in 1999 by opening a second DisneyQuest location in Chicago, but the interactive indoor park and arcade closed after two years. Other smaller themed destinations, such as Disney’s America, were proposed but never built.
Universal is already expanding its U.S. theme park portfolio with Epic Universe, the third theme park at the Universal Orlando Resort, which is set to open in 2025. Its last international expansion was the Universal Beijing Resort, which debuted in September 2021.