DreamWorks Land is scheduled to open at Universal Studios Florida this summer. We were kindly invited by Universal Orlando for a first look “sneak peek” at the new kid-themed land before it opens to the public on June 14, 2024.

The new area will allow guests to enter “the vivid world and imagination of DreamWorks Animation”, offering up fun for the entire family – with multiple interactive play areas, live entertainment, character meet and greets, and more.

It’s important to note that the new land was not yet finished and was undergoing a “technical rehearsal” during our visit. Consequently, not everything was open or operational. Therefore, we will reserve our OFFICIAL review until its opening in June.

DreamWorks Land replaces Woody Woodpecker’s KidZone, a land that was well past its prime by the time it closed in early 2023.

The land is divided into three subsections: Shrek, Trolls, and Kung Fu Panda. Despite the difference in theme between the properties, they all flow together pretty well. Guests will encounter Shrek’s Swamp upon entering DreamWorks Land.

Shrek’s cottage features the Shrek, Donkey, and Fiona meet & greet – now in a much more permanent home. Connected to the cottage meet & greet is Shrek’s Swamp for Little Ogres, a small playground with slides and a splash pad for toddlers. Here, you can find “Pinocchio’s Fact Shack,” where the animatronic puppet offers up “facts” about his friends and swamp. If you pay close attention, you’ll notice his nose grows after each fact. The most notable feature, though, is the slide affectionately known as the “Poop Chute,” which is a slide down Shrek’s Outhouse, complete with fart noises!

The Poop Chute!

Compared to its predecessor, Shrek’s Swamp is more ADA-friendly, a wonderful feature for a kids’ playground.

Across from Shrek’s cottage is King Harold’s Swamp Symphony, an interactive playground where kids can step on lilypads to get the frogs to sing.

For snacks, Swamp Snacks will offer up some themed food & drink, with all eyes on the Shrekzel – a Shrek-shaped pretzel with accompanying green cheese; and seems to be an item of interest according to our social media channels.

Behold! The Shrekzel!

Next up is the vibrant Trolls area, filled with bright colors while offering ample shade. Here you’ll find the main attraction – DreamWorks Imagination Celebration. As you enter the courtyard, you are greeted by a colorful Trolls water fountain. Off to the side, you’ll find Poppy’s Playground, a charming small playground designed for younger children.

The show incorporates popular songs, dancing, puppetry, and more to create a lively party atmosphere featuring characters from Shrek, Trolls, and Kung Fu Panda, with a special appearance by a certain “royal” resident of Madagascar. The show revolves around the idea that imagination never fades if you believe strongly enough, serving as a simple yet effective plot device for a dance party featuring fantastical characters.

Elsewhere around Trolls, the Trollercoaster is a revamped version of the Woody Woodpecker Nuthouse Coaster, providing a gentle roller coaster experience suitable for beginners.

At the back of the land is Po’s Kung Fu Training Camp. The playground features a few splash areas and Po Live, an impressive and interactive meet-and-greet experience – where kids can talk and play with Po, himself. As it currently stands, the area feels a little empty – especially with how large it is. Hopefully, there are plans for expansion as there were some missed opportunities, especially with food. Adding Asian-inspired cuisine, like the successful Mr. Ping’s Noodle Shop from Universal Studios Hollywood’s Lunar New Year events, could enhance the overall experience.

This is the part where we need to shift our perspective from being theme park enthusiasts to seeing the park from the viewpoint of its intended audience – young children. Universal has faced criticism in the past for not providing enough options for young kids, especially as KidZone featured outdated properties. With the introduction of DreamWorks Land, Universal has added three popular franchises to their theme park offerings, providing young children with a chance to play in a modern playground, while parents can relax and watch them have fun, all while snacking on a Shrekzel.

DreamWorks Land officially opens at Universal Studios Florida on June 14, 2024.

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