What to expect inside the new Universal Parks and Resorts theme park in Frisco

FRISCO – Imagine holding your child’s hand and walking through a set of interactive experiences with popular characters from FRISCO Minions or Spongebob Squarepants Then stay in a 300-room hotel with a similar theme.

That’s Universal Parks and Resorts’ vision for pictures of young families with their newly announced theme park in Frisco.

Drone video: See Frisco’s future Universal Studios location on Dallas North Tollway.

So, what do we know so far about the park?

It will be derived from “a collection of great attractions that attract young families all over the world,” said Mark Woodbury, Chairman and CEO of Universal Parks & Resorts. He described the plan Wednesday to the media, city officials and developers $10 billion Frisco giant project known as The Fields.

The description was more conceptual than detailed.

Woodbury said the park’s four or five themes will provide plenty of meet-and-greet experiences with Universal’s cast of recognizable characters. It will be about a quarter the size of the famous Universal theme park in Orlando, Florida. Where topics include Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts And Despicable mess me minion.

It will be designed to blend in with the landscape of the sprawling Fields development, he said. You will join PGA of America’s New Golf Resort As the main attractions of the project.

Woodbury confirmed that the park will be about experiences – interactive attractions geared towards younger families and children ages 3 to 9. He said he envisions the park as a one- or two-day destination.

“These different experiences…come together to create this wonderfully world-class theme park designed specifically for Frisco families in the surrounding area,” said Woodbury.

Frisco will have a Universal Studios themed children’s park

In front of the park, he said, would be a hotel with 300 rooms. Unlike Universal’s five theme parks globally, there is no blueprint for roller coasters.

The Fields development site gives the company “plenty of space” to build a park filled with family-friendly attractions, including fun shows, said Paige Thompson, president of new projects for Universal Parks & Resorts.

“It’s an appropriate scale for our young family audience,” said Thompson. “Although it may be smaller in area than our other parks, its quality is at the level befitting the global name.”

Global executives did not provide a timeline or cost estimate for the project. Estate sale records indicate that the company expects to open the park within four years.

The family entertainment center market is expected to grow at an annual rate of more than 12% until 2026 to reach $21 billion, According to market research firm Technavio.

These centers range from arcade studios and virtual reality game zones to more traditional businesses that combine food and fun, such as Coppell-based Dave & Busters, Irving-based Chuck E. Cheese, and Dallas-based Main Event Entertainment. The category also includes KidZania, the Mexican-owned high-end children’s entertainment concept He opened his first US location at the Stonebriar Center in Frisco. This site is located about 14 miles south of the planned Universal site.

The total entertainment industry market is expected to reach $681 billion globally by 2027, with North America accounting for 54% of the growth, according to Technavio. The COVID-19 pandemic hit theme parks in 2020 and they are still recovering.

Christopher Penney, an associate professor of management at the University of North Texas at Denton, said he believes Universal could test the future garden market with the fresco concept. Compare it to the company’s development in Florida.

“What they’ve been doing over the past decade in Florida I think could happen here as well,” said Penny, who worked in the amusement park industry before entering academia. “They just started with Universal Studios, put in Islands of Adventure and added to it. Every bet they made paid off.”

What parent company Universal is counting on, he said, is that “everyone has been locked in their homes for two years.” “Themed entertainment is going to be the biggest growth chip, and they’ve got all their chips in place. Virtual reality, metaverses can only go so far. People want something tangible that they can touch, that they can hear, feel and smell.”

This also makes Universal’s plan different from that of Arlington-based Six Flags Entertainment Corp., which operates 27 theme parks in the United States, Mexico and Canada. Six Flags was a remote industryreporting a 21% drop in revenue in its most recent quarterly results.

“What kind of happened is that they became so stagnant,” Benny said. “They didn’t have to spend money to open a new one [rides]. What’s going to happen now is, because of the competition, Six Flags is really going to have to respond, and they’re going to have to step it up. Everyone in the community really wins when you have this healthy competition.”

Penny said Frisco will also gain ground as a regional destination for tourists and as a housing market as Universal begins hiring.

“It will definitely be a catalyst for further growth in this area,” he said. This growth was going to happen regardless. What this did is it moved the timeline, perhaps by a decade.”

Writer Mitchell Barton contributed to this story.

Is the Frisco’s Fields development about to become home to a theme park?

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