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Universal Kids Resort in Frisco Texas is Breaking Ground
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In November, the first ground was broken for the Universal Kids Resort in Frisco, Texas, Universal's first theme park for young children. As such, it will be designed for families with young children, specifically riders up to 46 inches in height. The park is aimed at children ages 3 to 9. Scaled smaller than other Universal offerings in order to add to the appeal for young guests, estimated costs appear to be in the range of $550 million. The goal, according to Universal, is to create a park that is both more intimate and engaging for small children, and also one that will still be the same quality in terms of attractions and landscaping as its larger resorts.

According to Page Thompson, president of new ventures for Universal Destinations & Experiences, “The whole resort will have a very lush landscape feel and we have buffer trees.” Those trees will surround the park, to shield nearby communities from views of park infrastructure.

Along with the park itself, the resort will include a 300-room hotel. According to Universal Destinations & Experiences' Brian Bruce, the architecture firm Gensler, which is extensively experienced in theme park builds, is designing the project. Most park areas and the hotel are scheduled to open by the middle of 2026.

Covering less than a quarter of the typical Universal theme park area, Universal Kids Resort will fill 30 acres, less than half of the 97-acre Frisco site. It will include different themed lands based on characters and films from Universal Studios and will of course include a variety of rides and shows, as well as dining and retail, along with meet and greets with favorite characters. The park is expected to feature at least four to five immersive lands, with speculation that characters from the Shrek and Trolls film franchises, which are already in the works as characters to be added to a new land at Universal Orlando Resort, could make their way into prime positions at the Frisco theme park as well.

Molly Murphy, president of Universal Creative, relates that the park will have “playful shows, meet-and-greets, fun food and beverage. We're designing it with the unbridled creativity of children in mind…from a kid's perspective, what does it look, feel, smell, and taste like? Tapping into their imagination and their sense of discovery and play.” Murphy adds that "This resort will be full of color and life and thoughtfully set in a lush green landscape."

While full details about the park have yet to be unveiled, recent renderings appeared to differ somewhat from initial drawings presented last January.
The park is expected to bring 20,000 visitors on weekends and holiday dates, with an average of 7,500 predicted for weekdays. The Frisco City Council has now approved the special use zoning permit for the park, and the permit was issued only after including the community in the zoning process, in an effort to make sure the project is an inclusive one.

Residents attended community and city council meetings, discussing concerns and details about the park's impact on the location. Frisco's mayor, Jeff Cheney said that “Concerns came up about traffic, but we started showing [residents] how the roads were going to be increased to have the flow.” He reassured area residents over traffic-related concerns, stating that the park will have less impact on the roads within the community than the opening of a new grocery store. The roadway into the park will be called Universal Parkway, and the theme park and resort should be easy to spot off I-90.

Other residents expressed concern that the park's presence will alter the city's culture and suburban quality of life. They worried that their relaxed town lifestyle, in what is now a bedroom community to Dallas, will come to an end if a theme park should “encroach on” the small suburb vibe. However, with continued growth in the region – one of the reasons for Frisco's selection as a location by Universal in the first place – the town's low-key nature is bound to change, regardless of the park's presence. Other concerns were related to home value impact and that the park-adjacent neighborhood would become fodder for utilization as short-term rentals for visitors.

These concerns aside, overall, Cheney described community reaction as being very positive and supportive.

Cheney states that the impact of the park will “serve this community for generations,” no matter what characters end up helming lands at the park. Universal stressed their commitment to the region, noting that they will “remain focused on ensuring the resort adds value and positively serves the community.”

Along with the park itself, the hotel will be a destination for the community; Universal describes the hotel as featuring a large, resort-style swimming pool area.
The hours for the park will be 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., with some variance due to seasonal demand, holidays, and weekends. It will never open before 9:00 a.m. except for hotel guests and annual passholders, who may have access to the park up to an hour earlier.  Closing time will typically be no later than 9 p.m., with 20 calendar days allotted to have a later closing of 10 p.m. for holidays and/or special events.

The city will give $12.7 million to Universal for the project as a completion incentive, but requirements such as opening both the park and hotel by June 2026 must be met. During the two-year construction phase, the project is expected to bring some 2,500 jobs to the area. Once opened, the project is expected to generate around $200 million in spending annually in the Frisco area.


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