The facade is a huge improvement over the former Universal's Cartoon Store's boring exterior. The detail and color really explode off the building and welcome you in.
|Spongebob Storepants Facade (Source: Orlando Attractions)|
|Punny! (Source: Orlando United)|
As a theme park fan who often defends Universal against Disney fans who often don't know any better, KidZone is one thing I just can't defend. Okay, Ripsaw Falls I can't defend either, but that's a different story.
KidZone is just there. No thought went into its design, and it's just ugly building after ugly building, with two (TWO!?) playgrounds thrown in with an off the shelf kiddie coaster and the ET Adventure. Stepping into KidZone after wandering the rest of the terrific Studios park is like stepping into a bizarro portal to a Six Flags. Okay, maybe not that bad, but you get the point. There are walkways that scream late 80s/early 90s and a haphazard approach that just leaves me scratching my head.
The properties represented aren't horrible (Woody, ET, Barney, Curious Geroge), but they're a group with very little relate-able connection, which furthers the feeling of disconnect. But for the past year I've, along with a few others I confer with, have been hearing whispers about a KidZone extreme makeover. And after seeing the store, I'm excited.
|Remember Fievel? No? That's cool. Most people don't. (Source: WDWInfo.com)|
I'd expect Fievel's Playland to go first, as well as KidZone Pizza, to be replaced by a Bikini Bottom play area and the Krusty Krab respectively. As for the rest, well that gets tricky. Will the whole land become a Spongebob land? I personally doubt it, but I have heard rumblings of such a change.
Which brings us to the elephant in the room of this situation... The ET Adventure.
|It's like an acid trip you can ride.|
©2012 Universal Orlando. All Rights Reserved
Now, I'm sure you're all asking what could replace ET. Well, I think we should keep a weathered eye on what's going on in Singapore. They're in the process of building a Sesame Street attraction that apparently has the same ride system as ET. While they wouldn't be able to clone the attraction to USF (Busch has the Sesame Street rights in the states), it could give us a clue as to what kind of ride Universal can produce in the same kind of ride space. Plus, some of those Green Planet scenes inside the ET Adventure could turn into Bikini Bottom quickly, no?
We don't know exactly what's going to happen, but we're excited. The store has turned out very well. Now let's just hope merch sales boom and we can get a new land that lives up to the Universal standard, rather than what we have now.
Stay tuned to Parkscope for further developments on KidZone and theme parks around the world, and make sure to follow @Parkscope on twitter. Thanks for reading!