Theme Park News: Dreamworks Land Coming to Universal Orlando, New Theme Park Opening in Oklahoma, and More

Disney and Universal aren't the only theme parks with new projects up their sleeves.
Minions on parade at Universal Orlando (Photo: Universal)
Minions on parade at Universal Orlando (Photo: Universal)

From brand-new attractions like TRON Lightcycle/Run at Walt Disney World to Villain-Con Minion Blast at Universal Orlando Resort, it always feels like there’s something new to see each time you visit your favorite theme park. But Disney and Universal aren’t the only ones with new projects up their sleeves, and one of the many pieces of recent theme park news includes a brand-new amusement park coming to Oklahoma. There’s a lot of fun news stories to catch up on, so let’s dive in.

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New Land Announced At Universal Orlando Resort

With new attractions, lands, and even an entirely new theme park on the horizon, it’s an exciting time to be a Universal Orlando fan. Universal has announced that a new land will open at Universal Studios Florida in 2024 inspired by the family of characters from Dreamworks Animation Studios. Guests will find themselves immersed in the worlds of Shrek, Trolls, Gabby’s Dollhouse, and Kung-Fu Panda. This upcoming land is just one part of what Universal describes as “a collection of new entertainment experiences” coming to the resort in 2024.

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There’s certainly a lot going on at Universal Orlando Resort right now, with its third theme park, Epic Universe, slated to open in 2025. Universal Studios Florida also recently began its phased opening of the new Minion Land, with attractions and dining inspired by the Despicable Me and Minions franchise of films. 

Universal Studios Globe at Universal Orlando Resort (Photo: Universal)
Universal Studios Globe at Universal Orlando Resort (Photo: Universal)

Plans Unveiled For Brand-New Amusement Park In Oklahoma

A press release from July 19 announced that a $2 billion project is underway to develop American Heartland Park and Resort. The new amusement park, located in Northeast Oklahoma along Route 66, will be 125 acres, comparable to the size of Magic Kingdom and Disneyland Park. The park will sit within on a 1,000-acre resort property, including a 300-room hotel and indoor water park. The resort will sit adjacent to a 320-acre Three Ponies RV Park and Campground, which, when complete, is expected to be the largest campground in the central United States with 750 RV spaces and 300 cabins.

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American Heartland will feature an “Americana-themed environment with a variety of entertaining rides, live shows, family attractions, waterways as well as restaurant-quality food and beverage offerings.” The RV park is expected to open in 2025, with American Heartland Theme Park scheduled to open the following year in 2026.

Extended Evening Theme Park Hours Will Soon Be Available at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Slinky Dog Dash at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Photo: Disney)
Slinky Dog Dash at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Photo: Disney)

Guests staying at Walt Disney World’s Deluxe and Deluxe Villa resort hotels have long been able to enjoy the added perk of Extended Evening Theme Park Hours. While this benefit has mainly been available at Magic Kingdom and EPCOT, these guests will soon be able to enjoy additional hours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

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This fall, Extended Evening Theme Park Hours will be available on select days at Hollywood Studios. Currently, guests staying at Deluxe or Deluxe Villa resorts can plan for additional hours at the park on September 30, October 5, October 11, October 19, and October 25. Note that at this time, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is not listed as an available attraction during the Extended Evening Theme Park Hours, but Disney’s list of available attractions is subject to change.

EPCOT Prepares For the 2023 International Food and Wine Festival

Remy welcomes guests to the EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival (Photo: Disney)
Remy welcomes guests to the EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival (Photo: Disney)

Foodies will have plenty to celebrate in the coming weeks at EPCOT. The park’s flagship International Food and Wine Festival returned on July 28 with dozens of new food and drink items. And at the Brew-Wing Lab at the Odyssey, guests can sample the latest experiments from Muppet Labs, with none other than Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker appearing via video.

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Select marketplaces will open in mid-August, and four new booths will open on September 22. That date is also when EPCOT will kick off its limited-time Disney 100 Celebration, which will run through the end of 2023. 

New Restaurant Coming to Disney Springs

Disney Springs (Photo: Photo: VIAVAL/Shutterstock)
Park entry is not required to visit Disney Springs, the resort’s shopping and dining district (Photo: VIAVAL/Shutterstock)

Disney Springs is the shopping and dining district found at Walt Disney World. With no park admission required, guests can experience some of the best restaurants on Disney property, including spots featuring celebrity chefs like Masaharu Morimoto’s Morimoto Asia and Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’.

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Later this year, guests can also dine at a new restaurant called EET by James Beard Award-winning chef and Food Network star Maneet Chauhan and hospitality entrepreneur Vivek Deora. EET will bring “their famed Indian cuisine” to Disney Springs in a fun, modern concept, per an announcement on Disney Springs’ Instagram. More details are expected to come later leading up to the restaurant’s opening.

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Carly Neil
Carly Neil is a New England-based writer who specializes in theme parks, local attractions, food and drink, and travel. Her expertise for all things Disney has been featured in numerous industry-leading sites, and over the years she has become a trusted voice in helping first-timers and experts alike plan their Disney vacations. When Carly isn’t planning her own Disney getaway, she can be found catching the latest Broadway play. Visit her website at for more information, and follow her on Instagram and Twitter @itscarlyneil for theme park news, other daily musings, and pictures of her pets.