New Universal Theme Park Gets Approval for Construction

March 8, 2023, 1:06 PM · Universal's newest theme park last night got the legal approval to go ahead and begin construction.

The city council in Frisco, Texas approved a conditional use permit for the Universal Studios development, which will include a 30-acre theme park and 300-room hotel on a 97-acre site. The council also approved $12.7 million in financial incentives for the project, with the stipulation that the park be open by June 2026.

From the planning commission staff report on the project, which you can read here, we have learned several details about the theme park that Universal Studios is planning to build in the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex.

Universal Studios in Texas site plan
Image via City of Frisco, Texas

The report confirms that the as-yet-unnamed park will be focused on children between the ages of 3 and 11. Vehicle access would be off Fields Parkway, winding around the north end of the park to eight toll booths, which would feed into the parking lot. Outbound traffic from the parking lots could exit to Fields Parkway or the Dallas North Tollway. The hotel would sit on the south side of the park, with its vehicle access from Panther Creek Parkway.

The park will open most days between 10am and 6pm, with the park opening to the public no earlier than 9am on select dates, though hotel guests and possibly annual passholders will get one hour of early entry, allowing them in as early as 8am. The park will not be allowed to remain open later than 9pm, except on 20 designated dates when it may stay open until 10pm.

There will be a 100-foot height limit on all attractions, with an 80-foot limit in some areas.

Planning commission staff reported that the park is expected to have a peak daily attendance of 20,000 people. However, on most weekdays, staff estimated that the park would attract an average of 7,600 vehicle trips. (That's 3,800 round trips into and out of the parking lots.) For reference, the staff estimated that traffic load as somewhere between the average for a Costco and an HEB. (By the way, the HEB gets more, because... Texas.)

On peak Saturdays, the staff estimated traffic demand at 14,880 trips. Doing the math here, the park's estimated annual attendance could range somewhere between 1.5 to 4.5 million, depending upon the average number of people per vehicle. At the top end, that's still less than half of what Universal Studios Hollywood was doing before the pandemic. The staff report said that the City of Frisco currently attracts 6.4 million visitors annually.

Universal announced the project in January, along with a Halloween Horror Nights-style installation in Las Vegas, as Universal looks to create more regionally focused site-based entertainment around the country. [Universal Parks Announces Expansions in Texas and Vegas]

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Replies (1)

March 8, 2023 at 4:00 PM

The rate of expansion for Universal Parks & Resorts is staggering. That little one day park down the road from the mouse is now a multi-day destination all thanks to the success of Harry Potter, which was passed on by Disney, not once, but 4 separate times. JK even went to Disney after Universal agreed to all her creative demands. Hollywood has record crowds due to Nintendo.

Again, firing on all cylinders.

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