Straight Outta Swampton

DreamWorks Land At Universal Orlando Is A Dream Come True For Kids Of All Ages

A Trolls roller coaster, Shrek-shaped pretzels, and more fun await!

by Carly Caramanna
Guests joyously walk through Universal Orlando's new DreamWorks Land.
Universal Orlando

Have you ever dreamed of hugging a big green ogre? How about learning martial arts from a certified kung fu master who also happens to be an oversized panda? Well then, you're in luck. Universal Orlando Resort is continuing to up the ante of offerings for guests of all ages. So much so that more and more families are making it the main attraction of their Florida vacation.

Just last year we went positively bananas over its new Minion Land with attractions and eateries inspired by the lovable yellow creatures. Now, Universal has brought to life other favorite characters of the big screen with DreamWorks Land. And one thing's for sure: Imaginations will be running wild. From the multi-colored realm of Trolls to everyone's favorite ogre, Shrek, the entire family can step into these fantastical stories in a whole new land.

Universal invited me to be among the first to experience it, and — spoiler — I've already returned for more fun (and Shrekzels! But more on that to come). Here's everything you need to know and what you absolutely should not miss when visiting DreamWorks Land.

DreamWorks Land is divided into several main areas.

The new area of Universal Studios Florida is sprawling but easy to navigate. Once you step foot inside, the land is divided into three main sections dedicated to Shrek, Trolls, and Po's Kung Fu Training Camp inspired by Kung Fu Panda 3. The stories from these beloved franchises come to life in new ways through attractions, shows, and interactive playscapes.

Carly Caramanna

In Shrek's kingdom, guests will be greeted by the towering home of the green ogre before exploring an interactive playground and devouring some tasty snacks (there's even green cheese!). Trolls features the land's main attraction, a thrilling yet not-to-scary roller coaster, some must-have sweet treats, and Poppy's playground. Join Kung Fu Master Po for the land's can't-miss interactive show and a plethora of water playscapes.

Its character meet and greets are pure fun.

The crown jewel of character meet and greets within DreamWorks Land takes place at Shrek's Cottage.

Universal Orlando

Here, meet Shrek, Fiona, and the hilarious Donkey in this can't-miss encounter that will have you rolling over from laughter.

Universal Orlando

To brush up alongside Poppy and other adorable Trolls, head to the fountain alongside Poppy's Playground for a photo op. DreamWorks Character Zone, located near the land's entrance, features an ever-rotating lineup of characters from past and present, like Puss in Boots and Gabby from Gabby's Dollhouse.

Carly Caramanna

Budding thrillists will love the Trolls coaster.

All aboard the Caterbus for a ride on the fluorescent-colored Trolls Trollercoaster. This family-friendly roller coaster has a minimum height of just 36" (92cm), making it perfect for budding thrill enthusiasts' first coaster. But keep in mind that children under 48" (122cm) must be accompanied by a companion.

Universal Orlando

This attraction accepts Universal Express Pass, the park's expedited ride service that allows guests to cut the standard queue. This add-on can prove absolutely vital during high peak times, especially surrounding holidays. This perk is free for guests staying at one of Universal's Premier Hotels: Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, The Hard Rock Hotel, and Loews Royal Pacific Resort.

There are plenty of places to burn off steam.

A highlight for many families will be the number of new splash pads and playscapes this land brings to the parks, including King Harold's Swamp Symphony. In these immersively themed spaces that inspire play exploration, kids can (safely) run amok as parents choose to join in or sit back and watch.

Universal Orlando

Littlest guests will adore the whimsical Poppy's Playground — and this offers some much-needed shade for adults. Mama Luna Feline Fiesta is an interactive experience, much like a larger-than-life video game inspired by Puss and Boots 2: The Last Wish.

Universal Orlando

For some serious wet fun, you'll find the largest (and wettest) interactive play space over in Po's Kung Fu Training Camp. Don't worry about making a splash; if your kids get totally soaked in one of the play areas, there are several human-sized dryer machines in the land.

Carly Caramanna

Say "hi-yah!" when you train like a ninja.

Tucked inside Po's Kung Fu Training Camp, you'll find Po Live! Here, you guessed it, the adorably silly (and giant) Dragon Warrior Po is enthused to impart his kung fu wisdom on all who dare listen. Spoiler: Shenanigans ensue during this interactive show that uses state-of-the-art digital technology to feed off guests' reactions. Located under shading, Po Lives runs approximately every 15 minutes and will be an instant family favorite.

Bring a Shrek-sized appetite!

In DreamWorks Land, food proved far from an oversight and might be reason alone to visit again and again. There are quite a few wonderfully themed bites, but many (it's me! Hi!) are already clamoring over the Shrekzel. The head-scratching concoction is actually a soft pretzel shaped to resemble Shrek's face and served with ooey, gooey green cheese. It's the perfect portable and shareable snack.

For another Insta-worthy bite, Trolls Treats dishes up delectable ice cream cones direct from Poppy's boombox. Choose from the Poppy-licious pink, a cascade of pink lemonade soft serve, or Brozone Berry, a punchy and tart huckleberry soft serve.

Carly Caramanna

Do not miss the big show.

DreamWorks Imagination Celebration is the land's marquee production. This 20-minute, high-energy show is all about the power of imagination and features dance numbers from Poppy, Po, and more. It's a true you-have-to-see-it-to-believe-it moment to witness a fist-pumping Shrek on stage before your own eyes.

Carly Caramanna

Pro tip: The show is not only entertaining but also the perfect spot to take a much-needed afternoon break. Just as good as the performance may very well be the chilling air conditioning that pumps through the entirely indoor theater where guests are seated.

Fart jokes are alive and well.

Over in Shrek's Swamp for Little Ogres, you'll find a multi-level climbing structure designed with the smallest ogres in mind. You'll find quite a few hidden gems here, including a slide through Shrek's outhouse, where you may hear fart noises as you ride down. There's also a silly interaction with the greatest fibber of them all, Pinocchio, that makes for some good laughs.

How to Visit

DreamWorks Land is located in Universal Studios Florida next to classic attraction E.T. Adventure (another family must) and targeted towards guests 12 and under. With character meet and greets, playgrounds, entertainment, and rides, you should plan on spending at least several hours here to experience everything it has to offer.

Of course, Universal Studios Florida is also home to other can't-miss attractions, like the new Minions Land and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter — Diagon Alley.

What Else to Expect

It's stacking up to be a blockbuster summer with a slew of new offerings joining DreamWorks Land. Universal Studios Florida has rolled out their best nighttime offering to date, CineSational: A Symphonic Spectacular, a salute to beloved films combining music with pyrotechnics, fireworks, and drones. And over at Universal Islands of Adventure, there's a new castle projection show, Hogwarts Always, which is well-deserving of guests to linger at the park long after sundown.

Beyond this year, Universal Orlando will open an entirely new park, Epic Universe, in 2025. This park will include the highly anticipated Super Nintendo World and a brand new Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Suffice it to say, I've grabbed the popcorn and am awaiting all that unfolds.