Niles: Knott’s, Universal offer different takes on kids’ lands

Knott’s Berry Farm’s Camp Snoopy, opened in 1983, set a trend for children’s lands in theme parks. Recently, Knott’s reopened its Camp Snoopy after renovations, showcasing a combination of new and refreshed rides. During the reopening, the land had limited attractions available, with some still under construction. The gist of Camp Snoopy remains a collection of kiddie rides, mainly from Italian manufacturer Zamperla, centered around the Peanuts franchise by Charles M. Schulz.

On the other hand, Universal Studios Florida’s DreamWorks Land offers a different vision. After changing its long-standing children’s land, Universal chose to replace Woody Woodpecker and Curious George with characters from DreamWorks Animation like Shrek, Trolls, and Kung Fu Panda. The DreamWorks Land includes only one ride, Trolls’ Trollercoaster, with the rest dedicated to shows, character meets, and active play areas.

Noteworthy attractions in DreamWorks Land include Shrek’s Swamp for Little Ogres, a two-story play structure with a tube slide making flatulence sounds, and King Harold’s Swamp Symphony, where guests can direct a frog choir by stomping on lily pads. DreamWorks Land provides opportunities for active play and relaxation through shows, contrasting the ride-focused approach of Camp Snoopy.

While Knott’s removed live entertainment from Camp Snoopy, Universal added shows to DreamWorks Land, such as DreamWorks Imagination Celebration and Po Live!, a “Turtle Talk”-like screen interaction with the Kung Fu Panda character.

Despite the differences between the two children’s lands, both models work, catering to different preferences among kids. The creative leadership at Knott’s Berry Farm, established four decades ago, paved the way for diverse approaches to what kids’ lands can be in the 21st century.

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