Universal Orlando Closing Beloved Ride

Universal Orlando revealed some sad news for Shrek fans this week: the theme park's Shrek 4D family attraction and its gift shop will be closing soon. There's not much time to get a final visit in either - the area will close down for good on Jan. 10, 2022, according to a report by Click Orlando. So far, it is not clear what will replace the popular ride.

Shrek 4D is an attraction meant to encompass the entire Shrek franchise, with a little bit of everything for all ages. In addition to the themed gift shop, it offers fans special 3D "OgreVision" glasses before sending them on a ride complete with its own in-world narrative. Visitors are asked to help Shrek, Donkey and Princess Fiona evade the ghost of Lord Farquaad as he tries to recapture Fiona. The ride has also been used for special events, including some holiday specials.

Shrek 4D opened in 2003 in Universal Orlando, and it has been a staple of the park ever since. This has many fans expecting something big to replace it, but so far there is no hint about what that could be. The last Shrek movie came out in 2011, and the most recent TV release was in 2018, so the franchise is not on the cutting edge of pop culture right now. However, it remains a major part of the Universal catalog, and there are reportedly projects in development.

Since 2004, producer Jeffrey Katzenberg and other behind-the-scenes creators have said that the Shrek franchise was meant to consist of five main films, so one more entry was likely to come eventually. In 2016, star Eddie Murphy even told Cineman Blend that there was a finished script for Shrek 5. The most recent whisper of this project we've heard came from a Variety report in 2018, which said that the studios were working on both a Shrek 5 and a Puss in Boots 2.

The latter is a more concrete plan. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is currently on Universal Pictures' slate, to be released on Sept. 23, 2022. The movie is expected to follow Puss on a journey for a magical "last wish," which he believes can restore all nine of his lives.

With new releases like that on the horizon, it seems strange to some that Shrek 4D is closing down in Universal Orlando. However, with no announcement from the theme park yet, it could simply mean that a franchise overhaul is underway.