Universal Orlando Is 'Evaluating' Seuss Landing Area amid Racism Controversy
Universal Orlando Resort is taking a close look at its Dr. Seuss-themed land after Dr. Seuss Enterprises announced Tuesday that six of the famed author's books will stop being published due to racist and insensitive imagery.
In a statement provided to Orlando's local Spectrum News 13 on Tuesday, a Universal spokesperson said that Seuss Landing — which is located inside the resort's Islands of Adventure theme park — "continues to be very popular with our guests and we value our relationship with Seuss Enterprises," and they would not be shutting it down.
However, "We've removed the books from our shelves as they have asked and we'll be evaluating our in-park experience too," the spokesperson added. "But our guests can plan on continuing to be able to enjoy their favorite experiences at Seuss Landing."
The area, located near the front of the park, includes various attractions such as a kids' play area based on the book If I Ran the Zoo; a spinning ride themed after One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish and a trolley ride, as well as various shops and eateries based on the books.
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On Tuesday, which marked "Read Across America Day" and the late author's birthday, Dr. Seuss Enterprises told the Associated Press that titles including And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street and If I Ran the Zoo — two stories represented within Seuss Landing at Islands of Adventure — will no longer go into distribution.
"These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong," Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the company committed to preserving the work of Theodor Seuss Geisel (whose pen name is Dr. Seuss), told the outlet.
"Ceasing sales of these books is only part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure Dr. Seuss Enterprises' catalog represents and supports all communities and families," the company added.
The decision to halt publication of the books was made last year after months of deliberation, Dr. Seuss Enterprises said. Other affected titles include McElligot's Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super! and The Cat's Quizzer.
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Meanwhile, construction is set to resume on Universal Orlando Resort's fourth theme park, Epic Universe, after being halted last summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a press release, the decision "will result in hundreds of jobs within Universal and thousands of jobs across Central Florida."
"The restart of construction of Epic Universe is a terrific moment for our employees and for our theme-park business in Florida," Comcast Corporation Chairman and CEO Brian L. Roberts says in the release. "It is our single-largest investment in the state and represents our enthusiasm for the spectacular park and the economic opportunities it will generate."
Although details about the park — which will sit on 750 acres — are still under wraps, Epic Universe, announced in 2019, will join Universal Studios (the original park), Islands of Adventure and Volcano Bay Water Theme Park in the resort's Florida portfolio.
"The resumption of the Epic Universe project couldn't come at a better time," Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings said in the release. "Our community has so many talented workers who will benefit from this massive project. I am confident it will deliver a huge economic boost to Orange County."
Universal Studios Hollywood is still closed and will remain so until at least May 31 due to the pandemic, according to the Los Angeles Times.