Major theme park operators have learned a thing or two this century.
The successes of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at the Universal Studios Florida parks and the success of Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge and Pandora in Walt Disney World have proven that immersive IP (intellectual property) driven lands are what the people want in the theme park business.
And at the massive Epic Universe theme park, which is now under construction in Orlando, Florida, the people are going to get what they want.
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Who is building Epic Universe?
Epic Universe is the fourth theme park in the Universal Orlando Resort family of theme parks. The park is expected to double the size of Universal.
Universal hasn’t officially released a ton of information about the park but says it will take guests on a journey where beloved stories expand into vibrant lands.
The new land will be located just a few miles from the existing resort in Southwest Orange County, south of Sand Lake Road and east of Universal Boulevard.
The new park joins Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios Florida and the water park, Volcano Bay.
Central Florida, already the theme park capital of the world, is about to get richer.
When will Epic Universe open?
The most recent estimates seem to have the opening date set for the summer of 2025.
Universal’s Epic Universe was announced in 2019, but construction was halted. Now, the Epic Universe construction is back underway and making considerable progress.
Some of the aerial photos below offer a sneak peek of the construction of Epic Universe.
What do we know about Epic Universe? What has been confirmed by Universal
So what has been confirmed by Universal, from the horse’s mouth? Very little. Universal itself has stuck mostly to vague platitudes.
For example, “forever changing theme park entertainment” and “guests venturing beyond their wildest imagination”.
Universal says the new, spectacular park will be the most immersive and innovative in the Universal family. Concept art shows four lands, mostly non-descript and the central hub with a massive fountain at the park entrance and exit.
It also shows what looks like an enormous hotel at the back of the property.
So what is Epic Universe going to have?
On a grand scale, it will have new attractions, resorts, shopping, restaurants, an entertainment center and more.
Also, the new theme park will have five sections. It’s expected to include four themed lands around another central hub that – we believe – will not be tied to any specific IP.
Permits and released plans indicate at least three major hotels either attached to the park or located on site. Four of the sections, it strongly appears, will be immersive lands based on popular franchises under the Universal umbrella.
Even though Universal hasn’t confirmed much, we can draw quite a few conclusions thanks to various trademark applications, building permits and drone aerial photography.
There have been a lot of details that have made it beyond the mere rumor stage. Here are the expected themed lands coming to Epic Universe:
1. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Fans will be happy to know that it is likely that the new Epic Universe will feature a Harry Potter-themed land.
After all, it’s unlikely that Universal is building an entirely new park and not including its most valuable piece of IP.
There are reports that the land itself will be based on the Wizarding World of Paris as seen in the Fantastic Beasts franchise.
Reportedly, the land will have either one or two rides. Drone images of the construction appear to look similar to scenes from Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.
2. Super Nintendo World
There’s a lot of good information about Super Nintendo World, if for no other reason than Universal already has a Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan and also Universal Studios Hollywood.
Additionally, we can see some similar landmarks taking shape in Epic Universe.
The outlines of Princess Peach’s Castle are evident in aerial views as are parts of the Mario Kart ride. You can also see what appears to be the load-unload section of Yoshi’s Adventure from the air.
Additionally, there are indications of a Donkey Kong-themed roller coaster similar to Universal Japan’s new ride.
It’s possible that the park could utilize Power Up Bands, which allow guests to play interactive games throughout the land. Universal Studios Hollywood currently offers these challenges.
3. Universal Monsters
This land could reportedly have a Frankenstein dark ride similar in style to Harry Potter’s Forbidden Journey. There are also rumors of a water ride based on the Creature from the Black Lagoon.
The monsters section could capitalize on Universal’s strong Halloween Horror Nights presence.
Specifically, it could be a year-round land featuring Universal classic monsters like Frankenstein and Dracula.
4. Dreamworks: How to Train Your Dragon
Finally, based on the land of Berk from the Dreamworks “How to Train Your Dragon” trilogy, the Dragon Land is expected to feature a play area, a boat ride, a stage show, a dual-racing roller coaster and more.
The land is expected to feature Toothless the dragon and his many dragon friends as well as the young Viking Hiccup Haddock.
It may seem strange to be basing a world on a cartoon trilogy – if the park opens in 2025 – that would have ended six years prior.
However, the Dreamworks team did an excellent job of world-building across the three films with strong characters that would be good for meet and greets and theming that leaves a lot of rides and show possibilities.
What else will Epic Universe have?
In addition, Orlando Parkstop’s Alicia Stella reported a trio of celestial-themed hotels that would match with the apparent astronomy theming on the concept art of the Central Hub.
Stella reports Universal has trademarked Terra Luna Resort and Stella Nova Resort for two hotel spaces on Universal Boulevard near the park. The speculation is these would be twin hotels similar in idea to Universal’s Dockside and Riverside.
Stella nova means “new star” while terra means “land” or “territory” – sometimes the planet Earth. Luna is the moon.
Stella also says that Universal has trademarked Universal’s Helios Grand Hotel. The ancient Greeks called the sun Helios.
However, it’s important to note that while Universal has trademarked the names, they could ultimately rename them.
Will Epic Universe be connected to Universal Studios?
Not literally connected, no. The Epic Universe will be about two miles away from the other Universal parks in Orlando. Depending on traffic, it’s about a 15-minute ride.
It is logical, however, to assume Universal might have a robust public transportation system connecting the two sites.
Are you looking forward to Epic Universe opening in Orlando? Tell us what you think in the comments!