The 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.
And at the massive theme park Epic Universe, which is now under construction in Orlando, Florida, the people are going to get what they want.
Who is building Epic Universe?
Epic Universe is the fourth theme park in the Universal Orlando Resort family of theme parks.
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 getting richer.
When will Epic Universe open?
Universal’s Epic Universe was announced in 2019, but construction was halted.
Now, the Epic Universe construction is back underway. And the most recent estimates seem to have the opening date set for the summer of 2025.
What is Epic Universe going to have?
We’ll get into specifics in a minute. But the new theme park will have five sections, four themed lands around another central hub that – we believe – will not be tied to any specific IP.
On a grand scale, it will have new attractions, resorts, shopping, restaurants, an entertainment center and more.
Permits and released plans indicate 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.
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 will have a robust public transportation system connecting the two sites, at least in spirit.
Will Harry Potter be at Epic Universe?
It’s likely. We will talk more about the hows and the whys in the rumors sections below.
But it’s unlikely that Universal is building an entirely new park and not including its most valuable piece of IP.
What do we know about Epic Universe? Here’s 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 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 entrance and exit.
It also shows what looks like an enormous hotel at the back of the property.
What else do we know about Epic Universe? Strong clues about the park
Even though Universal hasn’t confirmed much, we can draw quite a few conclusions.
Thanks to various trademark applications, building permits and drone photography there have been a lot of details that have made it beyond the mere rumor stage.
First of all, it looks like the four themed lands will be:
- Super Nintendo World
- Universal Monsters
- Wizarding World of Harry Potter
- Dreamworks: How to Train Your Dragon
In addition, Orlando Parkstop’s Alicia Stella is reporting a trio of celestial-themed hotels which 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. We’re still nearly three years out from the opening day. Things can change.
Other rumors about what might be coming to Epic Universe
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. Additionally, we can see some similar landmarks taking shape in Epic Universe.
The outlines of Princess Peach’s Castle are evident in aerial shots as are parts of the Mario Kart ride. You can also see what appears to be the load-unload section from Yoshi’s Adventure from the air.
And there are indications of a Donkey Kong-themed roller coaster similar to Universal Japan’s new ride.
The monsters section could capitalize on Universal’s strong Halloween Horror Nights presence. Specifically, it could be a year-round land featuring Universal’s classic monsters like Frankenstein and Dracula.
The land will 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.
Changes to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Changes have been recently announced to the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It was once going to open with two rides but now will only have one, a ride reportedly based on the Ministry of Magic.
There are reports that the land itself will be based on the Wizarding World of Paris as seen in the Fantastic Beasts franchise.
It appears the facades will still go up where the second ride was to be built, leaving space for Universal to expand.
This particular ride, rumored to be a 3D broomsticks ride, has been taken off the drawing board. Reportedly, it was originally slated to go in Universal Studios Florida where the now defunct Fear Factor stage is.
What about Dragon Land?
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, 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 that – if the park opens in 2025 – will 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 ride and show possibilities.
Are you looking forward to Epic Universe opening in Orlando? Tell us what you think in the comments!