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Universal's Epic Universe: The Future of Theme Parks in Orlando

By Nick Eyman - June 7, 2023 | Universal Orlando Resort

In 2019, Universal Orlando announced its plans for the fourth theme park, Universal's Epic Universe. Set to be the largest theme park in the United States, Epic Universe aims to take the immersive and innovative experiences offered by Universal Parks & Resorts to a whole new level. With an opening date scheduled for 2025, the park is set to become a major attraction in the Sunshine State.

Spanning across 750 acres, Epic Universe will not only feature a theme park but also include hotels, shops, and dining options. This comprehensive approach aims to create a fully immersive experience for visitors, providing them with a complete entertainment package. The ambitious vision behind Epic Universe has garnered significant excitement and support from industry leaders and the local community.

Tom Williams, chairman and CEO of Universal Parks & Resorts, expressed his enthusiasm for the project, stating, "Our vision for Epic Universe is historic. It will build on everything we have done and become the most immersive and innovative theme park we have ever created." The investment in Epic Universe is seen as a testament to the company's commitment to its team members, the community, and the overall growth of the theme park industry.

Epic Universe was initially planned to open in 2023, but construction work faced a setback due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, work resumed in March 2021, and the project remains on track for its 2025 opening. The delays did not dampen the excitement, as former CEO of NBCUniversal, Jeff Shell, confirmed in January 2022 that the construction progress was going well. The anticipation surrounding Epic Universe continues to grow as it takes shape.

Situated near the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Epic Universe's location provides a unique opportunity to tap into the convention business. The proximity to the convention center allows for potential collaborations and cross-promotions, enhancing the overall guest experience. Orange County commissioners recognized the significance of Epic Universe and approved funding of up to $125 million for the extension of Kirkman Road, connecting to the theme park. Universal Orlando is also contributing $160 million to the project, highlighting their commitment to the local infrastructure.

The attractions and experiences within Epic Universe promise to be nothing short of extraordinary. While specific details are still emerging, rumors suggest that Super Nintendo World, inspired by the iconic video game franchise, will be a prominent feature. The land has already been successfully introduced at Universal Studios Japan and Universal Studios Hollywood, captivating visitors with its interactive rides and immersive technology. Other areas within Epic Universe may include How to Train Your Dragon, The Secret Life of Pets, Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and Universal's classic monsters.

Patents and trademarks filed by Universal Parks & Resorts and DreamWorks Animation hint at the potential attractions. "Dark Universe" suggests a land dedicated to Universal's classic monsters, while "Curse of the Werewolf" may allude to a thrilling coaster experience. The filing of trademarks for hotels, such as Universal Helios Grand Hotel, Universal Stella Nova Resort, and Universal Terra Luna Resort, indicates a commitment to providing diverse accommodation options for visitors.

Super Nintendo World at Epic Universe is rumored to include a Donkey Kong area, offering thrilling attractions like the Mine-Cart Madness coaster. Although leaked scale models from 2019 indicated these plans, it's important to note that they may have evolved over time. Universal Studios Japan is already expanding its Super Nintendo World to include a dedicated Donkey Kong-themed area, providing a glimpse of what could be expected at Epic Universe.

The integration of advanced technologies, interactive experiences, and the fusion of physical and virtual worlds exemplify Universal's commitment to creating a truly immersive environment. The aim is to let visitors live the game, not just play it. Universal Orlando has a proven track record of leveraging intellectual properties like Harry Potter to drive attendance. With Nintendo's popularity and appeal, Epic Universe has the potential to become a major draw for tourists worldwide.

Universal's Epic Universe represents a significant investment by Comcast NBCUniversal, underlining their confidence in the future of their theme park business and Florida as a destination. As the park's construction progresses and details continue to unfold, anticipation builds for the grand opening in 2025. The introduction of Epic Universe to the Orlando theme park landscape is set to redefine the entertainment experience and create lasting memories for visitors from around the globe.

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