Universal Orlando Resort is opening a brand new theme park, and we’ve got all the details. While keen-eyed folks in Orlando noticed that construction was already underway on something on a huge plot of land that Universal Orlando Resort purchased, they made it official today: it’s the site of their fourth theme park, called Epic Universe, and it’s their most ambitious theme park yet. The stated vision of this new gate is “to create an entirely new level of experience that forever changes theme park entertainment.”
Universal’s Epic Universe will take guests on a journey where beloved stories expand into vibrant lands – and where that journey is as much a part of their adventure as the ultimate destination.
So what is Epic Universe, exactly? Exact details are thin in this initial announcement, but fans of Universal Orlando’s other parks—Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure, and Universal’s Volcano Bay—will find plenty to be happy about:
“Our vision for Epic Universe is historic,” said Tom Williams, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for Universal Parks & Resorts. “It will build on everything we have done and become the most immersive and innovative theme park we have ever created. It is an investment in our business, our industry, our team members and our community.”
Epic Universe is described as the single-largest investment Comcast NBCUniversal has made in its theme park business and in Florida overall, and in addition to the actual theme park, Epic Universe will also play host to an entertainment center, hotels, shops, restaurants, and more. It will be located within a larger 750-acre site that nearly doubles Universal’s total available acreage in Central Florida. Indeed, while the existing Universal Orlando Resort is pretty contained to one area, Epic Universe is located a few miles away from that hub, south of Sand Lake Road and east of Universal Boulevard.
The construction of Epic Universe also invests in the city of Orlando, including the extension of Kirkman Road. This is a 50/50 public-private partnership in which Universal is investing $160 million to extend Kirkman into the area where the new park will be located. So for those wondering how guests will travel to and from Epic Universe, it appears Universal Orlando is making a huge investment in transportation here to make the travel seamless.
As for what IP specifically will be housed in Epic Universe, that’s officially under wraps for now. But we know for a fact that Universal Orlando has plans for Nintendo World, and construction plans for that area in Universal Studios Florida was abruptly halted a couple years ago. That would seem to suggest they decided to move Nintendo World to this new park. Other rumored areas revolve around the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Jurassic World franchises, but again right now nothing is confirmed and these rumors could end up being false.
Still, with the smashing success of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida, one imagines there will be some kind of Wizarding World extension in Epic Universe. Universal Orlando Resort just opened the stunning new Wizarding World attraction Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure this summer to high praise and immense interest, so it’s not a stretch to say the Wizarding World is something of the beating heart of Universal Orlando Resort at the moment.
I’m also eager to see what kinds of hotels might populate this new area. Universal Orlando Resort already plays host to a series of tremendous and highly themed hotels like Cabana Bay Beach Resort and Sapphire Falls, and this summer opened the initial phase of their first ever value hotels Universal’s Endless Summer Resort. Their partnership with Loews has proved fruitful so far, so I’m eager to see what other themes we can expect. I mean, if Disney is doing a Star Wars hotel, it wouldn’t be outside the realm of possibility for Universal to create a Harry Potter hotel right? Here’s hoping…
No details beyond the name, location, and a broad overview of Epic Universe were given today (we don’t yet know when it’s targeted to open), but expect much more news in the coming months and years as Epic Universe comes together. As a huge fan of all things Universal Orlando Resort, I can’t wait to see what else is in store.
Click on the Epic Universe concept art for a closer look.