Skip to content Skip to footer

Universal’s Epic Universe: New Details About the Florida Theme Park’s Rides and Worlds


Florida’s Universal Orlando Resort has at last released the first official details about its hotly anticipated upcoming theme park, Universal Epic Universe

First announced in 2019 and set to open in 2025, the new park—Universal Orlando’s fourth, if you count the waterslide park—is still under construction and has been widely reported to be costing Universal parent company Comcast over $1 billion to build.

The park’s extensive roller coaster tracks and hotel towers have been unmistakably rising on the Orlando skyline for many months, and some rides have even been visibly undergoing test runs. Amateur sleuths have already claimed to have figured out the themes of many new attractions, but up to now Universal officials have been tight-lipped about confirming what the five “worlds” of Epic Universe will contain.

This week, however, Universal officially began the incoming flood of marketing by unveiling fresh info about what a press release describes as “more than 50 awe-inspiring attraction[s], entertainment, dining and shopping experiences” in the works. In particular, we learned more about Celestial Park, “the heart of Universal Epic Universe and the first world guests will encounter at the new theme park.”

Also revealed: renderings for an entrance plaza (pictured below) that is more lavish and intensely themed than the entry to just about any theme park currently in existence. (Tokyo DisneySea, you could be facing some stiff competition soon.)

(Conceptual artwork for front gate of Universal Epic Universe at Universal Orlando Resort in Florida | Credit: Universal Orlando Resort)

Celestial Park will be characterized by lush gardens, dancing fountains, and “architecture inspired by astronomical and mythological elements,” the promotional materials promise. The conceptual artwork suggests a sci-fi spin on Belle-Époque Paris. 

The marquee ride in this part of the park will be Starfall Racers, a comet-themed dual-launch racing roller coaster that will reach speeds up to 62 mph—making it one of Orlando’s fastest rides—and a height of 133 feet. Billed as Epic Universe’s “most thrilling coaster experience,” the attraction will at one point include a maneuver in which the two coaster vehicles perform an inverted crisscross. (We hope that idea works better than Universal Islands of Adventure’s similarly entangled Dueling Dragons coaster, which was torn down in 2017.)

There will also be a carousel on which riders climb aboard “constellations” that “glide forward, backward—and even make 360-degree rotations—through the milky way in a choreographed dance of music and starlight.”

The park’s 7 acres’ worth of water features will mostly appear in the form of fountains that sync up with lights and music, shoot up to 135 feet in the air, and jet around guests seeking relief from the relentless Florida sun in an interactive wet-play area. 

Additionally, you will of course find retail locations as well as dining options ranging from quick-service joints to sit-down restaurants such as a neon dragon–decorated pan-Asian place and a surf-and-turf restaurant, Atlantic, set inside a “Victorian aquarium.”

Anchoring Celestial Park at one end will be the brand-new Universal Helios Grand Hotel, a 500-room property with its own dedicated entrance to the theme park.

Two more new hotels (co-owned and operated by Loews Hotels, just like all the other Universal hotels in Orlando), known as Universal Stella Nova Resort and Universal Terra Luna Resort, will be adjacent to Epic Universe. Only Universal Helios Grand Hotel will be on the grounds of the park, and only that hotel will have its own special entrance to the attractions. 

And speaking of entrances, Celestial Park will be outfitted with four elaborate portals leading to the four other worlds of Epic Universe: 

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter—Ministry of Magic, an all-new land designed to blend the Jazz Age Paris of the Fantastic Beasts movie franchise with the British Ministry of Magic from the original Harry Potter series, currently represented at two other Wizarding lands at Universal Orlando: Universal Studios Florida’s Diagon Alley and Universal Islands of Adventure’s Hogsmeade; the addition of the Ministry of Magic land, which will only exist in Florida, means that visitors will soon need to purchase admission to three of Universal’s Orlando theme parks if they want to explore all of the various incarnations of the Wizarding World

Super Nintendo World, featuring Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, and other notables from the beloved video game company; for an idea of what’s in store here, look to Universal Studios Hollywood, where Super Nintendo World made its U.S. debut in 2023 (click here for our deep dive into its innovations), though Florida’s version will be larger and will have more rides, including a whimsical roller coaster that’s rumored to be themed to the ’80s arcade classic Donkey Kong

How to Train Your Dragon—Isle of Berk, where dragons soar and Vikings have adventures based on the How to Train Your Dragon film series

• and Dark Universe, a “shadowy landscape where monsters roam” (rumored to hinge on the classic horror films of Universal Studios’ early days) and guests may encounter the “experiments of Dr. Victoria Frankenstein,” among other spooky goings-on

(Conceptual artwork for Super Nintendo World portal at Universal Epic Universe, part of Universal Orlando Resort in Florida | Credit: Universal Orlando Resort)

When Epic Universe opens sometime in 2025 (don’t expect a date to be announced for a while), it will join Universal Orlando’s three other parks: Universal Studios Florida, Universal Islands of Adventure, and the Universal Volcano Bay water park. 

From here on out, theme park lovers can expect a drip-drip-drip of announcements from Universal about other features of the upcoming theme park. It’s being built a few miles south of Universal Orlando’s main campus, near the Orange County Convention Center, and will presumably be connected by not-yet-announced transportation options.

“The addition of Universal Orlando’s fourth theme park will,” Universal’s press release asserts, “transform the award-winning resort into a weeklong vacation destination.”

Which presents an existential challenge to a certain mouse-themed resort situated nearby. Starting at some point next year, families will be able to plan a full, multiday theme park vacation in Orlando without ever setting foot in the four theme parks of Walt’s kingdom.

To peek into the advanced state of the construction of Universal Epic Universe, head over to YouTube to watch a Universal-produced video featuring members of the creative team. Or keep tabs on the progress with drone footage narrated by passionate fans, who seem to know a lot more than Universal is willing to confirm on the record.

And for everything you need to plan a fun and affordable trip to Florida’s theme park vacationland, pick up a copy of Frommer’s Disney World, Universal & Orlando, available in paperback and e-book versions. 

We’ll have more coverage here at Frommer’s as details come to light.



Source link