Universal Epic Universe is well underway in Florida, aiming to dominate the market in 2025. Thanks to photos by Bioreconstruct on Twitter we can see a major summer progress update on this monstrous addition to the Orlando market.
Universal Epic Universe expects to open in 2025. It will feature four major lands themed to Harry Potter, “How to Train Your Dragon,” Universal’s Classic Monsters and Nintendo characters. This park, and it accompanying parking, backstage areas, hotels and roads, will stretch to about 750 acres of land.
Seen above is the majority of this upcoming theme park. Featuring five roller coasters, a rumored nighttime lagoon show, four highly themed lands, a park hotel and much more – Universal Epic Universe is going to be the shining flagship of Universal Parks & Destinations.
This park will feature two entrances, one at the hotel and one as the main park entrance for day guests. This will enter to the main center point of the park which breaks off into four lands.
The center of Epic Universe
The center of the Epic Universe construction features three main structures. First we have the restaurant, which will be near the main park entrance. This is expected to be the major fine dining establishment within the park, with more fine dining options at the connected park hotel.
The carousel is rumored to be an elegant, above-water, stained glass attraction. A throwback to old time attractions. This carousel will be a standard design, with a covering that goes well beyond expectations. Water fountains, music, a stained glassed roof and a themed queue will make this more than a carousel.
Lastly, the lagoon show. Expected to be a multi-use space, this area’s main purpose is the park’s nightly show. This is expected to be a World of Color or Bellagio style show and will probably incorporate fireworks as well.
Three year progress update
Progress over the last three years has seen this dirt pile amass into steel, theming, roads and show buildings. With this all new space, Universal has advantages and hurdles.
The perks of this new space is starting from ground zero, choosing the roadways, the backstage areas and the hotels. They can begin with modern equipment instead of converting older structures.
The negative is needing to build it all at once. New hotels, new transportation depots, new rides, new employees, new roads, new permits and new expectations. This park has the entire themed entertainment industry watching it.
Paris in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
One of the most impressive projects in the Epic Universe construction is the less talked about Wizarding World of Harry Potter area. Of all the lands, this is the hardest one to watch true progress on. As we can’t see in the major buildings, most of the ride progress is a mystery. What we can see though is very impressive.
These multi-story buildings are recreating streets in Paris, France. Unlike with many theme park projects, this one doesn’t seem to be implementing forced perspective. Forced perspective is used commonly to make building appear tall or larger than they really are. Cinderella Castle is a famous example, using fake “doors” near the top of the castle that are really 3 feet tall. By shrinking door and window sizes, you brain assumes the builder is larger than it really is.
Monstrous scale being built to full size
Instead of Universal seeking to make this area appear large, they are instead creating a full-fledged city. Circled are construction workers to compare for sizing. As you can see, even on the top floor, these workers are small compared to the city street they are building.
Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida is a great comparison to this land. Diagon Alley, while a relatively small area, uses every inch of space. A ride, numerous shops, walking areas, shows, food stands and merchandise carts, all placed in a tiny space relatively speaking.
This Parisian city, if built the same way as Diagon Alley, could offer something beyond even the expectations of Disney’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. This mini city could host multiple floors of shopping and dining locations. Harry Potter is obviously a massive brand name. But imagine going to a theme park heading towards a three story restaurant and having crepes overlooking a stone street. At that point, the magic is just a bonus as you explore a European city in Orlando.
Hotel begins to tower over Epic Universe
Universal Epic Universe construction is more than a theme park. In fact, it is a theme park and at least three hotels to accompany it. More to come in the future, but for opening Universal is preparing three hotel options. One of them is connected to the park itself.
That is Universal’s Helios Grand Hotel, according to Orlando Park Stop. This 500 room hotel will feature rooms overlooking the park, a rooftop lounge and a special access entry to Universal Epic Universe.
While certainly not yet complete, this hotel is beginning to form as a strong backdrop to the park. This hotel is rumored to be a high-end luxury offering in the Universal Orlando portfolio, comparable to Hard Rock Hotel or Loews Portofino Bay Hotel.
According to Bioreconstruct, and I agree, number one points to the tiered waterways and foundation at the hotel entrance. Number two points to the Universal Classic Monsters or “Dark Universe” land entrance of the park. Number three is the entrance to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Paris land.
A challenge to the themed entertainment world
Universal Epic Universal is more than a park, it is a challenge against the world. Yes, this sounds extreme, but it isn’t. Walt Disney World will see a new massive competitor with all new rides, shows and hotel. SeaWorld Orlando will have new competition just miles away. Legoland Florida and the Peppa Pig Theme Park will no longer be Florida’s newest park. Busch Gardens will have new thrill rides and a world-class dueling coaster to compete with. International Drive will have massive hotels to fight against. And the world of theme parks will look at what one of the greatest theme park destinations on the planet can do.
The Universal Epic Universe Construction cannot be toned down, it cannot be dismissed. Universal is creating a massive wave in this industry and we can only watch and enjoy.
Coming sooner is Universal Studios Florida’s Dreamworks Land. This family friendly area is expected to open in 2024 with a Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, Trolls, and Gabby’s Dollhouse area.