Universal Orlando's new theme park, Epic Universe, back on after pandemic delay
Since 2019, we've known that an entirely new theme park is coming to Orlando. But until today, we didn't know with any certainty what the park's future would be in a post-pandemic world.
It was an open secret that Universal Orlando had a massive 750-acre tract of land near, but separate from, the current parks. Universal decided this land would become the home of Epic Universe. When completed, this will be the brand's third traditional Orlando theme park, along with Universal Studios and Universal's Islands of Adventure. There's also a Universal waterpark, Volcano Bay, that opened in 2017.
In July 2020, however, construction on Universal's Epic Universe was halted due to the pandemic as the company "adjusted plans." But as of today, we know this project is still going to happen and that the "restart will begin immediately," according to a statement from Universal Orlando. The company said it does expect it will take several months before reaching full-speed on construction once again.
Down the road a few miles, Disney World is also making construction progress on multiple projects after a pandemic stall. This includes the Star Wars-themed hotel experience, a planned 2021 opening of the Ratatouille attraction in Epcot and Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout, also in Epcot. However, Disney has been much quieter about the new timeline for completing Tron, and some projects have likely hit the cutting room floor.
What we know about Universal's Epic Universe
Once completed, in addition to a new theme park, Universal's Epic Universe will also feature an entertainment center, hotels, restaurants and shops. To give you an idea of the scale of this project, announcements from 2019 indicated that the project would bring 14,000 positions to Universal Orlando.
As suspected, we also now know there will be a Super Nintendo World at Epic Universe, according to BlooLoop, which covers the attractions industry.
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This park will join other recent projects at Universal Orlando including the Harry Potter-themed Hagrid rollercoaster that debuted in 2019; and two new Universal hotels -- Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Surfside Inn and Suites and Endless Summer – Dockside Inn and Suites, which opened in recent years as the parks' first value resorts.
The addition of Universal's Epic Universe may go a long way toward making Universal Orlando a weeklong destination by itself (instead of functioning as a one- or two-day add-on to other area attractions) and could certainly add additional value for Universal annual passholders.
While it's going to be a while until the new Universal Orlando theme park is constructed, especially given the multimonth pandemic delay, here are some tips for planning a Universal Orlando trip today:
- How to Get the Most Out of One Day at Universal Studios Florida
- What’s Coming to Universal Studios in 2019
- 5 Reasons Universal Studios is Better Than Disney World
- Inside a $3,000 Universal Studios Private Tour
- Math on Whether a Universal Studios Annual Pass Is Worth It
- Review: Loews Royal Pacific Hotel at Universal Studios
- Review: The Universal Aventura Hotel
- Review: Loews Sapphire Falls Resort